Ahab is suffering from information aversion - he is strongly motivated not to know, indeed he is willing to pay a price to ignore, what Micaiah may be going to tell him. In Azimuth today, John Baez has a great post on some modern research on this topic, and its implications for climate change. It begins:
Why do ostriches stick their heads under the sand when they’re scared?Read the rest here
They don’t. So why do people say they do? A Roman named Pliny the Elder might be partially to blame. He wrote that ostriches “imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.”
That would be silly—birds aren’t that dumb. But people will actually pay to avoid learning unpleasant facts. It seems irrational to avoid information that could be useful. But people do it...
Photo: Ostrich, mouth open CC BY 3.0