Monthly Archives: March 2014

To be or not to be, that is NOT the question

When we lived in caverns thousands of years ago, before we became modern humans, life was about the only concern we had then: survival. Survival has two ways to be achieved, the long term survival that requires reproduction of the species via sexual pairing, and the short term survival that requires daily ingestion of food via cooking (or eating raw  food). The issue of sexual reproduction, being so complex and lengthy won’t be addressed here. In this writing I will talk about the other issue, the need to eat to live and how this has changed due to the abundance of food. In fact, nowadays we can divide humanity into two groups, those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. So, the pseudo-Shakespearean question is actually “To live to eat, or to eat to live?”

Live-to-Eat People

These people live in rich societies where food is abundant, cheap, generally not so healthy (think fast food), and even wasted in restaurants and supermarkets. Often, but not always, these are the overweight people that suffer of modern diseases like type-2 diabetes. For them, eating is something they are thinking about all day long, even just after finishing a meal.

Eat-to-Live People

These people live in the other less affluent part of the society, often coexisting with the live-to-eat people, and have so low monetary resources that they are basically living like our cavern-era cousins. They tend not to be overweight, although there are exceptions. For them, eating is of course important, but more important is to get out of their modus vivendi, to improve their standard of living.

Happy and Unhappy People

It turns out that those who live to eat, and who think about eating all day long (consciously or unconsciously) are generally the happy people we know. They tend to be more present on the moment, to live intensely every instance of life, and enjoy the process of eating and sharing the meal with friends and family. On the other hand, those who eat to live, and who think about the future strategic moves they need to take to get out of poverty are less happy, more concern about tomorrow, about how to succeed, and eating is almost an inconvenient break in their daily activities that prevent them from achieving high productivity.

Life Objective

Many great authors have written about the purpose of life, but in my opinion there is only one: to be happy. So, it is our responsibility in this life to define what we want to do to achieve happiness.

The Golden Mean

Life is not easy, especially because we live it once, with no chance for a second try with the gained experience of the first time. Finding the right balance between living to eat and eating to live is an extra burden we will struggle with. If you choose to live to eat, you will live happy, but temporarily so. If you choose to eat to live, you will be unhappy, and eternally so. Therefore, it is our choice of when to live one way or the other, until we find the so much searched golden mean in life.

C.A. Soto Aguirre®

Spanish for Tango Dancers – Lesson 1

If you read and speak English, you can learn basic Spanish if you also are a tango fanatic.

Let’s start with vowel pronunciation. Spanish is much easier to pronounce than English because each vowel has one, and only one!, sound no matter where the vowel is in the word.

A” is always pronounced as in the bold letter in “Occupation”

E” is always pronounced as in the bold letter in “Excellent”

I” is always pronounced as in the bold letters in “Eerie”

O” is always pronounced as in the bold letters in “Ohio”

U” is always pronounced as in the bold letters in “bazOOka”

Great, now you can easily read aloud 95% of any Spanish document (you may not understand what you say, but your pronunciation will be good). By the way, the name of the language is Castellano, not Spanish. Spanish means “from Spain.”


The tango phrase of this week is: “Por una cabeza”

“Por una cabeza” means “By a head.”  This is the title of the famous and beautiful tango (1935) from Carlos Gardel (music) and Alfredo Le Pera (lyrics). The lyrics are a metaphoric analogy between horse betting and love betting. “Por una cabeza” refers to losing the horse race by just a head, or losing your lover to another man by a small margin. This tango was also played by Isak Perlman under the direction of John Williams for the movie Scent of a Woman (acting Al Pacino). Watch and listen the melody starting a 1:43 in this video.

Listen Carlos Gardel’s interpretation: