What is a catch 22 and what are some real life examples?


What is a catch 22 and what are some real life examples?

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A catch-22 is any situation where rules prevent you from escaping that situation.

A real-life example (albeit an imperfect one) would be finding a job. Most jobs ask for candidates with work experience. If you don’t have a job, you don’t have work experience. This paradoxically keeps you from getting a job, because getting a job requires experience. See how “needing job experience to get a job” leaves you in an impossible loop?

It’s derived from a book of the same name. The “Catch-22” in the book is aimed at military pilots. The general idea is that a pilot can be grounded if they’re insane. However, if you ask to be grounded, you’re *not* insane, because flying dangerous missions is insane. If you decide to fly the missions, you are insane though. There’s no way out, because you can’t ask to stop flying, because you cease to be insane the second you do.

A catch-22 is a case where you find yourself with two comparable options and neither benefit you. For examples, here are a few good ones. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(logic)
Edit: Kudos to u/LooseBar2222 for referencing the source material.

A catch-22 is a problem (or catch) in a situation that doesn’t seem to have any possible solution – a problem that there’s no escape from. The classic Catch-22 in the original novel was about fighter pilots. The hero of the book, Yossarian, tries to get himself discharged from the Army Air Force, because he doesn’t want to be killed. So he tries to claim he’s insane to the army psychologist. Unfortunately, the catch is that only an insane person would *want* to fly combat missions, so by trying to escape his situation, he proves that he’s sane, and therefore *has to* fly those dangerous missions. There’s no escape, Catch-22.

One of the classic examples in the real world is found by young people applying for jobs. Even entry level jobs often ask that you have several years of work experience (in that field) to apply. But the only way to get work experience is by applying to and working entry level jobs.

Or, a problem that my friend experienced when he was preparing to move to a new country for work. He tried to rent an apartment to live in while staying there, but they required a bank account in that country in order to rent a place. He tried to open an account with a local bank, but they required a local address in that country in order to open an account with them. So he couldn’t have one without the other – it took a few annoying phone calls before he managed to convince someone at the bank how absurd the situation was, and to make an exception to allow him to open an account.

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

“That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” he observed.

“It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.

In the spirit of “explain like I’m five”, imagine you were given a box. You are told the box is locked, but you are allowed to open it with the key. You then find out that the key is located inside the box. This is an unsolvable problem. The fact that it’s impossible is what makes it “a Catch-22“

A catch 22 is where you can’t win – happened to me this week: filling out an application for licensure where the application says I have to upload a test result before submitting the application…then reading the directions that says you can’t take the exam without submitting the application.

Here’s an example of a Catch 22.

A particular job position requires experience. But the only way to get experience is to have that job.

Here’s another (not exactly accurate, real world):

You can’t act without being a member of the screen actors guild. But you can’t become a member of SAG until you’ve acted.

Its something where the things loop into each other, making it near-impossible to complete/get out of

EG: You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience…

I always thought Bart Simpson said it best, “you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

Basically it is when the established solution to a problem is impossible due to the nature of the problem. Very often attributed to government policies. An example would be needing to turn on a utility, to do so you need proof you live there like a utility bill, which you don’t have because that is the very thing you are trying to set up.