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Rodriguez 1

Rebecca Rodriguez
ENG 113
Professor Morris
22 October 2017
Be You
Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire, so says St. Catherine

of Siena. This is one quote that has stuck with me over the years. When I first heard this quote, I

was twenty-one years old. I thought I knew who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life.

I had a husband who loved me, a dog, expecting our first child, and was enrolled to receive my

Veterinary Assistant certification. I figured everything was falling into place since that is how I

was brought up. Find a good man, marry him, have his babies, go to school and get a good

career. This was the way that I was to carpe diem or seize the day. But slowly I started to

realize that maybe there was something else I had to do. The life I am living is grand and I am

happy, but I also felt there was a void. I have then concluded that there is a higher power wanting

me to follow another path. Perhaps God is wanting me to find my deeper meaning in this world.

By this I mean that after experiencing some of the struggles life has thrown at me, I want to show

others that what we do in this world matters. Whether it is small or big, the decisions and choices

we make matter. We all have a purpose. Carpe diem has a purpose. It originated from

somewhere. Through its origin, carpe diem has been interpreted by others in their own way over

the centuries. Some have been very influential people while others are just your every day

Average Joe. Regardless of who these people are, they each found their own meaning of seizing

the day. Lets start at the beginning through Quintus Horatius Flaccus.

The meaning of carpe diem can be dated back to a Roman poet named Quintus Horatius

Flaccus. I believe Horace was not only a believer in carpe diem but he also had a very negative
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view on it. In his Ode 1.11, he explains to a friend of his, Leuconoe, how he should not worry

about his way of living. Be wise, strain the wine, and cut back hope for a long life in a short

time, he says, convincing Leuconoe that he is in control of his life and no one else. Horace even

goes as far to bring the Gods into it. He explains to Leuconoe that he cannot depend on anyone,

even the Gods since they do not know his own future here, How much better to suffer whatever

will be, whether Jupiter assigns many winters, or the last, which now the Tyrrhenum sea

weakens with the opposite pumice. Horace basically wants Leuconoe to suffer by having sit

with him while time passes them by.

Although Horace may have a negative view on carpe diem, there were many who

supported his view. Maybe Horace did have the right idea of how one should seize the day, but

others may not have viewed it as such. I guess you can say it was all Greek to them at the time.

But what about other poets that followed Horace? Did they have the same views? And what were

those views?

Carpe diem continued to become a wide spread topic. Horace started this concept of

throwing all your worries and plans to the wind. Many took the concept to heart. Some of us

thought that maybe we can just forget about our problems and watch the world go by. That

should not be the case, however. We should stop, take in what our surroundings are and enjoy

them as often as we can. Who knows when the next time we would get such an opportunity to

enjoy our environment again.

One poet, in my opinion, may have had the same idea as Horace but it was more positive.

Charles Baudelaire was a French Poet during the 19th century. His poem Be Drunk, shows that

you can live your life to the fullest but make sure you are taking in your surroundings.

Baudelaire says we must be drunk. But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be
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drunk. Baudelaire answers the questions for his readers. He lets them know that you can live

how you want to live, do what you want to do but be aware how you will live. Seizing the day

for Baudelaire was a bit different as you can see than Horace. Horace claimed that one needs to

sit back and stop worrying whereas Baudelaire mentions to go on ahead and sit back but enjoy

yourself and take in your background. He lets his readers know here, And if sometimes, on the

steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake

again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the

clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything

that is singing, everything that is speaking. Once we stop and take in the scenery that is place in

front of us, we can get a more idea of how we want to pursue carpe diem.

Being drunk can be something as simple as holding your new born baby. You feel so

many emotions. You feel proud and overwhelmed while afraid but you also take in how your

significant other must feel. You take in your family feeling the joy of the new family member.

That is what Baudelaire is explaining to us, his readers. He wants us to realize we should take in

our emotions but also our surroundings. If you have a positive outlook on carpe diem, it should

make your life decisions easier.

