Sunday, 20 January 2008

Carpe Diem

Don't you hate it when people insist on using Latin tags? Well, I agree if it's done to be elitist but, having studied Latin to 'O' Level GCE (betraying my age here), I have to say that Latin can be an elegant (if rather terse) way of expressing ideas and a useful tool in understanding not only English but a number of European languages. So I make no excuse for offering you a short Latin tag which I've found useful in concentrating the mind - "Carpe Diem" - "Sieze the Day".

You don't see much Latin in Tokyo but I found this famous tag inset into the granite facing of the elevation of a modern office building, above the street-level windows. There were a number of less-memorable tags, as well, but I'll not bore you with those. I assume the architects throught that adding these phrases in a foreign dead language would add a certain panache (Oh dear, she's at it again) and make the property more desirable to aspiring corporations.

Why do I think it's a useful tag? Well, it has the advantage of brevity (I know, "Pity you don't, Jan" I hear you sigh), so it's easy to remember for a start. But, mainly, it's a universally applicable reminder that the sands of time are running. We sometimes act as if the present will carry on forever - it's salutary to remember that it won't - so go for it!