The Magnetized Moment:
The Innermost Secret of Human Development

(from the play Equus
by Peter Shaffer)

“A child is born into a world of phenomena all equal in their power to enslave. It sniffs—it sucks—it strokes its eyes over the whole uncomfortable range. Suddenly one strikes. Why? Moments snap together like magnets, forging a chain of shackles. Why? I can trace them. I can even, with time, pull them apart again. But why at the start they were ever magnetized at all—just those particular moments of experience and no others—I don't know. And nor does anyone else.

— Dr. Dysart, doubting his professional psychiatric authority, Act Two, scene 22

SOURCE: Shaffer, Peter. Equus (New York: Penguin Books, 1977), p. 76.

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Uploaded 8 June 2000

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