Saturday, October 16, 2010

Good news

bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love:

Unlike happiness, joy is a lasting state that can be sustained even when everything is not the way we want it to be.

If we look at the world long enough, we may find that everything is not the way we want it to be. As a result, many of us don't look.

If we look in a comprehensive way, what can be seen is deeply troubling. Many of us arrive at the point of seeing particular problems with clarity, only to be left with the task of communicating their relevance to others.

At this point most of us experience real frustration. This can play itself out as anger, at the world and at each other; but because anger is a difficult emotion to sustain, it often leads to apathy: it becomes too painful to try, and we withdraw from our attempts to do so.

Anger is often justified, but because it can't be sustained, it can't form the basis for moving past frustration into fulfillment -- a fulfillment that is honest about what is wrong in the world, and the work that must be undertaken in response.

bell hooks points to something that must be cultivated in spite of what we very well know to be true about the world. This is what we must be prepared to offer others, if we ever want them to fall in love with our work despite its inherent difficulty.


Quin said...

JRB, if I were to be stranded on a desert island and could take just one blog with me, yours would be it. Keep spreading the good news, please.

JRB said...


You'll spoil me rotten, but I will try!

Let's hear more about what is happening with Quin these days; are you still at PAB?

Quin said...

Hey! Surprised you even know what PAB is! Well, nobody is really there at the moment. Really, in a manner directly related to the subject of this very post, I let the wind blow out of my sails there about two years back, only intermittently posting since. A couple of months back, I attempted to round up the gang again, only for one of my co-bloggers to pointlessly offend one of the commenters I valued the most, and for me not to do enough to take care of the situation well and promptly. Kind of been avoiding writing ever since-- the usual feelings of self-doubt, "do I really have anything useful to say" and all that. Still, maybe about twice a month I feel like I actually DO have a little something useful to say; I just haven't yet mustered the necessary momentum to go back there and say it.

Still, my personal life-- after some tumultuous times-- appears to be getting on a good track. Not sure yet if I'm going to blog more, but if nothing else, I'll keep on reading your own thoughts as you put them out! I can't tell you all of the small ways you've already brought small changes to how I look at the world-- which in turn make small changes to my behavior in that world. I know I'm using the word "small" here, but small things are maybe all that matter.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Thanks for this one. As a school teacher, this is bolstering, this helps — although I blogged about this in a tone of despair.

JRB said...


I want to thank you for the link and the not so small compliment. It had a big impact on me!

Whether or not it involves blogging, I hope you will continue to articulate who you are as a daily practice. It's a cool person to know.

what the Tee Vee taught:

That's okay because we have to pass through despair. The people I worry about are the ones determined to avoid it.

I think Dostoevsky said if you aren't depressed, you aren't really alive!