39 pages 1 hour read

bell hooks

All about Love: Love Song to the Nation Book 1

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2000

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Chapters 11-13

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 11 Summary: “Loss: Loving into Life and Death

hooks considers the role of death in loving practice. While “love makes us feel more alive,” in enduring lovelessness “we feel we might as well be dead” (191). hooks argues that the culture’s obsession with death is so intense that it “stands in the way of love” (191). This obsession, she argues, is a consequence of religious teachings warped by the patriarchy. Hooks quotes the theologian Matthew Fox, who wrote, “Western civilization has preferred love of death to love of life to the very extent that its religious traditions have preferred redemption to creation, sin to ecstasy, and individual introspection to cosmic awareness and appreciation” (193).

Unlike love, death will touch everyone at some point in their lives. The prospect of death, for most people, is “deeply anxiety producing” (193). Death worship is everywhere, perhaps most notably in media. When death worship is “rooted in fear it does not enable us to live fully or well” (195). Although some may view an intense preoccupation or interest in death as a way to cope with fear, death worship only keeps people from living. Obsession with death leads to an obsession with safety—one that all too often finds expression through white supremacy, as when a white man, fearing for his life (or, as capitalism has taught him, fearing for his property), shoots a person of color who approaches his front door merely to ask for directions.