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. (Doc Daneeka explains why he cannot ground Yossarian or Orr due to insanity, Chapter 5: Chief White Halfoat.) This is the line that stricken me the most in the entire novel, as it pretty much portrays the absolute power of bureaucracy, and showing commoners suffer while elites profit out of it by making their own set of rules without understanding or caring the true need of the rules. I find this quote as the main “Catch-22” of the novel. A soldier could be crazy, as Orr was, because of a number of things or circumstances. If he needed to be grounded, the soldier simply had to ask his commanding officer. However, to do so- would mean that he is not crazy because he knows enough that flying missions is dangerous enough to get him killed. It is the central idea to the novel that a soldier is unable to save himself or keep himself from flying the missions that will likely get him killed. The soldiers are at the mercy of the elites in charge of the war, who care so much about the well-being of the soldiers as to call them "dying boys”.
One of the most terrifying aspects of this line- is the fact that the lives and deaths of the men in Yossarian’s squadron are governed not by their own decisions concerning dangerous risks but by the decisions of an impersonal, frightening bureaucracy. The men must risk their lives even when they know that their missions are useless, as when they are forced to keep flying combat missions late in the novel even after they learn that the Allies have essentially won the war. The bureaucrats are absolutely deaf to any attempts that the men make to reason with them logically; they defy logic at every turn. Major Major, for example, will see people in his office only when he is not there, and Doc Daneeka won’t ground Yossarian for insanity because...
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