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All About Love: New Visions By Bell Hooks

All About Love: New Visions By Bell Hooks

As soon as upon a time, the philosophy of love was a positive subject for the man of ideas, like Erich Fromm or C. S. Lewis. In recent times, the topic has been relegated to self-assist, a genre that many mistrust for its propensity to suggest simple solutions the place there are none. Self-help has its makes use of, however: it neatly undoes the facile ideas of left (we're powerless victims) and proper (we now have total agency in our lives) alike, and it provides the calming reassurance that others on the market are as messed up as you are.

Now comes the feminist cultural critic Bell Hooks along with her new book of essays, ''All About Love: New Visions About Love,'' written in a didactic type that will merge ethical philosophy with self-help. It's a warm affirmation that love is feasible and an attack on the tradition of narcissism and selfishness. ''We yearn to finish the lovelessness that's so pervasive in our society,'' she writes. ''This book tells us how you can return to love.''

Her greatest factors are simple ones. Group -- extended family, creative or political collaboration, friendship -- is as vital as the couple or the nuclear family; love is an artwork that involves work, not just the joys of attraction; desire may depend on illusion, but love comes only via painful reality-telling; work and money have replaced the values of love and community, and this should be reversed.

In Hooks's view, girls have little hope of happiness in a brutal tradition wherein they are blindsided because ''most men use psychological terrorism as a strategy to subordinate women,'' whom they keep around ''to handle all their needs.'' Males are raised to be ''extra involved about sexual performance and sexual satisfaction than whether or not they are capable of giving and receiving love.'' Many men ''will, at instances, choose to silence a accomplice with violence slightly than witness emotional vulnerability'' and ''usually turn away from real love and choose relationships through which they can be emotionally withholding after they feel prefer it however nonetheless obtain love from someone else.'' Women are additionally afraid of intimacy but ''focus more on finding a companion,'' regardless of quality. The result's ''a gendered association in which males are more likely to get their emotional needs met while girls will be deprived. . . . Men are given a bonus that neatly coincides with the patriarchal insistence that they are superior and subsequently better suited to rule others.'' Men must study generosity and ''the joy that comes from service.''

Hooks contends that she and her two long-term boyfriends were foiled by ''patriarchal considering'' and sexist gender roles and never had a chance. She is right that many women and men, homosexual and straight, nonetheless fall into conventional traps, but she does not spend a lot time on why some dive into them, nor does she think about that such isn't everyone's fate. She takes her experience, neatly elides her own position in shaping it, universalizes and transliterates her frustrations into pop sociology.

Hooks's ideals for love, her ''new visions,'' sound good, but there's something sterile and abstract about them. The creative ways the mind has to console itself, the fact that relationships don't grant bliss and perfection, the essential impossibility of satisfaction, how want can conquer the need -- to Hooks, these are but cynical delusions that can be thrust aside in a courageous new world ready ''to affirm mutual love between free girls and free men.''

Her invocation of master rhetoricians like Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Merton throws into painful aid the unusual Pollyanna quality of her prose; it's difficult to imagine either of them beginning a paragraph, as she does, with ''When I first began to speak publicly about my dysfunctional household, my mother was enraged.'' She ends the book as Sleeping Beauty, awaiting ''the love that is promised'' and chatting with angels slightly than real people. Her book confirms fears about why jargon and prefabricated ideas, including identification politics and self-help, so usually flatten experience into cliché. Emotional waters run deep and wide. When one can not navigate them, it's potential to take refuge in a shallow, sentimental idealism.
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Antalya Evden Eve Nakliyat