Hello, everyone! So while today’s topic may not directly discuss writing, I would like to share with you a flaw I found in a popular literary expression.
The Latin phrase carpe diem, or seize the day, first originated in 23 BC within the first Book of Odes, authored by the Roman poet Horace. Today, the phrase carpe diem serves as a sort of mantra, one that encourages humans to embrace every moment they are given. Seizing the day, or seizing the moment, is something many people acknowledge and strive to do; it is important to grasp the present and soak in every drop.
However, while we are familiar with the first half of the translation which tells us to “seize the day,” we often neglect the second part, which essentially tells us to mistrust the future. For instance, the complete translation of carpe diem is to “seize the day and put very little trust in tomorrow.”
But shouldn’t we trust the future laid out for us? According to the full translation, does seizing the day mean ignoring both the future and the past due to uncertainty? Due to cautiousness?
Everything in life is chronological. Even books have a beginning, middle, and end, and therefore also have a past, present, and future. Everything is intertwined, bound within the volumes of life. So why should we mistrust and set aside entities that are so integral to life itself?
The past and future should not be ignored. In fact, they are impossible to ignore; the present is what binds time together and makes us who we are.
While the phrase carpe diem might seem like a positive string of words, you may want to think deeper before ingraining it into your mind; you may inadvertently be casting aside both your past moments, and the ones to come.
So, yes, seize the day. But don’t forget who you are in the process.