“Sure there’s a catch,” Doc Daneeka
replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own 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.
Major Major had had a difficult time from the start.
Major Major’s father had a Calvinist’s faith in predestination and could perceive distinctly how everyone’s misfortunes but his own were expressions of God’s will.
“We won’t lose. We’ve got more men, more money and more material. There are ten million men in uniform who could replace me. Some people are getting killed and a lot more are making money and having fun. Let somebody else get killed.”
“The enemy,” retorted Yossarian with weighted precision, “is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on, and that includes Colonel Cathcart. And don’t you forget that, because the longer you remember it, the longer you might live.”
You know, that might be the answer—to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That’s a trick that never seems to fail.”
There was a much lower death rate inside the hospital than outside the hospital, and a much healthier death rate. Few people died unnecessarily.
To simulate gravity, feign grief and pretend supernatural intelligence of the hereafter in so fearsome and arcane a circumstance as death seemed the most criminal of offenses.
There were no miracles; prayers went unanswered, and misfortune tramped with equal brutality on the virtuous and the corrupt; and the chaplain, who had conscience and character, would have yielded to reason and relinquished his belief in the God of his fathers—would truly have resigned both his calling and his commission and taken his chances as a private in the infantry or field artillery, or even, perhaps, as a corporal in the paratroopers—had it not been for such successive mystic phenomena as the naked man in the tree at that poor sergeant’s funeral weeks before and the cryptic, haunting, encouraging promise of the prophet Flume in the forest only that afternoon: “Tell them I’ll be back when winter comes.”
(Yossarian and the psychiatrist)
“Of course I’m right. You’re immature. You’ve been unable to adjust to the idea of war.” “Yes, sir.”
“You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you’re at war and might get your head blown off any second.”
“I more than resent it, sir. I’m absolutely incensed.”
“You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don’t like bigots, bullies, snobs or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate.”
“Consciously, sir, consciously,” Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. “I hate them consciously.”
“You’re antagonistic to the idea of being robbed, exploited, degraded, humiliated or deceived. Misery depresses you. Ignorance depresses you. Persecution depresses you. Violence depresses you. Slums depress you. Greed depresses you. Crime depresses you. Corruption depresses you. You know, it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re a manic-depressive!”
Perhaps I am.”
“Just pass the work I assign you along to somebody else and trust to luck. We call that delegation of responsibility. Somewhere down near the lowest level of this co-ordinated organization I run are people who do get the work done when it reaches them, and everything manages to run along smoothly without too much effort on my part.