When Thorace was giving the world two of the most beautiful words to live by, he perhaps did not foresee how the profundity of his thought could lie so overshadowed by the poetry of his phrase.
The ideology that lost itself somewhere beneath the romance of the words “Carpe diem”, correctly translated as “Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next day”, was to find your one true passion and then follow it through. After 2000 years of Chinese whispers, however, all that remains of it is a fey and clumsy, yet widely followed, misinterpretation that only furthers indolence in character and beckons it away from effort and responsibilities towards finding easy ways out.
What now seems as impractical and nebulous and obviously riddled with uncertainties was in fact, to begin with, a most pertinent concept of following your heart into something that truly stirs your interest. It was the idea of sallying forth to find and honor your calling and then keeping at it with conviction in self. What Thorace really wanted us to do, then, was to find our way out of the fray as much as we worked our way to the top of it.
Our strange liking towards the convention of being unconventional demands that we do whatever it is that tickles our fancy, be it studying the chronosynclastic infundibulum, whistle blowing, playing pen carom or even mass email spamming. Many a great man has and many will indulge in such philosophical posturing as to eulogize the courage of treading these paths. The gravity of this thought, though, ought to lie not in the treading of the path with blithe carelessness towards the consequence but seeing and working it through to the end of it. If blithe carelessness it were meant to be, how then would one tell truancy from true pursuit? And yet, if we were to labor through to the end, an overriding of drudgery over passion it would be. It seems fair then that the metaphorical presence of poetry in one’s life be welcome so long as a worldly sense of direction stays in place. Where complacency does not mix with the quest to follow one’s passion, nor does compromise on one’s passion, with a desire to be rewarded, there, perhaps will be reclamation of a correct construe of Thorace’s wisdom. Whether there is a need at all, however, to shy away from either a complacent disregard for the end or from a submissive compromise on passion is for no one to tell. It was after all always a poet’s business to ask questions; never to expect answers.