He has an opinion on everything and everybody. He used to speak his mind out without really thinking about the consequences. His friends started telling him, ‘how could you say that? She is hurt, you hit below his belt etc…” He realized (rather others made him realize) that he is creating unintended outcomes through his utterances. One fine day he stopped talking. Then people began to murmur behind his back that he has an attitude. Look at that arrogant, snobbish, snooty, patronizing guy. He doesn’t even want to talk to us. He started devoting his time to researching and writing. His guide told him you are writing somebody else’s ideas. He was made to realize that his readings color his opinions. He stopped reading. Everyone started thinking that this guy thinks that he knows everything and does not need to read. And the story continues. The dilemma is ever present. The question is ‘to do’ or ‘not to do’? He is in a catch 22 situation….
This reminds me of the “double bind” concept we come across in Communication or Psychology. It is an emotionally distressing dilemma in which an individual receives two or more conflicting messages, in which one message negates the other. This leads to a situation in which the individual will be wrong regardless of the response. On further reading about double bind I came across some wonderful thoughts on it by Alan Watts, which largely impressed me. Watts states it has been used in Zen Buddhism as a therapeutic tool. Being a Counselor and Therapist myself this caught my attention. The Zen Masters deliberately imposes the double bind upon his students (through various “skilful means”, called upaya), hoping that they achieve enlightenment (satori). One of the most prominent techniques used by Zen Masters (especially those of the Rinzai school) is called the koan, in which the master gives his or her students a question, and instructs them to pour all their mental energies into finding the answer to it. As an example of a koan, a student can be asked to present to the master their genuine self, “Show me who you really are”. According to Watts, the student will eventually realize there is nothing they can do, yet also nothing they cannot do, to present their actual self; thus, they truly learn the Buddhist concept of anatman (non-self).
We are so tricked into the realm of ego by the words and actions of the society around us, be it our parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, they all define us. This definition can often be distorted and lead to an induced state of confusion. As they we often say damned if you do, damned if you don’t. This state is often anxiety producing. Zen teachings deal with this state in a therapeutic manner. It purports the principle of lead to seeing through the false mind of duality. It is an opportunity to be in the moment and become enlightened through this confusion. Healing through this state of confusion is to understand and acknowledge that this confusion and duality is really within you and not any external force. This anxiety will give rise to the real us. One does not need to set what is truly right but what is right in the moment. Neither is right but each is a part of us. Such state can if seen in the right manner can result in a spiritual enlightenment or breakthrough within us!
Sorry for my ignorance sir,but what is Catch 22 situation? According to me,every decision made by one,directly or indirectly based on opinion of others surrounding him/her,as you explained about a guy who is in pinch,conflict surrounds everyone in every way,its matter of choice how much one allows its intrusion in his/her life. After all nothing is good or bad,it depends how one sees things or how one View things.