Term Paper: Love Modern America Lacks

Pages: 7 (2383 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality  ·  Buy This Paper

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In Some of Us Did Not Die: New and Selected Essays, June Jordan also writes about the nature of love. Her prose is focused on trying to make the world a better place through love. Often, Jordan's expression of love in this book is a criticism of American actions in the larger world, and comments on gender and racial equality, as well as the dangers to democracy in the United States, and arrogance that often underlies humankind's actions. Jordan is outspoken in her feminist views, and speaks at length about the male need to dominate, often through the personal recounting of her own rapes. Like many other feminists, she sees this need to dominate as a symptom of the patriarchal system of rule in America that results in gender and racial inequalities. To Jordan, an expression for love for humanity is action to make the world a better place. After all, she notes that "some of us did not die" in the tragic events of September 11th, and it is up to those who did not die to make the world a better place through a love of humanity itself.

The works of Sanchez and Jordan reveal a great deal of the complexity of love. Jordan's works focus more deeply on the feelings of love, and often reinforce some of the stereotypes of love as sexual ("i heard my thighs singing"). Nonetheless, her works paint a very real and complex portrait of the emotional human experience of love.

In contrast, June Jordan's work delves more deeply into the idea of love as tied intimately to choice, compassion, and responsibility. In her discussion of the patriarchal basis of many inequalities, she echoes Hooks' concerns that domination and power supersede the possibility of love. In this sense, Jordan's book provides a real roadmap of how to love in a larger cultural sense than either Peck of Hook.

Ultimately, the works of Hook, Peck and Jordan argue strongly that it is truly possible to love in our society, despite the absence of a true love ethic in modern America. Peck stresses that such a revelation will likely take commitment and work, and Hook herself notes that importance of challenging many long-held beliefs to come to a true understanding of love in today's world. For example, to understand love, Hook convincingly argues that we must be willing to challenge many of our deeply held beliefs that love is somehow effeminate and weak, and also challenge our understanding that love is based primarily on sexual desire or romantic feelings.

On the surface, Hook's definition of love seems less than engaging, as she and Peck use words like "will" and "spiritual growth" in their definition of love. Nonetheless, their definition of love does provide a means of seeing love as an extension of the self, and as a specific action that takes into consideration the needs of other individuals. To Peck and Hook, love is based upon ideas like commitment, understanding, will, sacrifice, compassion, affection, and spiritual growth. These are difficult concepts in a world that often focuses on the easy answer. As Peck writes, "most do not see this truth that life is difficult," and as such, the work of love is seen as tedious and somehow not worth the effort. In the end, this type of thinking can only be perpetrated by someone who has not felt real love or joy in their lives, and does not understand the tremendous power of a true action of love that is based upon meeting the spiritual growth or needs of the self or of another.

Given the importance of discipline and hard work in redefining our understanding of love, is there any real hope that modern America, as a whole, will learn to embrace a true love ethic. Possibly. In my experience, there is a growing understanding among my friends that there is something missing in their lives. Most have financial security of a sort, and loving families, and yet they feel a deep disconnection with the world about them, and sometimes this disconnection both with their families and themselves. An understanding of the true nature of love could propel these individuals to seek a deeper understanding and action of love in their lives.

In conclusion, love is an often misunderstood and complex phenomenon. In modern America, love is often confused with sex and romanticism, and as a result our nation lacks a true love ethic. Writers like Bell Hooks and M. Scott Peck provide a powerful way to redefine love as an action, rather than a feeling, based on compassion, understanding, discipline, and sacrifice. While this may not be a popular understanding of love, it does help to provide June Jordan with a powerful basis for learning to make the world better through a love of humanity itself.

Works Cited

Jordan, June. 2003. Some of Us Did Not Die: New and Selected Essays. BasicCivitas Books

Hooks, Bell. 2001. All About Love: New Visions. Perennial.

Peck, M. Scott. 2003. The Road Less Traveled, 25th Anniversary Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. Touchstone Books.

Sanchez, Sonia. 1999. Like the Singing Coming… [END OF PREVIEW]

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