Lorem Ipsum – Did you know??

If you’re an application programmer, web developer or graphic designer, you’ve probably come across the “Lorem Ipsum” text more than once. The text is commonly used as a place holder text to demonstrate the presentational elements of a document such as layout, fonts and typography by removing the distraction of meaningful content. (In short you can’t understand it so you don’t bother reading it, you end up focusing on the layout more than you do content)

Historically It can be traced to Marcus Tullius Cicero  (a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator and political theorist)  who in his text  Boundaries of Goods and Evils argues out the relationship between pleasure and pain and men’s constant need to either seek it or avoid it.

Cicero

The place holder text in itself is meaningless when translated to English, as it only picks a few parts of Cicero’s text and combines them into unstructured sentences. However, the original text taken from   H. Rackham’s 1914 translation of the Loeb Classical Library edition reads:::

 “But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing of a pleasure and praising pain was born…

No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful.

Nor again 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….

In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammeled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. ….….

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.”

It is not exactly known when today’s version of Lorem Ipsum was used a place holder text, but it was highly popularized in the 1980’s by Apple Macintosh’s Aldus publishing program. Today  many programs have auto-generate features that automatically place Lorem Ipsum text within code/ paragraphs  these include Microsoft office, Dreamweaver , WordPress and many more.

For instance, If you want to insert “Lorem Ipsum” text in your word document just open up a new document and type..

=lorem() and press the enter key

lorem1

and just like that, you have your Lorem Ipsum text

lorem2

So next time you see “Lorem Ipsum” text lying around somewhere, you’ll appreciate the history behind it.As opposed to seeing it as a bunch of jumbled up Latin words you’ll know it tells a lonesome story of pleasure and pain and the inevitable relationship between them.

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