Seize The Day, Then Die

I thought I had some strange teachers in my time, but none as strange as this Manchester teacher who told her students that a meteor was going to hit the earth in a week and they were all going to die. Her point: to motivate them to 'seize the day'. The logic seems to be 'make them think they're going to die so they appreciate what they have.' Kind of like that guy who tried to save his marriage by electrifying his wife in the bathtub.

On a completely unrelated note, the widespread use of the phrase seize the day (from the latin carpe diem) is a pet peeve of mine, since I think it's mistranslated. The latin word carpe is principally an agricultural term meaning to harvest, pluck, or gather. It only secondarily has a military usage. So the phrase should really be translated as harvest the day, which is a lot more laid back than seize the day. Though maybe my real problem with the term are those people who are always lecturing other people to seize the day.

Death Literature/Language

Posted on Fri Nov 19, 2004


Reminds me of a few years ago
A drama teacher told her class that a foreign power had just launched a nuclear strike against the country. The kids freaked.
Posted by Sharruma  on  Fri Nov 19, 2004  at  01:07 PM
Sheesh, if you want to scare your students, there's no need to make something up. Just tell them that Bush and Cheney just "won" a rigged election and the likes of Karl Rove and Tom Delay now control all three branches of government.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Fri Nov 19, 2004  at  02:01 PM
So much seizing. I'd rather just enjoy the day, thanks.
Posted by Sakano  on  Fri Nov 19, 2004  at  03:33 PM
Alex - I like your interpretation of the phrase, and believe it's more accurate. To "harvest" the day just seems so much more positive, and livable.
Posted by stork  on  Fri Nov 19, 2004  at  11:51 PM
I believe the word "carpe" is the root of the word "capture" & is also the origin of the word "coppers" for policemen.
Posted by Dale Irwin  on  Sat Nov 20, 2004  at  07:01 AM
The word 'capture' comes from this root:
capio, cepi, captum: to take in hand, take hold of, lay hold of, take, seize, grasp.

But we do get the english word 'to carp' from carpo, carpsi, carptum, which is the root of carpe.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat Nov 20, 2004  at  10:56 AM
Harvest or gather reminded me of this poem.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
Posted by Brenda  on  Sat Nov 20, 2004  at  02:30 PM
Yes, Brenda, and
In Flanders fields
The poppies grow;
Between the crosses,
Row on row.
Posted by stork  on  Sat Nov 20, 2004  at  09:57 PM
Rigged election?
Posted by Jeff  on  Mon Nov 22, 2004  at  01:30 PM
I always liked "carpe corpus".
Posted by Lounge Lizard  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  04:47 PM
"Harvest the day" is just a wimped out way to put it. There are hunters and there are gatherers.

I'm a hunter, so I "seize" what I want. I don't slowly pick it, or harvest it if you will.

Dale is wrong. The nickname "coppers...cops" originated in reference to the police stars or badges police officers donned in the early 1900's. They were made of Copper, hence they were called Coppers and later, Cops.
Posted by Luke Feerer  on  Sun Feb 03, 2008  at  07:10 PM
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