The Melancholy Tale of Einstein’s Ostrich

        ‘If you do not change you can become extinct’ – Haw


Most of us are familiar with the Ostrich, a large flightless bird that roams across wide tracts of the African Continent. Many are perhaps less familiar with the fact that zoologists now recognise the existence of two types of Ostrich. There is the well-known wide ranging Common Ostrich (Struthio Camelus) but also, more recently classified as a separate species, there is the Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) that inhabits the Horn of Africa.

One thing that many of us know about Ostriches is that the bird buries it’s ‘head in the sand’  in order to avoid, hide from approaching danger, the idea being if they can’t see the predator the predator can’t see them! This expression has come into common English when it is said of someone that they have ‘buried their head in the sand’, meaning that the person is ignoring obvious facts or is refusing to accept advice, hoping that simply denying the existence of a problem will make it go away.

This brings me to the Melancholy Tale of Einstein’s Ostrich (Struthio Einsteinii). This is the most recently recognised of the Ostrich family, with a distribution throughout the former Christendom countries of Western Europe and their offspring such as North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Struthio Einsteinii exhibits the same ‘head in sand’ characteristic as the other Ostriches, not  a very helpful one in terms of longevity. However, many do survive predatory attack in spite of the failure of the ‘head burying’ defence strategy, and so have the opportunity to learn from this and develop more effective ways of extending their lifespan.

Sadly though, Einstein’s Ostrich has another characteristic not shared by its feathered cousins. Namely it suffers from a brain debilitating Insanity and so seems unable remember its mistakes and keeps on repeating them! This gives rise to them being named after Einstein who defined Insanity as-

     ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’

If you ask why we don’t hear much about Struthio Einsteinii? It’s because . .  well-

It’s Extinct!

The moral of this ‘Melancholy Tale’ is that imitating Einstein’s Ostrich by combining its two major characteristics. That is burying our ‘heads in the sand’ in the face of all the evidence in the belief that this will make the approaching (existential) threat go away, together with exhibiting Einstein’s definition of Insanity by repeatedly doing what we have been doing over again and expecting different results, is not a long term survival strategy! [1]

As the mouse Haw brilliantly said to his brother Hem in Dr Spencer Johnson’s must-read book ‘Who Moved My Cheese’-

                ‘If you do not change you can become extinct’

[1] Yes, I do know that the ‘head in the sand’ thing is a Myth probably caused by the Ostriches’ practice of digging a nest in the sand with it sandy coloured head so it ‘looks like’ it’s burying it. But that wouldn’t fit with my story would it!!

2 thoughts on “The Melancholy Tale of Einstein’s Ostrich

  1. Thanks Martin…Ah, I just love that you so eloquently keep hammering away, but, like Sir Don Quixote, I feel you are ’tilting at windmills’…the buggers are so entrenched in their preferred habits I doubt they will ever change, and we know the last thing they want to hear is that it is time for change! Wish I could convince you to redirect your considerable commitment and abilities to running a community based help organisation…a place where you can set your own agenda and do Christian good on a daily basis. Just a thought. 😉🍷🙏❤

    *Bob Mitchell*

    *“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” *― George S. Patton


    1. Hi Bob,

      Good to hear from you. Thanks for that.

      Community based help groups can quite easily be created as UC Missional Communities (the two are not mutually exclusive), an example of which is the chain of ‘Jesus Clubs’ for intellectually challenged adults in Sydney (which Google) that I have had some contact with over the last few years. I would be more than happy to develop needs based MCs, but it is essential that they are vehicles for the Gospel because the ultimate help every one needs is faith in Christ and entry into the Kingdom of God. The list of help organizations that started out as Gospel based help organizations but lost the Gospel dimension is as long as your arm.

      Needs based groups are on our agenda but so far lack the Christians with the commitment, time, skills and willingness to do it.

      That’s something it would be good to have a chat about.




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