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All other previous attempts to solve the problems of dreams have concerned themselves directly with the manifest dream-content as it is retained in the memory. They have sought to obtain an interpretation of the dream from this content, or, if they dispensed with an interpretation, to base their conclusions concerning the dream on the evidence provided by this content. We, however, are confronted by a different set of data; for us a new psychic material interposes itself between the dream-content and the results of our investigations: the latent dream-content, or dream-thoughts, which are obtained only by our method. We develop the solution of the dream from this latent content, and not from the manifest dream-content. We are thus confronted with a new problem, an entirely novel task–that of examining and tracing the relations between the latent dream-thoughts and the manifest dream-content, and the processes by which the latter has grown out of the former.
The dream-thoughts and the dream-content present themselves as two descriptions of the same content in two different languages; or, to put it more clearly, the dream-content appears to us as a translation of the dream-thoughts into another mode of expression, whose symbols and laws of composition we must learn by comparing the origin with the translation. The dream-thoughts we can understand without further trouble the moment we have ascertained them. The dream-content is, as it were, presented in hieroglyphics, whose symbols must be translated, one by one, into the language of the dream-thoughts. It would of course, be incorrect to attempt to read these symbols in accordance with their values as pictures, instead of in accordance with their meaning as symbols. For instance, I have before me a picture–puzzle (rebus)–a house, upon whose roof there is a boat; then a single letter; then a running figure, whose head has been omitted, and so on. As a critic I might be tempted to judge this composition and its elements to be nonsensical. A boat is out of place on the roof of a house, and a headless man cannot run; the man, too, is larger than the house, and if the whole thing is meant to represent a landscape the single letters have no right in it, since they do not occur in nature. A correct judgment of the picture-puzzle is possible only if I make no such objections to the whole and its parts, and if, on the contrary, I take the trouble to replace each image by a syllable or word which it may represent by virtue of some allusion or relation. The words thus put together are no longer meaningless, but might constitute the most beautiful and pregnant aphorism. Now a dream is such a picture-puzzle, and our predecessors in the art of dream–interpretation have made the mistake of judging the rebus as an artistic composition. As such, of course, it appears nonsensical and worthless.
The first thing that becomes clear to the investigator when he compares the dream-content with the dream-thoughts is that a tremendous work of condensation has been accomplished. The dream is meagre, paltry and laconic in comparison with the range and copiousness of the dream-thoughts. The dream, when written down fills half a page; the analysis, which contains the dream–thoughts, requires six, eight, twelve times as much space. The ratio varies with different dreams; but in my experience it is always of the same order. As a rule, the extent of the compression which has been accomplished is under-estimated, owing to the fact that the dream-thoughts which have been brought to light are believed to be the whole of the material, whereas a continuation of the work of interpretation would reveal still further thoughts hidden in the dream. We have already found it necessary to remark that one can never be really sure that one has interpreted a dream completely; even if the solution seems satisfying and flawless, it is always possible that yet another meaning has been manifested by the same dream. Thus the degree of condensation is–strictly speaking–indeterminable. Exception may be taken–and at first sight the objection seems perfectly plausible–to the assertion that the disproportion between dream–content and dream-thoughts justifies the conclusion that a considerable condensation of psychic material occurs in the formation of dreams. For we often have the feeling that we have been dreaming a great deal all night, and have then forgotten most of what we have dreamed. The dream which we remember on waking would thus appear to be merely a remnant of the dream– work, which would surely equal the dream-thoughts in range if only we could remember it completely. To a certain extent this is undoubtedly true; there is no getting away from the fact that a dream is most accurately reproduced if we try to remember it immediately after waking, and that the recollection of it becomes more and more defective as the day goes on. On the other hand, it has to be recognized that the impression that we have dreamed a good deal more than we are able to reproduce is very often based on an illusion, the origin of which we shall explain later on. Moreover, the assumption of a condensation in the dream-work is not affected by the possibility of forgetting a part of dreams, for it may be demonstrated by the multitude of ideas pertaining to those individual parts of the dream which do remain in the memory. If a large part of the dream has really escaped the memory, we are probably deprived of access to a new series of dream-thoughts. We have no justification for expecting that those portions of the dream which have been lost should likewise have referred only to those thoughts which we know from the analysis of the portions which have been preserved.*
*References to the condensation in dreams are to be found in the works of many writers on the subject. Du Prel states in his Philosophie der Mystik that he is absolutely certain that a condensation-process of the succession of ideas had occurred.
In view of the very great number of ideas which analysis elicits for each individual element of the dream-content, the principal doubt in the minds of many readers will be whether it is permissible to count everything that subsequently occurs to the mind during analysis as forming part of the dream-thoughts–in other words, to assume that all these thoughts have been active in the sleeping state, and have taken part in the formation of the dream. Is it not more probable that new combinations of thoughts are developed in the course of analysis, which did not participate in the formation of the dream? To this objection I can give only a conditional reply. It is true, of course, that separate combinations of thoughts make their first appearance during the analysis; but one can convince oneself every time this happens that such new combinations have been established only between thoughts which have already been connected in other ways in the dream-thoughts; the new combinations are, so to speak, corollaries, short-circuits, which are made possible by the existence of other, more fundamental modes of connection. In respect of the great majority of the groups of thoughts revealed by analysis, we are obliged to admit that they have already been active in the formation of the dream, for if we work through a succession of such thoughts, which at first sight seem to have played no part in the formation of the dream, we suddenly come upon a thought which occurs in the dream-content, and is indispensable to its interpretation, but which is nevertheless inaccessible except through this chain of thoughts. The reader may here turn to the dream of the botanical monograph, which is obviously the result of an astonishing degree of condensation, even though I have not given the complete analysis.
But how, then, are we to imagine the psychic condition of the sleeper which precedes dreaming? Do all the dream-thoughts exist side by side, or do they pursue one another, or are there several simultaneous trains of thought, proceeding from different centres, which subsequently meet? I do not think it is necessary at this point to form a plastic conception of the psychic condition at the time of dream-formation. But let us not forget that we are concerned with unconscious thinking, and that the process may easily be different from that which we observe in ourselves in deliberate contemplation accompanied by consciousness.
The fact, however, is irrefutable that dream-formation is based on a process of condensation. How, then, is this condensation effected?
Now, if we consider that of the dream-thoughts ascertained only the most restricted number are represented in the dream by means of one of their conceptual elements, we might conclude that the condensation is accomplished by means of omission, inasmuch as the dream is not a faithful translation or projection, point by point, of the dream-thoughts, but a very incomplete and defective reproduction of them. This view, as we shall soon perceive, is a very inadequate one. But for the present let us take it as a point of departure, and ask ourselves: If only a few of the elements of the dream-thoughts make their way into the dream–content, what are the conditions that determine their selection?
In order to solve this problem, let us turn our attention to those elements of the dream-content which must have fulfilled the conditions for which we are looking. The most suitable material for this investigation will be a dream to whose formation a particularly intense condensation has contributed. I select the dream, cited in chapter V., of the botanical monograph.
Dream-content: I have written a monograph upon a certain (indeterminate) species of plant. The book lies before me. I am just turning over a folded coloured plate. A dried specimen of the plant is bound up in this copy, as in a herbarium.
The most prominent element of this dream is the botanical monograph. This is derived from the impressions of the dream-day; I had actually seen a monograph on the genus Cyclamen in a bookseller's window. The mention of this genus is lacking in the dream-content; only the monograph and its relation to botany have remained. The botanical monograph immediately reveals its relation to the work on cocaine which I once wrote; from cocaine the train of thought proceeds on the one hand to a Festschrift, and on the other to my friend, the oculist, Dr. Koenigstein, who was partly responsible for the introduction of cocaine as a local anaesthetic. Moreover, Dr. Koenigstein is connected with the recollection of an interrupted conversation I had had with him on the previous evening, and with all sorts of ideas relating to the remuneration of medical and surgical services among colleagues. This conversation, then, is the actual dream-stimulus; the monograph on cyclamen is also a real incident, but one of an indifferent nature; as I now see, the botanical monograph of the dream proves to be a common mean between the two experiences of the day, taken over unchanged from an indifferent impression, and bound with the psychically significant experience by means of the most copious associations.
Not only the combined idea of the botanical monograph, however, but also each of its separate elements, botanical and monograph, penetrates farther and farther, by manifold associations, into the confused tangle of the dream-thoughts. To botanical belong the recollections of the person of Professor Gartner (German: Gartner = gardener), of his blooming wife, of my patient, whose name is Flora, and of a lady concerning whom I told the story of the forgotten flowers. Gartner, again, leads me to the laboratory and the conversation with Koenigstein; and the allusion to the two female patients belongs to the same conversation. From the lady with the flowers a train of thoughts branches off to the favourite flowers of my wife, whose other branch leads to the title of the hastily seen monograph. Further, botanical recalls an episode at the Gymnasium, and a university examination; and a fresh subject–that of my hobbies–which was broached in the above-mentioned conversation, is linked up, by means of what is humorously called my favourite flower, the artichoke, with the train of thoughts proceeding from the forgotten flowers; behind artichoke there lies, on the one hand, a recollection of Italy, and on the other a reminiscence of a scene of my childhood, in which I first formed an acquaintance–which has since then grown so intimate–with books. Botanical, then, is a veritable nucleus, and, for the dream, the meeting-point of many trains of thought; which, I can testify, had all really been brought into connection by the conversation referred to. Here we find ourselves in a thought-factory, in which, as in The Weaver's Masterpiece:
The little shuttles to and fro
Fly, and the threads unnoted flow;
One throw links up a thousand threads.
Monograph in the dream, again, touches two themes: the one-sided nature of my studies, and the costliness of my hobbies.
The impression derived from this first investigation is that the elements botanical and monograph were taken up into the dream–content because they were able to offer the most numerous points of contact with the greatest number of dream-thoughts, and thus represented nodal points at which a great number of the dream–thoughts met together, and because they were of manifold significance in respect of the meaning of the dream. The fact upon which this explanation is based may be expressed in another form: Every element of the dream-content proves to be over–determined–that is, it appears several times over in the dream–thoughts.
We shall learn more if we examine the other components of the dream in respect of their occurrence in the dream-thoughts. The coloured plate refers (cf. the analysis in chapter V.) to a new subject, the criticism passed upon my work by colleagues, and also to a subject already represented in the dream–my hobbies–and, further, to a memory of my childhood, in which I pull to pieces a book with coloured plates; the dried specimen of the plant relates to my experience with the herbarium at the Gymnasium, and gives this memory particular emphasis. Thus I perceive the nature of the relation between the dream-content and dream-thoughts: Not only are the elements of the dream determined several times over by the dream-thoughts, but the individual dream-thoughts are represented in the dream by several elements. Starting from an element of the dream, the path of the association leads to a number of dream-thoughts; and from a single dream-thought to several elements of the dream. In the process of dream-formation, therefore, it is not the case that a single dream-thought, or a group of dream-thoughts, supplies the dream-content with an abbreviation of itself as its representative, and that the next dream-thought supplies another abbreviation as its representative (much as representatives are elected from among the population); but rather that the whole mass of the dream-thoughts is subjected to a certain elaboration, in the course of which those elements that receive the strongest and completest support stand out in relief; so that the process might perhaps be likened to election by the scrutin du liste. Whatever dream I may subject to such a dissection, I always find the same fundamental principle confirmed–that the dream-elements have been formed out of the whole mass of the dream-thoughts, and that every one of them appears, in relation to the dream–thoughts, to have a multiple determination.
It is certainly not superfluous to demonstrate this relation of the dream-content to the dream-thoughts by means of a further example, which is distinguished by a particularly artful intertwining of reciprocal relations. The dream is that of a patient whom I am treating for claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces). It will soon become evident why I feel myself called upon to entitle this exceptionally clever piece of dream–activity:
The dreamer is driving with a great number of companions in X–street, where there is a modest hostelry (which is not the case). A theatrical performance is being given in one of the rooms of the inn. He is first spectator, then actor. Finally the company is told to change their clothes, in order to return to the city. Some of the company are shown into rooms on the ground floor, others to rooms on the first floor. Then a dispute arises. The people upstairs are annoyed because those downstairs have not yet finished changing, so that they cannot come down. His brother is upstairs; he is downstairs; and he is angry with his brother because they are so hurried. (This part obscure.) Besides, it was already decided, upon their arrival, who was to go upstairs and who down. Then he goes alone up the hill towards the city, and he walks so heavily, and with such difficulty, that he cannot move from the spot. An elderly gentleman joins him and talks angrily of the King of Italy. Finally, towards the top of the hill, he is able to walk much more easily.
The difficulty experienced in climbing the hill was so distinct that for some time after waking he was in doubt whether the experience was a dream or the reality.
Judged by the manifest content, this dream can hardly be eulogized. Contrary to the rules, I shall begin the interpretation with that portion to which the dreamer referred as being the most distinct.
The difficulty dreamed of, and probably experienced during the dream– difficulty in climbing, accompanied by dyspnoea–was one of the symptoms which the patient had actually exhibited some years before, and which, in conjunction with other symptoms, was at the time attributed to tuberculosis (probably hysterically simulated). From our study of exhibition-dreams we are already acquainted with this sensation of being inhibited in motion, peculiar to dreams, and here again we find it utilized as material always available for the purposes of any other kind of representation. The part of the dream-content which represents climbing as difficult at first, and easier at the top of the hill, made me think, while it was being related, of the well–known masterly introduction to Daudet's Sappho. Here a young man carries the woman he loves upstairs; she is at first as light as a feather, but the higher he climbs the more she weighs; and this scene is symbolic of the process of their relation, in describing which Daudet seeks to admonish young men not to lavish an earnest affection upon girls of humble origin and dubious antecedents.* Although I knew that my patient had recently had a love-affair with an actress, and had broken it off, I hardly expected to find that the interpretation which had occurred to me was correct. The situation in Sappho is actually the reverse of that in the dream; for in the dream climbing was difficult at the first and easy later on; in the novel the symbolism is pertinent only if what was at first easily carried finally proves to be a heavy burden. To my astonishment, the patient remarked that the interpretation fitted in very well with the plot of a play which he had seen the previous evening. The play was called Rund um Wien (Round about Vienna), and treated of the career of a girl who was at first respectable, but who subsequently lapsed into the demimonde, and formed relations with highly-placed lovers, thereby climbing, but finally she went downhill faster and faster. This play reminded him of another, entitled Von Stufe zu Stufe (From Step to Step), the poster advertising which had depicted a flight of stairs.
*In estimating the significance of this passage we may recall the meaning of dreams of climbing stairs, as explained in the chapter on Symbolism.
To continue the interpretation: The actress with whom he had had his most recent and complicated affair had lived in X-street. There is no inn in this street. However, while he was spending part of the summer in Vienna for the sake of this lady, he had lodged (German: abgestiegen = stopped, literally stepped off) at a small hotel in the neighbourhood. When he was leaving the hotel, he said to the cab-driver: "I am glad at all events that I didn't get any vermin here!" (Incidentally, the dread of vermin is one of his phobias.) Whereupon the cab-driver answered: "How could anybody stop there! That isn't a hotel at all, it's really nothing but a pub!"
The pub immediately reminded him of a quotation:
Of a wonderful host
I was lately a guest.
But the host in the poem by Uhland is an apple-tree. Now a second quotation continues the train of thought:
FAUST (dancing with the young witch).
A lovely dream once came to me;
I then beheld an apple-tree,
And there two fairest apples shone:
They lured me so, I climbed thereon.
THE FAIR ONE
Apples have been desired by you,
Since first in Paradise they grew;
And I am moved with joy to know
That such within my garden grow.*
There is not the slightest doubt what is meant by the apple-tree and the apples. A beautiful bosom stood high among the charms by which the actress had bewitched our dreamer.
Judging from the context of the analysis, we had every reason to assume that the dream referred to an impression of the dreamer's childhood. If this is correct, it must have referred to the wet–nurse of the dreamer, who is now a man of nearly thirty years of age. The bosom of the nurse is in reality an inn for the child. The nurse, as well as Daudet's Sappho, appears as an allusion to his recently abandoned mistress.
The (elder) brother of the patient also appears in the dream–content; he is upstairs, while the dreamer himself is downstairs. This again is an inversion, for the brother, as I happen to know, has lost his social position, while my patient has retained his. In relating the dream-content, the dreamer avoided saying that his brother was upstairs and that he himself was downstairs. This would have been to obvious an expression, for in Austria we say that a man is on the ground floor when he has lost his fortune and social position, just as we say that he has come down. Now the fact that at this point in the dream something is represented as inverted must have a meaning; and the inversion must apply to some other relation between the dream-thoughts and the dream–content. There is an indication which suggests how this inversion is to be understood. It obviously applies to the end of the dream, where the circumstances of climbing are the reverse of those described in Sappho. Now it is evident what inversion is meant: In Sappho the man carries the woman who stands in a sexual relation to him; in the dream-thoughts, conversely, there is a reference to a woman carrying a man: and, as this could occur only in childhood, the reference is once more to the nurse who carries the heavy child. Thus the final portion of the dream succeeds in representing Sappho and the nurse in the same allusion.
Just as the name Sappho has not been selected by the poet without reference to a Lesbian practise, so the portions of the dream in which people are busy upstairs and downstairs, above and beneath, point to fancies of a sexual content with which the dreamer is occupied, and which, as suppressed cravings, are not unconnected with his neurosis. Dream-interpretation itself does not show that these are fancies and not memories of actual happenings; it only furnishes us with a set of thoughts and leaves it to us to determine their actual value. In this case real and imagined happenings appear at first as of equal value–and not only here, but also in the creation of more important psychic structures than dreams. A large company, as we already know, signifies a secret. The brother is none other than a representative, drawn into the scenes of childhood by fancying backwards, of all of the subsequent for women's favours. Through the medium of an experience indifferent in itself, the episode of the gentleman who talks angrily of the King of Italy refers to the intrusion of people of low rank into aristocratic society. It is as though the warning which Daudet gives to young men were to be supplemented by a similar warning applicable to a suckling child.*
*The fantastic nature of the situation relating to the dreamer's wet-nurse is shown by the circumstance, objectively ascertained, that the nurse in this case was his mother. Further, I may call attention to the regret of the young man in the anecdote related to p.222 above (that he had not taken better advantage of his opportunities with his wet-nurse) as the probable source of his dream.
In the two dreams here cited I have shown by italics where one of the elements of the dream recurs in the dream-thoughts, in order to make the multiple relations of the former more obvious. Since, however, the analysis of these dreams has not been carried to completion, it will probably be worth while to consider a dream with a full analysis, in order to demonstrate the manifold determination of the dream-content. For this purpose I shall select the dream of Irma's injection (see chapter II). From this example we shall readily see that the condensation-work in the dream-formation has made use of more means than one.
The chief person in the dream-content is my patient Irma, who is seen with the features which belong to her waking life, and who therefore, in the first instance, represents herself. But her attitude, as I examine her at the window, is taken from a recollection of another person, of the lady for whom I should like to exchange my patient, as is shown by the dream-thoughts. Inasmuch as Irma has a diphtheritic membrane, which recalls my anxiety about my eldest daughter, she comes to represent this child of mine, behind whom, connected with her by the identity of their names, is concealed the person of the patient who died from the effects of poison. In the further course of the dream the Significance of Irma's personality changes (without the alteration of her image as it is seen in the dream): she becomes one of the children whom we examine in the public dispensaries for children's diseases, where my friends display the differences in their mental capacities. The transition was obviously effected by the idea of my little daughter. Owing to her unwillingness to open her mouth, the same Irma constitutes an allusion to another lady who was examined by me, and, also in the same connection, to my wife. Further, in the morbid changes which I discover in her throat I have summarized allusions to quite a number of other persons.
All these people whom I encounter as I follow up the associations suggested by Irma do not appear personally in the dream; they are concealed behind the dream-person Irma, who is thus developed into a collective image, which, as might be expected, has contradictory features. Irma comes to represent these other persons, who are discarded in the work of condensation, inasmuch as I allow anything to happen to her which reminds me of these persons, trait by trait.
For the purposes of dream-condensation I may construct a composite person in yet another fashion, by combining the actual features of two or more persons in a single dream-image. It is in this fashion that the Dr. M of my dream was constructed; he bears the name of Dr. M, and he speaks and acts as Dr. M does, but his bodily characteristics and his malady belong to another person, my eldest brother; a single feature, paleness, is doubly determined, owing to the fact that it is common to both persons. Dr. R, in my dream about my uncle, is a similar composite person. But here the dream-image is constructed in yet another fashion. I have not united features peculiar to the one person with the features of the other, thereby abridging by certain features the memory-picture of each; but I have adopted the method employed by Galton in producing family portraits; namely, I have superimposed the two images, so that the common features stand out in stronger relief, while those which do not coincide neutralize one another and become indistinct. In the dream of my uncle the fair beard stands out in relief, as an emphasized feature, from a physiognomy which belongs to two persons, and which is consequently blurred; further, in its reference to growing grey the beard contains an allusion to my father and to myself.
The construction of collective and composite persons is one of the principal methods of dream-condensation. We shall presently have occasion to deal with this in another connection.
The notion of dysentry in the dream of Irma's injection has likewise a multiple determination; on the one hand, because of its paraphasic assonance with diphtheria. and on the other because of its reference to the patient whom I sent to the East, and whose hysteria had been wrongly diagnosed.
The mention of propyls in the dream proves again to be an interesting case of condensation. Not propyls but amyls were included in the dream-thoughts. One might think that here a simple displacement had occured in the course of dream-formation. This is in fact the case, but the displacement serves the purposes of the condensation, as is shown from the following supplementary analysis: If I dwell for a moment upon the word propylen (German) its assonance with the word propylaeum suggests itself to me. But a propylaeum is to be found not only in Athens, but also in Munich. In the latter city, a year before my dream, I had visited a friend who was seriously ill, and the reference to him in trimethylamin, which follows closely upon propyls, is unmistakable.
I pass over the striking circumstance that here, as elsewhere in the analysis of dreams, associations of the most widely differing values are employed for making thought-connections as though they were equivalent, and I yield to the temptation to regard the procedure by which amyls in the dream-thoughts are replaced in the dream-content by propyls as a sort of plastic process.
On the one hand, here is the group of ideas relating to my friend Otto, who does not understand me, thinks I am in the wrong, and gives me the liqueur that smells of amyls; on the other hand, there is the group of ideas–connected with the first by contrast–relating to my Berlin friend who does understand me, who would always think that I was right, and to whom I am indebted for so much valuable information concerning the chemistry of sexual processes.
What elements in the Otto group are to attract my particular attention are determined by the recent circumstances which are responsible for the dream; amyls belong to the element so distinguished, which are predestined to find their way into the dream-content. The large group of ideas centering upon William is actually stimulated by the contrast between William and Otto, and those elements in it are emphasized which are in tune with those already stirred up in the Otto group. In the whole of this dream I am continually recoiling from somebody who excites my displeasure towards another person with whom I can at will confront the first; trait by trait I appeal to the friend as against the enemy. Thus amyls in the Otto group awakes recollections in the other group, also belonging to the region of chemistry; trimethylamin, which receives support from several quarters, finds its way into the dream-content. Amyls, too, might have got into the dream-content unchanged, but it yields to the influence of the William group, inasmuch as out of the whole range of recollections covered by this name an element is sought out which is able to furnish a double determination for amyls. Propyls is closely associated with amyls; from the William group comes Munich with its propylaeum. Both groups are united in propyls–propylaeum. As though by a compromise, this intermediate element then makes its way into the dream-content. Here a common mean which permits of a multiple determination has been created. It thus becomes palpable that a multiple determination must facilitate penetration into the dream-content. For the purpose of this mean-formation a displacement of the attention has been unhesitatingly effected from what is really intended to something adjacent to it in the associations.
The study of the dream of Irma's injection has now enabled us to obtain some insight into the process of condensation which occurs in the formation of dreams. We perceive, as peculiarities of the condensing process, a selection of those elements which occur several times over in the dream-content, the formation of new unities (composite persons, mixed images), and the production of common means. The purpose which is served by condensation, and the means by which it is brought about, will be investigated when we come to study in all their bearings the psychic processes at work in the formation of dreams. Let us for the present be content with establishing the fact of dream-condensation as a relation between the dream-thoughts and the dream-content which deserves attention.
The condensation-work of dreams becomes most palpable when it takes words and means as its objects. Generally speaking, words are often treated in dreams as things, and therefore undergo the same combinations as the ideas of things. The results of such dreams are comical and bizarre word-formations.
1. A colleague sent an essay of his, in which he had, in my opinion, overestimated the value of a recent physiological discovery, and had expressed himself, moreover, in extravagant terms. On the following night I dreamed a sentence which obviously referred to this essay: "That is a truly norekdal style." The solution of this word-formation at first gave me some difficulty; it was unquestionably formed as a parody of the superlatives colossal, pyramidal; but it was not easy to say where it came from. At last the monster fell apart into the two names Nora and Ekdal, from two well-known plays by Ibsen. I had previously read a newspaper article on Ibsen by the writer whose latest work I was now criticizing in my dream.
2. One of my female patients dreams that a man with a fair beard and a peculiar glittering eye is pointing to a sign-board attached to a tree which reads: uclamparia–wet.*
*Given by translator, as the author's example could not be translated.
The man was rather authoritative-looking, and his peculiar glittering eye at once recalled the church of San Paolo, near Rome, where she had seen the mosaic portraits of the Popes. One of the early Popes had a golden eye (this is really an optical illusion, to which the guides usually call attention). Further associations showed that the general physiognomy of the man corresponded with her own clergyman (pope), and the shape of the fair beard recalled her doctor (myself), while the stature of the man in the dream recalled her father. All these persons stand in the same relation to her; they are all guiding and directing the course of her life. On further questioning, the golden eye recalled gold–money–the rather expensive psycho-analytic treatment, which gives her a great deal of concern. Gold, moreover, recalls the gold cure for alcoholism–Herr D, whom she would have married, if it had not been for his clinging to the disgusting alcohol habit–she does not object to anyone's taking an occasional drink; she herself sometimes drinks beer and liqueurs. This again brings her back to her visit to San Paolo (fuori la mura) and its surroundings. She remembers that in the neighbouring monastery of the Tre Fontane she drank a liqueur made of eucalyptus by the Trappist monks of the monastery. She then relates how the monks transformed this malarial and swampy region into a dry and wholesome neighbourhood by planting numbers of eucalyptus trees. The word uclamparia then resolves itself into eucalyptus and malaria, and the word wet refers to the former swampy nature of the locality. Wet also suggests dry. Dry is actually the name of the man whom she would have married but for his over-indulgence in alcohol. The peculiar name of Dry is of Germanic origin (drei = three) and hence, alludes to the monastery of the Three (drei) Fountains. In talking of Mr. Dry's habit she used the strong expression: "He could drink a fountain." Mr. Dry jocosely refers to his habit by saying: "You know I must drink because I am always dry" (referring to his name). The eucalyptus refers also to her neurosis, which was at first diagnosed as malaria. She went to Italy because her attacks of anxiety, which were accompanied by marked rigors and shivering, were thought to be of malarial origin. She bought some eucalyptus oil from the monks, and she maintains that it has done her much good.
The condensation uclamparia–wet is, therefore, the point of junction for the dream as well as for the neurosis.
3. In a rather long and confused dream of my own, the apparent nucleus of which is a sea-voyage, it occurs to me that the next port is Hearsing, and next after that Fliess. The latter is the name of my friend in B, to which city I have often journeyed. But Hearsing is put together from the names of the places in the neighbourhood of Vienna, which so frequently end in "ing": Hietzing, Liesing, Moedling (the old Medelitz, meae deliciae, my joy; that is, my own name, the German for joy being Freude), and the English hearsay, which points to calumny, and establishes the relation to the indifferent dream-stimulus of the day–a poem in Fliegende Blatter about a slanderous dwarf, Sagter Hatergesagt (Saidhe Hashesaid). By the combination of the final syllable ing with the name Fliess, Vlissingen is obtained, which is a real port through which my brother passes when he comes to visit us from England. But the English for Vlissingen is Flushing, which signifies blushing, and recalls patients suffering from erythrophobia (fear of blushing), whom I sometimes treat, and also a recent publication of Bechterew's, relating to this neurosis, the reading of which angered me.*
*The same analysis and synthesis of syllables–a veritable chemistry of syllables–serves us for many a jest in waking life. "What is the cheapest method of obtaining silver? You go to a field where silverberries are growing and pick them; then the berries are eliminated and the silver remains in a free state." [Translator's example]. The first person who read and criticized this book made the objection–with which other readers will probably agree–that "the dreamer often appears too witty." That is true, so long as it applies to the dreamer; it involves a condemnation only when its application is extended to the interpreter of the dream. In waking reality I can make very little claim to the predicate witty; if my dreams appear witty, this is not the fault of my individuality, but of the peculiar psychological conditions under which the dream is fabricated, and is intimately connected with the theory of wit and the comical. The dream becomes witty because the shortest and most direct way to the expression of its thoughts is barred for it: the dream is under constraint. My readers may convince themselves that the dreams of my patients give the impression of being quite as witty (at least, in intention), as my own, and even more so. Nevertheless, this reproach impelled me to compare the technique of wit with the dream-work.
4. Upon another occasion I had a dream which consisted of two separate parts. The first was the vividly remembered word Autodidasker: the second was a faithful reproduction in the dream–content of a short and harmless fancy which had been developed a few days earlier, and which was to the effect that I must tell Professor N, when I next saw him: "The patient about whose condition I last consulted you is really suffering from a neurosis, just as you suspected." So not only must the newly–coined Autodidasker satisfy the requirement that it should contain or represent a compressed meaning, but this meaning must have a valid connection with my resolve–repeated from waking life–to give Professor N due credit for his diagnosis.
Now Autodidasker is easily separated into author (German, Autor), autodidact, and Lasker, with whom is associated the name Lasalle. The first of these words leads to the occasion of the dream–which this time is significant. I had brought home to my wife several volumes by a well-known author who is a friend of my brother's, and who, as I have learned, comes from the same neighbourhood as myself (J. J. David). One evening she told me how profoundly impressed she had been by the pathetic sadness of a story in one of David's novels (a story of wasted talents), and our conversation turned upon the signs of talent which we perceive in our own children. Under the influence of what she had just read, my wife expressed some concern about our children, and I comforted her with the remark that precisely such dangers as she feared can be averted by training. During the night my thoughts proceeded farther, took up my wife's concern for the children, and interwove with it all sorts of other things. Something which the novelist had said to my brother on the subject of marriage showed my thoughts a by-path which might lead to representation in the dream. This path led to Breslau; a lady who was a very good friend of ours had married and gone to live there. I found in Breslau Lasker and Lasalle, two examples to justify the fear lest our boys should be ruined by women, examples which enabled me to represent simultaneously two ways of influencing a man to his undoing.* The Cherchez la femme, by which these thoughts may be summarized, leads me, if taken in another sense, to my brother, who is still married and whose name is Alexander. Now I see that Alex, as we abbreviate the name, sounds almost like an inversion of Lasker, and that this fact must have contributed to send my thoughts on a detour by way of Breslau.
*Lasker died of progressive paralysis; that is, of the consequences of an infection caught from a woman (syphilis); Lasalle, also a syphilitic, was killed in a duel which he fought on account of the lady whom he had been courting.
But the playing with names and syllables in which I am here engaged has yet another meaning. It represents the wish that my brother may enjoy a happy family life, and this in the following manner: In the novel of artistic life, L'OEuvre, which, by virtue of its content, must have been in association with my dream– thoughts, the author, as is well-known, has incidentally given a description of his own person and his own domestic happiness, and appears under the name of Sandoz. In the metamorphosis of his name he probably went to work as follows: Zola, when inverted (as children are fond of inverting names) gives Aloz. But this was still too undisguised; he therefore replaced the syllable Al, which stands at the beginning of the name Alexander, by the third syllable of the same name, sand, and thus arrived at Sandoz. My autodidasker originated in a similar fashion.
