Tango is not only a fascinating dance, but also a fascinating philosophy, culture, and lifestyle. The pursuit of tango is the pursuit of connection, love, unity, 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 people and species. In tango we are not individualists, feminists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc., but interconnected and interdependent members of the human family. Tango calls us to tear down the walls, to build bridges, and to regain humanity through connection, cooperation, reconciliation and compromise. It is a dance that teaches the world to love.
November 22, 2014
Tango, as a drop in the ocean of human civilization, both reveals its beauty and reflects its pollution. The problems in our tango today in fact are not the problems of tango alone, but those our civilization is facing in modern times as well.
Just like how we understand tango affects how we dance it, how we perceive ourselves affects how we behave and live. In the course of human evolution of the past millions of years, mankind have gradually separated ourselves from the beast. The distinction between man and animals can be summed up in one word: humanity. Our understanding of humanity has reached maturity in the Renaissance of 14th–17th centuries. Contrast to the twisted and demeaned image of man in the contemporary art, his beauty, dignity and nobility were the dominant themes of the Renaissance. The consequent sublimation of human spirit formed a powerful force, which eventually led to the rejection of all forms of bondage, oppression and violation of human liberty, the establishment of democracy, the discharge of human creativity, the increase of human production, the advancement of science and technology, and the prosperity of modern civilization.
In this process, however, mankind has alienated itself also. We left footprints in every corner of the Earth. Farmlands replaced forests, cities replaced farmlands, pollution replaced purity, materialism replaced idealism, extravagance replaced simplicity, competition replaced cooperation, stress replaced enjoyment, individualism replaced fraternity, self-interests replaced general interests, personal rights replaced common cause, monopoly replaced sharing, polarization replaced equality, legalism replaced common sense, pragmatism replaced integrity, corruption replaced uprightness, sex liberation replaced marriage, single parent family and gay family replaced traditional family, games replaced classics, artificiality replaced natural production, machine replaced people... Modernization has led mankind farther and farther away from nature and humanity. The environment is deteriorating. The resources are depleting. The morality is decaying. Individual persons, genders, races, special interests, political parties and nation states are infighting with each other for self-gains. It seems that human liberty, the very thing that has led mankind to prosperity, is leading us to self-destruction. (See Tango Is the Search of a Dream.)
Someday, ideas like returning to nature, humanism, environmentalism, unity, harmony, fraternity, equality, coexistence, cooperation, agreement, sharing, thrift, moderation, etc., will replace dogmas like being unique and different, independence, competition, acquisitiveness, aggression, power politics, winning, conquest, expansion and success, to become the consensus of most people, I hope. But by then it may be too late.
The world needs a different philosophy, not the narrow-minded and unbalanced doctrines like individualism, feminism, liberalism, pragmatism, capitalism, materialism, etc., but an idealism that can lead mankind to integrity, nobility, magnanimity, cooperation and harmony. Hopefully, tango will play a positive role in the return of humanity, because it embodies the ideas that make us human. (See The Spirit of Tango and The Freedom in Tango.)