Monday, October 8, 2007

The basic eight

Nietzsche said he would believe only in a god who knew how to dance.

Tango philosophy is for people who think philosophers should know how to dance. Or at least be willing to learn...

What might this mean?

To think in a way that can follow as well as lead.
To improvise within the structures of a living tradition.
To listen and respond to the music of the time and place in which the dance is unfolding.

Philosophy often aims to lead: to tell us what is true, or right, or good. But how effective is it in communicating with its various partners - with the forces of imagination, action, passion? Can a philosopher, like a good tango leader, bring about beautiful and exhilarating, or tenderly moving effects in a manner that seems effortless, but involves great skill and sensitivity to the conditions of the moment?

In Argentina, a man who is serious about learning to dance the tango will begin by learning how to follow - how to dance the woman's part. It might seem as though this is beginning with the easier role. But following is not as simple as it seems, especially for those who are used to leading, or acting independently - as many women discover when they begin to dance tango.

What would it mean for philosophy to give up its independence and learn to follow?
Who would be the leader(s) in a dance in which philosophy would take the part of the woman?

These are open questions, and this blog is an open space of wooden floorboards on which to try out some answers. Tango is a social dance - and tango philosophy a nascent art-form of the social web.


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