Tango is not only a fascinating dance but also a fascinating philosophy, culture and lifestyle. The search of tango is the search of humanity, connection, love, unity, harmony and beauty, i.e., an idealism that is not consistent with the dehumanizing reality of the modern world. The world divides us into individuals, but tango unites us into a team, community 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, accommodation, 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 feel very close and appreciative to that friend. To love someone of superior character, intelligence, talent 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 an intense combination of all these feelings. It is the deepest appreciation, attraction, admiration, adoration, veneration, affection and attachment for someone for whom one is 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 children and ideally how two tango partners treat each other in order to enjoy each other and work as a team.
Young people often mistake possessive desire for love. Many hold a self-centered view on love. Many think that love is only a feeling. Many believe that a person himself or herself should be loved for who they are with no obligations attached. Such false ideas are the source of countless failed relationships. The truth is, love is altruist. It is not what one takes but what one gives. It is not just what one feels but much more importantly what one does. It is not an unrequited affection but a bilateral relationship in which both parties must be and do each's best in order to bring out the best of the other. It is not only a gift but also a responsibility. It 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 in which the two sexes play different roles but complement each other. They both require commitment, submission, communication, understanding, agreement, forbearance, cooperation and accommodation. The concept of tango has a universal value because it reveals the way to achieve oneness and harmony in all kinds of relationships.
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 - perhaps more in a physical than emotional sense from women's perspective, and that is also how men expect from love. A man cannot feel loved if he is not appreciated, revered and respected. 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 considerate, thoughtful and romantic 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 assume 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, cooperation, accommodation and compromise.
The gift of love, just like the gift of tango, makes us better spouses, friends, coworkers, citizens and tango partners. We need and depend on each other; therefore, we must love each other, and for our commmon good we have no better choice than loving each other. Like hatred, love 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. Contrary to ideologies that preach egoism, self-interests, aggression, antagonism and hatred, love is the proposition of achieving unity and harmony through altruism, kindness, compassion, cooperation, accommodation, yielding and giving. It is a different philosophy from individualism and femininism alike in dealing with others. It is also a vital skill everyone living in a society must have because, just like we need to acquire skills in order to achieve oneness and harmony in tango, we need to acquire skills in order to achieve oneness and harmony in relationships. Of all the skills essential to a healthy, functional, stable and harmonious society, love irrefutably is the most important one. This philosophy and skill must be taught to our young in all levels of education. (See The Lessons of Tango.)
Unfortunately, the American education completely failed in this respect. Our schools are dominated by capitalism, egoism, liberalism, individualism and feminism that teach young men and women to be greed, individualistic, independent, self-seeking, strong-minded, disagreeable, competitive and aggressive, i.e., everything that is opposite 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 extremist 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, conflict, intolerance, hatred, tension, brokenness, divorce, violence and crimes in our society, and many problems in our tango today.
Nothing has done more harms to our society than narrow-minded radical ideologies that teach people to be egoistic, 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 Tango and Individualism.)