November 06, 2006

Meum mihi, suum cuique carum

In English: To me mine is dear, and to each person his own is dear.

This will be my last proverb post on the "cuique suum," "to each his own" theme. As I hope to have shown in the past few days, it's possible to build up proverbs based on a simple theme. By adding more specific details to the basic form of the proverb, people were able to make explicit the meanings of the proverb that are only implicit in the simpler form, emphasizing one particular interpretation suited to the meaning they wanted to convey.

Today's proverb makes explicit that while I might have an attachment to something that is mine, other people are going to be attached to what is theirs. We can all understand how we are attached to our "own" things - our family, our country, our language, the food we eat, and music we listen to, and so on. That's the "meum mihi carum" part of the proverb. The second part of the proverb asks us to stretch that realization and to understand that in the same way that you care about your own stuff, other people do the same: "suum cuique carum."

I was thinking that this might be a good proverb on the eve of the elections here in the U.S. People are going to go out and vote tomorrow, and each person is going to vote differently from another person, based on what is dear to them. That's only natural! The democratic process is all about how a decision is reached by means of all those individual choices.

So: please vote, everybody!

And here is today's proverb read out loud:

941. Meum mihi, suum cuique carum.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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