When you think how different Horace and Baudelaire are, it shows the growth of how

carpe diem has become. Both men came from different backgrounds and different eras. Their

view on their religions is also different. Horace does not trust the Gods. He advises his readers to

basically kick back with a glass of wine and watch the world move on without them. He explains

to Leuconoe, While we talk envious time will flee: seize the day, trusting as little as possible.

Horace convinces Leuconoe enough to give up on his life goals. That should not be the case in

what Baudelaire is speaking of. He tells his readers, You have to always be drunk. Thats all
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there is to it-its the only way. You may ask, But isnt that what Horace tells Leuconoe? This

is necessarily not the case. Baudelaire is telling his readers to yes, get drunk. Pour a tall wine of

glass and relax but make sure you are appreciating your environment. He wants his audience to

not miss a single fleeting moment that may pass them by. He encourages us to not waste a single

moment for it may be gone in a blink of an eye. Time is precious to us here on Earth, much like

how F. Scott Fitzgerald explains.

F. Scott Fitzgerald is much known from the very well-known novel, The Great Gatsby.

Fitzgerald was a popular American novelist during the 20th century. When reading his short story

Winter Dreams, you could feel that Fitzgerald was trying to get a point across for his readers.

He was showing us just how precious our time on earth is. Winter Dreams is about the main

character, Dexter and how he thinks he knows everything about how to live his life but he did

not cherish what he could not get back. Dexter says at the end of the story, Long ago, he said,

long ago, there was something in me, but now that thing is gone. Now that thing is gone, that

thing is gone. I cannot cry. That thing will come back no more. The thing Dexter is speaking

of is time. Dexter was so focused on wanting to grow up and be successful that he did not realize

he was only going to be young once. He quit his first job as a golf caddy because he was too

old. I decided I was too old, he tells one of the men he used to caddy for. Dexter then goes

on to go to the State University, worked for the city straight out of college, then gained a

partnership at a laundromat. He even gained two love interests, Judy and Irene. However, Dexter

again wasted his romance on each of the women. Judy took advantage of Dexters love for her.

She even bragged to him all there were men always after her. He did want to take their

relationship to the next step but Judy wanted to see other suitors. After they broke up, Dexter met

Irene. He proposed to her right away and she accepted since he was the only man who asked her
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formally. As they are planning their wedding, Judy comes back into his life. Dexter still had

feelings for Judy and Irene could see that. Even though Dexter broke off his engagement with

Irene for Judy, Judy still did not want to be with him. After his last break up with Judy, Dexter

became an officer during the war. It was then that he realized he was just so focused on pursuing

a successful life, he did not sit back and enjoy his surroundings. Fitzgerald was not the only

writer to let his readers know to appreciate their lives and to slow down. A philosopher named

Albert Camus (who was also from the same century as Fitzgerald) expressed how much we

should not be tied down to what wanting to mature at a rapid pace.

Albert Camus was a French philosopher during the 20th century. Camus Absurd

Freedom was honestly one of my favorite readings I have done so far. He wrote about how

people as a society have given in to a regular life style. Instead of leading the type of lifestyles

we want to live, we want to please others and want to be able to be in the know of popular items.

What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? Right here Camus is already having

his readers question their lively hood. He wants them to really take a step back and question not

just their life but their happiness. Camus even claims that not knowing is accepting your fate.

To abolish conscious revolt is to elude the problem, he says. Revolting is another way of

Camus to say that it is all right to be different. He even mentions the Greeks at one point. He

says that the Greeks claimed that those who dies young were beloved of the gods. Now, why

would the Greeks favor the younger generations more? What purpose of it was to love those who

were so young and have not yet lived their lives? It is because they did not give in to what their

society expected of them. Those who were young in Greece lived their life to the fullest. They

made something of themselves without having to feel guilted by it. Camus is wanting us to

realize our worth in this world. We are not meant to just live in the same routine day by day. We
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are meant to live the way we are meant to, not by how society sees fit. Of course, perhaps this

form of carpe diem got lost in transition somewhere the same with Horaces Ode 1.11. Our

modern world is so much more different than in the times of Camus and Fitzgerald.

