The phrase “Catch-22” is picked up from Joseph Heller’s novel with the same name and it alludes to a “problem” whose solution is denied by the restrictions posed by the problem.
A very similar communicative pattern proposed to cause “schizophrenia” in the genetically predisposed individuals per Gregory Bateson is “ double bind”. Double bind theory is about relationships and what happens when important basic relationships are subjected to chronic invalidation through paradoxical communication.
Furthermore, “double bind” technique of communication is also used by the Zen masters to guide their students to a path of “ self enlightenment”
Let’s start with first scenario-unfolding in the setting of WWII. The novel’s main character captain Yossarian’s goal is to stay alive at any cost- to escape from detested sorties, he tries to feign “insanity” but the catch is, that such plea is seen as a sign of “sanity”,since the person is vested in self preservation, whereas those willing to go on high risk sorties are taken to be “somewhat insane”. On one occasion, when he is caught evading his duties he is given two choices by his supervisor “ face court martial or be discharged “after making 80 sorties” – what he is desperately trying to avoid- so again “ catch-22”- his creative solution is “ fleeing to neutral war zone of Sweden” hence freedom.
double bind is used by the Buddhist teachers to challenge their student’s mindset –
a Buddhist teacher holds a stick in his hand and tells his student “ if you say I have a stick in my hand – I will beat you. If you say I don’t have any stick- I will beat you and if you say nothing- I will beat you”. -a perfect double bind -The “self enlightened” student simply takes the stick from his master’s hands and break it into two! Solution is the negation of the problem.
This same technique is sometimes used by insecure mothers to communicate with their children,and in those predisposed to schizophrenia, it may drive them to a psychotic solution, as proposed by George Bateson in his study on schizophrenia.
This communication style is often used in the corporate world to “manage the employees”as captured in Mike Judge’s movie “ the office space”-
Joanna, a restaurant waitress who loathes the management, is required to wear “pieces of flair” (buttons meant to allow employees to “express themselves”). Her boss often hassles her for not wearing more than the required minimum. In the end she “ chooses to express herself by giving him a finger and walking out of the job!