As you may have noticed I end all my articles with the phrase deo volente. Recently I started to use it in my private messages. Many people asked me what it means and why do I use it. So I’m going to explain what it means here.
Deo volente is a Latin phrase that dates back to pre-Christian times. It literally means “God willing”, or “God being willing”. Today the closest translation is probably “if it means to be.”
It is a reminder that unexpected things happen all the time and that fortune plays a big role in our lives.
Shit happens all the time. That’s life. And we have to accept that.
“I accept chaos, I’m not sure whether it accepts me.” – Bob Dylan
How Deo Volente Was Used In Ancient Times
In August 490 BC. after the battle of Marathon, Philippides was sent to deliver the message of victory to Athens. This wasn’t a simple task. The distance between Marathon and Athens is about 40 km. The plains between weren’t secured. Persian soldiers were spread everywhere. And to make things worse, Philippides had just fought in the battle. He was probably injured or at least weary. (We can assume) Nonetheless, Philippides ran the entire distance without stopping once. At his arrival he exclaimed nenikēkamen; “We have won.” Shortly afterwards he collapsed and died.
This story may or may not be true. But it became a legend.
It may be an extreme case but at that time you could never be sure that your message would arrive. Thus, people signed their letters with deo volente in the hope the delivery was meant to be.
“It’s a cruel and random world, but the chaos is all so beautiful.” – Hiromu Arakawa
Today, we are sure that the messages we send will arrive.
We no longer hope for fortune. Instead, we believe that hard work and dedication replace fortune. On the other side, we believe that thinking ahead and minimizing risks can avoid misfortune.
That’s partly correct. Or in other words, wrong!
Let’s look at a prominent example for fortune and misfortune.
The 2012 UEFA Champions League Final
In 2012 two very different teams reached the Champions League final: Bayern Munich and Chelsey . Back then, everybody agreed that Bayern was the favorite. They dominated their opponents on their way to the final. Chelsey on the other side played very defensive and it seemed like a wonder that they reached the final. On Saturday, 19 May 2012, the night of the final, both teams played as expected. Bayern dominated Chelsey throughout the match. It was tough.
After hard fighting Thomas Müller scored the first goal for Bayern in the 83rd Minute. 1 – 0 and only 7 Minutes of regular time to play. Victory was tangible. But, 5 Minutes later Didier Drogba scored the equalizer. The game went on extra time. Both teams were unable to score for the win. Finally, they reached the climax of the match; penalties.
The tension was unbearable. Everything was possible!
The unbelievable happened. Chelsey won the match in penalties 4 – 3.
Bayern was unfortunate to lose the match. Chelsey was fortunate to win the match. Chelsey had luck!
“[Horror fiction] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.” – Clive Barker
Today, we tend to forget that life is full of coincidences. That fortune and misfortune can change the outcome of any situation. Society and technology make us believe the opposite.
Deo volente is a reminder that unexpected things happen all the time and that fortune plays a big role in our lives.
“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.” – Henry Adams
So, why do I end all my articles with the phrase? The Internet is huge and everybody is screaming for your attention. But, I hope that the right people will find my articles and that they make a difference.
(It also helps me to be more consistent with the StoicMindset)