My phantasy–that I am telling Professor N that the patient whom we have both seen is suffering from a neurosis–found its way into the dream in the following manner: Shortly before the close of my working year, I had a patient in whose case my powers of diagnosis failed me. A serious organic trouble–possibly some alterative degeneration of the spinal cord–was to be assumed, but could not be conclusively demonstrated. It would have been tempting to diagnose the trouble as a neurosis, and this would have put an end to all my difficulties, but for the fact that the sexual anamnesis, failing which I am unwilling to admit a neurosis, was so energetically denied by the patient. In my embarrassment I called to my assistance the physician whom I respect most of all men (as others do also), and to whose authority I surrender most completely. He listened to my doubts, told me he thought them justified, and then said: "Keep on observing the man, it is probably a neurosis." Since I know that he does not share my opinions concerning the aetiology of the neuroses, I refrained from contradicting him, but I did not conceal my scepticism. A few days later I informed the patient that I did not know what to do with him, and advised him to go to someone else. Thereupon, to my great astonishment, he began to beg my pardon for having lied to me: he had felt so ashamed; and now he revealed to me just that piece of sexual aetiology which I had expected, and which I found necessary for assuming the existence of a neurosis. This was a relief to me, but at the same time a humiliation; for I had to admit that my consultant, who was not disconcerted by the absence of anamnesis, had judged the case more correctly. I made up my mind to tell him, when next I saw him, that he had been right and I had been wrong.
This is just what I do in the dream. But what sort of a wish is fulfilled if I acknowledge that I am mistaken? This is precisely my wish; I wish to be mistaken as regards my fears–that is to say, I wish that my wife, whose fears I have appropriated in my dream-thoughts, may prove to be mistaken. The subject to which the fact of being right or wrong is related in the dream is not far removed from that which is really of interest to the dream–thoughts. We have the same pair of alternatives, of either organic or functional impairment caused by a woman, or actually by the sexual life–either tabetic paralysis or a neurosis–with which latter the nature of Lasalle's undoing is indirectly connected.
In this well-constructed (and on careful analysis quite transparent) dream, Professor N appears not merely on account of this analogy, and my wish to be proved mistaken, or the associated references to Breslau and to the family of our married friend who lives there, but also on account of the following little dialogue which followed our consultation: After he had acquitted himself of his professional duties by making the above–mentioned suggestion, Dr. N proceeded to discuss personal matters. "How many children have you now?"–"Six."–A thoughtful and respectful gesture.–"Girls, boys?"–"Three of each. They are my pride and my riches."–"Well, you must be careful; there is no difficulty about the girls, but the boys are a difficulty later on as regards their upbringing." I replied that until now they had been very tractable; obviously this prognosis of my boys' future pleased me as little as his diagnosis of my patient, whom he believed to be suffering only from a neurosis. These two impressions, then, are connected by their continuity, by their being successively received; and when I incorporate the story of the neurosis into the dream, I substitute it for the conversation on the subject of upbringing, which is even more closely connected with the dream-thoughts, since it touches so closely upon the anxiety subsequently expressed by my wife. Thus, even my fear that N may prove to be right in his remarks on the difficulties to be met with in bringing up boys is admitted into the dream-content, inasmuch as it is concealed behind the representation of my wish that I may be wrong to harbour such apprehensions. The same phantasy serves without alteration to represent both the conflicting alternatives.
Examination-dreams present the same difficulties to interpretation that I have already described as characteristic of most typical dreams. The associative material which the dreamer supplies only rarely suffices for interpretation. A deeper understanding of such dreams has to be accumulated from a considerable number of examples. Not long ago I arrived at a conviction that reassurances like "But you already are a doctor," and so on, not only convey a consolation but imply a reproach as well. This would have run: "You are already so old, so far advanced in life, and yet you still commit such follies, are guilty of such childish behaviour." This mixture of self–criticism and consolation would correspond with the examination–dreams. After this it is no longer surprising that the reproaches in the last analysed examples concerning follies and childish behaviour should relate to repetitions of reprehensible sexual acts.
The verbal transformations in dreams are very similar to those which are known to occur in paranoia, and which are observed also in hysteria and obsessions. The linguistic tricks of children, who at a certain age actually treat words as objects, and even invent new languages and artificial syntaxes, are a common source of such occurrences both in dreams and in the psychoneuroses.
The analysis of nonsensical word-formations in dreams is particularly well suited to demonstrate the degree of condensation effected in the dream-work. From the small number of the selected examples here considered it must not be concluded that such material is seldom observed or is at all exceptional. It is, on the contrary, very frequent, but, owing to the dependence of dream interpretation on psychoanalytic treatment, very few examples are noted down and reported, and most of the analyses which are reported are comprehensible only to the specialist in neuropathology.
When a spoken utterance, expressly distinguished as such from a thought, occurs in a dream, it is an invariable rule that the dream-speech has originated from a remembered speech in the dream–material. The wording of the speech has either been preserved in its entirety or has been slightly altered in expression. frequently the dream-speech is pieced together from different recollections of spoken remarks; the wording has remained the same, but the sense has perhaps become ambiguous, or differs from the wording. Not infrequently the dream-speech serves merely as an allusion to an incident in connection with which the remembered speech was made.*
*In the case of a young man who was suffering from obsessions, but whose intellectual functions were intact and highly developed, I recently found the only exception to this rule. The speeches which occurred in his dreams did not originate in speeches which he had heard had made himself, but corresponded to the undistorted verbal expression of his obsessive thoughts, which came to his waking consciousness only in an altered form.
Another and probably no less significant relation must have already forced itself upon our attention while we were collecting examples of dream-condensation. We may have noticed that these elements which obtrude themselves in the dream-content as its essential components do not by any means play this same part in the dream-thoughts. As a corollary to this, the converse of this statement is also true. That which is obviously the essential content of the dream-thoughts need not be represented at all in the dream. The dream is, as it were, centred elsewhere; its content is arranged about elements which do not constitute the central point of the dream-thoughts. Thus, for example, in the dream of the botanical monograph the central point of the dream–content is evidently the element botanical; in the dream–thoughts, we are concerned with the complications and conflicts resulting from services rendered between colleagues which place them under mutual obligations; later on with the reproach that I am in the habit of sacrificing too much time to my hobbies; and the element botanical finds no place in this nucleus of the dream–thoughts, unless it is loosely connected with it by antithesis, for botany was never among my favourite subjects. In the Sappho– dream of my patient, ascending and descending, being upstairs and down, is made the central point; the dream, however, is concerned with the danger of sexual relations with persons of low degree; so that only one of the elements of the dream-thoughts seems to have found its way into the dream-content, and this is unduly expanded. Again, in the dream of my uncle, the fair beard, which seems to be its central point, appears to have no rational connection with the desire for greatness which we have recognized as the nucleus of the dream-thoughts. Such dreams very naturally give us an impression of a displacement. In complete contrast to these examples, the dream of Irma's injection shows that individual elements may claim the same place in dream-formation as that which they occupy in the dream-thoughts. The recognition of this new and utterly inconstant relation between the dream–thoughts and the dream-content will probably astonish us at first. If we find, in a psychic process of normal life, that one idea has been selected from among a number of others, and has acquired a particular emphasis in our consciousness, we are wont to regard this as proof that a peculiar psychic value (a certain degree of interest) attaches to the victorious idea. We now discover that this value of the individual element in the dream–thoughts is not retained in dream-formation, or is not taken into account. For there is no doubt which of the elements of the dream–thoughts are of the highest value; our judgment informs us immediately. In dream-formation the essential elements, those that are emphasized by intensive interest, may be treated as though they were subordinate, while they are replaced in the dream by other elements, which were certainly subordinate in the dream-thoughts. It seems at first as though the psychic intensity* of individual ideas were of no account in their selection for dream-formation, but only their greater or lesser multiplicity of determination. One might be inclined to think that what gets into the dream is not what is important in the dream-thoughts, but what is contained in them several times over; but our understanding of dream-formation is not much advanced by this assumption; to begin with, we cannot believe that the two motives of multiple determination and intrinsic value can influence the selection of the dream otherwise than in the same direction. Those ideas in the dream-thoughts which are most important are probably also those which recur most frequently, since the individual dream-thoughts radiate from them as centres. And yet the dream may reject these intensely emphasized and extensively reinforced elements, and may take up into its content other elements which are only extensively reinforced.
*The psychic intensity or value of an idea–the emphasis due to interest–is of course to be distinguished from perceptual or conceptual intensity.
This difficulty may be solved if we follow up yet another impression received during the investigation of the over–determination of the dream-content. Many readers of this investigation may already have decided, in their own minds, that the discovery of the multiple determination of the dream-elements is of no great importance, because it is inevitable. Since in analysis we proceed from the dream-elements, and register all the ideas which associate themselves with these elements, is it any wonder that these elements should recur with peculiar frequency in the thought-material obtained in this manner? While I cannot admit the validity of this objection, I am now going to say something that sounds rather like it: Among the thoughts which analysis brings to light are many which are far removed from the nucleus of the dream, and which stand out like artificial interpolations made for a definite purpose. Their purpose may readily be detected; they establish a connection, often a forced and far-fetched connection, between the dream-content and the dream-thoughts, and in many cases, if these elements were weeded out of the analysis, the components of the dream-content would not only not be over-determined, but they would not be sufficiently determined. We are thus led to the conclusion that multiple determination, decisive as regards the selection made by the dream, is perhaps not always a primary factor in dream–formation, but is often a secondary product of a psychic force which is as yet unknown to us. Nevertheless, it must be of importance for the entrance of the individual elements into the dream, for we may observe that, in cases where multiple determination does not proceed easily from the dream-material, it is brought about with a certain effort.
It now becomes very probable that a psychic force expresses itself in the dream-work which, on the one hand, strips the elements of the high psychic value of their intensity and, on the other hand, by means of over-determination, creates new significant values from elements of slight value, which new values then make their way into the dream-content. Now if this is the method of procedure, there has occurred in the process of dream-formation a transference and displacement of the psychic intensities of the individual elements, from which results the textual difference between the dream-content and the thought– content. The process which we here assume to be operative is actually the most essential part of the dream-work; it may fitly be called dream-displacement. Dream-displacement and dream–condensation are the two craftsmen to whom we may chiefly ascribe the structure of the dream.
I think it will be easy to recognize the psychic force which expresses itself in dream-displacement. The result of this displacement is that the dream-content no longer has any likeness to the nucleus of the dream-thoughts, and the dream reproduces only a distorted form of the dream-wish in the unconscious. But we are already acquainted with dream-distortion; we have traced it back to the censorship which one psychic instance in the psychic life exercises over another. Dream-displacement is one of the chief means of achieving this distortion. Is fecit, cui profuit.* We must assume that dream-displacement is brought about by the influence of this censorship, the endopsychic defence.*(2)
*"The doer gained."/*(2) Since I regard the attribution of dream-distortion to the censorship as the central point of my conception of the dream, I will here quote the closing passage of a story, Traumen wie Wachen, from Phantasien eines Realisten, by Lynkeus (Vienna, second edition ), in which I find this chief feature of my doctrine reproduced:
"Concerning a man who possesses the remarkable faculty of never dreaming nonsense...."
"Your marvellous faculty of dreaming as if you were awake is based upon your virtues, upon your goodness, your justice, and your love of truth; it is the moral clarity of your nature which makes everything about you intelligible to me."
"But if I really give thought to the matter," was the reply, "I almost believe that all men are made as I am, and that no one ever dreams nonsense! A dream which one remembers so distinctly that one can relate it afterwards, and which, therefore, is no dream of delirium, always has a meaning; why, it cannot be otherwise! For that which is in contradiction to itself can never be combined into a whole. The fact that time and space are often thoroughly shaken up, detracts not at all from the real content of the dream, because both are without any significance whatever for its essential content. We often do the same thing in waking life; think of fairy-tales, of so many bold and pregnant creations of fantasy, of which only a foolish person would say: 'That is nonsense! For it isn't possible.'"
"If only it were always possible to interpret dreams correctly, as you have just done with mine!" said the friend.
"That is certainly not an easy task, but with a little attention it must always be possible to the dreamer. You ask why it is generally impossible? In your case there seems to be something veiled in your dreams, something unchaste in a special and exalted fashion, a certain secrecy in your nature, which it is difficult to fathom; and that is why your dreams so often seem to be without meaning, or even nonsensical. But in the profoundest sense, this is by no means the case; indeed it cannot be, for a man is always the same person, whether he wakes or dreams."
The manner in which the factors of displacement, condensation and over-determination interact with one another in dream-formation–which is the ruling factor and which the subordinate one–all this will be reserved as a subject for later investigation. In the meantime, we may state, is a second condition which the elements that find their way into the dream must satisfy, that they must be withdrawn from the resistance of the censorship. But henceforth, in the interpretation of dreams, we shall reckon with dream-displacement as an unquestionable fact.
Besides the two factors of condensation and displacement in dreams, which we have found to be at work in the transformation of the latent dream-material into the manifest dream-content, we shall, in the course of this investigation, come upon two further conditions which exercise an unquestionable influence over the selection of the material that eventually appears in the dream. But first, even at the risk of seeming to interrupt our progress, I shall take a preliminary glance at the processes by which the interpretation of dreams is accomplished. I do not deny that the best way of explaining them, and of convincing the critic of their reliability, would be to take a single dream as an example, to detail its interpretation, as I did (in Chapter II) in the case of the dream of Irma's injection, but then to assemble the dream-thoughts which I had discovered, and from them to reconstruct the formation of the dream–that is to say, to supplement dream-analysis by dream-synthesis. I have done this with several specimens for my own instruction; but I cannot undertake to do it here, as I am prevented by a number of considerations (relating to the psychic material necessary for such a demonstration) such as any right-thinking person would approve. In the analysis of dreams these considerations present less difficulty, for an analysis may be incomplete and still retain its value, even if it leads only a little way into the structure of the dream. I do not see how a synthesis, to be convincing, could be anything short of complete. I could give a complete synthesis only of the dreams of such persons as are unknown to the reading public. Since, however, neurotic patients are the only persons who furnish me with the means of making such a synthesis, this part of the description of dreams must be postponed until I can carry the psychological explanation of the neuroses far enough to demonstrate their relation to our subject. * This will be done elsewhere.
*I have since given the complete analysis and synthesis of two dreams in the Bruchstuck einer Hysterieanalyse, (1905) (Ges. Schriften, Vol. VIII). "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria," translated by Strachey, Collected Papers, Vol III, (Hogarth Press, London). O. Rank's analysis, Ein Traum der sich selbst deutet, deserves mention as the most complete interpretation of a comparatively long dream.
From my attempts to construct dreams synthetically from their dream-thoughts, I know that the material which is yielded by interpretation varies in value. Part of it consists of the essential dream-thoughts, which would completely replace the dream and would in themselves be a sufficient substitute for it, were there no dream-censorship. To the other part, one is wont to ascribe slight importance, nor does one set any value on the assertion that all these thoughts have participated in the formation of the dream; on the contrary, they may include notions which are associated with experiences that have occurred subsequently to the dream, between the dream and the interpretation. This part comprises not only all the connecting- paths which have led from the manifest to the latent dream- content, but also the intermediate and approximating associations by means of which one has arrived at a knowledge of these connecting-paths during the work of interpretation.
At this point we are interested exclusively in the essential dream-thoughts. These commonly reveal themselves as a complex of thoughts and memories of the most intricate possible construction, with all the characteristics of the thought- processes known to us in waking life. Not infrequently they are trains of thought which proceed from more than one centre, but which are not without points of contact; and almost invariably we find, along with a train of thought, its contradictory counterpart, connected with it by the association of contrast.
The individual parts of this complicated structure naturally stand in the most manifold logical relations to one another. They constitute foreground and background, digressions, illustrations, conditions, lines of argument and objections. When the whole mass of these dream-thoughts is subjected to the pressure of the dream- work, during which the fragments are turned about, broken up and compacted, somewhat like drifting ice, the question arises: What becomes of the logical ties which had hitherto provided the framework of the structure? What representation do if, because, as though, although, either–or and all the other conjunctions, without which we cannot understand a phrase or a sentence, receive in our dreams?
To begin with, we must answer that the dream has at its disposal no means of representing these logical relations between the dream-thoughts. In most cases it disregards all these conjunctions, and undertakes the elaboration only of the material content of the dream-thoughts. It is left to the interpretation of the dream to restore the coherence which the dream-work has destroyed.
If dreams lack the ability to express these relations, the psychic material of which they are wrought must be responsible for this defect. As a matter of fact, the representative arts– painting and sculpture–are similarly restricted, as compared with poetry, which is able to employ speech; and here again the reason for this limitation lies in the material by the elaboration of which the two plastic arts endeavour to express something. Before the art of painting arrived at an understanding of the laws of expression by which it is bound, it attempted to make up for this deficiency. In old paintings little labels hung out of the mouths of the persons represented, giving in writing the speech which the artist despaired of expressing in the picture.
Here, perhaps an objection will be raised, challenging the assertion that our dreams dispense with the representation of logical relations. There are dreams in which the most complicated intellectual operations take place; arguments for and against are adduced, jokes and comparisons are made, just as in our waking thoughts. But here again appearances are deceptive; if the interpretation of such dreams is continued it will be found that all these things are dream-material, not the representation of intellectual activity in the dream. The content of the dream- thoughts is reproduced by the apparent thinking in our dreams, but not the relations of the dream-thoughts to one another, in the determination of which relations thinking consists. I shall give some examples of this. But the fact which is most easily established is that all speeches which occur in dreams, and which are expressly designated as such, are unchanged or only slightly modified replicas of speeches which occur likewise among the memories in the dream-material. Often the speech is only an allusion to an event contained in the dream-thoughts; the meaning of the dream is quite different.
However, I shall not dispute the fact that even critical thought- activity, which does not simply repeat material from the dream- thoughts, plays a part in dream-formation. I shall have to explain the influence of this factor at the close of this discussion. It will then become clear that this thought activity is evoked not by the dream-thoughts, but by the dream itself, after it is, in a certain sense, already completed.
Provisionally, then, it is agreed that the logical relations between the dream-thoughts do not obtain any particular representation in the dream. For instance, where there is a contradiction in the dream, this is either a contradiction directed against the dream itself or a contradiction contained in one of the dream-thoughts; a contradiction in the dream corresponds with a contradiction between the dream-thoughts only in the most indirect and intermediate fashion.
But just as the art of painting finally succeeded in depicting, in the persons represented, at least the intentions behind their words–tenderness, menace, admonition, and the like–by other means than by floating labels, so also the dream has found it possible to render an account of certain of the logical relations between its dream-thoughts by an appropriate modification of the peculiar method of dream-representation. It will be found by experience that different dreams go to different lengths in this respect; while one dream will entirely disregard the logical structure of its material, another attempts to indicate it as completely as possible. In so doing, the dream departs more or less widely from the text which it has to elaborate; and its attitude is equally variable in respect to the temporal articulation of the dream-thoughts, if such has been established in the unconscious (as, for example, in the dream of Irma's injection).
But what are the means by which the dream-work is enabled to indicate those relations in the dream-material which are difficult to represent? I shall attempt to enumerate these, one by one.
In the first place, the dream renders an account of the connection which is undeniably present between all the portions of the dream-thoughts by combining this material into a unity as a situation or a proceeding. It reproduces logical connections in the form of simultaneity; in this case it behaves rather like the painter who groups together all the philosophers or poets in a picture of the School of Athens, or Parnassus. They never were assembled in any hall or on any mountain-top, although to the reflective mind they do constitute a community.
The dream carries out in detail this mode of representation. Whenever it shows two elements close together, it vouches for a particularly intimate connection between their corresponding representatives in the dream-thoughts. It is as in our method of writing: to signifies that the two letters are to be pronounced as one syllable; while t with o following a blank space indicates that t is the last letter of one word and o the first letter of another. Consequently, dream-combinations are not made up of arbitrary, completely incongruous elements of the dream-material, but of elements that are pretty intimately related in the dream- thoughts also.
For representing causal relations our dreams employ two methods, which are essentially reducible to one. The method of representation more frequently employed–in cases, for example, where the dream-thoughts are to the effect: "Because this was thus and thus, this and that must happen"–consists in making the subordinate clause a prefatory dream and joining the principal clause on to it in the form of the main dream. If my interpretation is correct, the sequence may likewise be reversed. The principal clause always corresponds to that part of the dream which is elaborated in the greatest detail.
An excellent example of such a representation of causality was once provided by a female patient, whose dream I shall subsequently give in full. The dream consisted of a short prologue, and of a very circumstantial and very definitely centred dream-composition. I might entitle it "Flowery language." The preliminary dream is as follows: She goes to the two maids in the kitchen and scolds them for taking so long to prepare "a little bite of food." She also sees a very large number of heavy kitchen utensils in the kitchen turned upside down in order to drain, even heaped up in stacks. The two maids go to fetch water, and have, as it were, to climb into a river, which reaches up to the house or into the courtyard.
Then follows the main dream, which begins as follows: She is climbing down from a height over a curiously shaped trellis, and she is glad that her dress doesn't get caught anywhere, etc. Now the preliminary dream refers to the house of the lady's parents. The words which are spoken in the kitchen are words which she has probably often heard spoken by her mother. The piles of clumsy pots and pans are taken from an unpretentious hardware shop located in the same house. The second part of this dream contains an allusion to the dreamer's father, who was always pestering the maids, and who during a flood–for the house stood close to the bank of the river–contracted a fatal illness. The thought which is concealed behind the preliminary dream is something like this: "Because I was born in this house, in such sordid and unpleasant surroundings..." The main dream takes up the same thought, and presents it in a form that has been altered by a wish-fulfilment: "I am of exalted origin." Properly then: "Because I am of such humble origin, the course of my life has been so and so."
As far as I can see, the division of a dream into two unequal portions does not always signify a causal relation between the thoughts of the two portions. It often seems as though in the two dreams the same material were presented from different points of view; this is certainly the case when a series of dreams, dreamed the same night, end in a seminal emission, the somatic need enforcing a more and more definite expression. Or the two dreams have proceeded from two separate centres in the dream-material, and they overlap one another in the content, so that the subject which in one dream constitutes the centre cooperates in the other as an allusion, and vice versa. But in a certain number of dreams the division into short preliminary dreams and long subsequent dreams actually signifies a causal relation between the two portions. The other method of representing the causal relation is employed with less comprehensive material, and consists in the transformation of an image in the dream into another image, whether it be of a person or a thing. Only where this transformation is actually seen occurring in the dream shall we seriously insist on the causal relation; not where we simply note that one thing has taken the place of another. I said that both methods of representing the causal relation are really reducible to the same method; in both cases causation is represented by succession, sometimes by the succession of dreams, sometimes by the immediate transformation of one image into another. In the great majority of cases, of course, the causal relation is not represented at all, but is effaced amidst the succession of elements that is unavoidable even in the dream-process.
Dreams are quite incapable of expressing the alternative either– or; it is their custom to take both members of this alternative into the same context, as though they had an equal right to be there. A classic example of this is contained in the dream of Irma's injection. Its latent thoughts obviously mean: I am not responsible for the persistence of Irma's pains; the responsibility rests either with her resistance to accepting the solution or with the fact that she is living under unfavourable sexual conditions, which I am unable to change, or her pains are not hysterical at all, but organic. The dream, however, carries out all these possibilities, which are almost mutually exclusive, and is quite ready to add a fourth solution derived from the dream-wish. After interpreting the dream, I then inserted the either–or in its context in the dream-thoughts.
But when in narrating a dream the narrator is inclined to employ the alternative either–or: "It was either a garden or a living- room," etc., there is not really an alternative in the dream- thoughts, but an and–a simple addition. When we use either–or we are as a rule describing a quality of vagueness in some element of the dream, but a vagueness which may still be cleared up. The rule to be applied in this case is as follows: The individual members of the alternative are to be treated as equal and connected by an and. For instance, after waiting long and vainly for the address of a friend who is travelling in Italy, I dream that I receive a telegram which gives me the address. On the telegraph form I see printed in blue letters: the first word is blurred–perhaps via or villa; the second is distinctly Sezerno, or even (Casa). The second word, which reminds me of Italian names, and of our discussions on etymology, also expresses my annoyance in respect of the fact that my friend has kept his address a secret from me; but each of the possible first three words may be recognized on analysis as an independent and equally justifiable starting-point in the concatenation of ideas.
During the night before the funeral of my father I dreamed of a printed placard, a card or poster rather like the notices in the waiting-rooms of railway stations which announce that smoking is prohibited. The sign reads either:
You are requested to shut the eyes
You are requested to shut one eye
an alternative which I am in the habit of representing in the following form:
You are requested to shut eye(s).
Each of the two versions has its special meaning, and leads along particular paths in the dream-interpretation. I had made the simplest possible funeral arrangements, for I knew what the deceased thought about such matters. Other members of the family, however, did not approve of such puritanical simplicity; they thought we should feel ashamed in the presence of the other mourners. Hence one of the wordings of the dream asks for the shutting of one eye, that is to say, it asks that people should show consideration. The significance of the vagueness, which is here represented by an either/or, is plainly to be seen. The dream-work has not succeeded in concocting a coherent and yet ambiguous wording for the dream-thoughts. Thus the two principal trains of thought are separated from each other, even in the dream-content.
In some few cases the division of a dream into two equal parts expresses the alternative which the dream finds it so difficult to present.
The attitude of dreams to the category of antithesis and contradiction is very striking. This category is simply ignored; the word No does not seem to exist for a dream. Dreams are particularly fond of reducing antitheses to uniformity. or representing them as one and the same thing. Dreams likewise take the liberty of representing any element whatever by its desired opposite, so that it is at first impossible to tell, in respect of any element which is capable of having an opposite, whether it is contained in the dream-thoughts in the negative or the positive sense.* In one of the recently cited dreams, whose introductory portion we have already interpreted ("because my origin is so and so"), the dreamer climbs down over a trellis, and holds a blossoming bough in her hands. Since this picture suggests to her the angel in paintings of the Annunciation (her own name is Mary) bearing a lily-stem in his hand, and the white- robed girls walking in procession on Corpus Christi Day, when the streets are decorated with green boughs, the blossoming bough in the dream is quite clearly an allusion to sexual innocence. But the bough is thickly studded with red blossoms, each of which resembles a camellia. At the end of her walk (so the dream continues) the blossoms are already beginning to fall; then follow unmistakable allusions to menstruation. But this very bough, which is carried like a lily-stem and as though by an innocent girl, is also an allusion to Camille, who, as we know, usually wore a white camellia, but a red one during menstruation. The same blossoming bough ("the flower of maidenhood" in Goethe's songs of the miller's daughter) represents at once sexual innocence and its opposite. Moreover, the same dream, which expresses the dreamer's joy at having succeeded in passing through life unsullied, hints in several places (as in the falling of the blossom) at the opposite train of thought, namely, that she had been guilty of various sins against sexual purity (that is, in her childhood). In the analysis of the dream we may clearly distinguish the two trains of thought, of which the comforting one seems to be superficial, and the reproachful one more profound. The two are diametrically opposed to each other, and their similar yet contrasting elements have been represented by identical dream-elements.
*From a work of K. Abel's, Der Gegensinn der Urworte, (1884), see my review of it in the Bleuler-Freud Jahrbuch, ii (1910) (Ges. Schriften Vol. X). I learned the surprising fact, which is confirmed by other philologists, that the oldest languages behaved just as dreams do in this regard. They had originally only one word for both extremes in a series of qualities or activities (strong–weak, old–young, far–near, bind–separate), and formed separate designations for the two opposites only secondarily, by slight modifications of the common primitive word. Abel demonstrates a very large number of those relationships in ancient Egyptian, and points to distinct remnants of the same development in the Semitic and Indo-Germanic languages.
The mechanism of dream-formation is favourable in the highest degree to only one of the logical relations. This relation is that of similarity, agreement, contiguity, just as; a relation which may be represented in our dreams, as no other can be, by the most varied expedients. The screening which occurs in the dream-material, or the cases of just as are the chief points of support for dream-formation, and a not inconsiderable part of the dream-work consists in creating new screenings of this kind in cases where those that already exist are prevented by the resistance of the censorship from making their way into the dream. The effort towards condensation evinced by the dream-work facilitates the representation of a relation of similarity.
Similarity, agreement, community, are quite generally expressed in dreams by contraction into a unity, which is either already found in the dream-material or is newly created. The first case may be referred to as identification, the second as composition. Identification is used where the dream is concerned with persons, composition where things constitute the material to be unified; but compositions are also made of persons. Localities are often treated as persons.
Identification consists in giving representation in the dream- content to only one of two or more persons who are related by some common feature, while the second person or other persons appear to be suppressed as far as the dream is concerned. In the dream this one "screening" person enters into all the relations and situations which derive from the persons whom he screens. In cases of composition, however, when persons are combined, there are already present in the dream-image features which are characteristic of, but not common to, the persons in question, so that a new unity, a composite person, appears as the result of the union of these features. The combination itself may be effected in various ways. Either the dream-person bears the name of one of the persons to whom he refers–and in this case we simply know, in a manner that is quite analogous to knowledge in waking life, that this or that person is intended–while the visual features belong to another person; or the dream-image itself is compounded of visual features which in reality are derived from the two. Also, in place of the visual features, the part played by the second person may be represented by the attitudes and gestures which are usually ascribed to him by the words he speaks, or by the situations in which he is placed. In this latter method of characterization the sharp distinction between the identification and the combination of persons begins to disappear. But it may also happen that the formation of such a composite person is unsuccessful. The situations or actions of the dream are then attributed to one person, and the other–as a rule the more important–is introduced as an inactive spectator. Perhaps the dreamer will say: "My mother was there too" (Stekel). Such an element of the dream-content is then comparable to a determinative in hieroglyphic script which is not meant to be expressed, but is intended only to explain another sign.
The common feature which justifies the union of two persons–that is to say, which enables it to be made–may either be represented in the dream or it may be absent. As a rule, identification or composition of persons actually serves to avoid the necessity of representing this common feature. Instead of repeating: "A is ill- disposed towards me, and so is B," I make, in my dream, a composite person of A and B; or I conceive A as doing something which is alien to his character, but which is characteristic of B. The dream-person obtained in this way appears in the dream in some new connection, and the fact that he signifies both A and B justifies my inserting that which is common to both persons– their hostility towards me–at the proper place in the dream- interpretation. In this manner I often achieve a quite extraordinary degree of condensation of the dream-content; I am able to dispense with the direct representation of the very complicated relations belonging to one person, if I can find a second person who has an equal claim to some of these relations. It will be readily understood how far this representation by means of identification may circumvent the censoring resistance which sets up such harsh conditions for the dream-work. The thing that offends the censorship may reside in those very ideas which are connected in the dream-material with the one person; I now find a second person, who likewise stands in some relation to the objectionable material, but only to a part of it. Contact at that one point which offends the censorship now justifies my formation of a composite person, who is characterized by the indifferent features of each. This person, the result of combination or identification, being free of the censorship, is now suitable for incorporation in the dream-content. Thus, by the application of dream-condensation, I have satisfied the demands of the dream- censorship.
When a common feature of two persons is represented in a dream, this is usually a hint to look for another concealed common feature, the representation of which is made impossible by the censorship. Here a displacement of the common feature has occurred, which in some degree facilitates representation. From the circumstance that the composite person is shown to me in the dream with an indifferent common feature, I must infer that another common feature which is by no means indifferent exists in the dream-thoughts.
Accordingly, the identification or combination of persons serves various purposes in our dreams; in the first place, that of representing a feature common to two persons; secondly, that of representing a displaced common feature; and, thirdly, that of expressly a community of features which is merely wished for. As the wish for a community of features in two persons often coincides with the interchanging of these persons, this relation also is expressed in dreams by identification. In the dream of Irma's injection I wish to exchange one patient for another–that is to say, I wish this other person to be my patient, as the former person has been; the dream deals with this wish by showing me a person who is called Irma, but who is examined in a position such as I have had occasion to see only the other person occupy. In the dream about my uncle this substitution is made the centre of the dream; I identify myself with the minister by judging and treating my colleagues as shabbily as lie does.
