Mobious StripThe phrase “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” must have been coined by the likes of the Marquis de Sade. Of course, de Sade was either in prison or an insane asylum most of his adult life.

Catch 22

Maybe that’s what the phrase “what doesn’t kill me makes me strong” implies. It’s like Joseph Heller’s Catch 22. You have to be crazy to want to fight in the war. If you are crazy, you can be discharged. All you have to do is ask. Of course, if you ask, then you must be sane and therefore not eligible for discharge.

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s 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 were 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.” (Catch 22, p. 56, ch. 5)

The Perfect Logic of a Möbius Strip

A Möbius strip is an object with one side and one edge. It has some interesting properties. A line drawn in the center of the strip will meet itself on the other side. If continued, the line will meet the original starting point, twice the length of the original length.

Giant Möbius strips have been used as conveyor belts (that last longer because the entire surface area of the belt gets the same amount of wear), and as continuous-loop recording tapes (to double the playing time). Möbius strips are common in the manufacture of fabric computer printer and typewriter ribbons, as they let the ribbon be twice as wide as the print head while using both halves evenly.

The Mythology of Sisyphus

In Greek mythology, King Sisyphus promoted navigation and commerce but was deceitful. He killed travelers. He was punished for his deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever — the ultimate in useless effort.

There is a fine line between sanity and insanity, if there is truly any line at all.

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