Here’s a rather charming article called, “How “Carpe Diem” Got Lost in Translation.”
I’m always fascinated by language and metaphor, by translations and culture, so I rather enjoyed this little take down of the modern, Hollywood version of “carpe diem.” Rather then “seize the day,” which is a more aggressive, consumer driven, dog eat dog, form of phrasing, this article suggests it is actually more of a horticulture term, “evoking the plucking and gathering of ripening fruits or flowers, enjoying a moment that is rooted in the sensory experience of nature. “Gather ye rose-buds while ye may” is the famed Robert Herrick version.”
That’s quite delicious already, but it gets even better, carpe diem as, “plucking the day” is “timely enjoyment, a far gentler, more sensual image.” Dare I say it, a more feminine image, as in receiving the ripe harvest, receiving the gifts of the day. In Latin, in the poetic way it was used, it meant to literally, “pluck joy,” like one might pick roses or blueberries.
It’s such a tragedy that this term has been so perverted, that it now has a pop culture meaning that is nearly the opposite of it’s intended purpose, so I was quite delighted to go tripping down this particular rabbit hole in search of the truth.
“Carpe diem” is not about striving, it is not about conquest, it is not “making hay while the sun shines,” it is about rather passively receiving the gifts of the day, the harvest the Lord brings to you.
Carpe diem. Or perhaps as it says in the Bible, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”