It has been my experience–and to this I have found no exception– that every dream treats of oneself. Dreams are absolutely egoistic.* In cases where not my ego but only a strange person occurs in the dream-content, I may safely assume that by means of identification my ego is concealed behind that person. I am permitted to supplement my ego. On other occasions, when my ego appears in the dream, the situation in which it is placed tells me that another person is concealing himself, by means of identification, behind the ego. In this case I must be prepared to find that in the interpretation I should transfer something which is connected with this person–the hidden common feature– to myself. There are also dreams in which my ego appears together with other persons who, when the identification is resolved, once more show themselves to be my ego. Through these identifications I shall then have to connect with my ego certain ideas to which the censorship has objected. I may also give my ego multiple representation in my dream, either directly or by means of identification with other people. By means of several such identifications an extraordinary amount of thought material may be condensed.*(2) That one's ego should appear in the same dream several times or in different forms is fundamentally no more surprising than that it should appear, in conscious thinking, many times and in different places or in different relations: as, for example, in the sentence: "When I think what a healthy child I was."
*Cf. here the observations made in chapter V./*(2) If I do not know behind which of the persons appearing in the dream I am to look for my ego. I observe the following rule: That person in the dream who is subject to an emotion which I am aware of while asleep is the one that conceals my ego.
Still easier than in the case of persons is the resolution of identifications in the case of localities designated by their own names, as here the disturbing influence of the all-powerful ego is lacking. In one of my dreams of Rome (chapter V., B.) the name of the place in which I find myself is Rome: I am surprised, however, by a large number of German placards at a street corner. This last is a wish-fulfilment, which immediately suggests Prague; the wish itself probably originated at a period of my youth when I was imbued with a German nationalistic spirit which today is quite subdued. At the time of my dream I was looking forward to meeting a friend in Prague; the identification of Rome with Prague is therefore explained by a desired common feature; I would rather meet my friend in Rome than in Prague; for the purpose of this meeting I should like to exchange Prague for Rome.
The possibility of creating composite formations is one of the chief causes of the fantastic character so common in dreams. in that it introduces into the dream-content elements which could never have been objects of perception. The psychic process which occurs in the creation of composite formations is obviously the same as that which we employ in conceiving or figuring a dragon or a centaur in our waking senses. The only difference is that, in the fantastic creations of waking life, the impression intended is itself the decisive factor, while the composite formation in the dream is determined by a factor–the common feature in the dream-thoughts–which is independent of its form. Composite formations in dreams may be achieved in a great many different ways. In the most artless of these methods, only the properties of the one thing are represented, and this representation is accompanied by a knowledge that they refer to another object also. A more careful technique combines features of the one object with those of the other in a new image, while it makes skillful use of any really existing resemblances between the two objects. The new creation may prove to be wholly absurd, or even successful as a phantasy, according as the material and the wit employed in constructing it may permit. If the objects to be condensed into a unity are too incongruous, the dream-work is content with creating a composite formation with a comparatively distinct nucleus, to which are attached more indefinite modifications. The unification into one image has here been to some extent unsuccessful; the two representations overlap one another, and give rise to something like a contest between the visual images. Similar representations might be obtained in a drawing if one were to attempt to give form to a unified abstraction of disparate perceptual images.
Dreams naturally abound in such composite formations; I have given several examples of these in the dreams already analysed, and will now cite more such examples. In the dream earlier in this chapter which describes the career of my patient in flowery language, the dream-ego carries a spray of blossoms in her hand which, as we have seen, signifies at once sexual innocence and sexual transgression. Moreover, from the manner in which the blossoms are set on, they recall cherry-blossom; the blossoms themselves, considered singly, are camellias, and finally the whole spray gives the dreamer the impression of an exotic plant. The common feature in the elements of this composite formation is revealed by the dream-thoughts. The blossoming spray is made up of allusions to presents by which she was induced or was to have been induced to behave in a manner agreeable to the giver. So it was with cherries in her childhood, and with a camellia-tree in her later years; the exotic character is an allusion to a much- travelled naturalist, who sought to win her favour by means of a drawing of a flower. Another female patient contrives a composite mean out of bathing machines at a seaside resort, country privies, and the attics of our city dwelling-houses. A reference to human nakedness and exposure is common to the first two elements; and we may infer from their connection with the third element that (in her childhood) the garret was likewise the scene of bodily exposure. A dreamer of the male sex makes a composite locality out of two places in which "treatment" is given–my office and the assembly rooms in which he first became acquainted with his wife. Another, a female patient, after her elder brother has promised to regale her with caviar, dreams that his legs are covered all over with black beads of caviar. The two elements, taint in a moral sense and the recollection of a cutaneous eruption in childhood which made her legs look as though studded over with red instead of black spots, have here combined with the beads of caviar to form a new idea–the idea of what she gets from her brother. In this dream parts of the human body are treated as objects, as is usually the case in dreams. In one of the dreams recorded by Ferenczi there occurs a composite formation made up of the person of a physician and a horse, and this composite being wears a night-shirt. The common feature in these three components was revealed in the analysis, after the nightshirt had been recognized as an allusion to the father of the dreamer in a scene of childhood. In each of the three cases there was some object of her sexual curiosity. As a child she had often been taken by her nurse to the army stud, where she had the amplest opportunity to satisfy her curiosity, at that time still uninhibited.
I have already stated that the dream has no means of expressing the relation of contradiction, contrast, negation. I shall now contradict this assertion for the first time. A certain number of cases of what may be summed up under the word contrast obtain representation, as we have seen, simply by means of identification–that is when an exchange, a substitution, can be bound up with the contrast. Of this we have cited repeated examples. Certain other of the contrasts in the dream-thoughts, which perhaps come under the category of inverted, united into the opposite, are represented in dreams in the following remarkable manner, which may almost be described as witty. The inversion does not itself make its way into the dream-content, but manifests its presence in the material by the fact that a part of the already formed dream-content which is, for other reasons, closely connected in context is–as it were subsequently– inverted. It is easier to illustrate this process than to describe it. In the beautiful "Up and Down" dream (this chapter, A.), the dream-representation of ascending is an inversion of its prototype in the dream-thoughts: that is, of the introductory scene of Daudet's Sappho; in the dream, climbing is difficult at first and easy later on, whereas, in the novel, it is easy at first, and later becomes more and more difficult. Again, above and below, with reference to the dreamer's brother, are reversed in the dream. This points to a relation of inversion or contrast between two parts of the material in the dream-thoughts, which indeed we found in them, for in the childish phantasy of the dreamer he is carried by his nurse, while in the novel, on the contrary, the hero carries his beloved. My dream of Goethe's attack on Herr M (to be cited later) likewise contains an inversion of this sort, which must be set right before the dream can be interpreted. In this dream, Goethe attacks a young man, Herr M; the reality, as contained in the dream-thoughts, is that an eminent man, a friend of mine, has been attacked by an unknown young author. In the dream I reckon time from the date of Goethe's death; in reality the reckoning was made from the year in which the paralytic was born. The thought which influences the dream-material reveals itself as my opposition to the treatment of Goethe as though he were a lunatic. "It is the other way about," says the dream; "if you don't understand the book it is you who are feeble-minded, not the author." All these dreams of inversion, moreover, seem to me to imply an allusion to the contemptuous phrase, "to turn one's back upon a person" (German: einem die Kehrseite zeigen, lit. to show a person one's backside): cf. the inversion in respect of the dreamer's brother in the Sappho dream. It is further worth noting how frequently inversion is employed in precisely those dreams which are inspired by repressed homosexual impulses.
Moreover, inversion, or transformation into the opposite, is one of the most favoured and most versatile methods of representation which the dream-work has at its disposal. It serves, in the first place, to enable the wish-fulfilment to prevail against a definite element of the dream-thoughts. "If only it were the other way about!" is often the best expression for the reaction of the ego against a disagreeable recollection. But inversion becomes extraordinarily useful in the service of the censorship, for it effects, in the material to be represented, a degree of distortion which at first simply paralyses our understanding of the dream. It is therefore always permissible, if a dream stubbornly refuses to surrender its meaning, to venture on the experimental inversion of definite portions of its manifest content. Then, not infrequently, everything becomes clear.
Besides the inversion of content, the temporal inversion must not be overlooked. A frequent device of dream-distortion consists in presenting the final issue of the event or the conclusion of the train of thought at the beginning of the dream, and appending at the end of the dream the premises of the conclusion, or the causes of the event. Anyone who forgets this technical device of dream-distortion stands helpless before the problem of dream- interpretation.*
*The hysterical attack often employs the same device of temporal inversion in order to conceal its meaning from the observer. The attack of a hysterical girl, for example, consists in enacting a little romance, which she has imagined in the unconscious in connection with an encounter in a tram. A man, attracted by the beauty of her foot, addresses her while she is reading, whereupon she goes with him and a passionate love-scene ensues. Her attack begins with the representation of this scene by writhing movements of the body (accompanied by movements of the lips and folding of the arms to signify kisses and embraces), whereupon she hurries into the next room, sits down on a chair, lifts her skirt in order to show her foot, acts as though she were about to read a book, and speaks to me (answers me). Cf. the observation of Artemidorus: "In interpreting dream-stories, one must consider them the first time from the beginning to the end, and the second time from the end to the beginning."
In many cases, indeed, we discover the meaning of the dream only when we have subjected the dream-content to a multiple inversion, in accordance with the different relations. For example, in the dream of a young patient who is suffering from obsessional neurosis, the memory of the childish death-wish directed against a dreaded father concealed itself behind the following words: His father scolds him because he comes home so late, but the context of the psycho-analytic treatment and the impressions of the dreamer show that the sentence must be read as follows: He is angry with his father, and further, that his father always came home too early (i.e., too soon). He would have preferred that his father should not come home at all, which is identical with the wish (see chapter V., D.) that his father would die. As a little boy, during the prolonged absence of his father, the dreamer was guilty of a sexual aggression against another child, and was punished by the threat: "Just you wait until your father comes home!"
If we should seek to trace the relations between the dream- content and the dream-thoughts a little farther, we shall do this best by making the dream itself our point of departure, and asking ourselves: What do certain formal characteristics of the dream-presentation signify in relation to the dream-thoughts? First and foremost among the formal characteristics which are bound to impress us in dreams are the differences in the sensory intensity of the single dream-images, and in the distinctness of various parts of the dream, or of whole dreams as compared with one another. The differences in the intensity of individual dream- images cover the whole gamut, from a sharpness of definition which one is inclined–although without warrant–to rate more highly than that of reality, to a provoking indistinctness which we declare to be characteristic of dreams, because it really is not wholly comparable to any of the degrees of indistinctness which we occasionally perceive in real objects. Moreover, we usually describe the impression which we receive of an indistinct object in a dream as fleeting, while we think of the more distinct dream-images as having been perceptible also for a longer period of time. We must now ask ourselves by what conditions in the dream-material these differences in the distinctness of the individual portions of the dream-content are brought about.
Before proceeding farther, it is necessary to deal with certain expectations which seem to be almost inevitable. Since actual sensations experienced during sleep may constitute part of the dream-material, it will probably be assumed that these sensations, or the dream-elements resulting from them, are emphasized by a special intensity, or conversely, that anything which is particularly vivid in the dream can probably be traced to such real sensations during sleep. My experience, however, has never confirmed this. It is not true that those elements of a dream which are derivatives of real impressions perceived in sleep (nerve stimuli) are distinguished by their special vividness from others which are based on memories. The factor of reality is inoperative in determining the intensity of dream- images.
Further, it might be expected that the sensory intensity (vividness) of single dream-images is in proportion to the psychic intensity of the elements corresponding to them in the dream-thoughts. In the latter, intensity is identical with psychic value; the most intense elements are in fact the most significant, and these constitute the central point of the dream- thoughts. We know, however, that it is precisely these elements which are usually not admitted to the dream-content, owing to the vigilance of the censorship. Still, it might be possible for their most immediate derivatives, which represent them in the dream, to reach a higher degree of intensity without, however, for that reason constituting the central point of the dream- representation. This assumption also vanishes as soon as we compare the dream and the dream-material. The intensity of the elements in the one has nothing to do with the intensity of the elements in the other; as a matter of fact, a complete transvaluation of all psychic values takes place between the dream-material and the dream. The very element of the dream which is transient and hazy, and screened by more vigorous images, is often discovered to be the one and only direct derivative of the topic that completely dominates the dream-thoughts.
The intensity of the dream-elements proves to be determined in a different manner: that is, by two factors which are mutually independent. It will readily be understood that, those elements by means of which the wish-fulfilment expresses itself are those which are intensely represented. But analysis tells us that from the most vivid elements of the dream the greatest number of trains of thought proceed, and that those which are most vivid are at the same time those which are best determined. No change of meaning is involved if we express this latter empirical proposition in the following formula: The greatest intensity is shown by those elements of the dream for whose formation the most extensive condensation-work was required. We may, therefore, expect that it will be possible to express this condition, as well as the other condition of the wish-fulfilment, in a single formula.
I must utter a warning that the problem which I have just been considering–the causes of the greater or lesser intensity or distinctness of single elements in dreams–is not to be confounded with the other problem–that of variations in the distinctness of whole dreams or sections of dreams. In the former case the opposite of distinctness is haziness; in the latter, confusion. It is, of course, undeniable that in both scales the two kinds of intensities rise and fall in unison. A portion of the dream which seems clear to us usually contains vivid elements; an obscure dream, on the contrary, is composed of less vivid elements. But the problem offered by the scale of definition, which ranges from the apparently clear to the indistinct or confused, is far more complicated than the problem of fluctuations in vividness of the dream-elements. For reasons which will be given later, the former cannot at this stage be further discussed. In isolated cases one observes, not without surprise, that the impression of distinctness or indistinctness produced by a dream has nothing to do with the dream-structure, but proceeds from the dream-material, as one of its ingredients. Thus, for example, I remember a dream which on waking seemed so particularly well-constructed, flawless and clear that I made up my mind, while I was still in a somnolent state, to admit a new category of dreams–those which had not been subject to the mechanism of condensation and distortion, and which might thus be described as phantasies during sleep. A closer examination, however, proved that this unusual dream suffered from the same structural flaws and breaches as exist in all other dreams; so I abandoned the idea of a category of dream-phantasies.* The content of the dream, reduced to its lowest terms, was that I was expounding to a friend a difficult and long-sought theory of bisexuality, and the wish-fulfilling power of the dream was responsible for the fact that this theory (which, by the way, was not communicated in the dream) appeared to be so lucid and flawless. Thus, what I believed to be a judgment as regards the finished dream was a part, and indeed the most essential part, of the dream-content. Here the dream-work reached out, as it were, into my first waking thoughts, and presented to me, in the form of a judgment of the dream, that part of the dream-material which it had failed to represent with precision in the dream. I was once confronted with the exact counterpart of this case by a female patient who at first absolutely declined to relate a dream which was necessary for the analysis "because it was so hazy and confused," and who finally declared, after repeatedly protesting the inaccuracy of her description, that it seemed to her that several persons–herself, her husband, and her father–had occurred in the dream, and that she had not known whether her husband was her father, or who really was her father, or something of that sort. Comparison of this dream with the ideas which occurred to the dreamer in the course of the sitting showed beyond a doubt that it dealt with the rather commonplace story of a maidservant who has to confess that she is expecting a child, and hears doubts expressed as to "who the father really is."*(2) The obscurity manifested by this dream, therefore, was once more a portion of the dream-exciting material. A fragment of this material was represented in the form of the dream. The form of the dream or of dreaming is employed with astonishing frequency to represent the concealed content.
*I do not know today whether I was justified in doing so./*(2) Accompanying hysterical symptoms; amenorrhoea and profound depression were the chief troubles of this patient.
Glosses on the dream, and seemingly harmless comments on it, often serve in the most subtle manner to conceal–although, of course, they really betray–a part of what is dreamed. As, for example, when the dreamer says: Here the dream was wiped out, and the analysis gives an infantile reminiscence of listening to someone cleaning himself after defecation. Or another example, which deserves to be recorded in detail: A young man has a very distinct dream, reminding him of phantasies of his boyhood which have remained conscious. He found himself in a hotel at a seasonal resort; it was night; he mistook the number of his room, and entered a room in which an elderly lady and her two daughters were undressing to go to bed. He continues: "Then there are some gaps in the dream; something is missing; and at the end there was a man in the room, who wanted to throw me out, and with whom I had to struggle." He tries in vain to recall the content and intention of the boyish phantasy to which the dream obviously alluded. But we finally become aware that the required content had already been given in his remarks concerning the indistinct part of the dream. The gaps are the genital apertures of the women who are going to bed: Here something is missing describes the principal characteristic of the female genitals. In his young days he burned with curiosity to see the female genitals, and was still inclined to adhere to the infantile sexual theory which attributes a male organ to women.
A very similar form was assumed in an analogous reminiscence of another dreamer. He dreamed: I go with Fraulein K into the restaurant of the Volksgarten... then comes a dark place, an interruption... then I find myself in the salon of a brothel, where I see two or three women, one in a chemise and drawers.
Analysis. Fraulein K is the daughter of his former employer; as he himself admits, she was a sister-substitute. He rarely had the opportunity of talking to her, but they once had a conversation in which "one recognized one's sexuality, so to speak, as though one were to say: I am a man and you are a woman." He had been only once to the above-mentioned restaurant, when he was accompanied by the sister of his brother-in-law, a girl to whom he was quite indifferent. On another occasion he accompanied three ladies to the door of the restaurant. The ladies were his sister, his sister-in-law, and the girl already mentioned. He was perfectly indifferent to all three of them, but they all belonged to the sister category. He had visited a brothel but rarely, perhaps two or three times in his life.
The interpretation is based on the dark place, the interruption in the dream, and informs us that on occasion, but in fact only rarely, obsessed by his boyish curiosity, he had inspected the genitals of his sister, a few years his junior. A few days later the misdemeanor indicated in the dream recurred to his conscious memory.
All dreams of the same night belong, in respect of their content, to the same whole; their division into several parts, their grouping and number, are all full of meaning and may be regarded as pieces of information about the latent dream-thoughts. In the interpretation of dreams consisting of several main sections, or of dreams belonging to the same night, we must not overlook the possibility that these different and successive dreams mean the same thing, expressing the same impulses in different material. That one of these homologous dreams which comes first in time is usually the most distorted and most bashful, while the next dream is bolder and more distinct.
Even Pharaoh's dream of the ears and the kine, which Joseph interpreted, was of this kind. It is given by Josephus in greater detail than in the Bible. After relating the first dream, the King said: "After I had seen this vision I awaked out of my sleep, and, being in disorder, and considering with myself what this appearance should be, I fell asleep again, and saw another dream much more wonderful than the foregoing, which still did more affright and disturb me." After listening to the relation of the dream, Joseph said: "This dream, O King, although seen under two forms, signifies one and the same event of things."*
*Josephus; Antiquities of the Jews, book II, chap. V, trans. by Wm. Whitson (David McKay, Philadelphia).
Jung, in his Beitrag zur Psychologie des Geruchtes, relates how a veiled erotic dream of a schoolgirl was understood by her friends without interpretation, and continued by them with variations, and he remarks, with reference to one of these narrated dreams, that "the concluding idea of a long series of dream-images had precisely the same content as the first image of the series had endeavoured to represent. The censorship thrust the complex out of the way as long as possible by a constant renewal of symbolic screenings, displacements, transformations into something harmless, etc." Scherner was well acquainted with this peculiarity of dream-representation, and describes it in his Leben des Traumes (p.166) in terms of a special law in the Appendix to his doctrine of organic stimulation: "But finally, in all symbolic dream-formations emanating from definite nerve stimuli, the phantasy observes the general law that at the beginning of the dream it depicts the stimulating object only by the remotest and freest allusions, but towards the end, when the graphic impulse becomes exhausted, the stimulus itself is nakedly represented by its appropriate organ or its function; whereupon the dream, itself describing its organic motive, achieves its end...."
A pretty confirmation of this law of Scherner's has been furnished by Otto Rank in his essay: Ein Traum, der sich selbst deutet. This dream, related to him by a girl, consisted of two dreams of the same night, separated by an interval of time, the second of which ended with an orgasm. It was possible to interpret this orgastic dream in detail in spite of the few ideas contributed by the dreamer, and the wealth of relations between the two dream-contents made it possible to recognize that the first dream expressed in modest language the same thing as the second, so that the latter–the orgastic dream–facilitated a full explanation of the former. From this example, Rank very justifiably argues the significance of orgastic dreams for the theory of dreams in general.
But, in my experience, it is only in rare cases that one is in a position to translate the lucidity or confusion of a dream, respectively, into a certainty or doubt in the dream-material. Later on I shall have to disclose a hitherto unmentioned factor in dream-formation, upon whose operation this qualitative scale in dreams is essentially dependent.
In many dreams in which a certain situation and environment are preserved for some time, there occur interruptions which may be described in the following words: "But then it seemed as though it were, at the same time, another place, and there such and such a thing happened." In these cases, what interrupts the main action of the dream, which after a while may be continued again, reveals itself in the dream-material as a subordinate clause, an interpolated thought. Conditionality in the dream-thoughts is represented by simultaneity in the dream-content (wenn or wann = if or when, while).
We may now ask: What is the meaning of the sensation of inhibited movement which so often occurs in dreams, and is so closely allied to anxiety? One wants to move, and is unable to stir from the spot; or wants to accomplish something, and encounters obstacle after obstacle. The train is about to start. and one cannot reach it; one's hand is raised to avenge an insult, and its strength fails, etc. We have already met with this sensation in exhibition-dreams, but have as yet made no serious attempt to interpret it. It is convenient, but inadequate, to answer that there is motor paralysis in sleep, which manifests itself by means of the sensation alluded to. We may ask: Why is it, then, that we do not dream continually of such inhibited movements? And we may permissibly suspect that this sensation, which may at any time occur during sleep, serves some sort of purpose for representation, and is evoked only when the need of this representation is present in the dream-material.
Inability to do a thing does not always appear in the dream as a sensation; it may appear simply as part of the dream-content. I think one case of this kind is especially fitted to enlighten us as to the meaning of this peculiarity. I shall give an abridged version of a dream in which I seem to be accused of dishonesty. The scene is a mixture made up of a private sanatorium and several other places. A manservant appears, to summon me to an inquiry. I know in the dream that something has been missed, and that the inquiry is taking place because I am suspected of having appropriated the lost article. Analysis shows that inquiry is to be taken in two senses; it includes the meaning of medical examination. Being conscious of my innocence, and my position as consultant in this sanatorium, I calmly follow the manservant. We are received at the door by another manservant, who says, pointing at me, "Have you brought him? Why, he is a respectable man." Thereupon, and unattended, I enter a great hall where there are many machines, which reminds me of an inferno with its hellish instruments of punishment. I see a colleague strapped to an appliance; he has every reason to be interested in my appearance, but he takes no notice of me. I understand that I may now go. Then I cannot find my hat, and cannot go after all.
The wish that the dream fulfils is obviously the wish that my honesty shall be acknowledged, and that I may be permitted to go; there must therefore be all sorts of material in the dream- thoughts which comprise a contradiction of this wish. The fact that I may go is the sign of my absolution; if, then, the dream provides at its close an event which prevents me from going, we may readily conclude that the suppressed material of the contradiction is asserting itself in this feature. The fact that I cannot find my hat therefore means: "You are not after all an honest man." The inability to do something in the dream is the expression of a contradiction, a No; so that our earlier assertion, to the effect that the dream is not capable of expressing a negation, must be revised accordingly.*
*A reference to an experience of childhood emerges, in the complete analysis, through the following connecting-links: "The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go." And then follows the waggish question: "How old is the Moor when he has done his duty?"–"A year, then he can go (walk)." (It is said that I came into the world with so much black curly hair that my young mother declared that I was a little Moor.) The fact that I cannot find my hat is an experience of the day which has been exploited in various senses. Our servant, who is a genius at stowing things away, had hidden the hat. A rejection of melancholy thoughts of death is concealed behind the conclusion of the dream: "I have not nearly done my duty yet; I cannot go yet." Birth and death together–as in the dream of Goethe and the paralytic, which was a little earlier in date.
In other dreams in which the inability to do something occurs, not merely as a situation, but also as a sensation, the same contradiction is more emphatically expressed by the sensation of inhibited movement, or a will to which a counter-will is opposed. Thus the sensation of inhibited movement represents a conflict of will. We shall see later on that this very motor paralysis during sleep is one of the fundamental conditions of the psychic process which functions during dreaming. Now an impulse which is conveyed to the motor system is none other than the will, and the fact that we are certain that the impulse will be inhibited in sleep makes the whole process extraordinarily well-adapted to the representation of a will towards something and of a No which opposes itself thereto. From my explanation of anxiety, it is easy to understand why the sensation of the inhibited will is so closely allied to anxiety, and why it is so often connected with it in dreams. Anxiety is a libidinal impulse which emanates from the unconscious and is inhibited by the preconscious.* Therefore, when a sensation of inhibition in the dream is accompanied by anxiety, the dream must be concerned with a volition which was at one time capable of arousing libido; there must be a sexual impulse.
*This theory is not in accordance with more recent views.
As for the judgment which is often expressed during a dream: "Of course, it is only a dream," and the psychic force to which it may be ascribed, I shall discuss these questions later on. For the present I will merely say that they are intended to depreciate the importance of what is being dreamed. The interesting problem allied to this, as to what is meant if a certain content in the dream is characterized in the dream itself as having been dreamed–the riddle of a dream within a dream–has been solved in a similar sense by W. Stekel, by the analysis of some convincing examples. Here again the part of the dream dreamed is to be depreciated in value and robbed of its reality; that which the dreamer continues to dream after waking from the dream within a dream is what the dream-wish desires to put in place of the obliterated reality. It may therefore be assumed that the part dreamed contains the representation of the reality, the real memory, while, on the other hand, the continued dream contains the representation of what the dreamer merely wishes. The inclusion of a certain content in a dream within a dream is, therefore, equivalent to the wish that what has been characterized as a dream had never occurred. In other words: when a particular incident is represented by the dream-work in a dream, it signifies the strongest confirmation of the reality of this incident, the most emphatic affirmation of it. The dream- work utilizes the dream itself as a form of repudiation, and thereby confirms the theory that a dream is a wish-fulfilment.
We have hitherto been concerned with investigating the manner in which our dreams represent the relations between the dream- thoughts, but we have often extended our inquiry to the further question as to what alterations the dream-material itself undergoes for the purposes of dream-formation. We now know that the dream-material, after being stripped of a great many of its relations, is subjected to compression, while at the same time displacements of the intensity of its elements enforce a psychic transvaluation of this material. The displacements which we have considered were shown to be substitutions of one particular idea for another, in some way related to the original by its associations, and the displacements were made to facilitate the condensation, inasmuch as in this manner, instead of two elements, a common mean between them found its way into the dream. So far, no mention has been made of any other kind of displacement. But we learn from the analyses that displacement of another kind does occur, and that it manifests itself in an exchange of the verbal expression for the thought in question. In both cases we are dealing with a displacement along a chain of associations, but the same process takes place in different psychic spheres, and the result of this displacement in the one case is that one element is replaced by another, while in the other case an element exchanges its verbal shape for another.
This second kind of displacement occurring in dream-formation is not only of great theoretical interest, but also peculiarly well- fitted to explain the appearance of phantastic absurdity in which dreams disguise themselves. Displacement usually occurs in such a way that a colourless and abstract expression of the dream- thought is exchanged for one that is pictorial and concrete. The advantage, and along with it the purpose, of this substitution is obvious. Whatever is pictorial is capable of representation in dreams and can be fitted into a situation in which abstract expression would confront the dream-representation with difficulties not unlike those which would arise if a political leading article had to be represented in an illustrated journal. Not only the possibility of representation, but also the interests of condensation and of the censorship, may be furthered by this exchange. Once the abstractly expressed and unserviceable dream-thought is translated into pictorial language, those contacts and identities between this new expression and the rest of the dream-material which are required by the dream-work, and which it contrives whenever they are not available, are more readily provided, since in every language concrete terms, owing to their evolution, are richer in associations than are abstract terms. It may be imagined that a good part of the intermediate work in dream-formation, which seeks to reduce the separate dream- thoughts to the tersest and most unified expression in the dream, is effected in this manner, by fitting paraphrases of the various thoughts. The one thought whose mode of expression has perhaps been determined by other factors will therewith exert a distributive and selective influence on the expressions available for the others, and it may even do this from the very start, just as it would in the creative activity of a poet. When a poem is to be written in rhymed couplets, the second rhyming line is bound by two conditions: it must express the meaning allotted to it, and its expression must permit of a rhyme with the first line. The best poems are, of course, those in which one does not detect the effort to find a rhyme, and in which both thoughts have as a matter of course, by mutual induction, selected the verbal expression which, with a little subsequent adjustment, will permit of the rhyme.
In some cases the change of expression serves the purposes of dream-condensation more directly, in that it provides an arrangement of words which, being ambiguous, permits of the expression of more than one of the dream-thoughts. The whole range of verbal wit is thus made to serve the purpose of the dream-work. The part played by words in dream-formation ought not to surprise us. A word, as the point of junction of a number of ideas, possesses, as it were, a predestined ambiguity, and the neuroses (obsessions, phobias) take advantage of the opportunities for condensation and disguise afforded by words quite as eagerly as do dreams.* That dream-distortion also profits by this displacement of expression may be readily demonstrated. It is indeed confusing if one ambiguous word is substituted for two with single meanings, and the replacement of sober, everyday language by a plastic mode of expression baffles our understanding, especially since a dream never tells us whether the elements presented by it are to be interpreted literally or metaphorically, whether they refer to the dream- material directly, or only by means of interpolated expressions. Generally speaking, in the interpretation of any element of a dream it is doubtful whether it
(a) is to be accepted in the negative or the positive sense (contrast relation);
(b) is to be interpreted historically (as a memory);
(c) is symbolic; or whether
(d) its valuation is to be based upon its wording. –In spite of this versatility, we may say that the representation effected by the dream-work, which was never even intended to be understood, does not impose upon the translator any greater difficulties than those that the ancient writers of hieroglyphics imposed upon their readers.
*Compare Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious.
I have already given several examples of dream-representations which are held together only by ambiguity of expression (her mouth opens without difficulty, in the dream of Irma's injection; I cannot go yet after all, in the last dream related, etc.) I shall now cite a dream in the analysis of which plastic representation of the abstract thoughts plays a greater part. The difference between such dream-interpretation and the interpretation by means of symbols may nevertheless be clearly defined; in the symbolic interpretation of dreams, the key to the symbolism is selected arbitrarily by the interpreter, while in our own cases of verbal disguise these keys are universally known and are taken from established modes of speech. Provided one hits on the right idea on the right occasion, one may solve dreams of this kind, either completely or in part, independently of any statements made by the dreamer.
A lady friend of mine, dreams: She is at the opera. It is a Wagnerian performance, which has lasted until 7.45 in the morning. In the stalls and pit there are tables, at which people are eating and drinking. Her cousin and his young wife, who have just returned from their honeymoon, are sitting at one of these tables; beside them is a member of the aristocracy. The young wife is said to have brought him back with her from the honeymoon quite openly, just as she might have brought back a hat. In the middle of the stalls there is a high tower, on the top of which there is a platform surrounded by an iron railing. There, high overhead, stands the conductor, with the features of Hans Richter, continually running round behind the railing, perspiring terribly; and from this position he is conducting the orchestra, which is arranged round the base of the tower. She herself is sitting in a box with a friend of her own sex (known to me). Her younger sister tries to hand her up, from the stalls, a large lump of coal, alleging that she had not known that it would be so long, and that she must by this time be miserably cold. (As though the boxes ought to have been heated during the long performance.)
Although in other respects the dream gives a good picture of the situation, it is, of course, nonsensical enough: the tower in the middle of the stalls, from which the conductor leads the orchestra, and above all the coal which her sister hands up to her. I purposely asked for no analysis of this dream. With some knowledge of the personal relations of the dreamer, I was able to interpret parts of it independently of her. I knew that she had felt intense sympathy for a musician whose career had been prematurely brought to an end by insanity. I therefore decided to take the tower in the stalls verbally. It then emerged that the man whom she wished to see in the place of Hans Richter towered above all the other members of the orchestra. This tower must be described as a composite formation by means of apposition; by its substructure it represents the greatness of the man, but by the railing at the top, behind which he runs round like a prisoner or an animal in a cage (an allusion to the name of the unfortunate man),* it represents his later fate. Lunatic-tower is perhaps the expression in which the two thoughts might have met.
