Air Date: Week of February 11, 2000
Host Steve Curwood talks with Bell Hooks about her new book "All About Love" in which the feminist author calls for a new love ethic.
CURWOOD: In today's hyper-paced world, we don't often take the time to appreciate the importance of love. Author bell hooks has. In her new book All About Love, Ms. hooks writes that a new vision of love is needed if we are to create a sense of community among ourselves and with our environment.
HOOKS: I like the idea of love as a combination of care, knowledge, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust. And the notion that we are loving when we nurture our own and another's growth.
CURWOOD: Now, many people associate love as something between individuals. Do you feel that there is love on a greater scale, in more sweeping terms?
HOOKS: The love that we feel for ourselves, and for the planet, has to be the foundation of all our sweeping notions of love or they fail. People have to have that core respect for life in order to feel that respect for the earth. For not using resources in a careless or uncaring way.
CURWOOD: Now, how did you get on this quest to write about love? I mean, people think of bell hooks, they think of, well, frankly, kind of a pretty tough feminist author. And love, that's something mushy for you!
HOOKS: Well, I am a tough feminist author, and there's nothing harder in the world today than the question of love. And Martin Luther King was one of the first people who said that the underlying principle of nonviolence is a love ethic. And that love ethic has to extend to both the planet and to how we treat one another, and to how we treat people who are strangers.
CURWOOD: Now what exactly do you mean by love ethic?
HOOKS: Well, I think that many people in our society no longer feel they have a sense of ethics, period, not to mention a love ethic. And a love ethic is rooted in the sense of our connection to one another, and that we want to act in such a way that we honor the presence of each other as human beings on the planet.
CURWOOD: In your book, you write, "Intense spiritual and emotional lack in our lives is the perfect breeding ground for material greed and over-consumption." Why do you believe this is true, and what happened to the spiritual and emotional fullness in our lives? Where did it go?
HOOKS: Well, partially, it did get pushed away by an investment in rapid growth. So that partially, what we see is this connection between the desire to expand, the desire for economic growth, and the loss of a concern for certain qualities in human life. You know, when we think about the legacy of American slavery, I mean, slavery was fundamentally about labor, about unpaid labor, and how you can build an empire on unpaid labor and working people and the indentured servants who were white. That is our legacy as a nation. That sense of overworking the earth in order to have this sort of excessive bounty. And we're still caught in that.
CURWOOD: bell hooks's new book is All About Love: New Visions. It's NPR's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood.
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