The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Outside the front door of a friend’s house, there is a terra cotta plaque. It has a floral design at the centre and round the edge is the aphorism CARPE DIEM. This is a minute fragment of a poem by the Roman writer Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65BC-8BC) - known to us as Horace and is now a phrase in common currency, used by politicians, journalists, writers and advisors in their commentaries on our condition in life in these austere times.

The term has been variously interpreted. It was intended by Horace to ‘pluck forth the essence of this day…’ in the sense that only the present is real and matters. Ovid (another Latin poet) had similar sentiments, such as the oft quoted efficiency proposition - DO IT NOW - make the same point. There is a Biblical Injunction in Matthew 6:34.

Take, therefore, no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take care of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

- in addition to the beautiful quatrain of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

Come fill the cup, what boots it to repeat

That time is slipping underneath our feet,

Unborn tomorrow and dead yesterday,

What matters it if today be sweet?

These propositions as interpreted by ‘enjoy’ in a hedonistic sense run counter to Management and Leadership training. In these overlapping practices there are four principal functions in which to develop competence:





- it is to the first function PLANNING which implies looking to the future, considering contingencies that the excellent leader (and manager) is able to thrive, bearing in mind the three fold aspects of any plan - Plato’s Ends (the results), Ways (the pathways) and means (the resources required) - which all have to be taken into account.

If ‘seize the day’ can be otherwise interpreted as ‘utilise the present to the glory of God’, maybe the circle can be squared. For present pleasure tends to decadence but the use of talents, gifts and abilities to the higher purpose is the true end of mankind.

Rod Dawson

Autumn Edition 2013

Seize the Day