Now that we have discovered the dream's method of representation, we may try, with the same key, to unlock the meaning of the second apparent absurdity, that of the coal which her sister hands up to the dreamer. Coal should mean secret love.
No fire, no coal so hotly glows
As the secret love of which no one knows.
She and her friend remain seated* while her younger sister, who still has a prospect of marrying, hands her up the coal because she did not know that it would be so long. What would be so long is not told in the dream. If it were an anecdote, we should say the performance; but in the dream we may consider the sentence as it is, declare it to be ambiguous, and add before she married. The interpretation secret love is then confirmed by the mention of the cousin who is sitting with his wife in the stalls, and by the open love-affair attributed to the latter. The contrasts between secret and open love, between the dreamer's fire and the coldness of the young wife, dominate the dream. Moreover, here once again there is a person in a high position as a middle term between the aristocrat and the musician who is justified in raising high hopes.
*The German sitzen geblieben is often applied to women who have not succeeded in getting married.–TR.
In the above analysis we have at last brought to light a third factor, whose part in the transformation of the dream-thoughts into the dream-content is by no means trivial: namely, consideration of the suitability of the dream-thoughts for representation in the particular psychic material of which the dream makes use–that is, for the most part in visual images. Among the various subordinate ideas associated with the essential dream-thoughts, those will be preferred which permit of visual representation, and the dream-work does not hesitate to recast the intractable thoughts into an: other verbal form, even though this is a more unusual form provided it makes representation possible, and thus puts an end to the psychological distress caused by strangulated thinking. This pouring of the thought- content into another mould may at the same time serve the work of condensation, and may establish relations with another thought which otherwise would not have been established. It is even possible that this second thought may itself have previously changed its original expression for the purpose of meeting the first one halfway.
Herbert Silberer* has described a good method of directly observing the transformation of thoughts into images which occurs in dream-formation, and has thus made it possible to study in isolation this one factor of the dream-work. If, while in a state of fatigue and somnolence, he imposed upon himself a mental effort, it frequently happened that the thought escaped him and in its place there appeared a picture in which he could recognize the substitute for the thought. Not quite appropriately, Silberer described this substitution as auto-symbolic. I shall cite here a few examples from Silberer's work, and on account of certain peculiarities of the phenomena observed I shall refer to the subject later on.
*Bleuler-Freud Jahrbuch, i (1909).
"Example 1. I remember that I have to correct a halting passage in an essay.
"Symbol. I see myself planing a piece of wood.
"Example 5. I endeavour to call to mind the aim of certain metaphysical studies which I am proposing to undertake.
"This aim, I reflect, consists in working one's way through, while seeking for the basis of existence, to ever higher forms of consciousness or levels of being.
"Symbol. I run a long knife under a cake as though to take a slice out of it.
"Interpretation. My movement with the knife signifies working one's way through... The explanation of the basis of the symbolism is as follows: At table it devolves upon me now and again to cut and distribute a cake, a business which I perform with a long, flexible knife, and which necessitates a certain amount of care. In particular, the neat extraction of the cut slices of cake presents a certain amount of difficulty; the knife must be carefully pushed under the slices in question (the slow working one's way through in order to get to the bottom). But there is yet more symbolism in the picture. The cake of the symbol was really a dobos-cake–that is, a cake in which the knife has to cut through several layers (the levels of consciousness and thought).
"Example 9. I lost the thread in a train of thought. I make an effort to find it again, but I have to recognize that the point of departure has completely escaped me.
"Symbol. Part of a form of type, the last lines of which have fallen out."
In view of the part played by witticisms, puns, quotations, songs, and proverbs in the intellectual life of educated persons, it would be entirely in accordance with our expectations to find disguises of this sort used with extreme frequency in the representation of the dream-thoughts. Only in the case of a few types of material has a generally valid dream-symbolism established itself on the basis of generally known allusions and verbal equivalents. A good part of this symbolism, however, is common to the psychoneuroses, legends, and popular usages as well as to dreams.
In fact, if we look more closely into the matter, we must recognize that in employing this kind of substitution the dream- work is doing nothing at all original. For the achievement of its purpose, which in this case is representation without interference from the censorship, it simply follows the paths which it finds already marked out in unconscious thinking, and gives the preference to those transformations of the repressed material which are permitted to become conscious also in the form of witticisms and allusions, and with which all the phantasies of neurotics are replete. Here we suddenly begin to understand the dream-interpretations of Scherner, whose essential correctness I have vindicated elsewhere. The preoccupation of the imagination with one's own body is by no means peculiar to or characteristic of the dream alone. My analyses have shown me that it is constantly found in the unconscious thinking of neurotics, and may be traced back to sexual curiosity, whose object, in the adolescent youth or maiden, is the genitals of the opposite sex, or even of the same sex. But, as Scherner and Volkelt very truly insist, the house does not constitute the only group of ideas which is employed for the symbolization of the body, either in dreams or in the unconscious phantasies of neurosis. To be sure, I know patients who have steadily adhered to an architectural symbolism for the body and the genitals (sexual interest, of course, extends far beyond the region of the external genital organs)–patients for whom posts and pillars signify legs (as in the Song of Songs), to whom every door suggests a bodily aperture (hole), and every water-pipe the urinary system, and so on. But the groups of ideas appertaining to plant-life. or to the kitchen, are just as often chosen to conceal sexual images;* in respect of the former everyday language, the sediment of imaginative comparisons dating from the remotest times, has abundantly paved the way (the vineyard of the Lord, the seed of Abraham, the garden of the maiden in the Song of Songs). The ugliest as well as the most intimate details of sexual life may be thought or dreamed of in apparently innocent allusions to culinary operations, and the symptoms of hysteria will become absolutely unintelligible if we forget that sexual symbolism may conceal itself behind the most commonplace and inconspicuous matters as its safest hiding-place. That some neurotic children cannot look at blood and raw meat, that they vomit at the sight of eggs and macaroni, and that the dread of snakes, which is natural to mankind, is monstrously exaggerated in neurotics–all this has a definite sexual meaning. Wherever the neurosis employs a disguise of this sort, it treads the paths once trodden by the whole of humanity in the early stages of civilization–paths to whose thinly veiled existence our idiomatic expressions, proverbs, superstitions, and customs testify to this day.
*A mass of corroborative material may be found in the three supplementary volumes of Edward Fuchs's Illustrierte Sittengeschichte; privately printed by A. Lange, Munich.
I here insert the promised flower-dream of a female patient, in which I shall print in Roman type everything which is to be sexually interpreted. This beautiful dream lost all its charm for the dreamer once it had been interpreted.
(a) Preliminary dream: She goes to the two maids in the kitchen and scolds them for taking so long to prepare a little bite of food. She also sees a very large number of heavy kitchen utensils in the kitchen, heaped into piles and turned upside down in order to drain. Later addition: The two maids go to fetch water, and have, as it were, to climb into a river which reaches up to the house or into the courtyard.*
*For the interpretation of this preliminary dream, which is to be regarded as casual, see earlier in this chapter, C.
(b) Main dream:* She is descending from a height*(2) over curiously constructed railings, or a fence which is composed of large square trellis-work hurdles with small square apertures. *(3) It is really not adapted for climbing; she is constantly afraid that she cannot find a place for her foot, and she is glad that her dress doesn't get caught anywhere, and that she is able to climb it so respectably.*(4) As she climbs she is carrying a big branch in her hand,*(5) really like a tree, which is thickly studded with red flowers; a spreading branch, with many twigs. *(6) With this is connected the idea of cherry-blossoms (Bluten = flowers), but they look like fully opened camellias, which of course do not grow on trees. As she is descending, she first has one, then suddenly two, and then again only one.*(7) When she has reached the ground the lower flowers have already begun to fall. Now that she has reached the bottom she sees an "odd man" who is combing–as she would like to put it–just such a tree, that is, with a piece of wood he is scraping thick bunches of hair from it, which hang from it like moss. Other men have chopped off such branches in a garden, and have flung them into the road, where they are lying about, so that a number of people take some of them. But she asks whether this is right, whether she may take one, too.*(8) In the garden there stands a young man (he is a foreigner, and known to her) toward whom she goes in order to ask him how it is possible to transplant such branches in her own garden.*(9) He embraces her, whereupon she struggles and asks him what he is thinking of, whether it is permissible to embrace her in such a manner. He says there is nothing wrong in it, that it is permitted.*(10) He then declares himself willing to go with her into the other garden, in order to show her how to put them in, and he says something to her which she does not quite understand: "Besides this I need three metres (later she says: square metres) or three fathoms of ground." It seems as though he were asking her for something in return for his willingness, as though he had the intention of indemnifying (reimbursing) himself in her garden, as though he wanted to evade some law or other, to derive some advantage from it without causing her an injury. She does not know whether or not he really shows her anything.
*Her career./*(2) Exalted origin, the wish-contrast to the preliminary dream./*(3) A composite formation, which unites two localities, the so- called garret (German: Boden = "floor," "garret") of her father's house, in which she used to play with her brother, the object of her later phantasies, and the farm of a malicious uncle, who used to tease her./*(4) Wish-contrast to an actual memory of her uncle's farm, to the effect that she used to expose herself while she was asleep./*(5) Just as the angel bears a lily-stem in the Annunciation./*(6) For the explanation of this composite formation, see earlier in this chapter, C.; innocence, menstruation, La Dame aux Camelias./*(7) Referring to the plurality of the persons who serve her phantasies./*(8) Whether it is permissible to masturbate. [Sich einem herunterreissen means "to pull off" and colloquially "to masturbate."–TR.]/*(9) The branch (Ast) has long been used to represent the male organ, and, moreover, contains a very distinct allusion to the family name of the dreamer./*(10) Refers to the matrimonial precautions, as does that which immediately follows.
The above dream, which has been given prominence on account of its symbolic elements, may be described as a biographical dream. Such dreams occur frequently in psychoanalysis, but perhaps only rarely outside it.*
*An analogous biographical dream is recorded later in this chapter, among the examples of dream symbolism.
I have, of course, an abundance of such material, but to reproduce it here would lead us too far into the consideration of neurotic conditions. Everything points to the same conclusion, namely, that we need not assume that any special symbolizing activity of the psyche is operative in dream-formation; that, on the contrary, the dream makes use of such symbolizations as are to be found ready-made in unconscious thinking, since these, by reason of their case of representation, and for the most part by reason of their being exempt from the censorship, satisfy more effectively the requirements of dream-formation.
The analysis of the last biographical dream shows that I recognized the symbolism in dreams from the very outset. But it was only little by little that I arrived at a full appreciation of its extent and significance, as the result of increasing experience, and under the influence of the works of W. Stekel, concerning which I may here fittingly say something.
This author, who has perhaps injured psychoanalysis as much as he has benefited it, produced a large number of novel symbolic translations, to which no credence was given at first, but most of which were later confirmed and had to be accepted. Stekel's services are in no way belittled by the remark that the sceptical reserve with which these symbols were received was not unjustified. For the examples upon which he based his interpretations were often unconvincing, and, moreover, he employed a method which must be rejected as scientifically unreliable. Stekel found his symbolic meanings by way of intuition, by virtue of his individual faculty of immediately understanding the symbols. But such an art cannot be generally assumed; its efficiency is immune from criticism, and its results have therefore no claim to credibility. It is as though one were to base one's diagnosis of infectious diseases on the olfactory impressions received beside the sick-bed, although of course there have been clinicians to whom the sense of smell–atrophied in most people–has been of greater service than to others, and who really have been able to diagnose a case of abdominal typhus by their sense of smell.
The progressive experience of psycho-analysis has enabled us to discover patients who have displayed in a surprising degree this immediate understanding of dream-symbolism. Many of these patients suffered from dementia praecox, so that for a time there was an inclination to suspect that all dreamers with such an understanding of symbols were suffering from that disorder. But this did not prove to be the case; it is simply a question of a personal gift or idiosyncrasy without perceptible pathological significance.
When one has familiarized oneself with the extensive employment of symbolism for the representation of sexual material in dreams, one naturally asks oneself whether many of these symbols have not a permanently established meaning, like the signs in shorthand; and one even thinks of attempting to compile a new dream-book on the lines of the cipher method. In this connection it should be noted that symbolism does not appertain especially to dreams, but rather to the unconscious imagination, and particularly to that of the people, and it is to be found in a more developed condition in folklore, myths, legends, idiomatic phrases, proverbs, and the current witticisms of a people than in dreams. We should have, therefore, to go far beyond the province of dream- interpretation in order fully to investigate the meaning of symbolism, and to discuss the numerous problems–for the most part still unsolved–which are associated with the concept of the symbol.* We shall here confine ourselves to saying that representation by a symbol comes under the heading of the indirect representations, but that we are warned by all sorts of signs against indiscriminately classing symbolic representation with the other modes of indirect representation before we have clearly conceived its distinguishing characteristics. In a number of cases, the common quality shared by the symbol and the thing which it represents is obvious; in others, it is concealed; in these latter cases the choice of the symbol appears to be enigmatic. And these are the very cases that must be able to elucidate the ultimate meaning of the symbolic relation; they point to the fact that it is of a genetic nature. What is today symbolically connected was probably united, in primitive times, by conceptual and linguistic identity.*(2) The symbolic relationship seems to be a residue and reminder of a former identity. It may also be noted that in many cases the symbolic identity extends beyond the linguistic identity, as had already been asserted by Schubert (1814).*(3)
*Cf. the works of Bleuler and his Zurich disciples, Maeder. Abraham, and others, and of the non-medical authors (Kleinpaul and others) to whom they refer. But the most pertinent things that have been said on the subject will be found in the work of O. Rank and H. Sachs, Die Bedeutung der Psychoanalyse fur die Geisteswissenschaft, (1913), chap. i./*(2) This conception would seem to find an extraordinary confirmation in a theory advanced by Hans Sperber ("Uber den Einfluss sexueller momente auf Entstehung und Entwicklung der Sprache," in Imago, i. ). Sperber believes that primitive words denoted sexual things exclusively, and subsequently lost their sexual significance and were applied to other things and activities, which were compared with the sexual./*(3) For example, a ship sailing on the sea may appear in the urinary dreams of Hungarian dreamers, despite the fact that the term of to ship, for to urinate, is foreign to this language (Ferenczi). In the dreams of the French and the other romance peoples room serves as a symbolic representation for woman, although these peoples have nothing analogous to the German Frauenzimmer. Many symbols are as old as language itself, while others are continually being coined (e.g., the aeroplane, the Zeppelin).
Dreams employ this symbolism to give a disguised representation to their latent thoughts. Among the symbols thus employed there are, of course, many which constantly, or all but constantly, mean the same thing. But we must bear in mind the curious plasticity of psychic material. Often enough a symbol in the dream-content may have to be interpreted not symbolically but in accordance with its proper meaning; at other times the dreamer, having to deal with special memory-material, may take the law into his own hands and employ anything whatever as a sexual symbol, though it is not generally so employed. Wherever he has the choice of several symbols for the representation of a dream- content, he will decide in favour of that symbol which is in addition objectively related to his other thought-material; that is to say, he will employ an individual motivation besides the typically valid one.
Although since Scherner's time the more recent investigations of dream-problems have definitely established the existence of dream- symbolism–even Havelock Ellis acknowledges that our dreams are indubitably full of symbols–it must yet be admitted that the existence of symbols in dreams has not only facilitated dream- interpretation, but has also made it more difficult. The technique of interpretation in accordance with the dreamer's free associations more often than otherwise leaves us in the lurch as far as the symbolic elements of the dream-content are concerned. A return to the arbitrariness of dream-interpretation as it was practised in antiquity, and is seemingly revived by Stekel's wild interpretations, is contrary to scientific method. Consequently, those elements in the dream-content which are to be symbolically regarded compel us to employ a combined technique, which on the one hand is based on the dreamer's associations, while on the other hand the missing portions have to be supplied by the interpreter's understanding of the symbols. Critical circumspection in the solution of the symbols must coincide with careful study of the symbols in especially transparent examples of dreams in order to silence the reproach of arbitrariness in dream-interpretation. The uncertainties which still adhere to our function as dream-interpreters are due partly to our imperfect knowledge (which, however, can be progressively increased) and partly to certain peculiarities of the dream-symbols themselves. These often possess many and varied meanings, so that, as in Chinese script, only the context can furnish the correct meaning. This multiple significance of the symbol is allied to the dream's faculty of admitting over-interpretations, of representing, in the same content, various wish-impulses and thought-formations, often of a widely divergent character.
After these limitations and reservations, I will proceed. The Emperor and the Empress (King and Queen)* in most cases really represent the dreamer's parents; the dreamer himself or herself is the prince or princess. But the high authority conceded to the Emperor is also conceded to great men, so that in some dreams, for example, Goethe appears as a father symbol (Hitschmann).–All elongated objects, sticks, tree-trunks, umbrellas (on account of the opening, which might be likened to an erection), all sharp and elongated weapons, knives, daggers, and pikes, represent the male member. A frequent, but not very intelligible symbol for the same is a nail-file (a reference to rubbing and scraping?).– Small boxes, chests, cupboards, and ovens correspond to the female organ; also cavities, ships, and all kinds of vessels.–A room in a dream generally represents a woman; the description of its various entrances and exits is scarcely calculated to make us doubt this interpretation.*(2) The interest as to whether the room is open or locked will be readily understood in this connection. (Cf. Dora's dream in Fragment of an Analysis of Hysteria.) There is no need to be explicit as to the sort of key that will unlock the room; the symbolism of lock and key has been gracefully if broadly employed by Uhland in his song of the Graf Eberstein.–The dream of walking through a suite of rooms signifies a brothel or a harem. But, as H. Sachs has shown by an admirable example, it is also employed to represent marriage (contrast). An interesting relation to the sexual investigations of childhood emerges when the dreamer dreams of two rooms which were previously one, or finds that a familiar room in a house of which he dreams has been divided into two, or the reverse. In childhood the female genitals and anus (the "behind")*(3) are conceived of as a single opening according to the infantile cloaca theory, and only later is it discovered that this region of the body contains two separate cavities and openings. Steep inclines, ladders and stairs, and going up or down them, are symbolic representations of the sexual act.*(4) Smooth walls over which one climbs, facades of houses, across which one lets oneself down–often with a sense of great anxiety–correspond to erect human bodies, and probably repeat in our dreams childish memories of climbing up parents or nurses. Smooth walls are men; in anxiety dreams one often holds firmly to projections on houses. Tables, whether bare or covered, and boards, are women, perhaps by virtue of contrast, since they have no protruding contours. Wood generally speaking, seems, in accordance with its linguistic relations, to represent feminine matter (Materie). The name of the island Madeira means wood in Portuguese. Since bed and board (mensa et thorus) constitute marriage, in dreams the latter is often substituted for the former, and as far as practicable the sexual representation-complex is transposed to the eating-complex.–Of articles of dress, a woman's hat may very often be interpreted with certainty as the male genitals. In the dreams of men, one often finds the necktie as a symbol for the penis; this is not only because neckties hang down in front of the body, and are characteristic of men, but also because one can select them at pleasure, a freedom which nature prohibits as regards the original of the symbol. Persons who make use of this symbol in dreams are very extravagant in the matter of ties, and possess whole collections of them.*(5) All complicated machines and appliances are very probably the genitals–as a rule the male genitals–in the description of which the symbolism of dreams is as indefatigable as human wit. It is quite unmistakable that all weapons and tools are used as symbols for the male organ: e.g., ploughshare, hammer, gun, revolver, dagger, sword, etc. Again, many of the landscapes seen in dreams, especially those that contain bridges or wooded mountains, may be readily recognized as descriptions of the genitals. Marcinowski collected a series of examples in which the dreamer explained his dream by means of drawings, in order to represent the landscapes and places appearing in it. These drawings clearly showed the distinction between the manifest and the latent meaning of the dream. Whereas, naively regarded, they seemed to represent plans, maps, and so forth, closer investigation showed that they were representations of the human body, of the genitals, etc., and only after conceiving them thus could the dream be understood. *(6) Finally, where one finds incomprehensible neologisms one may suspect combinations of components having a sexual significance.– Children, too, often signify the genitals, since men and women are in the habit of fondly referring to their genital organs as little man, little woman, little thing. The little brother was correctly recognized by Stekel as the penis. To play with or to beat a little child is often the dream's representation of masturbation. The dream-work represents castration by baldness, hair-cutting, the loss of teeth, and beheading. As an insurance against castration, the dream uses one of the common symbols of the penis in double or multiple form and the appearance in a dream of a lizard–an animal whose tail, if pulled off, is regenerated by a new growth–has the same meaning. Most of those animals which are utilized as genital symbols in mythology and folklore play this part also in dreams: the fish, the snail, the cat, the mouse (on account of the hairiness of the genitals), but above all the snake, which is the most important symbol of the male member. Small animals and vermin are substitutes for little children, e.g., undesired sisters or brothers. To be infected with vermin is often the equivalent for pregnancy.–As a very recent symbol of the male organ I may mention the airship, whose employment is justified by its relation to flying, and also, occasionally, by its form.–Stekel has given a number of other symbols, not yet sufficiently verified, which he has illustrated by examples. The works of this author, and especially his book: Die Sprache des Traumes, contain the richest collection of interpretations of symbols, some of which were ingeniously guessed and were proved to be correct upon investigation, as, for example, in the section on the symbolism of death. The author's lack of critical reflection, and his tendency to generalize at all costs, make his interpretations doubtful or inapplicable, so that in making use of his works caution is urgently advised. I shall therefore restrict myself to mentioning a few examples.
*In the U.S.A. the father is represented in dreams as the President, and even more often as the Governor–a title which is frequently applied to the parent in everyday life.–TR./*(2) "A patient living in a boarding-house dreams that he meets one of the servants, and asks her what her number is; to his surprise she answers: 14. He has, in fact, entered into relations with the girl in question, and has often had her in his bedroom. She feared, as may be imagined, that the landlady suspected her, and had proposed, on the day before the dream, that they should meet in one of the unoccupied rooms. In reality this room had the number 14, while in the dream the woman bore this number. A clearer proof of the identification of woman and room could hardly be imagined," (Ernest Jones, Intern. Zeitschr. f. Psychoanalyse, ii, ). (Cf. Artemidorus, The Symbolism of Dreams [German version by F. S. Krauss, Vienna, 1881, p.110]: "Thus, for example, the bedroom signifies the wife, supposing one to be in the house.")/*(3) Cf. "the cloaca theory" in Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex./*(4) See p.123-124 above./*(5) Cf. in the Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, ii, 675, the drawing of a nineteen-year-old manic patient: a man with a snake as a neck-tie, which is turning towards a girl. Also the story Der Schamhaftige (Anthropophyteia, vi, 334): A woman entered a bathroom, and there came face to face with a man who hardly had time to put on his shirt. He was greatly embarrassed, but at once covered his throat with the front of his shirt, and said: "Please excuse me, I have no necktie."/*(6) Cf. Pfister's works on cryptography and picture-puzzles.
Right and left, according to Stekel, are to be understood in dreams in an ethical sense. "The right-hand path always signifies the way to righteousness, the left-hand path the path to crime. Thus the left may signify homosexuality, incest, and perversion, while the right signifies marriage, relations with a prostitute, etc. The meaning is always determined by the individual moral standpoint of the dreamer" (loc. cit., p.466). Relatives in dreams generally stand for the genitals (p.473). Here I can confirm this meaning only for the son, the daughter, and the younger sister–that is, wherever little thing could be employed. On the other hand, verified examples allow us to recognize sisters as symbols of the breasts, and brothers as symbols of the larger hemispheres. To be unable to overtake a carriage is interpreted by Stekel as regret at being unable to catch up with a difference in age (p.479). The luggage of a traveller is the burden of sin by which one is oppressed (ibid.) But a traveller's luggage often proves to be an unmistakable symbol of one's own genitals. To numbers, which frequently occur in dreams, Stekel has assigned a fixed symbolic meaning, but these interpretations seem neither sufficiently verified nor of universal validity, although in individual cases they can usually be recognized as plausible. We have, at all events, abundant confirmation that the figure three is a symbol of the male genitals. One of Stekel's generalizations refers to the double meaning of the genital symbols. "Where is there a symbol," he asks, "which (if in any way permitted by the imagination) may not be used simultaneously in the masculine and the feminine sense?" To be sure, the clause in parenthesis retracts much of the absolute character of this assertion, for this double meaning is not always permitted by the imagination. Still, I think it is not superfluous to state that in my experience this general statement of Stekel's requires elaboration. Besides those symbols which are just as frequently employed for the male as for the female genitals, there are others which preponderantly, or almost exclusively, designate one of the sexes, and there are yet others which, so far as we know, have only the male or only the female signification. To use long, stiff objects and weapons as symbols of the female genitals, or hollow objects (chests, boxes, etc.) as symbols of the male genitals, is certainly not permitted by the imagination.
It is true that the tendency of dreams, and of the unconscious phantasy, to employ the sexual symbols bisexually, reveals an archaic trait, for in childhood the difference in the genitals is unknown, and the same genitals are attributed to both sexes. One may also be misled as regards the significance of a bisexual symbol if one forgets the fact that in some dreams a general reversal of sexes takes place, so that the male organ is represented by the female, and vice versa. Such dreams express, for example, the wish of a woman to be a man.
The genitals may even be represented in dreams by other parts of the body: the male member by the hand or the foot, the female genital orifice by the mouth, the ear, or even the eye. The secretions of the human body–mucus, tears, urine, semen, etc.– may be used in dreams interchangeably. This statement of Stekel's, correct in the main, has suffered a justifiable critical restriction as the result of certain comments of R. Reitler's (Internat. Zeitschr. fur Psych., i, 1913). The gist of the matter is the replacement of an important secretion, such as the semen, by an indifferent one.
These very incomplete indications may suffice to stimulate others to make a more painstaking collection.* I have attempted a much more detailed account of dream-symbolism in my General Introduction to Psycho-Analysis.
*In spite of all the differences between Scherner's conception of dream-symbolism and the one developed here, I must still insist that Scherner should be recognized as the true discoverer of symbolism in dreams, and that the experience of psycho analysis has brought his book (published in 1861) into posthumous repute.
I shall now append a few instances of the use of such symbols, which will show how impossible it is to arrive at the interpretation of a dream if one excludes dream-symbolism, but also how in many cases it is imperatively forced upon one. At the same time, I must expressly warn the investigator against overestimating the importance of symbols in the interpretation of dreams, restricting the work of dream-translation to the translation of symbols, and neglecting the technique of utilizing the associations of the dreamer. The two techniques of dream- interpretation must supplement one another; practically, however, as well as theoretically, precedence is retained by the latter process, which assigns the final significance to the utterances of the dreamer, while the symbol-translation which we undertake play an auxiliary part.
(A fragment from the dream of a young woman who suffered from agoraphobia as the result of her fear of temptation.)
*From "Nachtrage sur Traumdeutung" in Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, i, Nos. 5 and 6, (1911).
I am walking in the street in summer; I am wearing a straw hat of peculiar shape, the middle piece of which is bent upwards, while the side pieces hang downwards (here the description hesitates), and in such a fashion that one hangs lower than the other. I am cheerful and in a confident mood, and as I pass a number of young officers I think to myself: You can't do anything to me.
As she could produce no associations to the hat, I said to her: "The hat is really a male genital organ, with its raised middle piece and the two downward-hanging side pieces." It is perhaps peculiar that her hat should be supposed to be a man, but after all one says: Unter die Haube kommen (to get under the cap) when we mean: to get married. I intentionally refrained from interpreting the details concerning the unequal dependence of the two side pieces, although the determination of just such details must point the way to the interpretation. I went on to say that if, therefore, she had a husband with such splendid genitals she would not have to fear the officers; that is, she would have nothing to wish from them, for it was essentially her temptation- phantasies which prevented her from going about unprotected and unaccompanied. This last explanation of her anxiety I had already been able to give her repeatedly on the basis of other material.
It is quite remarkable how the dreamer behaved after this interpretation. She withdrew her description of the hat and would not admit that she had said that the two side pieces were hanging down. I was, however, too sure of what I had heard to allow myself to be misled, and so I insisted that she did say it. She was quiet for a while, and then found the courage to ask why it was that one of her husband's testicles was lower than the other, and whether it was the same with all men. With this the peculiar detail of the hat was explained, and the whole interpretation was accepted by her.
The hat symbol was familiar to me long before the patient related this dream. From other but less transparent cases I believed that I might assume the hat could also stand for the female genitals.*
*Cf. Kirchgraber for a similar example (Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, iii, , p.95). Stekel reported a dream in which the hat with an obliquely-standing feather in the middle symbolized the (impotent) man.
(Another dream of the same agoraphobic patient.)
Her mother sends away her little daughter so that she has to go alone. She then drives with her mother to the railway station, and sees her little one walking right along the track, so that she is bound to be run over. She hears the bones crack. (At this she experiences a feeling of discomfort but no real horror.) She then looks through the carriage window, to see whether the parts cannot be seen behind. Then she reproaches her mother for allowing the little one to go out alone.
It is not an easy matter to give here a complete interpretation of the dream. It forms part of a cycle of dreams, and can be fully understood only in connection with the rest. For it is not easy to obtain the material necessary to demonstrate the symbolism in a sufficiently isolated condition. The patient at first finds that the railway journey is to be interpreted historically as an allusion to a departure from a sanatorium for nervous diseases, with whose director she was, of course, in love. Her mother fetched her away, and before her departure the physician came to the railway station and gave her a bunch of flowers; she felt uncomfortable because her mother witnessed this attention. Here the mother, therefore, appears as the disturber of her tender feelings, a role actually played by this strict woman during her daughter's girlhood.–The next association referred to the sentence: She then looks to see whether the parts cannot be seen behind. In the dream-facade one would naturally be compelled to think of the pieces of the little daughter who had been run over and crushed. The association, however, turns in quite a different direction. She recalls that she once saw her father in the bath-room, naked, from behind; she then begins to talk about sex differences, and remarks that in the man the genitals can be seen from behind, but in the woman they cannot. In this connection she now herself offers the interpretation that the little one is the genital organ, and her little one (she has a four-year-old daughter) her own organ. She reproaches her mother for wanting her to live as though she had no genitals, and recognizes this reproach in the introductory sentence of the dream: the mother sends her little one away, so that she has to go alone. In her phantasy, going alone through the streets means having no man, no sexual relations (coire = to go together), and this she does not like. According to all her statements, she really suffered as a girl through her mother's jealousy, because her father showed a preference for her.
The deeper interpretation of this dream depends upon another dream of the same night, in which the dreamer identifies herself with her brother. She was a tomboy, and was always being told that she should have been born a boy. This identification with the brother shows with especial clearness that the little one signifies the genital organ. The mother threatened him (her) with castration, which could only be understood as a punishment for playing with the genital parts, and the identification, therefore, shows that she herself had masturbated as a child, though she had retained only a memory of her brother's having done so. An early knowledge of the male genitals, which she lost later, must, according to the assertions of this second dream, have been acquired at this time. Moreover, the second dream points to the infantile sexual theory that girls originate from boys as a result of castration. After I had told her of this childish belief, she at once confirmed it by an anecdote in which the boy asks the girl: "Was it cut off?" to which the girl replies: "No, it's always been like that."
Consequently the sending away of the little one, of the genital organ, in the first dream refers also to the threatened castration. Finally, she blames her mother for not having borne her as a boy.
That being run over symbolizes sexual intercourse would not be evident from this dream if we had not learned it from many other sources.
(Dream of a young man inhibited by a father complex.)
He is taking a walk with his father in a place which is certainly the Prater, for one can see the Rotunda, in front of which there is a small vestibule to which there is attached a captive balloon; the balloon, however, seems rather limp. His father asks him what this is all for; he is surprised at it, but he explains it to his father. They come into a courtyard in which lies a large sheet of tin. His father wants to pull off a big piece of this, but first looks round to see if anyone is watching. He tells his father that all he needs to do is to speak to the overseer, and then he can take as much as he wants to without any more ado. From this courtyard a flight of stairs leads down into a shaft, the walls of which are softly upholstered, rather like a leather arm-chair. At the end of this shaft there is a long platform, and then a new shaft begins...
