Wisdom 23

“It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back”

The idiom the straw that broke the camel’s back, can simply be translated to mean, “it is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back”. The adage describes the seemingly minor and/or routine action which causes an unpredictably large and sudden reaction, because of the cumulative effect of small actions.

This is where phrases such as “the last straw” and “the final straw” are drawn, which mean the last in a line of unacceptable occurrences, provoking a seemingly sudden strong reaction.

As I kept reading into the meaning and background of this adage, I came across a rather interesting point. A Roman man who goes by the name Seneca (full name; Lucius Annaeus Seneca) was quoted saying;

“we do not suddenly fall on death, but advance towards it by slight degrees; we die every day”

He goes on to compare life to a water-clock,

It is not the last drop that empties the water-clock, but all that which previously has flowed out; similarly, the final hour when we cease to exist does not of itself bring death; it merely of itself completes the death-process. We reach death at that moment, but we have been a long time on the way.

Now, if that doesn’t sound wise, I don’t know what will!


More Wisdom here 🙂

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