AUTHOR: Paul Tuck
I want to talk to you for a few minutes about a Latin phrase: “Ne Plus Ultra.”
It is a phrase that is still used today to denote “excellence; to be at the ultimate in achievement.” Some companies even use it as a slogan as if to say of their product, “There is no way to improve on this, it’s perfect.”
You see, “Ne Plus Ultra” means literally “No More Beyond.”
I personally don’t think it’s a good motto to live by.
You see, this motto goes back to the glory days of Spain. During their hay-day as world conquerors the Spanish believed that Spain was the last solid land in the west and that the entire world had thus been already conquered. There was a sign at Gibraltar that said “Ne Plus Ultra” which was a warning to sailors not to bother going much further. There was nothing more. To sail further west would mean falling off the edge of the Earth. “Ne Plus Ultra,” meant there was nothing more to see and nothing more to do.
Spanish coins from this era depict the Pillars of Hercules and the motto, “Ne Plus Ultra.” Likewise, the Royal Arms of Spain used the same motto.
BUT THEN “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” His expeditions proved that there was a lot more to the earth than previously thought. This motto became an embarrassment to Spain who thought they had done it all.
When Charles V inherited the throne, he had the NE taken out of the motto. The new motto for Spain became “PLUS ULTRA” = “More Beyond.”
As I mentioned, I don’t think “Ne Plus Ultra” is a good motto to live by. WHY? Because it stops us from growing and going beyond ourselves.
Reflection Queston:. “Is there something NEW or something MORE that you would like to do?”