The Honourable Sôgmô of the State of Sandus has announced their new royal motto.
The new motto replaces the relatively unused and unreferenced older motto. In August 2015, they made “ad hand me fortunam frugalitas mea perduxit” their official royal motto. A quote from Petronius’s Satyrica, it is now considered to be outdated and not representative of Sandus or the Sandum monarchy, especially of the Sôgmô’s role as the chief proponent of the country’s philosophy. Instead, the Sôgmô’s new motto—“est modus in rebus,” or “there is moderation in all things”—is from the Roman poet Horace’s programmatic first satire that discusses at length the satirist’s concern with moderation and appropriate moral behaviour.
The sentiment behind the motto corresponds to the Sandum philosophy and its emphasis on moderation, especially with regard to the Buddhist principle of the Middle Way. By choosing the new motto, the Sôgmô has pointed to the political responsibility and cultural role they exercise as the key defender and proponent of our socialist system.
The Latin word modus here refers to a measurement (such as a “modius” of grain) and to an appropriate amount or limit, as well a (correct) method or manner. The appropriate amount here is something for which, according to Horace in his satire, there are ultimately clear boundaries between which what is morally right (rectum) exists (Hor. S. 1.1.106-107). The Middle Way similarly encourages moral behaviour by avoiding extremes, that is, that one does not achieve freedom from suffering by weathering terrible suffering nor by pessimistic nihilism. By striving for the modus in rebus, one can avoid wrong view and achieve a moral life, unlike other śramaṇa wrong views: amoralism, fatalism, materialism, eternalism, excessive restraint, and agnosticism.
It is unclear to what extent the Sôgmô will use the new motto in official communications but, with the Central People’s Government’s recent effort at developing the country’s online infrastructure, the new motto will likely be shared more regularly to relate our national philosophy. The new motto does not replace, however, the use of the traditional sagamorial greeting phrase “in the truth and teachings of the Three Jewels and the benedictions of all the Gods,” a phrase that dates back to the Founding Law of the State of Sandus and is used as a greeting on the Sôgmô’s decrees.
How does this motto compare with other mottos used in Sandus? Only a few organs in Sandus have mottos and, while barons have the privilege of having an official motto, none do. The Collegium Sacerdotum’s official motto is the same as the sagamorial salutations, “In the Truth and Teachings of the Three Jewels and the Benedictions of All the Gods!” Only the State of Sandus’s official motto, “Populo Sande” or “For the Sandum People,” is regularly used in the country, and features prominently on the country’s primary web portal, Sandus.org. Not even the Citizens’ Party of Sandus—which could use the well-known “Workers of the World, Unite!” (or even a more literal translation of the Communist Manifesto, “Proletarians of all nations, unite yourselves!”)—has an official motto.