Romeo wants Juliet as the filings want the magnet; and if no obstacles intervene he moves towards her by as straight a line as they. But Romeo and Juliet, if a wall be built between them, do not remain idiotically pressing their faces against its opposite sides like the magnet and the filings with the card. Romeo soon finds a circuitous way, by scaling the wall or otherwise, of touching Juliet’s lips directly. With the filings the path is fixed; whether it reaches the end depends on accidents. With the lover it is the end which is fixed, the path may be modified indefinitely.
William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
The Principles of Psychology, ch. 1 “The Scope of Psychology” (1890)
Added on 30-May-12 | Last updated 30-May-12
Link to this quotation