Don’t be right, be interesting.

“To overcome the inertia of the intellect, a new statement must be an overstatement, and sometimes it is more important that the statement be interesting than that it be true”. (George Homans)

George Homans
George Homans

I used this quote as an epigraph to my 1979 essay on “Anaesthetics”. This was first presented at the Macquarie University conference in 1979 in Sydney, titled “The American Model”. The essay was published in the magazine «New Poetry» soon after that, and formed the Introduction to my anthology «The New Australian Poetry» in 1979.

George Homans (1910-1989), an American sociologist, was a leading theorist in developing testable hypotheses and explanations about fundamental social processes in small groups. He was born in Boston in 1910, and graduated from Harvard University in English literature in 1932. Homans taught as professor of sociology at Harvard from 1939 to 1941, served four years as a naval officer during World War II, and then returned to Harvard where he was a faculty member from 1946 until 1970, when he retired. In Homans’ book «Social Behavior: Its Elementary Forms» (1961, 1974) he described and explained small group behavior as an emergent social system of rewards. Subsequent research has shown that the use of rewards with children was more effective than the use of punishment. Homans retired from Harvard in 1980 and continued to work on his social theories. He also published «The Witch Hazel, Poems of a Lifetime», the year before his death. [From Answers.com]