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. 😊

‘Understanding Power’ with Noam Chomsky

“…the terms of political discourse are designed so as to prevent thought.”

-Noam Chomsky
Understanding Power – Noam Chomsky

Understanding Power is an illuminating book written in question-and-answer format and based on transcripts from seminars and a wide range of discussions with Noam Chomsky. It traverses a number of topics, such as the developments of US foreign policy, international economics, activists’ strategies and challenges, the progress of activism in changing the world, the role of media in shaping the way we think, and a whole lot more.

Chomsky explores issues such as the media’s whitewashing of reality, the corporate takeover of politics, and how economies are framed and in whose best interest they are so framed. He opens our eyes to the nature of power and what it can do when it’s not checked and left unexposed.

Understanding Power is an eye-opening read, it is an enlightening compilation of Chomsky’s political thought, backed by factual information. It will change the way you see the world, stimulate your mind and get you to think for yourself.

The Beauty of Strong Female Relationships in Alice Walker’s ‘The Color Purple’

Celie narrates her life through letters to God, where she lays out her journey from her traumas to when she finds a sense of empowerment. As a young girl she is abused and raped by her father, and after giving birth twice her father takes away both babies and lets her believe they’ve been killed. She also loses her mother and when the widower, Albert, comes over to their house wanting to marry her younger sister Nettie, her father refuses and offers the “ugly” and uneducated Celie instead.

It is an abusive and unhappy marriage, where she spends all her time looking after Albert and his litter of children. Nettie stays with them for a little while but Albert’s interest in her causes her to flee, for so long that at some point Celie believes she’s dead.

Celie forms a bond with the woman her husband is in love with – Shug. There is also her step-son’s wife Sofia. As the story progresses, we see how the passive Celie learns how to assert herself and change the tone of her personal story. The friendship she has with these women become a good place of refuge, she finds ears that listen, voices that encourage and their presence and the bonds they share play a role in her growth and confidence.

The Color Purple is a significant and vital book which explores themes which have been and are still necessary to be heard. There is the strength of self-expression, language and how one can assert themselves, eventually freeing themselves through finding and using their voice. Race and oppression are also big themes of the story, as well as abuse and the distorted beliefs about relationships between men and women.

The form of letters to tell the story, along with the rural English Celie uses, help create a genuine narrator, one we can feel for and journey with. It’s an impressive book, keeps you turning its pages and has such a strong and powerful message to share.

The book was adapted into a film in 1985, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah, Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, and other incredible actors.