The spirit of carpe diem has been hijacked by consumer culture. Cultural philosopher Roman Krznaric calls us to arms: the time has come to seize back the day. It is one of the oldest pieces of life advice in Western history: carpe diem. First uttered by the Roman poet Horace over two thousand years ago, it has become our cultural inheritance, reflected in mottos from ‘live as if you might die tomorrow’ to ‘be in the moment’, from the iconic advertising slogan ‘Just do it’ to the Twitter hashtag #yolo (‘you only live once’).
But here’s the problem: the spirit of carpe diem has been hijacked by consumer culture, which has transformed seizing the day into impulsive shopping sprees, the 24/7 digital entertainment that is replacing lived experience with vicarious second-hand pleasures and by the mindfulness movement, which reduces seizing the day simply to living in the here and now. Cultural philosopher Roman Krznaric calls us to arms: the time has come to seize back the day, and recover it for the art of living and social change.
Roman Krznaric is a cultural thinker and writer on the art of living and social change. His bestselling books, which include Empathy, The Wonderbox and How to Find Fulfilling Work, have been published in over 20 languages. He is founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum and together with Alain de Botton a founding faculty member of The School of Life. His new book Carpe Diem Regained will also appear in Dutch: Carpe Diem. De geschiedenis van een culturele kaping. (Ten Have, mei 2017)
This lecture is organised in cooperation with Van der Velde Boeken. Roman Krznaric will sign his books after the lecture.