Analysis. This dreamer belonged to a type of patient which is not at all promising from a therapeutic point of view; up to a certain point in the analysis such patients offer no resistance whatever, but from that point onwards they prove to be almost inaccessible. This dream he analysed almost independently. "The Rotunda," he said, "is my genitals, the captive balloon in front is my penis, about whose flaccidity I have been worried." We must, however, interpret it in greater detail: the Rotunda is the buttocks, constantly associated by the child with the genitals; the smaller structure in front is the scrotum. In the dream his father asks him what this is all for–that is, he asks him about the purpose and arrangement of the genitals. It is quite evident that this state of affairs should be reversed, and that he ought to be the questioner. As such questioning, on the part of the father never occurred in reality, we must conceive the dream- thought as a wish, or perhaps take it conditionally, as follows. "If I had asked my father for sexual enlightenment..." The continuation of this thought we shall presently find in another place.
The courtyard in which the sheet of tin is spread out is not to be conceived symbolically in the first instance, but originates from his father's place of business. For reasons of discretion I have inserted the tin for another material in which the father deals without, however, changing anything in the verbal expression of the dream. The dreamer had entered his father's business, and had taken a terrible dislike to the somewhat questionable practices upon which its profit mainly depended. Hence the continuation of the above dream-thought ("if I had asked him") would be: "He would have deceived me just as he does his customers." For the pulling off, which serves to represent commercial dishonesty, the dreamer himself gives a second explanation, namely, masturbation. This is not only quite familiar to us (see above), but agrees very well with the fact that the secrecy of masturbation is expressed by its opposite (one can do it quite openly). Thus, it agrees entirely with our expectations that the autoerotic activity should be attributed to the father, just as was the questioning in the first scene of the dream. The shaft he at once interprets as the vagina, by referring to the soft upholstering of the walls. That the action of coition in the vagina is described as a going down instead of in the usual way as a going up agrees with what I have found in other instances.*
*Cf. comment in the Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, i; and see above, note (8) in earlier paragraph.
The details–that at the end of the first shaft there is a long platform, and then a new shaft–he himself explains biographically. He had for some time had sexual intercourse with women, but had given it up on account of inhibitions, and now hopes to be able to begin it again with the aid of treatment. The dream, however, becomes indistinct towards the end, and to the experienced interpreter it becomes evident that in the second scene of the dream the influence of another subject has already begun to assert itself; which is indicated by his father's business, his dishonest practices, and the vagina represented by the first shaft, so that one may assume a reference to his mother.
(Dream of a woman of the lower class, whose husband is a policeman, reported by B. Dattner.)
...Then someone broke into the house and she anxiously called for a policeman. But he went peacefully with two tramps into a church,* to which a great many steps led up,*(2) behind the church there was a mountain*(3) on top of which there was a dense forest.*(4) The policeman was provided with a helmet, a gorget, and a cloak.*(5) The two vagrants, who went along with the policeman quite peaceably, had sack-like aprons tied round their loins.*(6) A road led from the church to the mountain. This road was overgrown on each side with grass and brushwood, which became thicker and thicker as it reached the top of the mountain, where it spread out into quite a forest.
*Or Chapel = vagina./*(2) Symbol of coitus./*(3) Mons veneris./*(4) Crines pubis./*(5) Demons in cloaks and hoods are, according to the explanation of a specialist, of a phallic character./*(6) The two halves of the scrotum.
(a) A boy aged three years and five months, for whom his father's return from military service is clearly inconvenient, wakes one morning in a disturbed and excited state, and constantly repeats the question: Why did Daddy carry his head on a plate? Last night Daddy carried his head on a plate.
(b) A student who is now suffering from a severe obsessional neurosis remembers that in his sixth year he repeatedly had the following dream: He goes to the barber to have his hair cut. Then a large woman with severe features comes up to him and cuts off his head. He recognizes the woman as his mother.
To one of my patients, a sexual abstainer, who was very ill, whose phantasy was fixated upon his mother, and who repeatedly dreamed of climbing stairs while accompanied by his mother, I once remarked that moderate masturbation would probably have been less harmful to him than his enforced abstinence. The influence of this remark provoked the following dream:
His piano teacher reproaches him for neglecting his piano- playing, and for not practicing the Etudes of Moscheles and Clementi's Gradus ad Parnassum. With reference to this he remarked that the Gradus, too, is a stairway, and that the piano itself is a stairway, as it has a scale.
It may be said that there is no class of ideas which cannot be enlisted in the representation of sexual facts and wishes.
A man, now thirty-five, relates a clearly remembered dream which he claims to have had when he was four years of age: The notary with whom his father's will was deposited–he had lost his father at the age of three–brought two large Emperor-pears, of which he was given one to eat. The other lay on the window sill of the living-room. He woke with the conviction of the reality of what he had dreamt, and obstinately asked his mother to give him the second pear; it was, he said, still lying on the window-sill. His mother laughed at this.
Analysis. The notary was a jovial old gentleman who, as he seems to remember, really sometimes brought pears with him. The window- sill was as he saw it in the dream. Nothing else occurs to him in this connection, except, perhaps, that his mother has recently told him a dream. She has two birds sitting on her head; she wonders when they will fly away, but they do not fly away, and one of them flies to her mouth and sucks at it.
The dreamer's inability to furnish associations justifies the attempt to interpret it by the substitution of symbols. The two pears–pommes on poires–are the breasts of the mother who nursed him; the window-sill is the projection of the bosom, analogous to the balconies in the dream of houses. His sensation of reality after waking is justified, for his mother had actually suckled him for much longer than the customary term, and her breast was still available. The dream is to be translated: "Mother, give (show) me the breast again at which I once used to drink." The once is represented by the eating of the one pear, the again by the desire for the other. The temporal repetition of an act is habitually represented in dreams by the numerical multiplication of an object
It is naturally a very striking phenomenon that symbolism should already play a part in the dream of a child of four, but this is the rule rather than the exception. One may say that the dreamer has command of symbolism from the very first.
The early age at which people make use of symbolic representation, even apart from the dream-life, may be shown by the following uninfluenced memory of a lady who is now twenty- seven: She is in her fourth year. The nursemaid is driving her, with her brother, eleven months younger, and a cousin, who is between the two in age, to the lavatory, so that they can do their little business there before going for their walk. As the oldest, she sits on the seat and the other two on chambers. She asks her (female) cousin: Have you a purse, too? Walter has a little sausage, I have a purse. The cousin answers: Yes, I have a purse, too. The nursemaid listens, laughing, and relates the conversation to the mother, whose reaction is a sharp reprimand.
Here a dream may be inserted whose excellent symbolism permitted of interpretation with little assistance from the dreamer:
*Alfred Robitsek in the Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, ii (1911), p.340.
An objection frequently raised by the opponents of psycho- analysis–and recently also by Havelock Ellis–* is that, although dream-symbolism may perhaps be a product of the neurotic psyche, it has no validity whatever in the case of normal persons. But while psychoanalysis recognizes no essential distinctions, but only quantitative differences, between the psychic life of the normal person and that of the neurotic, the analysis of those dreams in which, in sound and sick persons alike, the repressed complexes display the same activity, reveals the absolute identity of the mechanisms as well as of the symbolism. Indeed, the natural dreams of healthy persons often contain a much simpler, more transparent, and more characteristic symbolism than those of neurotics, which, owing to the greater strictness of the censorship and the more extensive dream- distortion resulting therefrom, are frequently troubled and obscured, and are therefore more difficult to translate. The following dream serves to illustrate this fact. This dream comes from a non-neurotic girl of a rather prudish and reserved type. In the course of conversation I found that she was engaged to be married, but that there were hindrances in the way of the marriage which threatened to postpone it. She related spontaneously the following dream:
*The World of Dreams, London (1911), p.168.
I arrange the centre of a table with flowers for a birthday. On being questioned she states that in the dream she seemed to be at home (she has no home at the time) and experienced a feeling of happiness.
The popular symbolism enables me to translate the dream for myself. It is the expression of her wish to be married: the table, with the flowers in the centre, is symbolic of herself and her genitals. She represents her future fulfilled, inasmuch as she is already occupied with the thoughts of the birth of a child; so the wedding has taken place long ago.
I call her attention to the fact that the centre of a table is an unusual expression, which she admits; but here, of course, I cannot question her more directly. I carefully refrain from suggesting to her the meaning of the symbols, and ask her only for the thoughts which occur to her mind in connection with the individual parts of the dream. In the course of the analysis her reserve gave way to a distinct interest in the interpretation, and a frankness which was made possible by the serious tone of the conversation. To my question as to what kind of flowers they had been, her first answer is: expensive flowers; one has to pay for them; then she adds that they were lilies-of-the-valley, violets, and pinks or carnations. I took the word lily in this dream in its popular sense, as a symbol of chastity; she confirmed this, as purity occurred to her in association with lily. Valley is a common feminine dream-symbol. The chance juxtaposition of the two symbols in the name of the flower is made into a piece of dream-symbolism, and serves to emphasize the preciousness of her virginity–expensive flowers; one has to pay for them–and expresses the expectation that her husband will know how to appreciate its value. The comment, expensive flowers, etc. has, as will be shown, a different meaning in every one of the three different flower-symbols.
I thought of what seemed to me a venturesome explanation of the hidden meaning of the apparently quite asexual word violets by an unconscious relation to the French viol. But to my surprise the dreamer's association was the English word violate. The accidental phonetic similarity of the two words violet and violate is utilized by the dream to express in the language of flowers the idea of the violence of defloration (another word which makes use of flower-symbolism), and perhaps also to give expression to a masochistic tendency on the part of the girl. An excellent example of the word bridges across which run the paths to the unconscious. One has to pay for them here means life, with which she has to pay for becoming a wife and a mother.
In association with pinks, which she then calls carnations, I think of carnal. But her association is colour, to which she adds that carnations are the flowers which her fiance gives her frequently and in large quantities. At the end of the conversation she suddenly admits, spontaneously, that she has not told me the truth; the word that occurred to her was not colour, but incarnation, the very word I expected. Moreover, even the word colour is not a remote association; it was determined by the meaning of carnation (i.e., flesh-colour)–that is, by the complex. This lack of honesty shows that the resistance here is at its greatest because the symbolism is here most transparent, and the struggle between libido and repression is most intense in connection with this phallic theme. The remark that these flowers were often given her by her fiance is, together with the double meaning of carnation, a still further indication of their phallic significance in the dream. The occasion of the present of flowers during the day is employed to express the thought of a sexual present and a return present. She gives her virginity and expects in return for it a rich love-life. But the words: expensive flowers; one has to pay for them may have a real, financial meaning. The flower-symbolism in the dream thus comprises the virginal female, the male symbol, and the reference to violent defloration. It is to be noted that sexual flower-symbolism, which, of course, is very widespread, symbolizes the human sexual organs by flowers, the sexual organs of plants; indeed, presents of flowers between lovers may have this unconscious significance.
The birthday for which she is making preparations in the dream probably signifies the birth of a child. She identifies herself with the bridegroom, and represents him preparing her for a birth (having coitus with her). It is as though the latent thought were to say: "If I were he, I would not wait, but I would deflower the bride without asking her; I would use violence." Indeed, the word violate points to this. Thus even the sadistic libidinal components find expression.
In a deeper stratum of the dream the sentence I arrange, etc., probably has an auto-erotic, that is, an infantile significance.
She also has a knowledge–possibly only in the dream–of her physical need; she sees herself flat like a table, so that she emphasizes all the more her virginity, the costliness of the centre (another time she calls it a centre-piece of flowers). Even the horizontal element of the table may contribute something to the symbol. The concentration of the dream is worthy of remark: nothing is superfluous, every word is a symbol.
Later on she brings me a supplement to this dream: I decorate the flowers with green crinkled paper. She adds that it was fancy paper of the sort which is used to disguise ordinary flower-pots. She says also: "To hide untidy things, whatever was to be seen which was not pretty to the eye; there is a gap, a little space in the flowers. The paper looks like velvet or moss." With decorate she associates decorum, as I expected. The green colour is very prominent, and with this she associates hope, yet another reference to pregnancy. In this part of the dream the identification with the man is not the dominant feature, but thoughts of shame and frankness express themselves. She makes herself beautiful for him; she admits physical defects, of which she is ashamed and which she wishes to correct. The associations velvet and moss distinctly point to crines pubis.
The dream is an expression of thoughts hardly known to the waking state of the girl; thoughts which deal with the love of the senses and its organs; she is prepared for a birth-day, i.e., she has coitus; the fear of defloration and perhaps the pleasurably toned pain find expression; she admits her physical defects and over-compensates them by means of an over-estimation of the value of her virginity. Her shame excuses the emerging sensuality by the fact that the aim of it all is the child. Even material considerations, which are foreign to the lover, find expression here. The affect of the simple dream–the feeling of bliss–shows that here strong emotional complexes have found satisfaction.
I close with the...
(A young man who has been trying to give up his habit of masturbation by substituting intercourse with a woman.)
Preliminary statement: On the day before the dream he had been instructing a student as to Grignard's reaction, in which magnesium is dissolved in absolutely pure ether under the catalytic influence of iodine. Two days earlier there had been an explosion in the course of the same reaction, in which someone had burned his hand.
Dream I. He is going to make phenylmagnesiumbromide; he sees the apparatus with particular distinctness, but he has substituted himself for the magnesium. He is now in a curious, wavering attitude. He keeps on repeating to himself: "This is the right thing, it is working, my feet are beginning to dissolve, and my knees are getting soft." Then he reaches down and feels for his feet, and meanwhile (he does not know how) he takes his legs out of the carboy, and then again he says to himself: "That can't be... Yes, it has been done correctly." Then he partially wakes, and repeats the dream to himself, because he wants to tell it to me. He is positively afraid of the analysis of the dream. He is much excited during this state of semi-sleep, and repeats continually: "Phenyl, phenyl."
II. He is in... with his whole family. He is supposed to be at the Schottentor at half-past eleven in order to keep an appointment with the lady in question, but he does not wake until half-past eleven. He says to himself: "It is too late now; when you get there it will be half-past twelve." The next moment he sees the whole family gathered about the table–his mother and the parlourmaid with the soup tureen with peculiar distinctness. Then he says to himself: "Well, if we are sitting down to eat already, I certainly can't get away."
He feels sure that even the first dream contains a reference to the lady whom he is to meet at the place of rendezvous (the dream was dreamed during the night before the expected meeting). The student whom he was instructing is a particularly unpleasant fellow; the chemist had said to him: "That isn't right, because the magnesium was still unaffected," and the student had answered, as though he were quite unconcerned: "Nor it is." He himself must be this student; he is as indifferent to his analysis as the student is to his synthesis; the he in the dream, however, who performs the operation, is myself. How unpleasant he must seem to me with his indifference to the result!
Again, he is the material with which the analysis (synthesis) is made. For the question is the success of the treatment. The legs in the dream recall an impression of the previous evening. He met a lady at a dancing class of whom he wished to make a conquest; he pressed her to him so closely that she once cried out. As he ceased to press her legs he felt her firm, responding pressure against his lower thighs as far as just above the knees, the spot mentioned in the dream. In this situation, then, the woman is the magnesium in the retort, which is at last working. He is feminine towards me, as he is virile towards the woman. If he succeeds with the woman, the treatment will also succeed. Feeling himself and becoming aware of his knees refers to masturbation, and corresponds to his fatigue of the previous day... The rendezvous had actually been made for half-past eleven. His wish to oversleep himself and to keep to his sexual object at home (that is, masturbation) corresponds to his resistance.
He says, in respect to the repetition of the name phenyl, that all these radicals ending in yl have always been pleasing to him; they are very convenient to use: benzyl, acetyl, etc. That, however, explained nothing. But when I proposed the root Schlemihl he laughed heartily, and told me that during the summer he had read a book by Prevost which contained a chapter: "Les exclus de l'amour," and in this there was some mention of Schlemilies; and in reading of these outcasts he said to himself: "That is my case." He would have played the Schlemihl if he had missed the appointment.
It seems that the sexual symbolism of dreams has already been directly confirmed by experiment. In 1912 Dr. K. Schrotter, at the instance of H. Swoboda, produced dreams in deeply hypnotized persons by suggestions which determined a large part of the dream- content. If the suggestion proposed that the subject should dream of normal or abnormal sexual relations, the dream carried out these orders by replacing sexual material by the symbols with which psycho-analytic dream-interpretation has made us familiar. Thus, following the suggestion that the dreamer should dream of homosexual relations with a lady friend, this friend appeared in the dream carrying a shabby travelling-bag, upon which there was a label with the printed words: "For ladies only." The dreamer was believed never to have heard of dream-symbolization or of dream-interpretation. Unfortunately, the value of this important investigation was diminished by the fact that Dr. Schrotter shortly afterwards committed suicide. Of his dream-experiments be gave us only a preliminary report in the Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse.
Only when we have formed a due estimate of the importance of symbolism in dreams can we continue the study of the typical dreams which was interrupted in an earlier chapter. I feel justified in dividing these dreams roughly into two classes; first, those which always really have the same meaning, and second, those which despite the same or a similar content must nevertheless be given the most varied interpretations. Of the typical dreams belonging to the first class I have already dealt fairly fully with the examination-dream.
On account of their similar affective character, the dreams of missing a train deserve to be ranked with the examination-dreams; moreover, their interpretation justifies this approximation. They are consolation-dreams, directed against another anxiety perceived in dreams–the fear of death. To depart is one of the most frequent and one of the most readily established of the death-symbols. The dream therefore says consolingly: "Reassure yourself, you are not going to die (to depart)," just as the examination-dream calms us by saying: "Don't be afraid; this time, too, nothing will happen to you." The difficulty is understanding both kinds of dreams is due to the fact that the anxiety is attached precisely to the expression of consolation.
The meaning of the dreams due to dental stimulus which I have often enough had to analyse in my patients escaped me for a long time because, much to my astonishment, they habitually offered too great a resistance to interpretation. But finally an overwhelming mass of evidence convinced me that in the case of men nothing other than the masturbatory desires of puberty furnish the motive power of these dreams. I shall analyse two such dreams, one of which is also a flying dream. The two dreams were dreamed by the same person–a young man of pronounced homosexuality which, however, has been inhibited in life.
He is witnessing a performance of Fidelio from the stalls the of the operahouse; sitting next to L, whose personality is congenial to him, and whose friendship he would like to have. Suddenly he flies diagonally right across the stalls; he then puts his hand in his mouth and draws out two of his teeth.
He himself describes the flight by saying that it was as though he were thrown into the air. As the opera performed was Fidelio, he recalls the words:
He who a charming wife acquires....
But the acquisition of even the most charming wife is not among the wishes of the dreamer. Two other lines would be more appropriate:
He who succeeds in the lucky (big) throw
The friend of a friend to be....
The dream thus contains the lucky (big) throw which is not, however, a wish-fulfilment only. For it conceals also the painful reflection that in his striving after friendship he has often had the misfortune to be thrown out, and the fear lest this fate may be repeated in the case of the young man by whose side he has enjoyed the performance of Fidelio. This is now followed by a confession, shameful to a man of his refinement, to the effect that once, after such a rejection on the part of a friend, his profound sexual longing caused him to masturbate twice in succession.
The other dream is as follows: Two university professors of his acquaintance are treating him in my place. One of them does something to his penis; he is afraid of an operation. The other thrusts an iron bar against his mouth, so that he loses one or two teeth. He is bound with four silk handkerchiefs.
The sexual significance of this dream can hardly be doubted. The silk handkerchiefs allude to an identification with a homosexual of his acquaintance. The dreamer, who has never achieved coition (nor has he ever actually sought sexual intercourse) with men, conceives the sexual act on the lines of masturbation with which he was familiar during puberty.
I believe that the frequent modifications of the typical dream due to dental stimulus–that, for example, in which another person draws the tooth from the dreamer's mouth–will be made intelligible by the same explanation.* It may, however, be difficult to understand how dental stimulus can have come to have this significance. But here I may draw attention to the frequent displacement from below to above which is at the service of sexual repression, and by means of which all kinds of sensations and intentions occurring in hysteria, which ought to be localized in the genitals, may at all events be realized in other, unobjectionable parts of the body. We have a case of such displacement when the genitals are replaced by the face in the symbolism of unconscious thought. This is corroborated by the fact that verbal usage relates the buttocks to the cheeks, and the labia minora to the lips which enclose the orifice of the mouth. The nose is compared to the penis in numerous allusions, and in each case the presence of hair completes the resemblance. Only one feature–the teeth–is beyond all possibility of being compared in this way; but it is just this coincidence of agreement and disagreement which makes the teeth suitable for purposes of representation under the pressure of sexual repression.
*The extraction of a tooth by another is usually to be interpreted as castration (cf. hair-cutting; Stekel). One must distinguish between dreams due to dental stimulus and dreams referring to the dentist, such as have been recorded, for example, by Coriat (Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, iii, 440).
I will not assert that the interpretation of dreams due to dental stimulus as dreams of masturbation (the correctness of which I cannot doubt) has been freed of all obscurity.* I carry the explanation as far as I am able, and must leave the rest unsolved. But I must refer to yet another relation indicated by a colloquial expression. In Austria there is in use an indelicate designation for the act of masturbation, namely: "To pull one out," or "to pull one off."*(2) I am unable to say whence these colloquialisms originate, or on what symbolisms they are based; but the teeth would very well fit in with the first of the two.
*According to C. G. Jung, dreams due to dental stimulus in the case of women have the significance parturition dreams. E. Jones has given valuable confirmation of this. The common element of this interpretation with that represented above may be found in the fact that in both cases (castration-birth) there is a question of removing a part from the whole body./*(2) Cf. the biographical dream earlier in this chapter.
Dreams of pulling teeth, and of teeth falling out, are interpreted in popular belief to mean the death of a connection. Psycho-analysis can admit of such a meaning only at the most as a joking allusion to the sense already indicated.
To the second group of typical dreams belong those in which one is flying or hovering, falling, swimming, etc. What do these dreams signify? Here we cannot generalize. They mean, as we shall learn, something different in each case; only, the sensory material which they contain always comes from the same source.
We must conclude from the information obtained in psycho-analysis that these dreams also repeat impressions of our childhood–that is, that they refer to the games involving movement which have such an extraordinary attraction for children. Where is the uncle who has never made a child fly by running with it across the room, with outstretched arms, or has never played at falling with it by rocking it on his knee and then suddenly straightening his leg, or by lifting it above his head and suddenly pretending to withdraw his supporting hand? At such moments children shout with joy and insatiably demand a repetition of the performance, especially if a little fright and dizziness are involved in it. In after years they repeat their sensations in dreams, but in dreams they omit the hands that held them, so that now they are free to float or fall. We know that all small children have a fondness for such games as rocking and see-sawing; and when they see gymnastic performances at the circus their recollection of such games is refreshed. In some boys the hysterical attack consists simply in the reproduction of such performances, which they accomplish with great dexterity. Not infrequently sexual sensations are excited by these games of movement, innocent though they are in themselves. To express the matter in a few words: it is these romping games of childhood which are being repeated in dreams of flying, falling, vertigo, and the like, but the pleasurable sensations are now transformed into anxiety. But, as every mother knows, the romping of children often enough ends in quarrelling and tears.
I have therefore good reason for rejecting the explanation that it is the condition of our cutaneous sensations during sleep, the sensation of the movements of the lungs, etc., that evoke dreams of flying and falling. As I see it, these sensations have themselves been reproduced from the memory to which the dream refers–that they are therefore dream-content, and not dream- sources.*
*This passage, dealing with dreams of motion, is repeated on account of the context. Cf. chapter V., D.
This material, consisting of sensations of motion, similar in character, and originating from the same sources, is now used for the representation of the most manifold dream-thoughts. Dreams of flying or hovering, for the most part pleasurably toned, will call for the most widely differing interpretations– interpretations of a quite special nature in the case of some dreamers, and interpretations of a typical nature in that of others. One of my patients was in the habit of dreaming very frequently that she was hovering a little way above the street without touching the ground. She was very short of stature, and she shunned every sort of contamination involved by intercourse with human beings. Her dream of suspension–which raised her feet above the ground and allowed her head to tower into the air– fulfilled both of her wishes. In the case of other dreamers of the same sex, the dream of flying had the significance of the longing: "If only I were a little bird!" Similarly, others become angels at night, because no one has ever called them angels by day. The intimate connection between flying and the idea of a bird makes it comprehensible that the dream of flying, in the case of male dreamers, should usually have a coarsely sensual significance;* and we should not be surprised to hear that this or that dreamer is always very proud of his ability to fly.
*A reference to the German slang word vogeln (to copulate) from Vogel (a bird).–TR.
Dr. Paul Federn (Vienna) has propounded the fascinating theory that a great many flying dreams are erection dreams, since the remarkable phenomenon of erection, which constantly occupies the human phantasy, cannot fail to be impressive as an apparent suspension of the laws of gravity (cf. the winged phalli of the ancients).
It is a noteworthy fact that a prudent experimenter like Mourly Vold, who is really averse to any kind of interpretation, nevertheless defends the erotic interpretation of the dreams of flying and hovering.* He describes the erotic element as "the most important motive factor of the hovering dream," and refers to the strong sense of bodily vibration which accompanies this type of dream, and the frequent connection of such dreams with erections and emissions.
*"Uber den Traum," Ges. Schriften, Vol. III.
Dreams of falling are more frequently characterized by anxiety. Their interpretation, when they occur in women, offers no difficulty, because they nearly always accept the symbolic meaning of falling, which is a circumlocution for giving way to an erotic temptation. We have not yet exhausted the infantile sources of the dream of falling; nearly all children have fallen occasionally, and then been picked up and fondled; if they fell out of bed at night, they were picked up by the nurse and taken into her bed.
People who dream often, and with great enjoyment, of swimming, cleaving the waves, etc., have usually been bed-wetters, and they now repeat in the dream a pleasure which they have long since learned to forego. We shall soon learn, from one example or another, to what representations dreams of swimming easily lend themselves.
The interpretation of dreams of fire justifies a prohibition of the nursery, which forbids children to play with fire so that they may not wet the bed at night. These dreams also are based on reminiscences of the enuresis nocturna of childhood. In my "Fragment of an Analysis of Hysteria"* I have given the complete analysis and synthesis of such a dream of fire in connection with the infantile history of the dreamer, and have shown for the representation of what maturer impulses this infantile material has been utilized.
*Collected Papers, III.
It would be possible to cite quite a number of other typical dreams, if by such one understands dreams in which there is a frequent recurrence, in the dreams of different persons, of the same manifest dream-content. For example: dreams of passing through narrow alleys, or a whole suite of rooms; dreams of burglars, in respect of whom nervous people take measures of precaution before going to bed; dreams of being chased by wild animals (bulls, horses); or of being threatened with knives, daggers, and lances. The last two themes are characteristic of the manifest dream-content of persons suffering from anxiety, etc. A special investigation of this class of material would be well worth while. In lieu of this I shall offer two observations, which do not, however, apply exclusively to typical dreams.
The more one is occupied with the solution of dreams, the readier one becomes to acknowledge that the majority of the dreams of adults deal with sexual material and give expression to erotic wishes. Only those who really analyse dreams, that is, those who penetrate from their manifest content to the latent dream- thoughts, can form an opinion on this subject; but never those who are satisfied with registering merely the manifest content (as, for example, Nacke in his writings on sexual dreams). Let us recognize at once that there is nothing astonishing in this fact, which is entirely consistent with the principles of dream- interpretation. No other instinct has had to undergo so much suppression, from the time of childhood onwards, as the sexual instinct in all its numerous components:* from no other instincts are so many and such intense unconscious wishes left over, which now, in the sleeping state, generate dreams. In dream- interpretation this importance of the sexual complexes must never be forgotten, though one must not, of course, exaggerate it to the exclusion of all other factors.
*Cf. Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex.
Of many dreams it may be ascertained, by careful interpretation, that they may even be understood bisexually, inasmuch as they yield an indisputable over-interpretation, in which they realize homosexual impulses–that is, impulses which are contrary to the normal sexual activity of the dreamer. But that all dreams are to be interpreted bisexually, as Stekel* maintains, and Adler, *(2) seems to me to be a generalization as insusceptible of proof as it is improbable, and one which, therefore, I should be loth to defend; for I should, above all, be at a loss to know how to dispose of the obvious fact that there are many dreams which satisfy other than erotic needs (taking the word in the widest sense), as, for example, dreams of hunger, thirst, comfort, etc. And other similar assertions, to the effect that "behind every dream one finds a reference to death" (Stekel), or that every dream shows "an advance from the feminine to the masculine line" (Adler), seem to me to go far beyond the admissible in the interpretation of dreams. The assertion that all dreams call for a sexual interpretation, against which there is such an untiring polemic in the literature of the subject, is quite foreign to my Interpretation of Dreams. It will not be found in any of the eight editions of this book, and is in palpable contradiction to the rest of its contents.
*W. Stekel, Die Sprache des Traumes (1911)./*(2) Alf. Adler, "Der Psychische Hermaphroditismus im Leben und in der Neurose," in Fortschritte der Medizin (1910), No. 16, and later papers in the Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse, i (1910-11).
We have stated elsewhere that dreams which are conspicuously innocent commonly embody crude erotic wishes, and this we might confirm by numerous further examples. But many dreams which appear indifferent, in which we should never suspect a tendency in any particular direction, may be traced, according to the analysis, to unmistakably sexual wish-impulses, often of an unsuspected nature. For example, who, before it had been interpreted, would have suspected a sexual wish in the following dream? The dreamer relates: Between two stately palaces there stands, a little way back, a small house, whose doors are closed. My wife leads me along the little bit of road leading to the house and pushes the door open, and then I slip quickly and easily into the interior of a courtyard that slopes steeply upwards.
Anyone who has had experience in the translating of dreams will, of course, at once be reminded that penetration into narrow spaces and the opening of locked doors are among the commonest of sexual symbols, and will readily see in this dream a representation of attempted coition from behind (between the two stately buttocks of the female body). The narrow, steep passage is, of course, the vagina; the assistance attributed to the wife of the dreamer requires the interpretation that in reality it is only consideration for the wife which is responsible for abstention from such an attempt. Moreover, inquiry shows that on the previous day a young girl had entered the household of the dreamer; she had pleased him, and had given him the impression that she would not be altogether averse to an approach of this sort. The little house between the two palaces is taken from a reminiscence of the Hradschin in Prague, and once more points to the girl, who is a native of that city.
If, in conversation with my patients, I emphasize the frequency of the Oedipus dream–the dream of having sexual intercourse with one's mother–I elicit the answer: "I cannot remember such a dream." Immediately afterwards, however, there arises the recollection of another, an unrecognizable, indifferent dream, which the patient has dreamed repeatedly, and which on analysis proves to be a dream with this very content–that is, yet another Oedipus dream. I can assure the reader that disguised dreams of sexual intercourse with the dreamer's mother are far more frequent than undisguised dreams to the same effect.*
*I have published a typical example of such a disguised Oedipus dream in No. 1 of the Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse (see below): another, with a detailed analysis, was published in No. 4 of the same journal by Otto Rank. For other disguised Oedipus dreams in which the eye appears as a symbol, see Rank (Int. Zeitschr. fur Ps. A., i, ). Papers upon eye dreams and eye symbolism by Eder, Ferenczi, and Reitler will be found in the same issue. The blinding in the Oedipus legend and elsewhere is a substitute for castration. The ancients, by the way, were not unfamiliar with the symbolic interpretation of the undisguised Oedipus dream (see O. Rank, Jahrb. ii, p.534: "Thus, a dream of Julius Caesar's of sexual relations with his mother has been handed down to us, which the oreirocopists interpreted as a favourable omen signifying his taking possession of the earth (Mother Earth). Equally well known is the oracle delivered to the Tarquinii, to the effect that that one of them would become the ruler of Rome who should be the first to kiss his mother (osculum matri tulerit), which Brutus conceived as referring to Mother Earth (terram osculo contigit, scilicet quod ea communis mater omnium mortalium esset, Livy, I, lvi). Cf. here the dream of Hippias in Herodotus vi, 107. These myths and interpretations point to a correct psychological insight. I have found that those persons who consider themselves preferred or favoured by their mothers manifest in life that confidence in themselves, and that unshakable optimism, which often seem heroic, and not infrequently compel actual success.
