All About Love


All About Love: New Visions

Author: Bell Hooks

Publisher: William Morrow, 1999 (Hardcover, 240 pages)

Rating: 4owls


Bell Hooks breaks down how we are taught about love as children and how that affects us as adults, why our romantic expectations of love aren’t often met, and what the world would gain if we all lived a life of love. I enjoyed this book very much because it made me think of our culture and how we could do better by practicing love for others as well as self-love.

Memorable Quotes:

“Most men feel that they receive love and therefore know what it feels like to be loved; women often feel we are in a constant state of yearning, wanting love but not receiving it.” p. xx

“So many of us long for love but lack the courage to take risks. Even though we are obsessed with the idea of love, the truth is that most of us live relatively decent, somewhat satisfying lives even if we often feel that love is lacking.” p. 11

“One of the most important social myths we must debunk if we are to become a more loving culture is the one that teaches parents that abuse and neglect can coexist with love. Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. No one can rightfully claim to be loving when behaving abusively. Yet parents do this all the time in our culture. Children are told that they are loved even though they are being abused.” p. 22

“Bringing love into the work environment can create the necessary transformation that can make any job we do, no mater how menial, a place where workers can express the best of themselves. When we work with love we renew the spirit; that renewal is an act of self-love, it nurtures our growth. It’s not what you do but how you do it.” p. 65

“In our society we make much of love and say little about fear. Yet we are all terribly afraid most of the time. As a culture we are obsessed with the notion of safety. Yet we do not question why we live in states of extreme anxiety and dread. Fear is the primary force upholding structures of domination. It promotes the desire for separation, the desire not to be known. When we are taught that safety lies always with sameness, then difference, of any kind, will appear as a threat. When we choose to love we choose to move against fear–against alienation and separation. The choice to love is a choice to connect–to find ourselves in the other.” p. 93

“When we see love as the will to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth, revealed through acts of care, respect, knowing, and assuming responsibility, the foundation of all love in our life is the same. There is no special love exclusively reserved for romantic partner. Genuine love is the foundation for our engagement with ourselves, with family, with friends, with partners, with everyone we choose to love.” p. 136

“To know love we must surrender our attachment to sexist thinking in whatever form it takes in our lives. That attachment will always return us to gender conflict, a way of thinking about sex roles that diminishes females and males. To practice the art of loving we have first to choose love–admit to ourselves that we want to know love and be loving even if we do not know what that means.” p. 155

“Sometimes it amazes me to know intuitively that the grieving are all around us yet we do not see any overt signs of their anguished spirits. We are taught to feel shame about grief that lingers. Like a stain on our clothes, it marks us as flawed, imperfect. To cling to grief, to desire its expression, is to be out of sync with modern life, where the hip do not get bogged down in mourning.” p. 200