Nowadays, everyone is so focused on getting rich and get a man or woman to fall so

madly in love or even in bed with them. We think once we have these things we will truly be

happy, that it is our place in the world. As much as I love music, some artists love to remind us

just how easy it can be. The reason I use easy in quotations marks is on the account of some

just do not understand how hard they must work to get to be famous. Lets use the rapper Drake

as an example. The Motto is one of his hit songs from the 2011 and it perfectly explains how the

world of today thinks that we should hold more value to is money, women, cars, and other

expensive things. In the beginning of the song, Drake raps, Some Spanish girls love me like I'm

on Aventura. And then also raps, Twenty-five sittin on 25 mil. I'm in the building and I'm

feeling myself. This right there shows how all he cares and wants for himself is to get money

and be with as many women as he wants. Especially with how the younger generation is. They

are so wrapped up in wanting to be like famous artists like Drake, they forget or perhaps they

dont know that they are capable of so much more. Of course, what teenager is going to listen to

adults who have gone through the same thing they have and are giving into the pressure of being

like everyone else? Maybe the teenagers, like the young Greeks that Camus describe, know what

they are doing. Perhaps they are someone we should look up to? I believe this is not the case.

There are plenty of adolescents that understand that fame and getting someone to come home

with you is not what should matter. They want to be successful on their own terms. They want to

be able to not have to be tied down just because they have all this money. Some people have

started from nothing and have changed their world from the inside and out. There are plenty of
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people who want to leave a legacy. Some have had already realized their worth and they do not

want to waste it.

Steve Jobs is someone who has changed this world and has also left a legacy for so many

generations to come. His way of seizing the day was not letting a single opportunity passing you

by. When Jobs gave his commencement speech back in 2005, he gave the new graduates a

preview of how he got started, before his life ended in 2011 of pancreatic cancer. He starts off

with his speech of how his birth mother wanted him to go to a family that went to college. His

birth mother wanted Jobs to have a good life with a couple that had careers and long-term goals.

However, that was not the case. Jobs adoptive parents did not go to college and had to convince

the birth mother that Jobs would indeed attend a university. And he did. Steve Jobs attended an

English class at Stanford but that was short lived. Jobs discovered a calligraphy class that he

dropped out of Stanford for. Because of that, Jobs could learn the different forms of writing that

he later took with him when he went on to own Macintosh. Steve Jobs had created a way to use

typography on to PCs, something no one even considered of doing. His world changed all from

one class. The tiniest of decisions allowed Steve Jobs to become a billionaire. He changed the

world in his own way. Macintosh was the beginning for him. After he was let go from

Macintosh, he went on to NeXT, which was also a successful run for him. Then Macintosh

bought NeXT and from that point on, Steve knew he had found a way to keep moving on. There

is no reason not to follow your heart, he says during the commencement ceremony. And its

true. If Jobs did not follow his heart to take that calligraphy class, would he have been as happy

and successful as he was? Probably not. But why wouldnt he have been happy? Why couldnt

he have been successful if he never dropped out of Stanford? Maybe its because he knew he was

worth more than your average 9-5. Maybe he wanted more. Maybe he knew that he was meant
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for bigger things. Thats what Camus was saying in Absurd Freedom. He wants us to realize

our worth. We are not meant to just sit in one place for too long, we are meant to wonder the

world and see what we can find, see what we can learn not just form ourselves but others.

There have been so many interpretations of carpe diem have been done over the

centuries. So many people have taken what they think carpe diem and turned into their own. One

way I have seen carpe diem been interpreted is in the Bible. In the book of Ecclesiastes verses

1: 3-4 it says, 3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? 4 One

generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever. This is

where some may think Christians have a negative view on carpe diem. Ecclesiastaes is asking

and answering why should someone work so hard just for someone who is younger and perhaps

stronger to take over? But isnt that how all generations get passed down? One generation may

leave, but another comes in and takes over, picking up what the previous generations left off. Its

showing how nothing is ever meaningless. Much how Camus made it out to be. Even though

some type of younger generation may take over, at least the older generation gave them a head

start. Even Ecclesiastes says it in verse 12:9, 9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise,

he was still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in

order many proverbs. This here just goes to show how someone will take over where another

has left off. Even Soren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and

religious author, even believed that Christians were meant to pass down some form of

knowledge down to someone.

In his story Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing, Kierkegaard says, Life requires

nothing more of the old man and he claims nothing more of it. Why would an old man not want

to claim his life? It could be that he knows that its being passed down to someone one and will
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live forever. Kierkegaards view of carpe diem is also a positive one. He gives advice, of sorts, to

his readers that once we repent all our wrong doings to God, we should follow through with it.

There is no point in letting Him come into our lives that we should not follow through with what

we are promising to Him. He even calls God the Eternal. God is eternal. Eternal means

forever. God is promising us forever. The separation of sin lies in between. Each day, and day

after day something is being placed in between: delay, blockage, interruption, delusion,

corruption. So, in this time of repentance may Thou give the courage once again to will one

thing. Kierkegaard is reminding us to follow through with our repentance. We cannot just

repent and go back to the negative lifestyle we were living previously. We should be able to turn

around our lives. Especially if we want to start to make a difference. He even uses the book of

Ecclesiastes to show that we are meant to leave some type of message in this world. To

everything there is a season, says Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Kierkegaard is showing us in the

Bible how we once we do repent, there is more room for us to change. As much as the seasons

change, we can change as well. There is still time for us to turn our lives around if we have been

living it in a negative aspect. Regardless of how many times the seasons change, we can make it

for the better if we catch it on time.

In the book of Revelation, John describes seeing the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming

down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. We are meant to

not only live our life to pass it down to others but also prepare ourselves for eternity. Each of us

have some sort of way to do what we want and it leave a positive impact later for the next

generation. When we go to heaven, there might be a piece of us that God saw that we worked so

hard for. Maybe Steve Jobs has a huge Apple store that allows unlimited everything. Maybe

Camus, who was an atheist, was allowed in and could share his beliefs with some of the angels.
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John is expressing to us what he has witnessed. He tells us of the beast with the seven

horns that rose from the sea. He shows us the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and how they

each carry their own agenda with the world. But he gives us that one silver lining. He shows us

the city. I believe the city shows how much God loves us. He has watched us and has seen our

struggles. He has seen our successes. This is His way of rewarding us for our dedication to Him.

Some may still have think what is the point of working hard and doing what you love?

My answer for them is because everything we do in life matters. There are little things in life that

gives me hope for this world. I see people helping others by simply buying groceries, helping

someone change a tire on the freeway, helping a tired single mother with her children so she can

get some sleep, or even starting a charity event to help someone who lost their home during a

natural disaster. I feel these are some of the moments we will see in Heaven being played

repeatedly. It just shows you that us as human beings are capable for so much more. We can still

inspire each other to be better not just for each other but for Heaven.

This all comes back in for circle for me, however. Be who God meant you to be and you

will set the world on fire. I thought I knew what I wanted. I thought I wanted to be have all this

money to be with the man I love with our child. Ive realized now that its only part of what I

really want. I want to be able to inspire the next generation to keep being themselves. Of course,

there will be those who will call them ridiculous for wanting to not be your average Joe who

works a regular 9-5. I want my son to be able to feel comfortable and happy with whatever the

type of person he wants to be. I want him to know that what he does in his life is worth so much

more than what people will tell him. There should be no one holding anyone back from living

their life. We all have our own purpose. We should stop worrying about what society expects of

us and start doing what we want to do. In the end, we will be rewarded for spreading that
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inspiration and love to future generations; allowing them to know that the older generations left

an imprint for them to follow.


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Works Cited:

Horace. Horaces Ode 1.11. Lost in Translation,

http://nonnumadanda.blogspot.com/2011/02/horace-ode-111.html

Baudelaire, Charles. Be Drunk. Poets, https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/be-drunk

Marion, Gordon. Basic Writings of Existentialism. NY: Modern Library, 2004.

Fitzgerald, Scott F. Winter Dreams. The Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina.

Jan 1998. http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/winter/winter.html

Holy Bible King James Version. Korea. Holman Bible Publishers, 2000

Kierkegaard, Sren. Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. http://www.religion-

online.org/showchapter.asp?title=2523&C=2387

Stanford, Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. YouTube. YouTube, 7 March

2008. Web. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc