On love and life

“The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget” (From the Cost of Living by Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy)

A book on love by bell hooks                                           

bell hooks is a writer, feminist theorist, cultural critic, professor and lecturer around the world. I have just finished reading her book, All About Love: New Visions, in which she discusses the politics and nature of love, what stifles and what nourishes it in different contexts. She looks at love through psychological, philosophical and sociopolitical lens. She draws on her own spiritual path and life experiences, and also, the work and writings of people from diverse fields and different spiritual and religious traditions to discuss the politics of love and to support her conviction that there is a dire need for a return to love in our contemporary world.

In an attempt to create a brief summary of the book, chapter by chapter, I will inevitably highlight only certain points she touches on because the chapters are rich in content. My choices may also reflect what has felt more relevant to me and what I believe reflects more universal dynamics and experiences. Other people might find other bits more relevant, depending on where they live because the book is contextualized, their personal experience and spiritual path.

She begins her book with a quote from Jack Kornfield: ‘It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our heart as if it were a good friend. In modern life we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.’ This theme runs throughout the book as she discusses how there are not many public discussions of love in our cultures right now.  She talks about the important place of love in any movement for social justice and the need for a love ethic in all areas of our life. One of the basic underpinnings of her discussion is the impact of patriarchy on relationships, family and society. On reviewing the literature she found that the institutionalization of patriarchy and male domination stand in the way of love in families and influences relatedness, freedom and justice in society. Read more…………………

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