A double bind; a dilemma in which every solution seems to contradict itself; SYN. dilemma, paradox.
Black-humor novel by Joseph Heller, published 1961, about a US squadron that is ordered to fly an increased number of bombing missions in Italy in World War II; the crazed military justifications involved were described by the novel’s phrase “Catch-22”, which has come to represent the dilemma of all false authoritarian logic.
A man “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, he was sane and had to.”.