bell hooks Urges Us To Return To Love

Reading All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

“love’s in need of love today

don’t delay, send yours in right away…”

(Love’s In Need of Love Today, Stevie Wonder)

Neighbour, remember when Stevie and George did that back in 1985? This was the song that played in my head while reading bell hooks’s All About Love: New Visions.

The book is a call for love, in our personal lives and in society as a whole. Love is needed as the thread that runs through the garment we dress the world in. bell hooks lays out 13 chapters of how and why we should redefine love, where we learn how to love and be loved, the benefits of a society that runs on a fuel of love, and so much more.

My favourite chapter was on how childhood is the original school of love. She dives into the way the patterns of love in our childhood affect us as adults. She challenges the idea of placing abuse and love in the same room and explains how the two cannot co-exist.

It made me think of how some of us in our childhoods, getting a beating for punishment was a way our elders showed us they loved and cared, doing it to steer us in the right direction. hooks offers an alternative, a method of discipline that is loving in its nature.

She also discusses lying in its different forms and how it is used as a form of power, and that it falls outside of the practice of love. She encourages us to commit to living by a love ethic, detailing the benefits of doing so and how that can transform our lives for the good.

The book is packed with so many ways that love reaches into so many spaces of our lives, and how we do things that get in its way. She talks about community, forgiveness, racism, sexism, and how love can be such a transformative force.

With all that we witness around us, there were parts of the book that sounded like unreachable tasks, or rather things we can only hope for. However, hooks is confident that by making certain changes, we can return to love and in these thirteen chapters she tells us how we can love again.

Happy reading, Neighbour. 😊

10 Things I Learned from ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell

“What makes some people more successful than others?”

Hello Neighbour

I loved a lot of things about this book but the biggest benefit for me was how useful it was as a parenting guide. Yes, parenting.

In Outliers, Gladwell does a meticulous analysis of success and gives impressive answers to the question, “What makes some people more successful than others?” Through thorough research and taking a deep look at the lives of people like Bill Gates, The Beatles, and Steve Jobs, and finding out things like why Asian children are good at mathematics, he debunks some of the ideas we have about success.

Here are some of the things I learned:

  1. There’s no such thing as a self-made person, and people who make it big do not rise from nothing. Patronage and parentage play a huge role.
  2. Excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice. Experts have settled on 10 000 hours. However, since it’s such a long time (about ten years), things like being poor and having, say, to hold down two or three jobs leave you with not enough time, therefore it becomes a challenge to even begin that kind of practice.
  3. What parents do for a living, the clubs, programs and activities their children are afforded help create opportunities for the children.
  4. Intelligence matters up to a certain point and past that certain point other things outside of intelligence start to matter more.
  5. I learned about what’s called Practical Intelligence, and how important it is. It is ‘knowing what to say, to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.” This important knowledge helps you read situations correctly and get what you want.
  6. The time and place a person is born do matter. What was happening at the time, for example economically, counts more than we think.  
  7. Childhood experiences, being encouraged and nudged by parents or caregivers play an important role.
  8. Entitlement, in a positive sense, is about kids who act as though they have a right to pursue their own individual preferences, and they’re able to reason and negotiate with ease in institutional settings.
  9. The culture you find yourself in is also a factor.
  10. The attitudes and traditions we inherit from our forebears, affect the way we make sense of the world and therefore also play our role in the shaping of our success.

It’s such an enjoyable and stimulating book. It will open your eyes and bring a fresh perspective to how you think of successful people and success itself.

Enjoy, Neighbour!

How I Found Joy in Reading Science

“We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out – and we have only just begun.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Hello Neighbours

The only science reading I’ve known all my reading years is studying from textbooks up to high school. The only time I’d venture beyond the prescribed learning material was when it came to Biology, for the fun of it. This might have given my mother the idea to try to push me towards the medical field. All other natural sciences were a struggle.

Now as my reading keeps on expanding and as I gain interest in so many genres, so many topics, and ideas, I find myself curious about science. Okay, there may be a little influence from the spouse but a lot of times I feel like the more I read, the more I discover how little I know. About myself, about humans, other species, history, the world, existence…all of it. My curiosity just keeps growing and my hunger to learn more just keeps intensifying.

There were other influences. Each time Sheldon Cooper said something smart, I would Google it. Then after watching The Theory of Everything, I wanted to know more about Hawking and his work.

Image: Wikipedia

So I bought a copy of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and put it down after a few pages. I did not understand much. I tried again after a few months and still nothing. Advice from the spouse, who is a physicist, was to read it at a relaxed pace and not fret much about the big stuff in it, then go back the second time and things would start making sense.

Well, I found it to be good advice but the intimidation was far greater than my willingness to take his advice. It just felt like the book was meant to be understood by people in the field, and we the general readers were not invited to the party. I put it away but remained curious.

“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious.”

– Stephen Hawking
Image: Britannica

I then stumbled upon Einstein: His Life and the Universe by Walter Isaacson. I figured since the spouse is crazy about Einstein, I’d buy it for him.

[Shoutout to people who indirectly buy books for themselves and claim they are gifts for people they live with.]

I started reading it before he could even hold it and only got up to Mileva getting pregnant. Now here the challenge was not the science, it was my struggle with (auto) biographies and memoirs. I am getting better, though. Back to the shelf, we’ll try again, Albert.

Someone else I discovered on The Big Bang Theory came to mind because of how easy I’d heard him explain difficult stuff. Yes, Neil deGrasse Tyson. I bought his book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry last week, and let me tell you, I am very happy to have invested in it.

I am now on Page 104 and I’m happy to report, neighbours, that I’m getting most of it. Not everything, though. It really is for people in a hurry and it is fun to read. I’m not getting that stress when I read a book that makes me feel like I will fail to explain if someone asks me what it is about.

So, neighbour, I am not even done with the book but if you’re struggling with reading science books, I recommend this one to break your virginity. It will be orgasmic!

I’ll tell you what it’s all about when I finish.

Happy reading, neighbours.

Image: Wikipedia