The 365 Commitment

Lorem Ipsum

So we have all see the paragraph that starts with Lorem Ipsum hundreds of times. It is the nonsensible latin text used as “dummy” text in popular word processing or graphics programs to automatically fill in text so that we can visualize the layout. The concept is that we will ignore the meaning of the text and focus on the formatting instead. Other examples include that poor quick brown fox, and the famous typing drill, now is the time for all good men. One of my favorites, and little known, is the two fake words – etaoin shrdlu. Only a person who understands the old typewriter interfaces would get this. These two words represent the 12 most popular letters in English Language. We used to have to slow machines down by separating these letters to make it harder to type them quickly. This is why we have the QWERTY keyboard today. A better keyboard for modern typing would be to put these 12 characters in easy reach of your strongest fingers. Take a moment and look at your keyboard. Ideally the e,a,s,o,i and other popular characters would be in the center of the keyboard. Instead we put them in odd places. This is designed to slow you down! Not a problem anymore, as there is no strikers hitting a piece of paper that could get tangled.

I digress, we have been staring at Lorem Ipsum for 40 years now or more. I just saw it today, Linked In uses it occasionally to fill in text for a widget that I note that some people forget to replace. Funny that people have a job description that says, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,” Just in case you are fascinated, the full scrambled text is:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This really means nothing, it is a scramble and remix of a bunch of latin words and most of them are truncated versions. However, there is a root to this phrase. Whoever came up with this, I really do not know who, took an existing base of text and scrambled it a bit. The original text is from the Roman philosopher, Cicero. It is a paragraph from his essay on the “Extremes of Good and Evil.” What is fascinating is what this jumbled up nonsensical text actually means if you unscramble it and get to the orginal Latin. Surprise! There has been an Easter egg, a secret message for you sitting in every popular software package you have used since the early 80s!

Here is the translation:

Nor is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.

Effectively, Cicero was arguing that we have to go through pain in order to experience greater pleasure. He also proffered that you needed to delay gratification in order to have less pain in the future. I read the translation of the entire essay this morning. I was the most impressed with concluding concept:

The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.

Interesting words to live by. Lorem Ipsum has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I see clearly now, it is not just gibberish!

Guy Reams

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