‘Ostrich Syndrome’ is a term used in psychiatry to define a situation of willful ignorance towards uncomfortable situations. It is the refusal of acknowledging something which is blatantly obvious, because one does not want to deal with it. The syndrome is so named because one human, somewhere, believed that an ostrich sticks its head in the sand when faced with danger and the rumor spread like wild fire! Historians believe the saying may have risen from the writings of Pliny the Elder who wrote "...they imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed" Yet, there is evidence that this is not true. Fact is Ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand or bush to ignore danger (They might do so while looking for food!); but we humans do, metaphorically speaking. We are equipped with a defense mechanism called ‘willful ignorance’ which kicks in whenever we are faced with something which threatens our position of power, control or invades our comfort zone. In this era of communication and information boom, it is criminal to remain willfully ignorant. It does not hurt to say, ‘I don’t know but I can find out!’ Awareness is just a click away, and all we do is withdraw more into our wells of ignorance. When we should be inspired to reach out and form more strong human bonds through informed human interactions, all we do is isolate ourselves more within our own castles protecting ourselves from imagined demons! The power of our collective willful ignorance cannot be overstated and the poor ostrich (along with many other species including humans) is still stigmatized due to this ‘Human Ignorance Syndrome’! Ironic, isn't it?
Pen drawing with waterproof ink and watercolor wash on handmade paper was used to create this artwork.
Watercolor wash and pen drawing with waterproof ink on handmade paper