• SumoMe

I’ve noticed an increasingly disturbing trend among young kids on Twitter where Horace’s “carpe diem” attitude is slowly moving over to make room for the destructive attitudes behind this #YOLO hashtag (meaning: “you only live once”).

Horace (65 BCE – 8 CE) wrote a poem with the first known usage of the term “carpe diem,” where he said: Dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero (Even while we speak, envious time has passed: pluck the day, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!). This mantra was originally meant to inspire people to live for the moment rather than the past–to seize the moment and make it count.

Fast forward to the 17th Century and we have Robert Herrick’s “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time” which succinctly encourages:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.

Unfortunately, in modern times the youth Herrick encouraged to gather their rosebuds has gone astray from making the most of situations and now flaunt their desire to make the worst of situations. Instead of using their one life to accomplish great things, the youth now desires to use their one life to risk the reckless, pointless, dangerous, and harmful. A quick search for the dreaded #YOLO hashtag yielded me these results just from today:

[tweet https://twitter.com/Lucio_spitta/status/195264296282898433 align=”center”]

[tweet https://twitter.com/jamisonw69/status/195263778391212035 align=”center”]

[tweet https://twitter.com/Trav_Peso/status/195263501147717634 align=”center”]

Surely, there are people out there using the hashtag pejoratively, and making jokes about it. However, there are many people who use it seriously and with the clear intent to show how much they’re living on the edge. There’s a time and a place for this. Drinking hand sanitizer, becoming a porn star, and hitting someone for no reason are all pointless pursuits that will surely result in physical or emotional harm without even the slightest chance of creating something positive with your time.

This attitude behind #YOLO uses “carpe diem” as an excuse for pointless and degrading acts, rather than using “carpe diem” as a vehicle to achieve happiness and success in life.

If you seek to seize the day, do it like Horace and Herrick and ignore the #YOLO attitude and glorification of sophomoric inanities.

What do you think? Is #YOLO encouragement to better yourself, or an excuse for stupid acts? Seize the day and give your opinion in the comments below.