Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating culture, idea, lifestyle, and philosophy. In many ways, tango is a metaphor of life. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, beauty, harmony and humanity, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us as individuals, but tango unites us as a species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. We are humanists. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation and compromise. If you believe in this cause, please join the conversation and let your voice be heard, which is urgently needed and long overdue.
Together we can awaken the world.
January 29, 2017
January 22, 2017
The Freedom in Tango
December 11, 2016
I raise chickens in my backyard. In cold winter days like now, they huddle and tango together to keep themselves warm. Individualism is a luxury chickens couldn't afford. They rely on each other for survival, just like early human beings. (See The Spirit of Tango.)
Sometimes I wonder, are modern people really superior to chickens? Why they formulated so many theories like individualism, feminism, homosexualism and "marriage equality" to justify behaviors that are not to the best interests of the mankind as a whole? Why they are so obsessed with self-interests and personal rights but are apathetic to other people? Why they mistreat, exploit, take advantage of, rob, abuse, torture and slaughter their own kind? Why they greedily accumulate wealth far exceeding their needs at the expense of their fellow human beings? Why little by little they abandoned all the values that held them together and made them strong as a species?
I realize that, as history has shown, evil sometimes prevailed over good and people lost conscience allowed themselves to go with the flow. Perhaps we come across such a time again.
I am not willing to give up hope, though, because I still see goodness in people like firefighters, doctors without borders, and tango dancers alike. I appreciate them because it takes a big heart to open your arms to others, to provide a supporting shoulder for those in need, and to be a good Samaritan. Tango is created by such people, immigrants and street women who are homeless, vulnerable, lonely, looking for a refuge in a strange land, yearning to be loved, and who are sympathetic to others like themselves. Like chickens, they huddle and tango together to keep themselves warm in a cold world. (See Why People Dance Tango.)
I also see hope in parents who love their children and teach them to love each other, to take care of their little brothers and sisters, and to work as a team. When such children grow up, they will become responsible members of the society. Evil prevails only when family is disintegrated, when family values are lost, when human bonds are faded away, when everyone becomes egocentric, and when individualism, feminism, hatred, divorce, single parent family, irresponsible sex, self-indulgence, gun culture and materialism become the accepted norms in a society.
But I don't think that will be the case forever, because as history has also shown, so long as there are men and women, there will be love, family, children, family values, and tango, so evil cannot prevail for long. Family is and always will be the cornerstone of human civilization. Our collective desire to survive and our collective conscience reject what is bad for us as a species. After all, we are a part of nature, and the law of nature overrules the law of men.
Perhaps that's why in times like this more and more people turn to tango now, a dance that connects us, a dance that is consistent with family values, a dance that teaches the world to love, and a dance in which many rediscovered conscience and compassion. (See Tango Is the Search of a Dream.)
November 5, 2016
Zooming out to see yourself as a part of the whole, or zooming in to see yourself as everything, the results are different.
Sympathetic, or unsympathetic, the results are different.
Working for the common cause, or working for self-interests or group interests, the results are different.
The former are magnanimous and patriotic, the latter are petty and self-centric.
October 28, 2016
October 9, 2016
Not only so, we also need to be agreeable with each other in order to function as a team. If we are disagreeable with each other, we are unable to work in unison for the same cause. For this reason, agreeableness was once regarded as a virtue. People may have personal interests and personal opinions, but as members of a team they must think from the vantage point of the group, be sympathetic, overcome their own ego, seek common ground, and be willing to compromise, regarding them as a part of the whole that is bigger and more important than themselves.
But, when individualism becomes the dominant philosophy in a society where everyone thinks of himself or herself as the most important, that is no longer the case. In today's America, for example, individual rights and personal interests take precedence over the interests of the society as a whole. As a result, people disagree and bicker with each other on everything. The gridlock in our politics is but a reflection of the small-mindedness, selfishness, rabidity and obstinacy that characterize a nation lacking broad visions, magnanimity, brotherhood and common cause.
The disregard for human rights is a regrettable fact in human history. Liberalism, which places human liberty at the center of its cause, has played a positive role in human history. However, the view of men and woman as free and independent individuals is an unbalanced one. Human beings are not only free and independent individuals, but also interconnected and interdependent social beings. Our life, liberty and happiness depend on collective efforts and a stable and harmonious society. Therefore, human rights must not be conceived only as the rights of the individual, but that of the mankind or society as a whole also, among these rights are coexistence, equality, sharing, cooperation, and fraternity. (See The Freedom in Tango.)
