Last week I watched the old Robin Williams movie, Dead Poets Society. In its most famous scene, the professor gathers a group of young prep students in front of pictures of a generation of students from a century earlier. Looking at the earnest youthful faces of men who were now long dead produced an eerie realization of both their vitality then and mortality now.
"Listen carefully lads. Do you hear what they're telling you?" whispered Williams. Then very slowly … "Carpe diem. Seize the day."
The students aren't quite sure how to respond. Some are embarrassed or bored by ancient history. Some seem inspired to live life more fully. Some are moved to reflect on mortality. The intent seems to be to grab life by the gullet and squeeze all that can be had from it. Live to the max. Carpe Diem!
When you are young and healthy, and as sportscaster Curt Gowdy used to say, "your whole future lies before you" (and where else would it lie?), carpe diem seems to be the right approach. A day is meant ...1