Typical example of a disguised Oedipus dream:
A man dreams: He has a secret affair with a woman whom another man wishes to marry. He is concerned lest the other should discover this relation and abandon the marriage; he therefore behaves very affectionately to the man; he nestles up to him and kisses him. The facts of the dreamer's life touch the dream- content only at one point. He has a secret affair with a married woman, and an equivocal expression of her husband, with whom he is on friendly terms, aroused in him the suspicion that he might have noticed something of this relationship. There is, however, in reality, yet another factor, the mention of which was avoided in the dream, and which alone gives the key to it. The life of the husband is threatened by an organic malady. His wife is prepared for the possibility of his sudden death, and our dreamer consciously harbours the intention of marrying the young widow after her husband's decease. It is through this objective situation that the dreamer finds himself transferred into the constellation of the Oedipus dream; his wish is to be enabled to kill the man, so that he may win the woman for his wife; his dream gives expression to the wish in a hypocritical distortion. Instead of representing her as already married to the other man, it represents the other man only as wishing to marry her, which indeed corresponds with his own secret intention, and the hostile whishes directed against the man are concealed under demonstrations of affection, which are reminiscences of his childish relations to his father.
There are dreams of landscapes and localities in which emphasis is always laid upon the assurance: "I have been here before." but this Deja vu has a special significance in dreams. In this case the locality is the genitals of the mother; of no other place can it be asserted with such certainty that one has been here before. I was once puzzled by the account of a dream given by a patient afflicted with obsessional neurosis. He dreamed that he called at a house where he had been twice before. But this very patient had long ago told me of an episode of his sixth year. At that time he shared his mother's bed, and had abused the occasion by inserting his finger into his mother's genitals while she was asleep.
A large number of dreams, which are frequently full of anxiety, and often have for content the traversing of narrow spaces, or staying long in the water, are based upon phantasies concerning the intra-uterine life, the sojourn in the mother's womb, and the act of birth. I here insert the dream of a young man who, in his phantasy, has even profited by the intra-uterine opportunity of spying upon an act of coition between his parents.
He is in a deep shaft, in which there is a window, as in the Semmering tunnel. Through this he sees at first an empty landscape, and then he composes a picture in it, which is there all at once and fills up the empty space. The picture represents a field which is being deeply tilled by an implement, and the wholesome air, the associated idea of hard work, and the bluish- black clods of earth make a pleasant impression on him. He then goes on and sees a work on education lying open... and is surprised that so much attention is devoted in it to the sexual feelings (of children), which makes him think of me.
Here is a pretty water-dream of a female patient, which was turned to special account in the course of treatment.
At her usual holiday resort on the... Lake, she flings herself into the dark water at a place where the pale moon is reflected in the water.
Dreams of this sort are parturition dreams; their interpretation is effected by reversing the fact recorded in the manifest dream- content; thus, instead of flinging oneself into the water, read coming out of the water–that is, being born.* The place from which one is born may be recognized if one thinks of the humorous sense of the French la lune. The pale moon thus becomes the white bottom, which the child soon guesses to be the place from which it came. Now what can be the meaning of the patient's wishing to be born at a holiday resort? I asked the dreamer this, and she replied without hesitation: "Hasn't the treatment made me as though I were born again?" Thus the dream becomes an invitation to continue the treatment at this summer resort–that is, to visit her there; perhaps it also contains a very bashful allusion to the wish to become a mother herself.*(2)
*For the mythological meaning of water-birth, see Rank: Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden (1909)./*(2) It was not for a long time that I learned to appreciate the significance of the phantasies and unconscious thoughts relating to life in the womb. They contain the explanation of the curious dread, felt by so many people, of being buried alive, as well as the profoundest unconscious reason for the belief in a life after death, which represents only the projection into the future of this mysterious life before birth. The act of birth, moreover, is the first experience attended by anxiety, and is thus, the source and model of the affect of anxiety.
Another dream of parturition, with its interpretation, I take from a paper by E. Jones. "She stood at the seashore watching a small boy, who seemed to be hers, wading into the water. This he did till the water covered him and she could only see his head bobbing up and down near the surface. The scene then changed to the crowded to hall of an hotel. Her husband left her, and she 'entered into conversation with' a stranger.
"The second half of the dream was discovered in the analysis to represent flight from her husband, and the entering into intimate relations with a third person, behind whom was plainly indicated Mr. X's brother, mentioned in a former dream. The first part of the dream was a fairly evident birth-phantasy. In dreams, as in mythology, the delivery of a child from the uterine waters is commonly represented, by way of distortion, as the entry of the child into water; among many other instances, the births of Adonis, Osiris, Moses, and Bacchus are well-known illustrations of this. The bobbing up and down of the head in the water at once recalled to the patient the sensation of quickening which she had experienced in her only pregnancy. Thinking of the boy going into the water induced a reverie in which she saw herself taking him out of the water, carrying him into the nursery, washing and dressing him, and installing him in her household.
"The second half of the dream, therefore, represents thoughts concerning the elopement, which belonged to the first half of the underlying latent content; the first half of the dream corresponded with the second half of the latent content, the birth phantasy. Besides this inversion in the order, further inversions took place in each half of the dream. In the first half the child entered the water, and then his head bobbed; in the underlying dream-thoughts the quickening occurred first, and then the child left the water (a double inversion). In the second half her husband left her; in the dream-thoughts she left her husband."
Another parturition dream is related by Abraham–the dream of a young woman expecting her first confinement: Front one point of the floor of the room a subterranean channel leads directly into the water (path of parturition–amniotic fluid). She lifts up a trap in the floor, and there immediately appears a creature dressed in brownish fur, which almost resembles a seal. This creature changes into the dreamer's younger brother, to whom her relation has always been material in character.
Rank has shown from a number of dreams that parturition-dreams employ the same symbols as micturition-dreams. The erotic stimulus expresses itself in these dreams as in urethral stimulus. The stratification of meaning in these dreams corresponds with a chance in the significance of the symbol since childhood.
We may here turn back to the interrupted theme (see chapter III) of the part played by organic, sleep-disturbing stimuli in dream- formation. Dreams which have come into existence under these influences not only reveal quite frankly the wish-fulfilling tendency, and the character of convenience-dreams, but they very often display a quite transparent symbolism as well, since waking not infrequently follows a stimulus whose satisfaction in symbolic disguise has already been vainly attempted in the dream. This is true of emission dreams as well as those evoked by the need to urinate or defecate. The peculiar character of emission dreams permits us directly to unmask certain sexual symbols already recognized as typical, but nevertheless violently disputed, and it also convinces us that many an apparently innocent dream-situation is merely the symbolic prelude to a crudely sexual scene. This, however, finds direct representation, as a rule, only in the comparatively infrequent emission dreams, while it often enough turns into an anxiety-dream, which likewise leads to waking.
The symbolism of dreams due to urethral stimulus is especially obvious, and has always been divined. Hippocrates had already advanced the theory that a disturbance of the bladder was indicated if one dreamt of fountains and springs (Havelock Ellis). Scherner, who has studied the manifold symbolism of the urethral stimulus, agrees that "the powerful urethral stimulus always turns into the stimulation of the sexual sphere and its symbolic imagery.... The dream due to urethral stimulus is often at the same time the representative of the sexual dream."
O. Rank, whose conclusions (in his paper on Die Symbolschichtung im Wecktraum) I have here followed, argues very plausibly that a large number of "dreams due to urethral stimulus" are really caused by sexual stimuli, which at first seek to gratify themselves by way of regression to the infantile form of urethral erotism. Those cases are especially instructive in which the urethral stimulus thus produced leads to waking and the emptying of the bladder, whereupon, in spite of this relief, the dream is continued, and expresses its need in undisguisedly erotic images.*
*"The same symbolic representations which in the infantile sense constitute the basis of the vesical dream appear in the recent sense in purely sexual significance: water = urine = semen = amniotic fluid; ship = to pump ship (urinate) = seed-capsule; getting wet = enuresis = coitus = pregnancy; swimming = full bladder = dwelling-place of the unborn; rain = urination = symbol of fertilization: traveling (journeying–alighting) = getting out of bed = having sexual intercourse (honeymoon journey); urinating = sexual ejaculation" (Rank, I, c).
In a quite analogous manner dreams due to intestinal stimulus disclose the pertinent symbolism, and thus confirm the relation, which is also amply verified by ethno-psychology, of gold and feces.* "Thus, for example, a woman, at a time when she is under the care of a physician on account of an intestinal disorder, dreams of a digger for hidden treasure who is burying a treasure in the vicinity of a little wooden shed which looks like a rural privy. A second part of the dream has as its content how she wipes the posterior of her child, a little girl, who has soiled herself."
*Freud, "Character and Anal Erotism," Collected Papers, II; Rank, Die Symbolschictung, etc.; Dattner, Intern. Zeitschr. f. Psych. i (1913); Reik Intern. Zeitschr., iii (1915).
Dreams of rescue are connected with parturition dreams. To rescue, especially to rescue from the water, is, when dreamed by a woman, equivalent to giving birth; this sense is, however, modified when the dreamer is a man.*
*For such a dream see Pfister, "Ein Fall von psychoanalytischer Seelensorge und Seelenheilung," in Evangelische Freiheit (1909). Concerning the symbol of "rescuing," see my paper, "The Future Prospects of Psycho-Analytic Therapy" (p.123 above). Also "Contribution to the Theory of Love, I: A Special Type of Object Choice in Men" in Collected Papers, iv. Also Rank, "Beilege zur Rettungs-phantasie," in the Zentralblatt fur Psychoanalyse i (1910), p.331; Reik; "Zur Rettungssymbolic," ibid., p.299.
Robbers, burglars, and ghosts, of which we are afraid before going to bed, and which sometimes even disturb our sleep, originate in one and the same childish reminiscence. They are the nightly visitors who have waked the child in order to set it on the chamber, so that it may not wet the bed, or have lifted the coverlet in order to see clearly how the child is holding its hands while sleeping. I have been able to induce an exact recollection of the nocturnal visitor in the analysis of some of these anxiety dreams. The robbers were always the father; the ghosts more probably correspond to female persons in white night- gowns.
Before I proceed to assign to its proper place the fourth of the factors which control the formation of dreams, I shall cite a few examples from my collection of dreams, partly for the purpose of illustrating the co-operation of the three factors with which we are already acquainted, and partly for the purpose of adducing evidence for certain unsupported assertions which have been made, or of bringing out what necessarily follows from them. It has, of course, been difficult in the foregoing account of the dream-work to demonstrate my conclusions by means of examples. Examples in support of isolated statements are convincing only when considered in the context of an interpretation of a dream as a whole; when they are wrested from their context, they lose their value; on the other hand, a dream-interpretation, even when it is by no means profound, soon becomes so extensive that it obscures the thread of the discussion which it is intended to illustrate. This technical consideration must be my excuse if I now proceed to mix together all sorts of things which have nothing in common except their reference to the text of the foregoing chapter.
We shall first consider a few examples of very peculiar or unusual methods of representation in dreams. A lady dreamed as follows: A servant-girl is standing on a ladder as though to clean the windows, and has with her a chimpanzee and a gorilla cat (later corrected, angora cat). She throws the animals on to the dreamer; the chimpanzee nestles up to her, and this is very disgusting. This dream has accomplished its purpose by a very simple means, namely, by taking a mere figure of speech literally, and representing it in accordance with the literal meaning of its words. Monkey, like the names of animals in general, is an opprobrious epithet, and the situation of the dream means merely to hurl invectives. This same collection will soon furnish us with further examples of the employment of this simple artifice in the dream-work.
Another dream proceeds in a very similar manner: A woman with a child which has a conspicuously deformed cranium; the dreamer has heard that the child acquired this deformity owing to its position in its mother's womb. The doctor says that the cranium might be given a better shape by means of compression, but that this would injure the brain. She thinks that because it is a boy it won't suffer so much from deformity. This dream contains a plastic representation of the abstract concept: Childish impressions, with which the dreamer has become familiar in the course of the treatment.
In the following example the dream-work follows rather a different course. The dream contains a recollection of an excursion to the Hilmteich, near Graz: There is a terrible storm outside; a miserable hotel–the water is dripping from the walls, and the beds are damp. (The latter part of the content was less directly expressed than I give it.) The dream signifies superfluous. The abstract idea occurring in the dream-thoughts is first made equivocal by a certain abuse of language; it has perhaps been replaced by overflowing, or by fluid and super-fluid (-fluous), and has then been brought to representation by an accumulation of like impressions. Water within, water without, water in the beds in the form of dampness–everything fluid and super fluid. That for the purposes of dream-representation the spelling is much less considered than the sound of words ought not to surprise us when we remember that rhyme exercises a similar privilege.
The fact that language has at its disposal a great number of words which were originally used in a pictorial and concrete sense, but are at present used in a colourless and abstract fashion, has, in certain other cases, made it very easy for the dream to represent its thoughts. The dream has only to restore to these words their full significance, or to follow their change of meaning a little way back. For example, a man dreams that his friend, who is struggling to get out of a very tight place, calls upon him for help. The analysis shows that the tight place is a hole, and that the dreamer symbolically uses these very words to his friend: "Be careful, or you'll get yourself into a hole."* Another dreamer climbs a mountain from which he obtains an extraordinarily extensive view. He identifies himself with his brother, who is editing a review dealing with the Far East.
In a dream in Der Grune Heinrich, a spirited horse is plunging about in a field of the finest oats, every grain of which is really "a sweet almond, a raisin and a new penny" wrapped in red silk and tied with a bit of pig's bristle." The poet (or the dreamer) immediately furnishes the meaning of this dream, for the horse felt himself pleasantly tickled, so that he exclaimed: "The oats are pricking me" ("I feel my oats").
In the old Norse sagas (according to Henzen) prolific use is made in dreams of colloquialisms and witty expressions; one scarcely finds a dream without a double meaning or a play upon words.
It would be a special undertaking to collect such methods of representation and to arrange them in accordance with the principles upon which they are based. Some of the representations are almost witty. They give one the impression that one would have never guessed their meaning if the dreamer himself had not succeeded in explaining it.
1. A man dreams that he is asked for a name, which, however, he cannot recall. He himself explains that this means: "I shouldn't dream of it."
2. A female patient relates a dream in which all the persons concerned were singularly large. "That means," she adds, "that it must deal with an episode of my early childhood, for at that time all grown-up people naturally seemed to me immensely large." She herself did not appear in the dream.
The transposition into childhood is expressed differently in other dreams–by the translation of time into space. One sees persons and scenes as though at a great distance, at the end of a long road, or as though one were looking at them through the wrong end of a pair of opera-glasses.
3. A man who in waking life shows an inclination to employ abstract and indefinite expressions, but who otherwise has his wits about him, dreams, in a certain connection, that he reaches a railway station just as a train is coming in. But then the platform moves towards the train, which stands still; an absurd inversion of the real state of affairs. This detail, again, is nothing more than an indication to the effect that something else in the dream must be inverted. The analysis of the same dream leads to recollections of picture-books in which men were represented standing on their heads and walking on their hands.
4. The same dreamer, on another occasion, relates a short dream which almost recalls the technique of a rebus. His uncle gives him a kiss in an automobile. He immediately adds the interpretation, which would never have occurred to me: it means auto-erotism. In the waking state this might have been said in jest.
5. At a New Year's Eve dinner the host, the patriarch of the family, ushered in the New Year with a speech. One of his sons-in- law, a lawyer, was not inclined to take the old man seriously, especially when in the course of his speech he expressed himself as follows: "When I open the ledger for the Old Year and glance at its pages I see everything on the asset side and nothing, thank the Lord, on the side of liability; all you children have been a great asset, none of you a liability." On hearing this the young lawyer thought of X, his wife's brother, who was a cheat and a liar, and whom he had recently extricated from the entanglements of the law. That night, in a dream. he saw the New Year's celebration once more, and heard the speech, or rather saw it. Instead of speaking, the old man actually opened the ledger, and on the side marked assets he saw his name amongst others, but on the other side, marked liability, there was the name of his brother-in-law, X. However, the word liability was changed into Lie-Ability, which he regarded as X's main characteristic.*
*Reported by Brill in his Fundamental Conceptions of Psychoanalysis.
6. A dreamer treats another person for a broken bone. The analysis shows that the fracture represents a broken marriage vow, etc.
7. In the dream-content the time of day often represents a certain period of the dreamer's childhood. Thus, for example, 5:15 a.m. means to one dreamer the age of five years and three months; when he was that age, a younger brother was born.
8. Another representation of age in a dream: A woman is walking with two little girls; there is a difference of fifteen months in their ages. The dreamer cannot think of any family of her acquaintance in which this is the case. She herself interprets it to mean that the two children represent her own person, and that the dream reminds her that the two traumatic events of her childhood were separated by this period of time 3 1/2 and 4 3/4 years).
9. It is not astonishing that persons who are undergoing psycho- analytic treatment frequently dream of it, and are compelled to give expression in their dreams to all the thoughts and expectations aroused by it. The image chosen for the treatment is as a rule that of a journey, usually in a motor-car, this being a modern and complicated vehicle; in the reference to the speed of the car the patient's ironical humour is given free play. If the unconscious, as an element of waking thought, is to be represented in the dream, it is replaced, appropriately enough, by subterranean localities, which at other times, when there is no reference to analytic treatment, have represented the female body or the womb. Below in the dream very often refers to the genitals, and its opposite, above, to the face, mouth or breast. By wild beasts the dream-work usually symbolizes passionate impulses; those of the dreamer, and also those of other persons of whom the dreamer is afraid; or thus, by means of a very slight displacement, the persons who experience these passions. From this it is not very far to the totemistic representation of the dreaded father by means of vicious animals, dogs, wild horses, etc. One might say that wild beasts serve to represent the libido, feared by the ego, and combated by repression. Even the neurosis itself, the sick person, is often separated from the dreamer and exhibited in the dream as an independent person.
One may go so far as to say that the dream-work makes use of all the means accessible to it for the visual representation of the dream-thoughts, whether these appear admissible or inadmissible to waking criticism, and thus exposes itself to the doubt as well as the derision of all those who have only hearsay knowledge of dream-interpretation, but have never themselves practised it. Stekel's book, Die Sprache des Traumes, is especially rich in such examples, but I avoid citing illustrations from this work as the author's lack of critical judgment and his arbitrary technique would make even the unprejudiced observer feel doubtful.
10. From an essay by V. Tausk ("Kleider und Farben in Dienste der Traumdarstellung," in Interna. Zeitschr. fur Ps. A., ii ):
(a) A dreams that he sees his former governess wearing a dress of black lustre, which fits closely over her buttocks. That means he declares this woman to be lustful.
(b) C in a dream sees a girl on the road to X bathed in a white light and wearing a white blouse.
The dreamer began an affair with a Miss White on this road.
11. In an analysis which I carried out in the French language I had to interpret a dream in which I appeared as an elephant. I naturally had to ask why I was thus represented: "Vous me trompez," answered the dreamer (Trompe = trunk).
The dream-work often succeeds in representing very refractory material, such as proper names, by means of the forced exploitation of very remote relations. In one of my dreams old Brucke has set me a task. I make a preparation, and pick something out of it which looks like crumpled tinfoil. (I shall return to this dream later.) The corresponding association, which is not easy to find, is stanniol, and now I know that I have in mind the name of the author Stannius, which appeared on the title- page of a treatise on the nervous system of fishes, which in my youth I regarded with reverence. The first scientific problem which my teacher set me did actually relate to the nervous system of a fish–the Ammocoetes. Obviously, this name could not be utilized in the picture-puzzle.
Here I must not fail to include a dream with a curious content, which is worth noting also as the dream of a child, and which is readily explained by analysis: A lady tells me: "I can remember that when I was a child I repeatedly dreamed that God wore a conical paper hat on His head. They often used to make me wear such a hat at table, so that I shouldn't be able to look at the plates of the other children and see how much they had received of any particular dish. Since I had heard that God was omniscient, the dream signified that I knew everything in spite of the hat which I was made to wear."
What the dream-work consists in, and its unceremonious handling of its material, the dream-thoughts, may be shown in an instructive manner by the numbers and calculations which occur in dreams. Superstition, by the way, regards numbers as having a special significance in dreams. I shall therefore give a few examples of this kind from my collection.
1. From the dream of a lady, shortly before the end of her treatment:
She wants to pay for something or other; her daughter takes 3 florins 65 kreuzer from her purse; but the mother says: "What are you doing? It costs only 21 kreuzer." This fragment of the dream was intelligible without further explanation owing to my knowledge of the dreamer's circumstances. The lady was a foreigner, who had placed her daughter at school in Vienna, and was able to continue my treatment as long as her daughter remained in the city. In three weeks the daughter's scholastic year would end, and the treatment would then stop. On the day before the dream the principal of the school had asked her whether she could not decide to leave the child at school for another year. She had then obviously reflected that in this case she would be able to continue the treatment for another year. Now, this is what the dream refers to, for a year is equal to 365 days; the three weeks remaining before the end of the scholastic year, and of the treatment, are equivalent to 21 days (though not to so many hours of treatment). The numerals, which in the dream- thoughts refer to periods of time, are given money values in the dream, and simultaneously a deeper meaning finds expression–for time is money. 365 kreuzer, of course, are 3 florins 65 kreuzer. The smallness of the sums which appear in the dream is a self- evident wish-fulfilment; the wish has reduced both the cost of the treatment and the year's school fees.
2. In another dream the numerals are involved in even more complex relations. A young lady, who has been married for some years, learns that an acquaintance of hers, of about the same age, Elise L, has just become engaged. Thereupon she dreams: She is sitting in the theatre with her husband and one side of the stalls is quite empty. Her husband tells her that Elise L and her fiance had also wished to come to the theatre, but that they only could have obtained poor seats; three for 1 florin 50 kreuzer, and of course they could not take those. She thinks they didn't lose much, either.
What is the origin of the 1 florin 50 kreuzer? A really indifferent incident of the previous day. The dreamer's sister-in- law had received 150 florins as a present from her husband, and hastened to get rid of them by buying some jewellery. Let us note that 150 florins is 100 times 1 florin 50 kreuzer. But whence the 3 in connection with the seats in the theatre? There is only one association for this, namely, that the fiance is three months younger than herself. When we have ascertained the significance of the fact that one side of the stalls is empty we have the solution of the dream. This feature is an undisguised allusion to a little incident which had given her husband a good excuse for teasing her. She had decided to go to the theatre that week; she had been careful to obtain tickets a few days beforehand, and had had to pay the advance booking-fee. When they got to the theatre they found that one side of the house was almost empty; so that she certainly need not have been in such a hurry.
I shall now substitute the dream-thoughts for the dream: "It surely was nonsense to marry so early; there was no need for my being in such a hurry. From Elise L's example I see that I should have got a husband just the same–and one a hundred times better– If I had only waited (antithesis to the haste of her sister-in- law), I could have bought three such men for the money (the dowry)!"–Our attention is drawn to the fact that the numerals in this dream have changed their meanings and their relations to a much greater extent than in the. one previously considered. The transforming and distorting activity of the dream has in this case been greater–a fact which we interpret as meaning that these dream-thoughts had to overcome an unusual degree of endo- psychic resistance before they attained to representation. And we must not overlook the fact that the dream contains an absurd element, namely, that two persons are expected to take three seats. It will throw some light on the question of the interpretation of absurdity in dreams if I remark that this absurd detail of the dream-content is intended to represent the most strongly emphasized of the dream-thoughts: "It was nonsense to marry so early." The figure 3, which occurs in a quite subordinate relation between the two persons compared (three months' difference in their ages), has thus been adroitly utilized to produce the idea of nonsense required by the dream. The reduction of the actual 150 florins to 1 florin 50 kreuzer corresponds to the dreamer's disparagement of her husband in her suppressed thoughts.
3. Another example displays the arithmetical powers of dreams, which have brought them into such disrepute. A man dreams: He is sitting in the B's house (the B's are a family with which he was formerly acquainted), and he says: "It was nonsense that you didn't give me Amy for my wife." Thereupon, he asks the girl: "How old are you?" Answer: "I was born in 1882." "Ah, then you are 28 years old."
Since the dream was dreamed in the year 1898, this is obviously bad arithmetic, and the inability of the dreamer to calculate may, if it cannot be otherwise explained, be likened to that of a general paralytic. My patient was one of those men who cannot help thinking about every woman they see. The patient who for some months came next after him in my consulting-room was a young lady; he met this lady after he had constantly asked about her, and he was very anxious to make a good impression on her. This was the lady whose age he estimated at 28. So much for explaining the result of his apparent calculation. But 1882 was the year in which he had married. He had been unable to refrain from entering into conversation with the two other women whom he met at my house–the two by no means youthful maids who alternately opened the door to him–and as he did not find them very responsive, he had told himself that they probably regarded him as elderly and serious.
Bearing in mind these examples, and others of a similar nature (to follow), we may say: The dream-work does not calculate at all, whether correctly or incorrectly; it only strings together, in the form of a sum, numerals which occur in the dream-thoughts, and which may serve as allusions to material which is insusceptible of representation. It thus deals with figures, as material for expressing its intentions, just as it deals with all other concepts, and with names and speeches which are only verbal images.
For the dream-work cannot compose a new speech. No matter how many speeches; and answers, which may in themselves be sensible or absurd, may occur in dreams, analysis shows us that the dream has taken from the dream-thoughts fragments of speeches which have really been delivered or heard, and has dealt with them in the most arbitrary fashion. It has not only torn them from their context and mutilated them, accepting one fragment and rejecting another, but it has often fitted them together in a novel manner, so that the speech which seems coherent in a dream is dissolved by analysis into three or four components. In this new application of the words the dream has often ignored the meaning which they had in the dream-thoughts, and has drawn an entirely new meaning from them.* Upon closer inspection, the more distinct and compact ingredients of the dream-speech may be distinguished from others, which serve as connectives, and have probably been supplied, just as we supply omitted letters and syllables in reading. The dream-speech thus has the structure of breccia, in which the larger pieces of various material are held together by a solidified cohesive medium.
*Analyses of other numerical dreams have been given by Jung, Marcinowski and others. Such dreams often involve very complicated arithmetical operations, which are none the less solved by the dreamer with astonishing confidence. Cf. also Ernest Jones, "Uber unbewusste Zahlenbehandlung," Zentralb. fur Psychoanalyse, 4, ii, , p.241).
Neurosis behaves in the same fashion. I know a patient who– involuntarily and unwillingly–hears (hallucinates) songs or fragments of songs without being able to understand their significance for her psychic life. She is certainly not a paranoiac. Analysis shows that by exercising a certain license she gave the text of these songs a false application. "Oh, thou blissful one! Oh, thou happy one!" This is the first line of Christmas carol, but by not continuing it to the word, Christmastide, she turns it into a bridal song, etc. The same mechanism of distortion may operate, without hallucination, merely in association.
Strictly speaking, of course, this description is correct only for those dream-speeches which have something of the sensory character of a speech, and are described as speeches. The others, which have not, as it were, been perceived as heard or spoken (which have no accompanying acoustic or motor emphasis in the dream) are simply thoughts, such as occur in our waking life, and find their way unchanged into many of our dreams. Our reading, too, seems to provide an abundant and not easily traceable source for the indifferent speech-material of dreams. But anything that is at all conspicuous as a speech in a dream can be referred to actual speeches which have been made or heard by the dreamer.
We have already found examples of the derivation of such dream- speeches in the analyses of dreams which have been cited for other purposes. Thus, in the innocent market-dream (chapter V., A.) where the speech: That is no longer to be had serves to identify me with the butcher, while a fragment of the other speech: I don't know that, I don't take that, precisely fulfils the task of rendering the dream innocent. On the previous day, the dreamer, replying to some unreasonable demand on the part of her cook, had waved her aside with the words: I don't know that, behave yourself properly, and she afterwards took into the dream the first, indifferent-sounding part of the speech in order to allude to the latter part, which fitted well into the phantasy underlying the dream, but which might also have betrayed it.
Here is one of many examples which all lead to the same conclusion.
A large courtyard in which dead bodies are being burned. The dreamer says, "I'm going, I can't stand the sight of it." (Not a distinct speech.) Then he meets two butcher boys and asks, "Well, did it taste good?" And one of them answers, "No, it wasn't good." As though it had been human flesh.
The innocent occasion of this dream is as follows: After taking supper with his wife, the dreamer pays a visit to his worthy but by no means appetizing neighbour. The hospitable old lady is just sitting down to her own supper, and presses him (among men a composite, sexually significant word is used jocosely in the place of this word) to taste it. He declines, saying that he has no appetite. She replies: "Go on with you, you can manage it all right," or something of the kind. The dreamer is thus forced to taste and praise what is offered him. "But that's good!" When he is alone again with his wife, he complains of his neighbour's importunity, and of the quality of the food which he has tasted. "I can't stand the sight of it," a phrase that in the dream, too, does not emerge as an actual speech, is a thought relating to the physical charms of the lady who invites him, which may be translated by the statement that he has no desire to look at her.
The analysis of another dream–which I will cite at this stage for the sake of a very distinct speech, which constitutes its nucleus, but which will be explained only when we come to evaluate the affects in dreams–is more instructive. I dream very vividly: I have gone to Brucke's laboratory at night, and on hearing a gentle knocking at the door, I open it to (the deceased) Professor Fleischl, who enters in the company of several strangers, and after saying a few words sits down at his table. Then follows a second dream: My friend Fl has come to Vienna, unobtrusively, in July; I meet him in the street, in conversation with my (deceased) friend P, and I go with them somewhere, and they sit down facing each other as though at a small table, while I sit facing them at the narrow end of the table. Fl speaks of his sister, and says: "In three-quarters of an hour she was dead," and then something like "That is the threshold." As P does not understand him, Fl turns to me, and asks me how much I have told P of his affairs. At this, overcome by strange emotions, I try to tell Fl that P (cannot possibly know anything, of course, because he) is not alive. But noticing the mistake myself, I say: "Non vixit." Then I look searchingly at P, and under my gaze he becomes pale and blurred, and his eyes turn a sickly blue–and at last he dissolves. I rejoice greatly at this; I now understand that Ernst Fleischl, too, is only an apparition, a revenant, and I find that it is quite possible that such a person should exist only so long as one wishes him to, and that he can be made to disappear by the wish of another person.
This very pretty dream unites so many of the enigmatical characteristics of the dream-content–the criticism made in the dream itself, inasmuch as I myself notice my mistake in saying Non vixit instead of Non vivit, the unconstrained intercourse with deceased persons, whom the dream itself declares to be dead, the absurdity of my conclusion, and the intense satisfaction which it gives me–that "I would give my life" to expound the complete solution of the problem. But in reality I am incapable of doing what I do in the dream, i.e., of sacrificing such intimate friends to my ambition. And if I attempted to disguise the facts, the true meaning of the dream, with which I am perfectly familiar, would be spoiled. I must therefore be content to select a few of the elements of the dream for interpretation, some here, and some at a later stage.
The scene in which I annihilate P with a glance forms the centre of the dream. His eyes become strange and weirdly blue, and then he dissolves. This scene is an unmistakable imitation of a scene that was actually experienced. I was a demonstrator at the Physiological Institute; I was on duty in the morning, and Brucke learned that on several occasions I had been unpunctual in my attendance at the students' laboratory. One morning, therefore, he arrived at the hour of opening, and waited for me. What he said to me was brief and to the point; but it was not what he said that mattered. What overwhelmed me was the terrible gaze of his blue eyes, before which I melted away–as P does in the dream, for P has exchanged roles with me, much to my relief. Anyone who remembers the eyes of the great master, which were wonderfully beautiful even in his old age, and has ever seen him angered, will readily imagine the emotions of the young transgressor on that occasion.
But for a long while I was unable to account for the Non vixit with which I pass sentence in the dream. Finally, I remembered that the reason why these two words were so distinct in the dream was not because they were heard or spoken, but because they were seen. Then I knew at once where they came from. On the pedestal of the statue of the Emperor joseph in the Vienna Hofburg are inscribed the following beautiful words:
Saluti patriae vixit
non diu sed totus.*
*The inscription in fact reads:
Saluti publicae vixit
non diu sed totus.
[He lived for the safety of the public, not for a long time, but always.] The motive of the mistake: patriae [fatherland] for publicae, has probably been correctly divined by Wittels.