In today's America, however, the collective rights and well-being of the society as a whole are often being ignored while individual rights and personal freedom are overemphasized and often pushed to the extreme by the right and the left alike. Business aggression and expansionism, the exploitation of other human beings, the destruction of the environment, squandering, monopolization, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, the influence of big money on politics, the promotion of obscenity and violence in the name of free speech, gun culture, sex freedom, same-sex marriage, etc., are typical examples. Too many people think only about themselves and disregard the common interests of the society and humanity as a whole. (See Tango and the Relationship of the Opposite Sexes.)
Our tango reflects the same kind of thinking. Many dancers do not see themselves as a part of the team or community, but as independent individuals. (See 惜缘.) Freedom is being interpreted as against any compliance. Equality is being interpreted as against any submission. (See Tango and Gender Equality.) Gender roles are repudiated. Men do not lead, but only give suggestions. (See How Tango Is Led.) Women remain independent, may disobey men, interrupt the lead, or reverse roles. The embrace is being replaced with an open hold to avoid physical contact and emotional involvement. Personal performance supersedes intimate cooperation. The relationship of the partners becomes a cold working relationship, so does the atmosphere of the milonga. Everybody demonstrates a strong ego. Those who try to dance with others are often being humiliated by the rude response of the invitees. (See How to Get More Invitations in the Milonga.) There is a lack of friendliness, brotherhood, intimacy and cooperation in our milongas.
But, we are human beings still. Our individualist illusion does not blot out our loneliness, longing, interdependence and need for each other. That is why we come to tango in the first place - to be in close contact with others, to form an intimate relationship, to satisfy our hunger for connection, affection and affinity. Unfortunately, these needs are often stymied by our independence, arrogance and disagreeableness.
Tango puts us in such an intimate contact with one another that we are forced to rethink what it means to be men and women, to change our self-centered behaviors, to be better connected and cooperative partners, and to dance in unison and harmony through abiding by the roles and being agreeable with each other. The lessons we learn from tango are valuable and applicable to other areas of life as well. We need leaders who understand the truth revealed in tango, to unite people, set aside the difference, find common ground, restore brotherhood, focus on the common cause instead of the differences, and work as a team. Our milonga will be a better place in which to dance, and our society will be a better place in which to live, I believe, if we embrace the spirit of tango and reject individualism.
June 18, 2016
But people soon realize that this way of exchange is cumbersome. Since the function of money is to measure or represent the amount of labor involved in producing the product, a piece of paper can do the same job and be easier to carry and use. Thus, money changes form from a material good to a bill. People then discovered that even the bill is not necessary. Since the value is expressed in numbers, the exchange can be done numerically without a piece of paper. Thus, money changes form again from the bill to the digital figure on a bank card. This digital figure now becomes the life ambition of the modern people. In political euphemism, this is called "the pursuit of happiness."
Such practices undermined the fundamental principle in trade. The essence of trade is the exchange of labor. A fair exchange reflects the equivalent amounts of labor involved in producing the products. Since the exchange rates of all products are proportional, the increase in price of one product will trigger a chain reaction of inflation. As a result, houses, cars, food, groceries, clothes, utilities, services, all become more expensive, and the government has to raise taxes just to keep even if nothing else. The victims are the ordinary people. In today's America, 63% of people are unable to pay a $500 surprise bill, but a small number of people benefiting from the unfair practice and the system that they have created have accumulated tremendous wealth that reached astronomical figures.
Greed knows no limit and most crimes of our times, caught or not caught, are motivated by money. In a mammonish society, science, education and medicine all become the means of making money, and money respects no morality. The winners are those who have found ingenious ways to abuse others, and the losers are the ripped-offs. As a result, people lost faith in goodness, honesty, fairness and trust. A man once could feed the whole family, not anymore because the price becomes so outrageous that women also have to work in order to maintain the middle class standard of living. Feminists may call it "women's rights" and "equal opportunities." In fact, it is the enslavement of women. A woman lamented, "More and more women work extremely hard to make money now. The society provides women with less and less security. Security used to mean a commitment, a clasped hand when crossing the street, now it is the money in our pocket and a fully charged cell phone... We all want to marry a man, only to find ourselves turned into a man!"
Tango and the Outlook on Life