Etymology of Crisis

This state of chaos and uncertainty is found in Latin as crisis, from the Greek krísis, related to the verb krínein, meaning ‘to judge’ and also implying ‘decision’ or ‘separation’, making its roots obvious in the Indo-European *krei-, ‘to cut’ in order ‘to choose’; complemented by the suffix -sis, that commonly appears in medical terminology to indicate a condition, being applied in this case in the sense of identifying a problematic situation.

The verb krinein shows its reach by appearing in the structure of the words criticism (visible in the Greek kritikḗ), crime (recorded in Latin as crimen), criterion (given by Greek kritḗrion) or hypocrisy (observed on Greek hypokrisy).

A crisis occurs during a state of unrest, which can have multiple triggers, lacking the remedy for the damage that has been manifested. Likewise, the degree of impact is determined by the agents and elements involved, in other words, crisis can be applied on an institutional, economic, political, religious, global, or even on a personal level. However, in all cases the same premise applies: to seek a solution, as soon as possible, returning to a state of normality and projection into the future.

A specific reaction is critical to a crisis, because the meaning of the term speaks of the ability to figure things out while facing radical changes. What seems to be critical and impossible to overcome can be transformed into a lesson, and a motivation to evaluate what we did up to that point. In fact, we may be aware (or be unwilling to accept) that our actions would end badly, and yet, we choose to continue to try and solve problems and avoid the inevitable. On the other hand, we should not be fooled by those who take advantage of us when we are at a crossroads.

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