From this inscription I had taken what fitted one inimical train of thought in my dream-thoughts, and which was intended to mean: "That fellow has nothing to say in the matter, he is not really alive." And I now recalled that the dream was dreamed a few days after the unveiling of the memorial to Fleischl, in the cloisters of the University, upon which occasion I had once more seen the memorial to Brucke, and must have thought with regret (in the unconscious) how my gifted friend P, with all his devotion to science, had by his premature death forfeited his just claim to a memorial in these halls. So I set up this memorial to him in the dream; Josef is my friend P's baptismal name.*
*As an example of over-determination: My excuse for coming late was that after working late into the night, in the morning I had to make the long journey from Kaiser-Josef-Strasse to Wahringer Strasse.
According to the rules of dream-interpretation, I should still not be justified in replacing non vivit, which I need, by non vixit, which is placed at my disposal by the recollection of the Kaiser Josef memorial. Some other element of the dream-thoughts must have contributed to make this possible. Something now calls my attention to the fact that in the dream scene two trains of thought relating to my friend P meet, one hostile, the other affectionate–the former on the surface, the latter covered up– and both are given representation in the same words: non vixit. As my friend P has deserved well of science, I erect a memorial to him; as he has been guilty of a malicious wish (expressed at the end of the dream), I annihilate him. I have here constructed a sentence with a special cadence, and in doing so I must have been influenced by some existing model. But where can I find a similar antithesis, a similar parallel between two opposite reactions to the same person, both of which can claim to be wholly justified, and which nevertheless do not attempt to affect one another? Only in one passage which, however, makes a profound impression upon the reader–Brutus's speech of justification in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant. I honour him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him." Have we not here the same verbal structure, and the same antithesis of thought, as in the dream-thoughts? So I am playing Brutus in my dream. If only I could find in my dream-thoughts another collateral connection to confirm this! I think it might be the following: My friend Fl comes to Vienna in July. This detail is not the case in reality. To my knowledge, my friend has never been in Vienna in July. But the month of July is named after Julius Caesar, and might therefore very well furnish the required allusion to the intermediate thought–that I am playing the part of Brutus.*
*And also, Caesar = Kaiser.
Strangely enough, I once did actually play the part of Brutus. When I was a boy of fourteen, I presented the scene between Brutus and Caesar in Schiller's poem to an audience of children: with the assistance of my nephew, who was a year older than I, and who had come to us from England–and was thus a revenant–for in him I recognized the playmate of my early childhood. Until the end of my third year we had been inseparable; we had loved each other and fought each other and, as I have already hinted, this childish relation has determined all my later feelings in my intercourse with persons of my own age. My nephew John has since then had many incarnations, which have revivified first one and then another aspect of a character that is ineradicably fixed in my unconscious memory. At times he must have treated me very badly, and I must have opposed my tyrant courageously, for in later years I was often told of a short speech in which I defended myself when my father–his grandfather–called me to account: "Why did you hit John?" "I hit him because he hit me." It must be this childish scene which causes non vivit to become non vixit, for in the language of later childhood striking is known as wichsen (German: wichsen = to polish, to wax, i.e., to thrash); and the dream-work does not disdain to take advantage of such associations. My hostility towards my friend P, which has so little foundation in reality–he was greatly my superior, and might therefore have been a new edition of my old playmate–may certainly be traced to my complicated relations with John during our childhood. I shall, as I have said, return to this dream later on.
Hitherto, in our interpretation of dreams, we have come upon the element of absurdity in the dream-content so frequently that we must no longer postpone the investigation of its cause and its meaning. We remember, of course, that the absurdity of dreams has furnished the opponents of dream-interpretation with their chief argument for regarding the dream as merely the meaningless product of an attenuated and fragmentary activity of the psyche.
I will begin with a few examples in which the absurdity of the dream-content is apparent only, disappearing when the dream is more thoroughly examined. These are certain dreams which– accidently, one begins by thinking–are concerned with the dreamer's dead father.
1. Here is the dream of a patient who had lost his father six years before the date of the dream:
His father had been involved in a terrible accident. He was travelling by the night express when the train was derailed, the seats were telescoped, and his head was crushed from side to side. The dreamer sees him lying on his bed; from his left eyebrow a wound runs vertically upwards. The dreamer is surprised that his father should have met with an accident (since he is dead already, as the dreamer adds in relating his dream). His father's eyes are so clear.
According to the prevailing standards of dream-criticism, this dream-content would be explained as follows: At first, while the dreamer is picturing his father's accident, he has forgotten that his father has already been many years in his grave; in the course of the dream this memory awakens, so that he is surprised at his own dream even while he is dreaming it. Analysis, however, tells us that it is quite superfluous to seek for such explanations. The dreamer had commissioned a sculptor to make a bust of his father, and he had inspected the bust two days before the dream. It is this which seems to him to have come to grief (the German word means gone wrong or met with an accident). The sculptor has never seen his father, and has had to work from photographs. On the very day before the dream the son had sent an old family servant to the studio in order to see whether he, too, would pass the some judgment upon the marble bust–namely, that it was too narrow between the temples. And now follows the memory- material which has contributed to the formation of the dream: The dreamer's father had a habit, whenever he was harassed by business cares or domestic difficulties, of pressing his temples between his hands, as though his head was growing too large and be was trying to compress it. When the dreamer was four years old, he was present when a pistol was accidentally discharged, and his father's eyes were blackened (his eyes are so clear). When his father was thoughtful or depressed, he had a deep furrow in his forehead just where the dream shows his wound. The fact that in the dream this wrinkle is replaced by a wound points to the second occasion for the dream. The dreamer had taken a photograph of his little daughter; the plate had fallen from his hand, and when he picked it up it revealed a crack which ran like a vertical furrow across the child's forehead, extending as far as the eyebrow. He could not help feeling a superstitious foreboding, for on the day before his mother's death the negative of her portrait had been cracked.
Thus, the absurdity of this dream is simply the result of a carelessness of verbal expression, which does not distinguish between the bust or the photograph and the original. We are all accustomed to making remarks like: "Don't you think it's exactly your father?" The appearance of absurdity in this dream might, of course, have been easily avoided. If it were permissible to form an opinion on the strength of a single case, one might be tempted to say that this semblance of absurdity is admitted or even desired.
2. Here is another example of the same kind from my own dreams (I lost my father in the year 1896):
After his death, my father has played a part in the political life of the Magyars, and has united them into a political whole; and here I see, indistinctly, a little picture: a number of men, as though in the Reichstag; a man is standing on one or two chairs; there are others round about him. I remember that on his deathbed he looked so like Garibaldi, and I am glad that this promise has really come true.
Certainly this is absurd enough. It was dreamed at the time when the Hungarians were in a state of anarchy, owing to Parliamentary obstruction, and were passing through the crisis from which Koloman Szell subsequently delivered them. The trivial circumstance that the scenes beheld in dreams consist of such little pictures is not without significance for the elucidation of this element. The customary visual dream-representations of our thoughts present images that impress us as being life-size; my dream-picture, however, is the reproduction of a wood-cut inserted in the text of an illustrated history of Austria, representing Maria Theresa in the Reichstag of Pressburg–the famous scene of Moriamur pro rege nostro.* Like Maria Theresa, my father, in my dream, is surrounded by the multitude; but he is standing on one or two chairs (Stuhlen), and is thus, like a Stuhlrichter (presiding judge). (He has united them; here the intermediary is the phrase: "We shall need no judge.") Those of us who stood about my father's death-bed did actually notice that he looked very like Garibaldi. He had a post-mortem rise of temperature; his cheeks shone redder and redder... involuntarily we continue: "And behind him, in unsubstantial (radiance), lay that which subdues us all–the common fate."
*[We die for our king.] I have forgotten in what author I found a reference to a dream which was overrun with unusually small figures, the source of which proved to be one of the engravings of Jacques Callot, which the dreamer had examined during the day. These engravings contain an enormous number of very small figures; a whole series of them deals with the horrors of the Thirty Years War.
This uplifting of our thoughts prepares us for the fact that we shall have to deal with this common fate. The post-mortem rise in temperature corresponds to the words after his death in the dream- content. The most agonizing of his afflictions had been a complete paralysis of the intestines (obstruction) during the last few weeks of his life. All sorts of disrespectful thoughts associate themselves with this. One of my contemporaries, who lost his father while still at the Gymnasium–upon which occasion I was profoundly moved, and tendered him my friendship–once told me, derisively, of the distress of a relative whose father had died in the street, and had been brought home, when it appeared, upon undressing the corpse, that at the moment of death, or post- mortem, an evacuation of the bowels (Stuhlentleerung) had taken place. The daughter was deeply distressed by this circumstance, because this ugly detail would inevitably spoil her memory of her father. We have now penetrated to the wish that is embodied in this dream. To stand after one's death before one's children great and undefiled: who would not wish that? What now has become of the absurdity of this dream? The appearance of absurdity was due only to the fact that a perfectly permissible figure of speech, in which we are accustomed to ignore any absurdity that may exist as between its components, has been faithfully represented in the dream. Here again we can hardly deny that the appearance of absurdity is desired and has been purposely produced.
The frequency with which dead persons appear in our dreams as living and active and associating with us has evoked undue astonishment, and some curious explanations, which afford conspicuous proof of our misunderstanding of dreams. And yet the explanation of these dreams is close at hand. How often it happens that we say to ourselves: "If my father were still alive, what would he say to this?" The dream can express this if in no other way than by his presence in a definite situation. Thus, for instance, a young man whose grandfather has left him a great inheritance dreams that the old man is alive, and calls his grandson to account, reproaching him for his lavish expenditure. What we regard as an objection to the dream on account of our better knowledge that the man is already dead, is in reality the consoling thought that the dead man does not need to learn the truth, or satisfaction over the fact that he can no longer have a say in the matter.
Another form of absurdity found in dreams of deceased relatives does not express scorn and derision; it serves to express the extremest repudiation, the representation of a suppressed thought which one would like to believe the very last thing one would think of. Dreams of this kind appear to be capable of solution only if we remember that a dream makes no distinction between desire and reality. For example, a man who nursed his father during his last illness, and who felt his death very keenly, dreamed some time afterwards the following senseless dream: His father was again living, and conversing with him as usual, but (and this was the remarkable thing) he had nevertheless died, though he did not know it. This dream is intelligible if, after he had nevertheless died, we insert in consequence of the dreamer's wish, and if after but he did not know it, we add that the dreamer had entertained this wish. While nursing him, the son had often wished that his father was dead; that is, he had had the really compassionate thought that it would be a good thing if death would at last put an end to his sufferings. While he was mourning his father's death, even this compassionate wish became an unconscious reproach, as though it had really contributed to shorten the sick man's life. By the awakening of the earliest infantile feelings against his father, it became possible to express this reproach as a dream; and it was precisely because of the extreme antithesis between the dream-instigator and the day- thoughts that this dream had to assume so absurd a form.*
*Cf. "Formulations regarding the Two Principles in Mental Functioning," Collected Papers, IV.
As a general thing, the dreams of a deceased person of whom the dreamer has been fond confront the interpreter with difficult problems, the solution of which is not always satisfying. The reason for this may be sought in the especially pronounced ambivalence of feeling which controls the relation of the dreamer to the dead person. In such dreams it is quite usual for the deceased person to be treated at first as living; then it suddenly appears that he is dead; and in the continuation of the dream he is once more living. This has a confusing effect. I at last divined that this alternation of death and life is intended to represent the indifference of the dreamer ("It is all one to me whether he is alive or dead"). This indifference, of course, is not real, but wished; its purpose is to help the dreamer to deny his very intense and often contradictory emotional attitudes, and so it becomes the dream-representation of his ambivalence. For other dreams in which one meets with deceased persons the following rule will often be a guide: If in the dream the dreamer is not reminded that the dead person is dead, he sets himself on a par with the dead; he dreams of his own death. The sudden realization or astonishment in the dream ("but he has long been dead!") is a protest against this identification, and rejects the meaning that the dreamer is dead. But I will admit that I feel that dream-interpretation is far from having elicited all the secrets of dreams having this content.
3. In the example which I shall now cite, I can detect the dream- work in the act of purposely manufacturing an absurdity for which there is no occasion whatever in the dream-material. It is taken from the dream which I had as a result of meeting Count Thun just before going away on a holiday. I am driving in a cab, and I tell the driver to drive to a railway station. "Of course, I can't drive with you on the railway track itself," I say, after the driver had reproached me, as though I had worn him out; at the same time, it seems as though I had already made with him a journey that one usually makes by train. Of this confused and senseless story analysis gives the following explanation: During the day I had hired a cab to take me to a remote street in Dornbach. The driver, however, did not know the way, and simply kept on driving, in the manner of such worthy people, until I became aware of the fact and showed him the way, indulging in a few derisive remarks. From this driver a train of thought led to the aristocratic personage whom I was to meet later on. For the present, I will only remark that one thing that strikes us middle- class plebeians about the aristocracy is that they like to put themselves in the driver's seat. Does not Count Thun guide the Austrian car of State? The next sentence in the dream, however, refers to my brother, whom I thus also identify with the cab- driver. I had refused to go to Italy with him this year (Of course, I can't drive with you on the railway track itself), and this refusal was a sort of punishment for his accustomed complaint that I usually wear him out on this tour (this finds its way into the dream unchanged) by rushing him too quickly from place to place, and making him see too many beautiful things in a single day. That evening my brother had accompanied me to the railway station, but shortly before the carriage had reached the Western station of the Metropolitan Railway he had jumped out in order to take the train to Purkersdorf. I suggested to him that he might remain with me a little longer, as he did not travel to Purkersdorf by the Metropolitan but by the Western Railway. This is why, in my dream, I made in the cab a journey which one usually makes by train. In reality, however, it was the other way about: what I told my brother was: "The distance which you travel on the Metropolitan Railway you could travel in my company on the Western Railway" The whole confusion of the dream is therefore due to the fact that in my dream I replace "Metropolitan Railway" by cab, which, to be sure, does good service in bringing the driver and my brother into conjunction. I then elicit from the dream some nonsense which is hardly disentangled by elucidation, and which almost constitutes a contradiction of my earlier speech (of course, I cannot drive with you on the railway track itself). But as I have no excuse whatever for confronting the Metropolitan Railway with the cab, I must intentionally have given the whole enigmatical story this peculiar form in my dream.
But with what intention? We shall now learn what the absurdity in the dream signifies, and the motives which admitted it or created it. In this case the solution of the mystery is as follows: In the dream I need an absurdity, and something incomprehensible, in connection with driving (Fahren = riding, driving) because in the dream-thoughts I have a certain opinion that demands representation. One evening, at the house of the witty and hospitable lady who appears, in another scene of the same dream, as the housekeeper, I heard two riddles which I could not solve: As they were known to the other members of the party, I presented a somewhat ludicrous figure in my unsuccessful attempts to find the solutions. They were two puns turning on the words Nachkommen (to obey orders–offspring) and Vorfahren (to drive–forefathers, ancestry). They ran, I believe, as follows:
The coachman does it
At the master's behests;
Everyone has it;
In the grave it rests.
A confusing detail was that the first halves of the two riddles were identical:
The coachman does it
At the master's behests;
Not everyone has it,
In the cradle it rests.
When I saw Count Thun drive up (vorfahren) in state, and fell into the Figaro-like mood, in which one finds that the sole merit of such aristocratic gentlemen is that they have taken the trouble to be born (to become Nachkommen), these two riddles became intermediary thoughts for the dream-work. As aristocrats may readily be replaced by coachmen, and since it was once the custom to call a coachman Herr Schwager (brother-in-law), the work of condensation could involve my brother in the same representation. But the dream-thought at work in the background is as follows: It is nonsense to be proud of one's ancestors (Vorfahren). I would rather be an ancestor (Vorfahr) myself. On account of this opinion, it is nonsense, we have the nonsense in the dream. And now the last riddle in this obscure passage of the dream is solved–namely that I have driven before (vorher gefahren, vorgefaltren) with this driver.
Thus, a dream is made absurd if there occurs in the dream- thoughts, as one of the elements of the contents, the opinion: "That is nonsense"; and, in general, if criticism and derision are the motives of one of the dreamer's unconscious trains of thought. Hence, absurdity is one of the means by which the dream- work represents contradiction; another means is the inversion of material relation between the dream-thoughts and the dream- content; another is the employment of the feeling of motor inhibition. But the absurdity of a dream is not to be translated by a simple no; it is intended to reproduce the tendency of the dream-thoughts to express laughter or derision simultaneously with the contradiction. Only with this intention does the dream- work produce anything ridiculous. Here again it transforms a part of the latent content into a manifest form.*
*Here the dream-work parodies the thought which it qualifies as ridiculous, in that it creates something ridiculous in relation to it. Heine does the same thing when he wishes to deride the bad rhymes of the King of Bavaria. He does it by using even worse rhymes:
Herr Ludwig ist ein grosser Poet
Und singt er, so sturzt Apollo
Vor ihm auf die Knie und bittet und fleht,
Halt ein, ich werde sonst toll, oh!
As a matter of fact, we have already cited a convincing example of this significance of an absurd dream. The dream (interpreted without analysis) of the Wagnerian performance which lasted until 7.45 a.m., and in which the orchestra is conducted from a tower, etc. (see this chapter, D.), is obviously saving: It is a crazy world and an insane society. He who deserves a thing doesn't get it, and he who doesn't care for it does get it. In this way the dreamer compares her fate with that of her cousin. The fact that dreams of a dead father were the first to furnish us with examples of absurdity in dreams is by no means accidental. The conditions for the creation of absurd dreams are here grouped together in a typical fashion. The authority proper to the father has at an early age evoked the criticism of the child, and the strict demands which he has made have caused the child, in self- defence, to pay particularly close attention to every weakness of his father's; but the piety with which the father's personality is surrounded in our thoughts, especially after his death, intensifies the censorship which prevents the expression of this criticism from becoming conscious.
4. Here is another absurd dream of a deceased father:
I receive a communication from the town council of my native city concerning the cost of accommodation in the hospital in the year 1851. This was necessitated by a seizure from which I was suffering. I make fun of the matter for, in the first place, I was not yet born in 1851, and in the second place, my father, to whom the communication might refer, is already dead. I go to him in the adjoining room, where he is lying in bed, and tell him about it. To my surprise he remembers that in the year 1851 he was once drink and had to be locked up or confined. It was when he was working for the firm of T. "Then you, too, used to drink?" I ask. "You married soon after?" I reckon that I was born in 1856, which seems to me to be immediately afterwards.
In the light of the foregoing exposition, we shall translate the insistence with which this dream exhibits its absurdities as a sure sign of a particularly embittered and passionate polemic in the dream-thoughts. All the greater, then, is our astonishment when we perceive that in this dream the polemic is waged openly, and that my father is denoted as the person who is made a laughing-stock. Such frankness seems to contradict our assumption of a censorship controlling the dream-work. The explanation is that here the father is only an interposed figure, while the quarrel is really with another person, who appears in the dream only in a single allusion. Whereas a dream usually treats of revolt against other persons, behind whom the father is concealed, here it is the other way about: the father serves as the man of straw to represent another, and hence the dream dares to concern itself openly with a person who is usually hallowed, because there is present the certain knowledge that he is not in reality intended. We learn of this condition of affairs by considering the occasion of the dream. It was dreamed after I had heard that an older colleague, whose judgment was considered infallible, had expressed disapproval and astonishment on hearing that one of my patients had already been undergoing psychoanalytic treatment at my hands for five years. The introductory sentences of the dream allude in a transparently disguised manner to the fact that this colleague had for a time taken over the duties which my father could no longer perform (statement of expenses, accommodation in the hospital); and when our friendly relations began to alter for the worse I was thrown into the same emotional conflict as that which arises in the case of a misunderstanding between father and son (by reason of the part played by the father, and his earlier functions). The dream- thoughts now bitterly resent the reproach that I am not making better progress, which extends itself from the treatment of this patient to other things. Does my colleague know anyone who can get on any faster? Does he not know that conditions of this sort are usually incurable and last for life? What are four or five years in comparison to a whole lifetime, especially when life has been made so much easier for the patient during the treatment?
The impression of absurdity in this dream is brought about largely by the fact that sentences from different divisions of the dream-thoughts are strung together without any reconciling transition. Thus, the sentence, I go to him it the adjoining room, etc., leaves the subject from which the preceding sentences are taken, and faithfully reproduces the circumstances under which I told my father that I was engaged to be married. Thus the dream is trying to remind me of the noble disinterestedness which the old man showed at that time, and to contrast this with the conduct of another newly-introduced person. I now perceive that the dream is allowed to make fun of my father because in the dream-thoughts, in the full recognition of his merits, he is held up as an example to others. It is in the nature of every censorship that one is permitted to tell untruths about forbidden things rather than the truth. The next sentence, to the effect that my father remembers that he was once drink, and was locked up in consequence, contains nothing that really relates to my father any more. The person who is screened by him is here a no less important personage than the great Meynert, in whose footsteps I followed with such veneration, and whose attitude towards me, after a short period of favouritism, changed into one of undisguised hostility. The dream recalls to me his own statement that in his youth he had at one time formed the habit of intoxicating himself with chloroform, with the result that he had to enter a sanatorium; and also my second experience with him, shortly before his death. I had an embittered literary controversy with him in reference to masculine hysteria, the existence of which he denied, and when I visited him during his last illness, and asked him how he felt, he described his condition at some length, and concluded with the words: "You know, I have always been one of the prettiest cases of masculine hysteria." Thus, to my satisfaction, and to my astonishment, he admitted what he so long and so stubbornly denied. But the fact that in this scene of my dream I can use my father to screen Meynert is explained not by any discovered analogy between the two persons, but by the fact that it is the brief yet perfectly adequate representation of a conditional sentence in the dream- thoughts which, if fully expanded, would read as follows: "Of course, if I belonged to the second generation, if I were the son of a professor or a privy councillor, I should have progressed more rapidly." In my dream I make my father a professor and a privy councillor. The most obvious and most annoying absurdity of the dream lies in the treatment of the date 1851, which seems to me to be indistinguishable from 1856, as though a difference of five years meant nothing whatever. But it is just this one of the dream-thoughts that requires expression. Four or five years–that is precisely the length of time during which I enjoyed the support of the colleague mentioned at the outset; but it is also the duration of time I kept my fiance waiting before I married her; and by a coincidence that is eagerly exploited by the dream- thoughts, it is also the time I have kept my oldest patient waiting for a complete cure. "What are five years?" ask the dream- thoughts. "That is no time at all to me, that isn't worth consideration. I have time enough ahead of me, and just as what you wouldn't believe came true at last, so I shall accomplish this also." Moreover, the number 51, when considered apart from the number of the century, is determined in yet another manner and in an opposite sense; for which reason it occurs several times over in the dream. It is the age at which man seems particularly exposed to danger; the age at which I have seen colleagues die suddenly, among them one who had been appointed a few days earlier to a professorship for which he had long been waiting.
5. Another absurd dream which plays with figures:
An acquaintance of mine, Herr M, has been attacked in an essay by no less a person than Goethe and, as we all think, with unjustifiable vehemence. Herr M is, of course, crushed by this attack. He complains of it bitterly at a dinner-party; but his veneration for Goethe has not suffered as a result of this personal experience. I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little, as they seem improbable to me. Goethe died in 1832; since his attack upon M must, of course, have taken place earlier, M was at the time quite a young man. It seems plausible to me that he was 18 years old. But I do not know exactly what the date of the present year is, and so the whole calculation lapses into obscurity. The attack, by the way, is contained in Goethe's well- known essay on "Nature."
We shall soon find the means of justifying the nonsense of this dream. Herr M, with whom I became acquainted at a dinner-party, had recently asked me to examine his brother, who showed signs of general paralysis. The conjecture was right; the painful thing about this visit was that the patient gave his brother away by alluding to his youthful pranks, though our conversation gave him no occasion to do so. I had asked the patient to tell me the year of his birth, and had repeatedly got him to make trifling calculations in order to show the weakness of his memory–which tests, by the way, he passed quite well. Now I can see that I behave like a paralytic in the dream (I do not know exactly what the date of the present year is). Other material of the dream is drawn from another recent source. The editor of a medical periodical, a friend of mine, had accepted for his paper a very unfavourable crushing review of the last book of my Berlin friend, Fl, the critic being a very youthful reviewer, who was not very competent to pass judgment. I thought I had a right to interfere, and called the editor to account; he greatly regretted his acceptance of the review, but he would not promise any redress. I thereupon broke off my relations with the periodical, and in my letter of resignation I expressed the hope that our personal relations would not suffer as a result of the incident. The third source of this dream is an account given by a female patient–it was fresh in my memory at the time–of the psychosis of her brother who had fallen into a frenzy crying "Nature, Nature." The physicians in attendance thought that the cry was derived from a reading of Goethe's beautiful essay, and that it pointed to the patient's overwork in the study of natural philosophy. I thought, rather, of the sexual meaning in which even our less cultured people use the word Nature, and the fact that the unfortunate man afterwards mutilated his genitals seems to show that I was not far wrong. Eighteen years was the age of this patient at the time of this access of frenzy.
If I add, further, that the book of my so severely criticized friend ("One asks oneself whether the author or oneself is crazy" had been the opinion of another critic) treats of the temporal conditions of life, and refers the duration of Goethe's life to the multiple of a number significant from the biological point of view, it will readily be admitted that in my dream I am putting myself in my friend's place. (I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little.) But I behave like a paretic, and the dream revels in absurdity. This means that the dream-thoughts say, ironically: "Naturally, he is the fool, the lunatic, and you are the clever people who know better. Perhaps, however, it is the other way about?" Now, the other way about is abundantly represented in my dream, inasmuch as Goethe has attacked the young man, which is absurd, while it is perfectly possible even today for a young fellow to attack the immortal Goethe; and inasmuch as I reckon from the year of Goethe's death, while I made the paretic reckon from the year of his birth.
But I have further promised to show that no dream is inspired by other than egoistical motives. Accordingly, I must account for the fact that in this dream I make my friend's cause my own, and put myself in his place. My critical conviction in waking life would not justify my doing so. Now, the story of the eighteen- year-old patient, and the divergent interpretations of his cry, "Nature," allude to the fact that I have put myself into opposition to the majority of physicians by claiming a sexual aetiology for the psychoneuroses. I may say to myself: "You will meet with the same kind of criticism as your friend; indeed you have already done so to some extent"; so that I may now replace the he in the dream-thoughts by we. "Yes, you are right; we two are the fools." That mea res agitur is clearly shown by the mention of the short, incomparably beautiful essay of Goethe's, for it was a popular lecture on this essay which induced me to study the natural sciences when I left the Gymnasium, and was still undecided as to my future.
6. I have to show that yet another dream in which my ego does not appear is none the less egoistic. In chapter V., D., I referred to a short dream in which Professor M says: "My son, the myopic..."; and I stated that this was only a preliminary dream, preceding another in which I play a part. Here is the main dream, previously omitted, which challenges us to explain its absurd and unintelligible word-formation.
On account of something or other that is happening in Rome, it is necessary for the children to flee, and this they do. The scene is then laid before a gate, a double gate in the ancient style (the Porta Romana in Siena, as I realize while I am dreaming). I am sitting on the edge of a well, and I am greatly depressed; I am almost weeping. A woman–a nurse, a nun–brings out the two boys and hands them over to their father, who is not myself. The elder is distinctly my eldest son, but I do not see the face of the other boy. The woman asks the eldest boy for a parting kiss. She is remarkable for a red nose. The boy refuses her the kiss, but says to her, extending her his hand in parting, "Auf Geseres," and to both of us (or to one of us) "Auf Ungeseres." I have the idea that this indicates a preference.
This dream is built upon a tangle of thoughts induced by a play I saw at the theatre, called Das neue Ghetto (The New Ghetto). The Jewish question, anxiety as to the future of my children, who cannot be given a fatherland, anxiety as to educating them so that they may enjoy the privileges of citizens–all these features may easily be recognized in the accompanying dream- thoughts.
"By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept." Siena, like Rome, is famous for its beautiful fountains. In the dream I have to find some sort of substitute for Rome (cf. chapter V., B.) from among localities which are known to me. Near the Porta Romana of Siena we saw a large, brightly-lit building, which we learned was the Manicomio, the insane asylum. Shortly before the dream I had heard that a co-religionist had been forced to resign a position, which he had secured with great effort, in a State asylum.
Our interest is aroused by the speech: "Auf Geseres," where one might expect, from the situation continued throughout the dream, "Auf Wiedersehen" (Au revoir), and by its quite meaningless antithesis: "Auf Ungeseres." (Un is a prefix meaning "not.")
According to information received from Hebrew scholars, Geseres is a genuine Hebrew word, derived from the verb goiser, and may best be rendered by "ordained sufferings, fated disaster." From its employment in the Jewish jargon one would take it to mean "wailing and lamentation." Ungeseres is a coinage of my own, and is the first to attract my attention, but for the present it baffles me. The little observation at the end of the dream–that Ungeseres indicates an advantage over Geseres–opens the way to the associations, and therewith to understanding. This relation holds good in the case of caviar; the unsalted kind is more highly prized than the salted. "Caviar to the general"–"noble passions." Herein lies concealed a jesting allusion to a member of my household, of whom I hope–for she is younger than I–that she will watch over the future of my children; this, too, agrees with the fact that another member of my household, our worthy nurse, is clearly indicated by the nurse (or nun) of the dream. But a connecting-link is wanting between the pair, salted– unsalted and Geseres–Ungeseres. This is to be found in gesauert and ungesauert (leavened and unleavened). In their flight or exodus from Egypt the children of Israel had not time to allow their dough to become leavened, and in commemoration of this event they eat unleavened bread at Passover to this day. Here, too, I can find room for the sudden association which occurred to me in this part of the analysis. I remembered how we, my friend from Berlin and myself, had strolled about the streets of Breslau, a city which was strange to us, during the last days of Easter. A little girl asked me the way to a certain street; I had to tell her that I did not know it; I then remarked to my friend, "I hope that later on in life the child will show more perspicacity in selecting the persons whom she allows to direct her." Shortly afterwards a sign caught my eye: "Dr. Herod, consulting hours..." I said to myself: "I hope this colleague does not happen to be a children's specialist." Meanwhile, my friend had been developing his views on the biological significance of bilateral symmetry, and had begun a sentence with the words: "If we had only one eye in the middle of the forehead, like Cyclops..." This leads us to the speech of the professor in the preliminary dream: "My son, the myopic." And now I have been led to the chief source for Geseres. Many years ago, when this son of Professor M's, who is today an independent thinker, was still sitting on his school-bench, he contracted an affection of the eye which, according to the doctor, gave some cause for anxiety. He expressed the opinion that so long as it was confined to one eye it was of no great significance, but that if it should extend to the other eye it would be serious. The affection subsided in the one eye without leaving any ill effects; shortly afterwards, however, the same symptoms did actually appear in the other eye. The boy's terrified mother immediately summoned the physician to her distant home in the country. But the doctor was now of a different opinion (took the other side). "What sort of 'Geseres' is this you are making?" he asked the mother, impatiently. "If one side got well, the other will, too." And so it turned out.
And now as to the connection between this and myself and my family. The school-bench upon which Professor M's son learned his first lessons has become the property of my eldest son; it was given to him by the boy's mother, and it is into his mouth that I put the words of farewell in the dream. One of the wishes that may be connected with this transference may now be readily guessed. This school-bench is intended by its construction to guard the child from becoming shortsighted and one-sided. Hence myopia (and behind it the Cyclops), and the discussion about bilateralism. The fear of one-sidedness has a twofold significance; it might mean not only physical one-sidedness, but intellectual one-sidedness also. Does it not seem as though the scene in the dream, with all its craziness, were contradicting precisely this anxiety? When on the one hand the boy has spoken his words of farewell, on the other hand he calls out the very opposite, as though to establish an equilibrium. He is acting, as it were, in obedience to bilateral symmetry!
