Questions For The Self

No. 2

“A culture that is dead to love can only be resurrected by spiritual awakening. On the surface it appears that our nation has gone so far down the road of secular individualism, worshipping the twin gods of money and power, that there seems to be no place for spiritual life. The crisis of American life does not seem to be generated by a lack of interest in spirituality. However, this interest is constantly co-opted by the powerful forces of materialism and hedonistic consumerism”.

bell hooks from all about love

Shortly after midnight on March 13th, Louisville police officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor– a 26-year-old emergency room technician, daughter, partner, and beloved friend. It has been months since her death and justice has yet to be granted. In these last months Breonna Taylor’s death has transformed into viral social media memes, and a source of capital for the United States.

There is a gap between the values they claim to hold and their willingness to do the work of connecting thoughts and action, theory and practice to realize these values and thus create a more just society.”

bell hooks from all about love

Within these events and moments I’ve caught myself thinking a lot more about the self as it relates to the environmental contexts in which we all participate in. I’ve been asking myself questions like: Who gets to be ‘the self’? Who gets to exist and participate in humanity within the fullness in which I can only desire and fantasize about? I can only assume that Breonnna Taylor searched for the same things that we all search for as humans. Love, stillness, comfort, justice and community. I know that we failed her.

I think we fail most people, even those that believe in their fufilled lives. We fail Black people, we fail Brown people, and we fail white people. I mean, how could we not? These systems and institutions that we so vehemently support (wether we are agaisnt them or not) are not here to foster and create healthy people. They breed distrust, competition, scarcity, and violence. Everyday is a kind of war, and the scary thing is they try to convince us that it’s not.

I came to theory because I was hurting– the pain within me was so intense that I could not go on living. I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend–to grasp what was happening around and within me. Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away. I came to theory young, when I was still a child. I saw in theory, then, a location for healing.”

bell hooks from teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom

My politic is love, and theory. It is the dance and vibrations of them combined. Theory without love is useless. Love without theory is not love–it’s violence. For example, many of us were hit as children as a conseuqence of a “bad” behavior. The narrative around those actions were “I am doing this because I love you”. My theory– my consciousness knows that punishment was not out of love. It was out of power, and a lack of understanding of the theory of love.

At the core of justice and justice as praxis is love. We can’t possibly fight for Breonna Taylor’s justice without acknowleding that we failed her. We can’t fight for Breonna’s justice without acknowledging the trauma and erasure that the world throws at Black women while they are alive. We can’t fight for Breonna’s justice without acknowledging that most of us don’t know love. If we don’t know love, how can we know justice? If we don’t know justice, what are we fighting for?

Living in childhood without a sense of home, I found a place of sanctuary in “theorizing,” in making sense out of what was happening. I found a place where I could imagine possible futures, a place where life could be lived differently. When our lived experience of theorizing is fundamentally linked to processes of self-recovery, of collective liberation, no gap exists between theory and practice.”

bell hooks from teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom

*Once in awhile I’ll post blog posts that relate to the questions that I am wrestling with in the current moment titled: “Questions For The Self”. This is the first one.*


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