Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's A Catch 22

Have you ever wondered who coined the phrase, “catch 22?”

I have heard this phrase quite a bit.

Every time I hear it I think, “Dang…that just sounds funny.”

Why do people say it?

Where did they learn this phrase?

From word of mouth of course.

But does anyone really KNOW the story behind the phrase?

Or if they are even quoting this phrase correctly?

Do you say it just because it sounds cool?

Or do you say it because you THINK you know what it means?

Yea, I’ve said it…but I was never really comfortable after I said it.

All I knew is that other people said it when they where referring to a specific type of dilemma that didn't work out for them no matter what.

So I must be using this phrase correctly…right?

What is the true meaning to the phrase “catch 22?”

Where did the phrase come from?

I looked it up.

According to…we all have the right idea about how to use the phrase.

Yes, a “catch 22” does indeed mean that you are referring to somewhat of a “no-win situation.”


Now the history behind it.

“Catch 22” is the name of a WWII novel written by Joseph Heller.

In the book, a pilot by the name Yossarian wants to STOP flying dangerous bombing missions.

In order to do so he HAS TO BE declared insane.

He IS declared insane because he WANTS to fly.

However, he KNOWS this mission is dangerous—and because he KNOWS this…he is declared SANE.


He is in a no-win situation.

So…let me try to clarify this.

If you are in the military and try to make a case that you ARE insane…for example YOU are UNAWARE that you find combat pleasurable—but EVERYONE ELSE around you sees that you LOVE it…you would NOT get discharged.

Although the military CAN discharge you for being insane… they would consider you IDEAL for the mission.

Now, if you try to make a case that YOU think YOU ARE insane by TELLING someone…they would say that you are NOT insane…because only a SANE person would recognize THEIR behavior as abnormal.

An INSANE person would NOT recognize their behaviour as abnormal. A SANE person would.

So basically, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

You are in a no-win situation.


So, every time you hear someone say, “It’s a catch 22.” You’ll know where the phrase came from and EXACTLY what it means.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Please don’t hesitate to tell me what’s On Ur Mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment