what does someone mean when they say something is a “Catch-22”. Please include any details from the novel that would make the explanation easier.

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what does someone mean when they say something is a “Catch-22”. Please include any details from the novel that would make the explanation easier.

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The paradox is presented as the trap that confined members of the US Air Force. The ‘catch’ was this:
It was effectively impossible to be exempted from highly dangerous bombing missions on the grounds of insanity.
Anyone who applied for exemption proved himself to be sane (after all, that’s what any sane person would do). Anyone who didn’t apply must be crazy (after all, it was so dangerous).
So, those who applied for exemption were considered sane and those who were insane didn’t apply. Either way, sane or insane, they were sent on the missions.

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Basically war is a nasty place to be and you could get out of it by claiming to be mentally ill. However someone asking to get out of the war is clearly a sane request therefore if you ask to be taken out of the war you can’t be mentally ill. In addition the only way you can get a mentally ill assessment is if you ask for one and that is catch 22 you can’t get out of a war on mental grounds unless you ask and if you ask you can’t be mentally ill.

It’s like, you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job.

The novel coined the phrase.

The novel is about WWII pilots. They get sent on dangerous missions, and want to stop. In order to stop flying, they have to be deemed insane. However, saying they’re insane to get out of flying missions only proves that they’re sane, and therefore have to keep flying.

A Catch-22 is basically when you have to achieve Goal A by completing Goal B. However, in order to complete Goal B, you have to achieve Goal A.

So any time you lock your keys in your car, it’s a Catch-22. You need your keys to unlock your car, but you need your car unlocked to get your keys.