The etymology of the term ceiling refers to tectum, a Latin word. The concept refers to the element or sector that is located at the top of a building or a vehicle to close it and cover it.
For example: “The tornado destroyed the roof of the house,” “This year I will have to paint the roof again to remove mold stains,” “My daughter asked me to paint the roof of her room green.
In a broad and simplistic sense, a house has four walls and a roof: the walls are the side walls, while the roof is the structure that is placed above, horizontally. Thus, those who are inside the house are protected from the sun and rain.
The design of the roof can be very varied, as well as its materials. The most precarious houses have thatched roofs, sheet metal or cardboard, something that makes them unstable as the roof can easily be damaged.
It is common for a roof to be used as a synonym for home or home, making use of a rhetorical figure known as synecdoche (which allows for a part of something to name the whole): “There are many homeless people in this city”, “Next month the rental contract ends: we are going to have to look for a new roof”.
For middle-class people in developed countries, the idea of not having a roof or lack of basic services (drinking water, electricity, etc.) is practically impossible to process. It is very difficult for us to see ourselves in a picture in which there is no food in our plates, or a shower to refresh us; however, there are millions of people whose lives are much worse than what a documentary or newspaper article can reflect.
RoofThe idea of roof, finally, refers to the upper limit that something or someone can reach. It is usually used to talk about a talent, or the maximum complexity that a person can achieve in a particular discipline, because their skills do not allow them to cross that line. Let’s take a few example sentences: “I think this footballer has already reached the peak of his performance: it’s difficult for him to maintain or improve this level”, “This work is undoubtedly his ceiling, and that can be seen in the tension with which he sings certain passages”.
In this sense, there are different points of view regarding the talent itself and the limits of each person. On the one hand there are those who claim that we can all learn what we want, and that our only limit is will; although many do not share this position, they point out that if we begin to devote ourselves to the right age and periodicity, we can all become great skaters, pianists, mathematicians, writers, or whatever we want.
Needless to say, this vision of life does not take into account the existence of a roof, understood as the limit of our capacities, and there is not enough evidence to disqualify it, since that would make it necessary to take an adult individual and take him back to childhood, direct him in a different direction to the one he has taken and see if he can become another person.
On the other hand, those who do recognize the presence of one or more specific talents in each being, usually also accept the concept of roof as a level to which each one can access, even if it is not a well-defined point but a “zone” from which it is not possible to continue advancing. It is important to note that this is not necessarily negative; on the contrary, knowing what our limits are can help us make better use of our ability and cultivate more than one, rather than being frustrated in a dead end.