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Been browsing in this forum for some time, with much pleasure. Never had a Latin course, but have been reading etymological dictionaries for years. So just enough Latin to read building inscriptions and gravestones, but not to construct anything intelligible.

I am looking for a nice Latin slogan to express the Buddhist notion of community deriving from "dependent origination" or"conditioned existence" - pratītyasamutpadā.

With the mottoes "Dum vivimus vivamus" and "Dum spiro spero" as analogies, and some on-line dictionaries as guides, I'm thinking of "Dum contingamus confluimus." Could that be glossed as "While we are together, let us flow together"? Could it work with just the two longer words, in some conjugation? Is there perhaps a (much) better and/or classical construction with similar meaning? I'd rather quote Marcus Aurelius than myself!

Thanks in advance for any guidance, and apologies for my ignorance.


Many thanks to Vegawatcher for this courteous and illuminating response - much the most entertaining and useful reply I've ever gotten on any forum. I appreciate the broad expansion on my rather ignorant question; it's taken me on a month-plus journey through Latin primers, Wikiquote and the like, and several etymological dictionaries. Sure wish I'd taken the Latin option in high school; brain is probably too calcified to take up the study now.

Re the supplied information,

I think you are trying to say something like: "While we touch, let us flow." ... As for traditional quotes, my quick research came up with ut nosmet ipsi inter nos coniunctiores simus (quam adhuc fuimus) ... It means: "so that we ourselves might be more united with each other (than we have been so far."

Former is pretty close to what I seek. I like the latter sentiment, and am looking for something much shorter as a slogan. I'd hoped to cram in some overtones/allusions with the layering that Latin seems to allow:

  • Wakan Tanka, "the great mystery that runs through all" and Mitakuye Oyasin, "all are related" - but avoiding cultural appropriation from the Lakota;

  • Panta rhei, "everything flows" (Heraclitus); and

  • The Taoist view of /one flow/, with turbulence as a natural-but-unnecessary aspect of that flow;

all adding up to a slightly fatalistic "Since we're stuck here together, let's be in some kind of harmony."

Perhaps, as Nikimite suggests, we should just stick with Confluimus, if that's grammatical as a stand-alone. other thoughts welcome.

Thanks again for the ideas and formulations!

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If you have never had a Latin course, then Dum contingamus confluimus is a pretty good attempt based on the models you have chosen. I think you are trying to say something like: "While we touch, let us flow." Instead, I think it means something like: "provided we touch (it)/are in contact with it, we all flow."

There are two issues with the grammar. First, the word dum takes the indicative in this meaning, as it does in the other two mottos, so contingamus should be contingimus. Second, the meaning "let us do something" requires the subjunctive, so confluimus ("we flow together") should be confluamus ("let us flow together").

There is a further issue using contingo without an object. In English, we can use "touch" to express not only a transitive meaning, as in "touch something," but also an "absolute" or "middle" meaning, as in "we touch (each other)/we are in contact (with each other)." Though a few verbs act this way in Latin, I don't think contingo can be used in this way in this context. You probably need something like "inter se" to get the meaning of "one with another" into the phrase.

There may also be an issue with confluo. Here, you want it to mean that "we flow together one with another"; whereas it might mean more that "we all flow somewhere else," without emphasizing "togetherness" as a necessary end state sufficient in itself. I am unsure of this.

I also wondered about using contingo in this meaning, but Lewis & Short do have the following reference: "ut contingant (milites) inter se, stand close together, Cs." Therefore, it seems all right in this context.

Here are examples that might translate the meaning you want:

Dum inter nos contingimus, (inter nos) confluamus. ("While we stand close together, let us flow together.") Dum inter nos contingimus, inter nos coniungamus. ("While we stand close together, let's join/unite together.")

As for traditional quotes, my quick research came up with ut nosmet ipsi inter nos coniunctiores simus (quam adhuc fuimus) from Cicero's Letters to Atticus, 14.13B. It means: ("so that we ourselves might be more united with each other (than we have been so far)." Cicero is speaking about friendship, but perhaps this quote, depending on context, can be stretched to cover what you want with ""While we are together, let us flow together". It could easily be shortened to nosmet ipsi inter nos coniunctiores simus ("Let us be more united/joined together").

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    Could we not just say "Confluimus?" It doesn't seem necessary to add the extra words.
    – Nickimite
    Jan 2 at 19:23
  • @Nickimite While the title should be a simple confluimus, OP in the question expands on it. You don't get the "while we touch" part. As a simple motto, confluimus is fine.
    – cmw
    Feb 7 at 4:41

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