Carpe Diem. Seize the day. I have heard this Latin phrase many times but it has only been with my husband that I got the courage to admit my ignorance and ask what it meant.
“Seize the day”, I was told.
But, what does “seize the day” mean? This is an altogether different question, being one of philosophy and wisdom rather than translation.
Could it mean, “use every day to the full”? Or perhaps, “don’t put off ‘til tomorrow things you can do today”? Or, “don’t wait for the perfect day, do whatever it is that you’re thinking of now”? Or even, “every day is a gift”? Or, could it mean all of these things and more besides? Could it even mean, “there is no point in waiting for the right moment – that moment is now”?
Our son has just started university. He is doing one of his extra classes in philosophy and explained to us that he’d been told that knowledge had three elements – belief, truth, and justification. Thus, for something to count as knowledge you have to believe it, be able to justify that belief, and whatever you believe in has to be true.
Seize the day. The moment is now. Whatever the question, if timing is a factor, then the right time is now.
Is this true? Do I believe this? Can I justify this belief?
The phrase “Carpe Diem” is used to refer to something life changing. It does not address mundane actions. So far, so obvious. And, it could be argued that any day would be as good as any other to take a life changing step. The rising and setting of the sun are arbitrary markers used to distinguish one day from another – but any physicist will tell you that time is all one piece (unless you get near a black hole or travel at the speed of light, but that’s another story), and the division into seconds, minutes, hours, days and so on is a human invention. So that’s both truth and justification sorted.
What remains is the crux of the issue – belief.
Carpe Diem. Seize the day. But only if you believe you can. If you have belief that out of all the moments of time through which you live, this is definitely the right one in which to take your life-changing step, then without a doubt it will be.
And if you fail – ask yourself, what’s the bigger failing – trying but having to give up, or never trying at all for fear of having to give up?
The act of trying to change your life does indeed change your life, whatever the end results. Because if you believe that you can, nothing can stand in your way. Not even a perceived failure.
Carpe diem. Works for me.