Probably most of us would think of this when we think of carpe diem, in the sense of taking an opportunity when it comes along, whatever your fears and the possible risks. Unfortunately, most of us naturally fear risk, so we tend to focus more on everything that could go wrong than on all the things that could go right – thereby often missing out on something that could have been amazing. Carpe Diem – take the opportunity.
In Horace, the phrase is part of the longer carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero, which is often translated as "Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow (the future)". The ode says that the future is unforeseen and that one should not leave to chance future happenings, but rather one should do all one can today to make one's own future better. This phrase is usually understood against Horace's Epicurean background. It has been argued that the meaning of carpe diem as used by Horace is not to ignore the future, but rather not to trust that everything is going to fall into place for you and taking action for the future today.
The truly spontaneous person has a carpe diem attitude that starts with a set of determined goals. This determination is what gives him or her the energy boost to get to the uncharted territory of spontaneity. Have the disciple to schedule things right now so you have the freedom to be spontaneous later.
Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die.
- In theory, this makes sense. Life is short so we must make the best of what we have now. We don't know how long we will last so we should live it up while we have the chance. There is more to life than the present--mature people look ahead as well as to the present, sometimes opting for current discomfort in place of pleasure so as to set down a solid foundation for the future.
Freedom – and death
There’s a strong human desire for freedom and the understanding that we are in control of our actions, our own destiny; but it’s the knowledge that we are going to die at some point that gives us a framework for that freedom, a sense of urgency and motivation.