...interest... is usually recruited by events that differ only a little from what is familiar and therefore are understandable with some effort.... Adults show the keenest interest in ideas that are slightly discrepant from their existing knowledge. The celebrated writers and artists of any era are able to anticipate themes that are not yet, but are about to become, nodes of uncertainty in their society.... The artist who wants acceptance cannot "run too far ahead... of the reader." Over time the mind-heart, like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower, finds a fresh novelty that recruits attention to a theme it can understand with effort and in that process becomes emotionally aroused. That is one reason why the form of psychotherapy that works best changes every twenty to twenty-five years. The curative power of psychoanalytic techniques began to wane when the therapists' secrets became public knowledge. The same fate may be in store for today's favorite psychotherapeutic regimens. Humans have the unfortunate habit of mistaking originality for wisdom because novelty is alerting, and, if understandable, creates an intuition of truth.

source: Jerome Kagan, An Argument for Mind, 79, 82, 83 tags: Originality, Psychology, Wisdom, Preaching, Art