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"It may look like a crisis, but it’s only the end of an illusion." is a quote from late 20th century author Gerald Weinberg.

Do you know where the idea of linking crisis and illusion came from? (before 1970)

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Do you mean where the idea came from in the context of Weinberg's work or more generally? – DBK Dec 17 '12 at 21:49
@DBK: I mean more generally – Philippe Blayo Dec 18 '12 at 15:55
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Oedipus Rex is the earliest example I can think of. The Greeks constructed their plays around what Aristotle would call the "sudden reversal," but was and is more commonly known as the "crisis." This is the part of the play where some decision by the protagonist reverses their fortunes and brings about resolution.

I refer to Oedipus because the crisis of the play is the shattering of the protagonist's illusion that he has defeated his fate. At the time, "krisis" merely meant the severance of two parts of the play before and after the judgement of the protagonist.

Realize, however, that Aristotle's Poetics held up Oedipus as the archetypal play and formed the basis of Western theater up until the 15th century. So if one makes a careful study of theater during that period between about 300 BCE to about mid-Shakespeare, the crisis of the play more often literally means the loss of the protagonist's illusion of power over their own life.

That is likely where the linkage between the two comes, since the two concepts were, historically, not held in proximity.

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