I first heard this term from Jeff Olsen in his book, “The Slight Edge”. In ancient Greek theater, characters would get themselves into the biggest mess a playwright could possibly dream up. They would use a plot device known as Dues ex Machina, where a seemingly unsolvable problem would be suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected god or character with a special power who would be lowered in by a machine with a rope and harness to set everything right and save the day. Hence the name Deus ex Machina, which in Latin means, “god from the machine”.
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