Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search 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 community and people. 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.

July 14, 2017

A Dance that Teaches People to Love

We use the word love to express many different feelings. To love tango is to be fascinated by and addicted to the dance. To love a country is to feel deeply attached to the country. To love a child is to adore and pamper the child. To love a friend is to appreciate and feel close to that friend. To love someone with superior intelligence, talent, character, ability, or physical attributes is to hold great respect, admiration and reverence for that person. To love someone of the opposite gender is to be sexually attracted to that person.

None of the above alone completely expresses the true meaning of love. True love is a combination of all these feelings. It is the deepest appreciation, attraction, admiration, adoration, veneration, attachment and affection for someone for whom you are willing to give up everything. True love is altruist. It has no ego and pride. It is selfless, kind, generous and patient. It trusts, devotes, surrenders, obeys, gives, supports, yields, accommodates, tolerates, endures, forgives and protects, just like how a mother cares for her baby and ideally how two tango partners treat each other in order to enjoy each other and work as a team in the dance.

Young people often think that love is only a feeling, that if one has that feeling for someone then he/she loves someone, and that one should be loved for who one is without being asked to do anything in return, etc. That false belief is a source of countless failed relationships. The truth is, love is not only what one feels, but much more importantly what one does. It is not an unrequited affection but a bilateral relationship in which each party must be and do his/her best in order to bring out the best of the other. It is not only a right but also a responsibility. Love should not be taken for granted because the synergy of love, just like the synergy of tango, ceases if the two fail to reciprocate and cooperate.

People often compare tango to love because the two share a common theme. They both involve a relationship between a man and a woman in which the two sexes play different roles but complement each other. They both require devotion, commitment, trust, communication, understanding, empathy, submission, cooperation and accommodation. The concept of tango has a universal value because it reveals the way to achieve oneness and harmony in any relationship.

Men and women play different roles in love as they do in tango. (See The Gender Roles in Tango.) Men are strong and goal-oriented. For men, love means to provide, support and safeguard - more in a physical than emotional sense from women's perspective perhaps, and that is also how men expect from love. A man cannot feel loved if he is not appreciated, respected and revered. Women, on the other hand, are more delicate and emotional. For women, love means being adored, pampered, protected, and particularly being romantically, adventurously and heroically pursued. A woman cannot feel loved if her fantasy and emotional needs are not met. In other words, men need to learn to be more romantic, attentive and thoughtful in their relationship with women, and women need to learn to be more respectful, appreciative and agreeable in their relationship with men. Men and women are different, and they play different roles in life and tango. Learning tango helps us to understand these differences, to play our respective roles, to cultivate team spirit, and to achieve oneness and harmony through mutual commitment, submission, devotion, cooperation, accommodation and compromise.

The gift of love, just like the gift of tango, makes us better husbands, wives, friends, coworkers, citizens and tango partners. We learn to love each other because we need each other, and for the sake of our common interests we have no better choice than loving each other. Like hatred, kindness is reciprocal. You do good to others and others will reciprocate the hospitality. In that sense, love is determined kindness and the consequence of the efforts. Before individualism and feminism brainwashed us with egocentric, selfish, resentful and hateful messages, that is what people do to each other throughout human history. (See The Spirit of Tango.)

Imagine a world where people all love each other, in comparison to the hostile world in which we are living. (See Tango Is the Search of a Dream.) Love, in opposition to ideologies that advocate individuality, individual rights, personal freedom, self-interests, competition, confrontation, power struggle and aggression, is the preposition of achieving unity and harmony through cooperation, teamwork, kindness, accommodation and reconciliation. It is a philosophy, a method of dealing with others, and a useful skill that needs to be studied, taught and learned. Just like we need to acquire the skills in order to achieve oneness and harmony in tango, we need to acquire the skills in order to achieve unity and harmony in relationships. Of all the skills essential to a healthy, functional, stable and harmonious society, love perhaps is the single most important one. This philosophy and skill must be taught to our young in all levels of education.

Unfortunately, the American education completely ignores this. Our schools are dominated by capitalism, individualism, feminism and Neo-liberalism that teach young men and women to be greed, individualistic, independent, self-seeking, strong-minded, disagreeable, competitive and aggressive, i.e., everything that is in opposition to love. The result is disastrous. According to an internal Department of Homeland Security report dated March 1, 2017, most foreign-born terrorists operating in the United States do not become radicalized until several years after entering the country. This means our own radical ideologies have contributed to the radicalization of the young minds. These ideologies are also the root cause of the dissension, disunity, hostility, polarization, antagonism, uncooperativeness and dysfunction in our governments, the rapacity, competition, intolerance, hatred, tension, brokenness, violence, divorce and crimes in our society, and many problems in our tango today.

Nothing has done more harm to our society than narrow-minded radical ideologies that teach people to be selfish, greed, individualistic, disagreeable, resentful, antagonistic and hateful. This country is desperately in need of love, and tango, a dance that teaches people to love. (See The Art of Love.)

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