Seize the day

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes, with a classical allusion:

Seize the day!

From the somewhat jumbled Wikipedia article:

Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC), more widely known as Horace, that has become an aphorism. It is popularly translated as “seize the day”. Carpe is the second-person singular present active imperative of the Latin verb carpō, which literally means “You pick, pluck, pluck off, cull, crop, gather, to eat food, to serve, to want”, but Ovid used the word in the sense of, “enjoy, seize, use, make use of”. It is related to the Greek verb … καρπόομαι, (I grab the fruit, profits, opportunity), … καρπός = fruit of tree, of effort, etc. Diem refers to “day” [in the accusative sg.]. Thus, a more accurate translation of “Carpe diem” would be “enjoy the day” or “pluck the day [as it is ripe]”.

… It is important to note that the “Carpe diem” phrase is often misinterpreted and missused in contemporary popular culture. However, it’s not about ignoring one’s future, but rather not trusting that everything is going to fall into place for you someday and doing those things today.

The phrase provided the name for Saul Bellow’s 1956 novel Seize the Day (and the 1986 film, starring Robin Williams, made from it). And it figures prominently in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, also starring Williams:

The teaching methods of their new English teacher, John Keating (Robin Williams), are unorthodox by Welton standards, including whistling the 1812 Overture and taking them out of the classroom to focus on the idea of carpe diem. (from Wikipedia)

2 Responses to “Seize the day”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    Carpe Diem – wasn’t that the order that went out in 1963 that got Ngô Đình Diệm deposed and assassinated?

  2. The Monday morning pun | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] On carpe diem, see my posting “Seize the day”, here. […]

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