How often have you used the term “Catch 22”in life? Have you ever thought of the genesis of this term? We can search for the genesis but while trying to interpret the same, we are at a loss. Is it something beyond description?
It is something like invoking logic in an illogical manner! Or it is like a logic that proves “A precedes B and B precedes A”.A bit weird? This will eventually form a circular logic having the pillar of illogical dogmas. In a circle, A can precede B and B can precede A. But what is this “circle” all about? It is mathematically 360 degrees which is reflecting “Zero“. A big Zero that absolves everything. Zero originate from zero and rest in zero.
Now, shift your focus to the battle ground. Is everything is fair in war and love? We have been conditioned to believe so. So as to nurture alternate thoughts, we have to unlearn a few.
Let us assume the military personnel on the battle ground. Can it be that, everyone is being driven by the spirit of patriotism? “Feel Good Factor”prompt us to believe so. But in reality, majority of them could be busting their bun to save their lives!
Here you have Yossarin, our protagonist who is an indolent bombardier. No wonder he was employed to fly the fighter and there is guarantee to return alive. On records, Yossarin and others were fighting against the enemy of the state. But in real sense, Yossarin’s foe was the one who is pushing him toward the mishap. It boils down to the country he represents in the war itself. The primordial human psyche to save their lives is the guiding spirit of Yossarin. But there is a stumbling block – “ Great Loyalty Oath of Crusade– Catch 22”.
Catch 22– is that particular clause that defines the fitness of the military personnel to be employed in flying mission. Here it goes –
“A man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat mission”– Fair enough. So, there is a way out to opt out of flying. You just have to be insane to get yourself out of the mission. But wait —- it continues as follow.
“So as to opt out of the flying mission, you have to place a formal request. But, if you do so, the very act of placing a formal request proves that you are sane and therefore you are not eligible to be relieved form combat mission”– Ooops, it is a one way traffic. If you are in, there is no way out. In Mumbaiya Slang “Waat Lagaya hua hai”
It is quite easy to sit on the fence and pass advice whereas to participate in something with will and vigour call for someother faculties. Yossarin always wanted to sit on the fence but was never fortunate to have this luxury. Fortunate Yossarins thrive in the larger world.
The hilarious and baleful description of the war scenario and the vain attempt of almost loony characters are described in 453 pages.The apt succinct of then novel could be “A wild, moving, shocking, hilarious, raging, exhilarating, giant, roller – coaster of a book”. This is written by my most favorite literary critic Maurice Dolbier.
Joseph Seller’s narration gives an alternate literary experience. The story is not told in a linear fashion and was expressed through the characters and their portent feeling. The central theme itself is about the pandemonium associated with the circular logic. Similarlly, story is narrated in the same fashion. This is a novel that got the status of classic after several years after publication. The best accolade for Joseph Seller could be the addition of a new phrase in dictionary “Catch 22″.
There is every chance for one to drop reading after a few pages. But if you survive chapter 5 “Chief White Halfoat”, I bet you will identify yourself with Yossarin. After all, nagging boss, toiling at work place, finding logic to sooth our conscience – it is the story of all of us.
At the work front, I was responsible for creating Catch 22 situation during downsizing. It is like; you have only two option “Resignation or Termination”. You are sure about achieving your “end” and you are the architect of the “ways”. Yossarin lived for a long period. He will continue to live for several years.
Don’t miss it. We are not immune to Catch 22 – whether you accept it or not !