Stanford University

Carpe Diem


The phrase means that people should seize the day and seek pleasure to the maximum without having to worry or wonder about the future. The future in this case is not known therefore there should be no reason to hold back an action that an individual perceives to bring happiness. It is compared to the biblical saying that “people should eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow they will die”. The emphasis is to capitalize on most of the opportunities that cross our paths as life is short and time waits for no man.

Life should be enjoyed as it is with good things everyday without the fear of some other unknown thing, person or source. People should have a brave soul that dares enough to venture out of the comfort zones. This has been attributed by mankind’s long recognition that life can be fundamentally uncertain with observation of the past histories of individuals who deviated from their expected future courses in events. The uncertainty of human existence has driven many people including poets, philosophers to use this principle of carpe diem to live their lives to the fullest (Gumbrecht, 2004).

The modern world understands the concept of carpe diem differently and in various fields of profession. Example, leisure hotels offer luxuries to clients as their main basis. For such professions apart from the economic sense, their primary goal is to provide comfort at its maximum. Schools provide students with proper mental, physical and emotional health that is akin to a comfortable environment. A teacher can exhibit carpe diem by genuinely being interested in her students, give excellent advice but draw the line that balances teacher and friend atmosphere. Extreme sports like skiing in steep cliffs, extreme acrobatic stunts and games are all derivatives of carpe diem in which individuals seek satisfaction and fulfill their desires.


The phrase has a succinct expression which investigates the uncertainties people face in their lives and sometimes give up to find an explanation. The philosophy posits that since nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, the definitive good is to live in the present moment.


Gumbrecht, H. U. (2004). Production of Presence: What meaning cannot convey. Stanford University Press, Stanford.

Follow us