Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lost Causes - 不可與言而與之言,失言

We once heard a fellow tango blogger complain about trying to get her friend to understand her viewpoint.

"I tried approaching the topic from different angles.  I tried breaking it down for her.  I patiently listened to what she had to say and refuted her points one by one.  I gave her examples.  It took me a week of writing back to her on Facebook but after all that she still didn't get what I was saying!" 

Didn't understand?  We think she just didn't agree!

Confucius once said:

可與言而不與之言,失人。不可與言而與之言,失言。知者不失人,亦不失言。

In English, this means: "To fail to speak to a man who is capable of benefiting is to let a man go to waste. To speak to a man who is incapable of benefiting is to let one's words go to waste. A wise man lets neither men nor words go to waste."

Confucius teaching his disciples at the Apricot Tree Forum.  If they were discussing Tango instead of philosophy, all his disciples would desert him and go off and form their own branches of New Tango.




Is it just Tango or is it human nature?  We find that if a Tango dancer holds a different view from ours, it is IMPOSSIBLE to convince them to think otherwise.  Even if they come around eventually to what we say, a few weeks, months or years later, they won't admit that their change in perspective has anything to do with what we said!

Another funny thing:  when a Tango dancer comes up to us to ask for "advice", they don't really want OUR advice, they want us to validate what they are doing - or even better, they want us to listen to their advice!

Tango dancers have so much invested in their Tango that if they have been dancing for a while, say six months to three years, they are almost incapable of change and are stuck in a time warp of the same steps and same attitude no matter how many more classes they take or how many Youtube videos they watch.  You find relics from three, five, ten, fifteen, twenty years ago (and you can tell which era they started Tango by the way they dance) on the dance floor any given night.

It takes a Herculean effort or a miracle from the Tango Heavens for any Tango dancer to change.   Most just give up rather than admit that what they are doing is ugly or awful or dangerous or just doesn't work socially.

We almost got embroiled in a futile comment "discussion" with a dancer who was just stuck and confused.   We felt sorry for him but nothing we were going to write back would change his mind and we knew it.  Thank God that Man Yung had his Analects of Confucius ready to make us realize that this was just a "Lost Cause" and we should walk away.

Please, poor stubborn ones, don't change the way you think about Tango and dance Tango! If we can't convince you of anything different, we might as well cut our losses and not waste our breath!



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Alberto Dassieu

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