Epicurian philosophy is simple: Seek pleasure and avoid pain. So you might think there are many Epicurean tanguer@s out there, right?
The problem is that Epicurean philosophy is a wisdom tradition, not a lifestyle. Seeking pleasure often has no philosophy or ethical basis.
Sure, there are many who seek pleasure and avoid pain, but may lack wisdom entirely. A philosopher thinks deeply about this principle of pleasure and pain. One of my greatest pleasures in life is to dance. But it took a while for me to find some wisdom of how to be wise enough to create life-long pleasure and to avoid loss, pain, and distress.
Pleasure without Self-Harm
I started thinking about this Pleasure Principle as I was trying to help a patient of mine suffering with sleeplessness. I think he considered himself a true Epicurean. He explained that he wanted to enjoy life. So that meant that he wanted to enjoy his cigarette before bed, drink whiskey before bed, and watch TV in bed. Of course, all of these things undermine good sleep and were harming his health. Pleasure without self-harm takes some wisdom.
Tango and the Pleasure Principle
I recommend lots of pleasure. But I want to be an Epicurean Tanguero. My tango path for many years was not as an Epicurean philosopher. I have more and more pleasure in tango, but that was made possible because of becoming wiser--joining the Epicurean wisdom of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain for the long-term good.
If I want more pleasure and less pain, I know that I need to . . .
- Dance less so I can have good sleep.
- Dance less so I can have good foot care.
- Wear special earplugs* so I am not deaf later in life. (Get a good decibel app.)
- Dance in moderation in order to have plenty of other helping activities that will maintain my tango to be long-lived--such as . . .
>Tai chi for balance
>Working out for stamina and strength
>Yoga for flexibility
>Breathing practice for lung capacity and body awareness
>Mindful meditation for flow and calming the inner-voice that is not mine.
The Pleasure Principle, philosophically practiced, makes our tango glow, and allows us to be an asset to the tango community, which by the nature of any community will need more wisdom and less shallow pleasure-seeking. Seek pleasure; eschew pain. But be a true Epicurean Tangue@.
Photo credit: https://smudgyguide.net/the-epicureans/
* In order to maintain one's hearing acuity, young or old, I suggest getting good quality earplugs, even some made just for your ears. Some milongas employ partially deaf DJ's who blast their music. In the workplace, your employer must provide hearing protection over 85 decibels. I know DJ's who blast music over 100 decibels all night. Avoid these deaf DJ's if you can, or simply do as I do: Wear earplugs specifically made for ... wait for it ... DJ's. Whatever you do, don't tell them to turn down their music. They're deaf and won't hear you. :-/