Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day by Roman KrznaricA GUARDIAN BEST HOLIDAY READ 2017
‘Brilliant. One of those rare books that forces you to ask what the hell you’re doing with your life.’ George Monbiot, Guardian
Existentialism is back
Carpe diem – ‘seize the day’ – is one of the oldest pieces of life advice in Western history. But its true spirit has been hijacked by ad men and self-help gurus, reduced to the instant hit of one-click online shopping, or slogans like ‘live in the now’. We need to reclaim it to make sense of our complex, confusing times.
The last great expression of carpe diem was in the electrifying existential philosophy of the 1940s. Today it’s an idea that challenges us to confront our mortality and live with greater passion and intention rather than scroll mindlessly on our phones or allow freedom to become a mere choice between brands.
In Carpe Diem Regained, Roman Krznaric reinvents existentialism for our age of information and choice overload. An essential and empowering work of contemporary philosophy, the book unveils the surprising ways of seizing the day that humankind has discovered over the centuries, ones we urgently need to revive.
Carpe diem is the Nexistentialism for our times.
Reclaiming carpe diem: How do we really seize the day?
C arpe diem — seize the day — is one of the oldest philosophical mottos in western history. First uttered by the Roman poet Horace more than 2, years ago, it retains an extraordinary resonance in popular culture. The heavy metal band Metallica has rocked audiences around the world with their song Carpe Diem Baby, while the actress Judi Dench had carpe diem tattooed on her wrist for her 81st birthday. It is remarkable that an expression from a long-dead language generates more than 25m online search results. Yet just as striking is the fact that there is not one carpe diem, but many. These variations tell us that carpe diem means different things to different people.
Frequently Asked Questions
Judi Dench even had it tattooed on her wrist for her 81 st birthday. Seize the day and leave as little as possible for tomorrow. The good news is that there is far more to carpe diem than this. A fascinating pattern soon began to emerge, revealing five essential interpretations of carpe diem through the centuries; an ensemble of ways that humankind has developed to seize the day—and that we would be wise to revive. The most common meaning ascribed to carpe diem is about seizing opportunities that may disappear and be lost forever—the opportunity, say, to change career direction, or to make amends after an argument with your partner. Back in the seventeenth century, however, carpe diem was more typically associated with hedonism, particularly sensual pleasures. A third viewpoint is that seizing the day is about living in the present moment, an immersion in the here and now.