Thus, a dream frequently has the profoundest meaning in the places where it seems most absurd. In all ages those who have had something to say and have been unable to say it without danger to themselves have gladly donned the cap and bells. He for whom the forbidden saying was intended was more likely to tolerate it if he was able to laugh at it, and to flatter himself with the comment that what he disliked was obviously absurd. Dreams behave in real life as does the prince in the play who is obliged to pretend to be a madman, and hence we may say of dreams what Hamlet said of himself, substituting an unintelligible jest for the actual truth: "I am but mad north-northwest; when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw" (Act II. sc. ii).*
*This dream furnishes a good example in support of the universally valid doctrine that dreams of the same night, even though they are separated in the memory, spring from the same thought-material. The dream-situation in which I am rescuing my children from the city of Rome, moreover, is distorted by a reference back to an episode of my childhood. The meaning is that I envy certain relatives who years ago had occasion to transplant their children to the soil of another country.
Thus, my solution of the problem of absurdity in dreams is that the dream-thoughts are never absurd–at least, not those of the dreams of sane persons–and that the dream-work produces absurd dreams, and dreams with individually absurd elements, when the dream-thoughts contain criticism, ridicule, and derision, which have to be given expression. My next concern is to show that the dream-work is exhausted by the co-operation of the three factors enumerated–and of a fourth which has still to be mentioned–that it does no more than translate the dream-thoughts, observing the four conditions prescribed, and that the question whether the mind goes to work in dreams with all its intellectual faculties, or with only part of them, is wrongly stated, and does not meet the actual state of affairs. But since there are plenty of dreams in which judgments are passed, criticisms made, and facts recognized in which astonishment at some individual element of the dream appears, and explanations are attempted, and arguments adduced, I must meet the objections deriving from these occurrences by the citation of selected examples.
My answer is as follows: Everything in dreams which occurs as the apparent functioning of the critical faculty is to be regarded, not as the intellectual performance of the dream-work, but as belonging to the substance of the dream-thoughts, and it has found its way from these, as a completed structure, into the manifest dream-content. I may go even farther than this! I may even say that the judgments which are passed upon the dream as it is remembered after waking, and the feelings which are aroused by the reproduction of the dream, belong largely to the latent dream- content, and must be fitted into place in the interpretation of the dream.
1. One striking example of this has already been given. A female patient does not wish to relate her dream because it was too vague. She saw a person in the dream, and does not know whether it was her husband or her father. Then follows a second dream- fragment, in which there occurs a manure-pail, with which the following reminiscence is associated. As a young housewife she once declared jestingly, in the presence of a young male relative who frequented the house, that her next business would be to procure a new manure-pail. Next morning one was sent to her, but it was filled with lilies of the valley. This part of the dream served to represent the phrase, "Not grown on my own manure."* If we complete the analysis, we find in the dream-thoughts the after-effect of a story heard in youth; namely, that a girl had given birth to a child, and that it was not clear who was the father. The dream-representation here overlaps into the waking thought, and allows one of the elements of the dream-thoughts to be represented by a judgment, formed in the waking state, of the whole dream.
*This German expression is equivalent to our saying: "I am not responsible for that," "That's not my funeral," or "That's not due to my own efforts."–TR.
2. A similar case: One of my patients has a dream which strikes him as being an interesting one, for he says to himself, immediately after waking: "I must tell that to the doctor." The dream is analysed, and shows the most distinct allusion to an affair in which he had become involved during the treatment, and of which he had decided to tell me nothing.*
*The injunction or resolve already contained in the dream: "I must tell that to the doctor," when it occurs in dreams during psycho-analytic treatment, is constantly accompanied by a great resistance to confessing the dream, and is not infrequently followed by the forgetting of the dream.
3. Here is a third example from my own experience:
I go to the hospital with P, through a neighbourhood in which there are houses and gardens. Thereupon I have an idea that I have already seen this locality several times in my dreams. I do not know my way very well; P shows me a way which leads round a corner to a restaurant (indoor); here I ask for Frau Doni, and I hear that she is living at the back of the house, in a small room, with three children. I go there, and on the way I meet an undefined person with my two little girls. After I have been with them for a while, I take them with me. A sort of reproach against my wife for having left them there.
On waking I am conscious of a great satisfaction, whose motive seems to be the fact that I shall now learn from the analysis what is meant by I have already dreamed of this.* But the analysis of the dream tells me nothing about this; it shows me only that the satisfaction belongs to the latent dream-content, and not to a judgment of the dream. It is satisfaction concerning the fact that I have had children by my marriage. P's path through life and my own ran parallel for a time; now he has outstripped me both socially and financially, but his marriage has remained childless. Of this the two occasions of the dream give proof on complete analysis. On the previous day I had read in the newspaper the obituary notice of a certain Frau Dona A–y (which I turn into Doni), who had died in childbirth; I was told by my wife that the dead woman had been nursed by the same midwife whom she herself had employed at the birth of our two youngest boys. The name Dona had caught my attention, for I had recently met with it for the first time in an English novel. The other occasion for the dream may be found in the date on which it was dreamed; this was the night before the birthday of my eldest boy, who, it seems, is poetically gifted.
*A subject which has been extensively discussed in recent volumes If the Revue Philosophique (paramnesia in dreams).
4. The same satisfaction remained with me after waking from the absurd dream that my father, after his death, had played a political role among the Magyars. It is motivated by the persistence of the feeling which accompanied the last sentence of the dream: I remember that on his deathbed he looked so like Garibaldi, and I am glad that it has really come true... (Followed by a forgotten continuation.) I can now supply from the analysis what should fill this gap. It is the mention of my second boy, to whom I have given the baptismal name of an eminent historical personage who attracted me greatly during my boyhood, especially during my stay in England. I had to wait for a year before I could fulfil my intention of using this name if the next child should be a son, and with great satisfaction I greeted him by this name as soon as he was born. It is easy to see how the father's suppressed desire for greatness is, in his thoughts, transferred to his children; one is inclined to believe that this is one of the ways by which the suppression of this desire (which becomes necessary in the course of life) is effected. The little fellow won his right to inclusion in the text of this dream by virtue of the fact that the same accident–that of soiling his clothes (quite pardonable in either a child or in a dying person)– had occurred to him. Compare with this the allusion Stuhlrichter (presiding judge) and the wish of the dream: to stand before one's children great and undefiled.
5. If I should now have to look for examples of judgments or expressions of opinion which remain in the dream itself, and are not continued in, or transferred to, our waking thoughts, my task would be greatly facilitated were I to take my examples from dreams which have already been cited for other purposes. The dream of Goethe's attack on Herr M appears to contain quite a number of acts of judgment. I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little, as they seem improbable to me. Does not this look like a critical impulse directed against the nonsensical idea that Goethe should have made a literary attack upon a young man of my acquaintance? It seems plausible to me that he was 18 years old. That sounds quite like the result of a calculation, though a silly one; and the I do not know exactly what is the date of the present year would be an example of uncertainty or doubt in dreams.
But I know from analysis that these acts of judgment, which seem to have been performed in the dream for the first time, admit of a different construction, in the light of which they become indispensable for interpreting the dream, while at the same time all absurdity is avoided. With the sentence I try to elucidate the temporal relations a little, I put myself in the place of my friend, who is actually trying to elucidate the temporal relations of life. The sentence then loses its significance as a judgment which objects to the nonsense of the previous sentences. The interposition, Which seems improbable to me, belongs to the following: It seems plausible to me. With almost these identical words I replied to the lady who told me of her brother's illness: "It seems improbable to me" that the cry of "Nature, Nature," was in any way connected with Goethe; it seems much more plausible to me that it has the sexual significance which is known to you. In this case, it is true, a judgment was expressed, but in reality, not in a dream, and on an occasion which is remembered and utilized by the dream-thoughts. The dream-content appropriates this judgment like any other fragment of the dream-thoughts.
The number 18 with which the judgment in the dream is meaninglessly connected still retains a trace of the context from which the real judgment was taken. Lastly, the I do not know exactly what is the date of the present year is intended for no other purpose than that of my identification with the paralytic, in examining whom this particular fact was established.
In the solution of these apparent acts of judgment in dreams, it will be well to keep in mind the above-mentioned rule of interpretation, which tells us that we must disregard the coherence which is established in the dream between its constituent parts as an unessential phenomenon, and that every dream-element must be taken separately and traced back to its source. The dream is a compound, which for the purposes of investigation must be broken up into its elements. On the other hand, we become alive to the fact that there is a psychic force which expresses itself in our dreams and establishes this apparent coherence; that is, the material obtained by the dream- work undergoes a secondary elaboration. Here we have the manifestations of that psychic force which we shall presently take into consideration as the fourth of the factors which co- operate in dream-formation.
6. Let us now look for other examples of acts of judgment in the dreams which have already been cited. In the absurd dream about the communication from the town council, I ask the question, "You married soon after?" I reckon that I was born in 1856, which seems to me to be directly afterwards. This certainly takes the form of an inference. My father married shortly after his attack, in the year 1851. I am the eldest son, born in 1856; so this is correct. We know that this inference has in fact been falsified by the wish-fulfilment, and that the sentence which dominates the dream-thoughts is as follows: Four or five years–that is no time at all–that need not be counted. But every part of this chain of reasoning may be seen to be otherwise determined from the dream- thoughts, as regards both its content and its form. It is the patient of whose patience my colleague complains who intends to marry immediately the treatment is ended. The manner in which I converse with my father in this dream reminds me of an examination or cross-examination, and thus of a university professor who was in the habit of compiling a complete docket of personal data when entering his pupils' names: You were born when?–1856.–Patre?–Then the applicant gave the Latin form of the baptismal name of the father and we students assumed that the Hofrat drew inferences from the father's name which the baptismal name of the candidate would not always have justified. Hence, the drawing of inferences in the dream would be merely the repetition of the drawing of inferences which appears as a scrap of material in the dream-thoughts. From this we learn something new. If an inference occurs in the dream-content, it assuredly comes from the dream-thoughts; but it may be contained in these as a fragment of remembered material, or it may serve as the logical connective of a series of dream-thoughts. In any case, an inference in the dream represents an inference taken from the dream-thoughts.*
*These results correct at several points my earlier statements concerning the representation of logical relations (chapter VI., C.). These described the general procedure of the dream-work, but overlooked its most delicate and most careful operations.
It will be well to continue the analysis of this dream at this point. With the inquisition of the professor is associated the recollection of an index (in my time published in Latin) of the university students; and further, the recollection of my own course of study. The five years allowed for the study of medicine were, as usual, too little for me. I worked unconcernedly for some years longer; my acquaintances regarded me as a loafer, and doubted whether I should get through. Then, suddenly, I decided to take my examinations, and I got through in spite of the postponement. A fresh confirmation of the dream-thoughts with which I defiantly meet my critics: "Even though you won't believe it, because I am taking my time, I shall reach the conclusion (German, Schluss = end, conclusion, inference). It has often happened like that."
In its introductory portion, this dream contains several sentences which, we can hardly deny, are of the nature of an argument. And this argument is not at all absurd; it might just as well occur in my waking thoughts. In my dream I make fun of the communication from the town council, for in the first place I was not yet born in 1851, and in the second place my father, to whom it might refer, is already dead. Not only is each of these statements perfectly correct in itself, but they are the very arguments that I should employ if I received such a communication. We know from the foregoing analysis that this dream has sprung from the soil of deeply embittered and scornful dream-thoughts; and if we may also assume that the motive of the censorship is a very powerful one, we shall understand that the dream-thought has every occasion to create a flawless refutation of an unreasonable demand, in accordance with the pattern contained in the dream-thoughts. But the analysis shows that in this case the dream-work has not been required to make a free imitation, but that material taken from the dream-thoughts had to be employed for the purpose. It is as though in an algebraic equation there should occur, besides the figures, plus and minus signs, and symbols of powers and of roots, and as though someone, in copying this equation, without understanding it, should copy both the symbols and the figures, and mix them all up together. The two arguments may be traced to the following material: It is painful to me to think that many of the hypotheses upon which I base my psychological solution of the psychoneuroses which will arouse scepticism and ridicule when they first become known. For instance, I shall have to assert that impressions of the second year of life, and even the first, leave an enduring trace upon the emotional life of subsequent neuropaths, and that these impressions–although greatly distorted and exaggerated by the memory–may furnish the earliest and profoundest basis of a hysterical symptom. Patients to whom I explain this at a suitable moment are wont to parody my explanation by offering to search for reminiscences of the period when they were not yet born. My disclosure of the unsuspected part played by the father in the earliest sexual impulses of female patients may well have a similar reception. (Cf. the discussion in chapter V., D). Nevertheless, it is my well-founded conviction that both doctrines are true. In confirmation of this I recall certain examples in which the death of the father occurred when the child was very young, and subsequent incidents, otherwise inexplicable, proved that the child had unconsciously reserved recollections of the person who had so early gone out of its life. I know that both my assertions are based upon inferences whose validity will be attacked. It is the doing of the wish-fulfilment that precisely the material of those inferences, which I fear will be contested, should be utilized by the dream-work for establishing incontestable conclusions.
7. In one dream, which I have hitherto only touched upon, astonishment at the subject emerging is distinctly expressed at the outset.
The elder Brucke must have set me some task or other; strangely enough, it relates to the preparation of the lower part of my own body, the pelvis and legs, which I see before me as though in the dissecting-room, but without feeling the absence of part of my body, and without a trace of horror. Louise N is standing beside me, and helps me in the work. The pelvis is eviscerated; now the upper, now the lower aspect is visible, and the two aspects are commingled. Large fleshy red tubercles are visible (which, even in the dream, make me think of haemorrhoids). Also something lying over them had to be carefully picked off; it looked like crumpled tinfoil.* Then I was once more in possession of my legs, and I made a journey through the city, but I took a cab (as I was tired). To my astonishment, the cab drove into the front door of a house, which opened and allowed it to pass into a corridor, which was broken off at the end, and eventually led on into the open.*(2) Finally I wandered through changing landscapes, with an Alpine guide, who carried my things. He carried me for some distance, out of consideration for my tired legs. The ground was swampy; we went along the edge; people were sitting on the ground, like Red Indians or gypsies; among them a girl. Until then I had made my way along on the slippery ground, in constant astonishment that I was so well able to do so after making the preparation. At last we came to a small wooden house with an open window at one end. Here the guide set me down, and laid two planks, which stood in readiness, on the window-sill so as to bridge the chasm which had to be crossed from the window. Now I grew really alarmed about my legs. Instead of the expected crossing, I saw two grown-up men lying upon wooden benches which were fixed on the walls of the hut, and something like two sleeping children next to them; as though not the planks but the children were intended to make the crossing possible. I awoke with terrified thoughts.
*Stanniol, allusion to Stannius; the nervous system of fishes; cf chapter VI., F./*(2) The place in the corridor of my apartment-house where the perambulators of the other tenants stand; it is also otherwise hyper-determined several times over.
Anyone who his been duly impressed by the extensive nature of dream-condensation will readily imagine what a number of pages the exhaustive analysis of this dream would fill. Fortunately for the context, I shall make this dream only the one example of astonishment in dreams, which makes its appearance in the parenthetical remark, strangely enough. Let us consider the occasion of the dream. It is a visit of this lady, Louise N, who helps me with my work in the dream. She says: "Lend me something to read." I offer her She, by Rider Haggard. A strange book, but full of hidden meaning," I try to explain; "the eternal feminine, the immortality of our emotions-" Here she interrupts me: "I know that book already. Haven't you something of your own?" "No, my own immortal works are still unwritten." "Well, when are you going to publish your so-called 'latest revelations,' which, you promised us, even we should be able to read?" she asks, rather sarcastically. I now perceive that she is a mouthpiece for someone else, and I am silent. I think of the effort it cost me to make public even my work on dreams, in which I had to surrender so much of my own intimate nature. ("The best that you know you can't tell the boys.") The preparation of my own body which I am ordered to make in my dream is thus the self-analysis involved in the communication of my dreams. The elder Brucke very properly finds a place here; in the first years of my scientific work it so happened that I neglected the publication of a certain discovery until his insistence forced me to publish it. But the further trains of thought, proceeding from my conversation with Louise N, go too deep to become conscious; they are side-tracked by way of the material which has been incidentally awakened in me by the mention of Rider Haggard's She. The comment strangely enough applies to this book, and to another by the same author, The Heart of the World; and numerous elements of the dream are taken from these two fantastic romances. The swampy ground over which the dreamer is carried, the chasm which has to be crossed by means of planks, come from She; the Red Indians, the girl, and the wooden house, from The Heart of the World. In both novels a woman is the leader, and both treat of perilous wanderings; She has to do with an adventurous journey to an undiscovered country, a place almost untrodden by the foot of man. According to a note which I find in my record of the dream, the fatigue in my legs was a real sensation from those days. Probably a weary mood corresponded with this fatigue, and the doubting question: "How much farther will my legs carry me?" In She, the end of the adventure is that the heroine meets her death in the mysterious central fire, instead of winning immortality for herself and for others. Some related anxiety has mistakably arisen in the dream- thoughts. The wooden house is assuredly also a coffin–that is, the grave. But in representing this most unwished-for of all thoughts by means of a wish-fulfilment, the dream-work has achieved its masterpiece. I was once in a grave, but it was an empty Etruscan grave near Orvieto–a narrow chamber with two stone benches on the walls, upon which were lying the skeletons of two adults. The interior of the wooden house in the dream looks exactly like this grave, except that stone has been replaced by wood. The dream seems to say: "If you must already sojourn in your grave, let it be this Etruscan grave," and by means of this interpolation it transforms the most mournful expectation into one that is really to be desired. Unfortunately, as we shall learn, the dream is able to change into its opposite only the idea accompanying an affect, but not always the affect itself. Hence, I awake with thoughts of terror, even after the idea that perhaps my children will achieve what has been denied to their father has forced its way to representation: a fresh allusion to the strange romance in which the identity of a character is preserved through a series of generations covering two thousand years.
8. in the context of another dream there is a similar expression of astonishment at what is experienced in the dream. This, however, is connected with such a striking, far-fetched, and almost intellectual attempt at explanation that if only on this account I should have to subject the whole dream to analysis, even if it did not possess two other interesting features. On the night of the eighteenth of July I was travelling on the Southern Railway, and in my sleep I heard someone call out: "Hollthurn, 10 minutes." I immediately think of Holothuria–of a natural history museum–that here is a place where valiant men have vainly resisted the domination of their overlord.–Yes, the counter- reformation in Austria!–As though it were a place in Styria or the Tyrol. Now I see indistinctly a small museum, in which the relics of the acquisitions of these men are preserved. I should like to leave the train, but I hesitate to do so. There are women with fruit on the platform; they squat on the ground, and in that position invitingly hold up their baskets.–I hesitated, in doubt as to whether we have time, but here we are still stationary.–I am suddenly in another compartment in which the leather and the seats are so narrow that one's spine directly touches the back.* I am surprised at this, but I may have changed carriages while asleep. Several people, among them an English brother and sister; a row of books plainly on a shelf on the wall.–I see The Wealth of Nations, and Matter and Motion (by Maxwell), thick books bound in brown linen. The man asks his sister about a book of Schiller's, whether she has forgotten it. These books seem to belong now to me, now to them. At this point I wish to join in the conversation in order to confirm or support what is being said. I wake sweating all over, because all the windows are shut, The train stops at Marburg.
*This description is not intelligible even to myself, but I follow the principle of reproducing the dream in those words which occur to me while I am writing it down. The wording itself is a part of the dream-representation.
While writing down the dream, a part of it occurs to me which my memory wished to pass over. I tell the brother and sister (in English), referring to a certain book: "It is from..." but I correct myself: "It is by..." The man remarks to his sister: "He said it correctly."
The dream begins with the name of a station, which seems to have almost waked me. For this name, which was Marburg, I substitute Hollthurn. The fact that I heard Marburg the first, or perhaps the second time it was called out, is proved by the mention of Schiller in the dream; he was born in Marburg, though not the Styrian Marburg.* Now on this occasion, although I was travelling first class, I was doing so under very disagreeable circumstances. The train was overcrowded; in my compartment I had come upon a lady and gentleman who seemed very fine people, and had not the good breeding, or did not think it worth while, to conceal their displeasure at my intrusion. My polite greeting was not returned, and although they were sitting side by side (with their backs to the engine), the woman before my eyes hastened to pre-empt the seat opposite her, and next to the window, with her umbrella; the door was immediately closed, and pointed remarks about the opening of windows were exchanged. Probably I was quickly recognized as a person hungry for fresh air. It was a hot night, and the atmosphere of the compartment, closed on both sides, was almost suffocating. My experience as a traveller leads me to believe that such inconsiderate and overbearing conduct marks people who have paid for their tickets only partly, or not at all. When the conductor came round, and I presented my dearly bought ticket, the lady exclaimed haughtily and almost threateningly: "My husband has a pass." She was an imposing- looking person, with a discontented expression, in age not far removed from the autumn of feminine beauty; the man had no chance to say anything; he sat there motionless. I tried to sleep. In my dream I take a terrible revenge on my disagreeable travelling companions; no one would suspect what insults and humiliations are concealed behind the disjointed fragments of the first half of the dream. After this need has been satisfied, the second wish, to exchange my compartment for another, makes itself felt. The dream changes its scene so often, and without making the slightest objection to such changes, that it would not have seemed at all remarkable had I at once, from my memories, replaced my travelling companions by more agreeable persons. But here was a case where something or other opposes the change of scene, and finds it necessary to explain it. How did I suddenly get into another compartment? I could not positively remember having changed carriages. So there was only one explanation. I must have left the carriage while asleep–an unusual occurrence, examples of which, however, are known to neuropathologists. We know of persons who undertake railway journeys in a crepuscular state, without betraying their abnormal condition by any sign whatever, until at some stage of their journey they come to themselves, and are surprised by the gap in their memory. Thus, while I am still dreaming, I declare my own case to be such a case of automatisme ambulatoire.
*Schiller was not born in one of the Marbergs, but in Marbach, as every German schoolboy knows, and I myself knew. This again is one of those errors (Cf. chapter VI., B) which creep in as substitutes for an intentional falsification in another place and which I have endeavoured to explain in The Psycho-pathology of Everyday Life.
Analysis permits of another solution. The attempt at explanation, which so surprises me if I am to attribute it to the dream-work, is not original, but is copied from the neurosis of one of my patients. I have already spoken in another chapter of a highly cultured and kindly man who began, shortly after the death of his parents, to accuse himself of murderous tendencies, and who was distressed by the precautionary measures which he had to take to secure himself against these tendencies. His was a case of severe obsessional ideas with full insight. To begin with, it was painful to him to walk through the streets, as he was obsessed by the necessity of accounting for all the persons he met; he had to know whither they had disappeared; if one of them suddenly eluded his pursuing glance, he was left with a feeling of distress and the idea that he might possibly have made away with the man. Behind this obsessive idea was concealed, among other things, a Cain-phantasy, for "all men are brothers." Owing to the impossibility of accomplishing this task, he gave up going for walks, and spent his life imprisoned within his four walls. But reports of murders which had been committed in the world outside were constantly reaching his room by way of the newspapers, and his conscience tormented him with the doubt that he might be the murderer for whom the police were looking. The certainty that he had not left the house for weeks protected him for a time against these accusations, until one day there dawned upon him the possibility that he might have left his house while in an unconscious state, and might thus have committed murder without knowing anything about it. From that time onwards he locked his front door, and gave the key to his old housekeeper, strictly forbidding her to give it into his hands, even if he demanded it.
This, then, is the origin of the attempted explanation that I may have changed carriages while in an unconscious state; it has been taken into the dream ready-made, from the material of the dream- thoughts, and is evidently intended to identify me with the person of my patient. My memory of this patient was awakened by natural association. My last night journey had been made a few weeks earlier in his company. He was cured, and we were going into the country together to his relatives, who had sent for me; as we had a compartment to ourselves, we left all the windows open throughout the night, and for as long as I remained awake we had a most interesting conversation. I knew that hostile impulses towards his father in childhood, in a sexual connection, had been at the root of his illness. By identifying myself with him, I wanted to make an analogous confession to myself. The second scene of the dream really resolves itself into a wanton phantasy to the effect that my two elderly travelling companions had acted so uncivilly towards me because my arrival on the scene had prevented them from exchanging kisses and embraces during the night, as they had intended. This phantasy, however, goes back to an early incident of my childhood when, probably impelled by sexual curiosity, I had intruded into my parents' bedroom, and was driven thence by my father's emphatic command.
I think it would be superfluous to multiply such examples. They would all confirm what we have learned from those already cited: namely, that an act of judgment in a dream is merely the repetition of an original act of judgment in the dream-thoughts. In most cases it is an unsuitable repetition, fitted into an inappropriate context; occasionally, however, as in our last example, it is so artfully applied that it may almost give one the impression of independent intellectual activity in the dream. At this point we might turn our attention to that psychic activity which, though it does not appear to co-operate constantly in the formation of dreams, yet endeavours to fuse the dream-elements of different origin into a flawless and significant whole. We consider it necessary, however, first of all to consider the expressions of affect which appear in dreams, and to compare these with the affects which analysis discovers in the dream-thoughts.
A shrewd remark of Stricker's called our attention to the fact that the expressions of affects in dreams cannot be disposed of in the contemptuous fashion in which we are wont to shake off the dream-content after we have waked. "If I am afraid of robbers in my dreams, the robbers, to be sure, are imaginary, but the fear of them is real"; and the same thing is true if I rejoice in my dream. According to the testimony of our feelings, an affect experienced in a dream is in no way inferior to one of like intensity experienced in waking life, and the dream presses its claim to be accepted as part of our real psychic experiences, by virtue of its affective rather than its ideational content. In the waking state, we do not put the one before the other, since we do not know how to evaluate an affect psychically except in connection with an ideational content. If an affect and an idea are ill-matched as regards their nature or their intensity, our waking judgment becomes confused.
The fact that in dreams the ideational content does not always produce the affective result which in our waking thoughts we should expect as its necessary consequence has always been a cause of astonishment. Strumpell declared that ideas in dreams are stripped of their psychic values. But there is no lack of instances in which the reverse is true; when an intensive manifestation of affect appears in a content which seems to offer no occasion for it. In my dream I may be in a horrible, dangerous, or disgusting situation, and yet I may feel no fear or aversion; on the other hand, I am sometimes terrified by harmless things, and sometimes delighted by childish things.
This enigma disappeared more suddenly and more completely than perhaps any other dream-problem if we pass from the manifest to the latent content. We shall then no longer have to explain it, for it will no longer exist. Analysis tells us that the ideational contents have undergone displacements and substitutions, while the affects have remained unchanged. No wonder, then, that the ideational content which has been altered by dream-distortion no longer fits the affect which has remained intact; and no cause for wonder when analysis has put the correct content into its original place.*
*If I am not greatly mistaken, the first dream which I was able to elicit from my grandson (aged 20 months) points to the fact that the dream-work had succeeded in transforming its material into a wish-fulfilment, while the affect which belonged to it remained unchanged even in the sleeping state. The night before its father was to return to the front the child cried out, sobbing violently: "Papa, Papa–Baby." That may mean: Let Papa and Baby still be together; while the weeping takes cognizance of the imminent departure. The child was at the time very well able to express the concept of separation. Fort (= away, replaced by a peculiarly accented, long-drawn-out ooooh) had been his first word, and for many months before this first dream he had played at away with all his toys; which went back to his early self- conquest in allowing his mother to go away.
In a psychic complex which has been subjected to the influence of the resisting censorship, the affects are the unyielding constituent, which alone can guide us to the correct completion. This state of affairs is revealed in the psychoneuroses even more distinctly than in dreams. Here the affect is always in the right, at least as regards its quality; its intensity may, of course, be increased by displacement of the neurotic attention. When the hysterical patient wonders that he should be so afraid of a trifle, or when the sufferer from obsessions is astonished that he should reproach himself so bitterly for a mere nothing, they are both in error, inasmuch as they regard long conceptual content–the trifle, the mere nothing–as the essential thing, and they defend themselves in vain, because they make this conceptual content the starting-point of their thought-work. Psycho-analysis, however, puts them on the right path, inasmuch as it recognizes that, on the contrary, it is the affect that is justified, and looks for the concept which pertains to it, and which has been repressed by a substitution. All that we need assume is that the liberation of affect and the conceptual content do not constitute the indissoluble organic unity as which we are wont to regard them, but that the two parts may be welded together, so that analysis will separate them. Dream- interpretation shows that this is actually the case.
I will first of all give an example in which analysis explains the apparent absence of affect in a conceptual content which ought to compel a liberation of affect.
1. The dreamer sees three lions in a desert, one of which is laughing, but she is not afraid of them. Then, however, she must have fled from them, for she is trying to climb a tree. But she finds that her cousin, the French teacher, is already up in the tree, etc.
The analysis yields the following material: The indifferent occasion of the dream was a sentence in the dreamer's English exercise: "The lion's greatest adornment is his mane." Her father used to wear a beard which encircled his face like a Mane. The name of her English teacher is Miss Lyons. An acquaintance of hers sent her the ballads of Loewe (Loewe = lion). These, then, are the three lions; why should she be afraid of them? She has read a story in which a negro who has incited his fellows to revolt is hunted with bloodhounds, and climbs a tree to save himself. Then follow fragmentary recollections in the merriest mood, such as the following directions for catching lions (from Die Fliegende Blatter): "Take a desert and put it through a sieve; the lions will be left behind." Also a very amusing, but not very proper anecdote about an official who is asked why he does not take greater pains to win the favour of his chief, and who replies that he has been trying to creep into favour, but that his immediate superior was already up there. The whole matter becomes intelligible as soon as one learns that on the dream-day the lady had received a visit from her husband's superior. He was very polite to her, and kissed her hand, and she was not at all afraid of him, although he is a big bug (Grosses Tier = big animal) and plays the part of a social lion in the capital of her country. This lion is, therefore, like the lion in A Midsummer Night's Dream, who is unmasked as Snug the joiner; and of such stuff are all the dream-lions of which one is not afraid.
2. As my second example, I will cite the dream of the girl who saw her sister's little son lying as a corpse in his coffin, but who, it may be added, was conscious of no pain or sorrow. Why she was unmoved we know from the analysis. The dream only disguised her wish to see once more the man she loved; the affect had to be attuned to the wish, and not to its disguisement. There was thus no occasion for sorrow.
In a number of dreams the affect does at least remain connected with the conceptual content which has replaced the content really belonging to it. In others, the dissolution of the complex is carried farther. The affect is entirely separated from the idea belonging to it, and finds itself accommodated elsewhere in the dream, where it fits into the new arrangement of the dream- elements. We have seen that the same thing happens to acts of judgment in dreams. If an important inference occurs in the dream- thoughts, there is one in the dream also; but the inference in the dream may be displaced to entirely different material. Not infrequently this displacement is effected in accordance with the principle of antithesis.
I will illustrate the latter possibility by the following dream, which I have subjected to the most exhaustive analysis.
3. A castle by the sea; afterwards it lies not directly on the coast, but on a narrow canal leading to the sea. A certain Herr P is the governor of the castle. I stand with him in a large salon with three windows, in front of which rise the projections of a wall, like battlements of a fortress. I belong to the garrison, perhaps as a volunteer naval officer. We fear the arrival of enemy warships, for we are in a state of war. Herr P intends to leave the castle; he gives me instructions as to what must be done if what we fear should come to pass. His sick wife and his children are in the threatened castle. As soon as the bombardment begins, the large hall is to be cleared. He breathes heavily, and tries to get away; I detain him, and ask him how I am to send him news in case of need. He says something further, and immediately afterwards he sinks to the floor dead. I have probably taxed him unnecessarily with my questions. After his death, which makes no further impression upon me, I consider whether the widow is to remain in the castle, whether I should give notice of the death to the higher command, whether I should take over the control of the castle as the next in command. I now stand at the window, and scrutinize the ships as they pass by; they are cargo steamers, and they rush by over the dark water; several with more than one funnel, others with bulging decks (these are very like the railway stations in the preliminary dream, which has not been related). Then my brother is standing beside me, and we both look out of the window on to the canal. At the sight of one ship we are alarmed, and call out: "Here comes the warship!" It turns out, however, that they are only the ships which I have already seen, returning. Now comes a small ship, comically truncated, so that it ends amidships; on the deck one sees curious things like cups or little boxes. We call out as with one voice: "That is the breakfast ship."
The rapid motion of the ships, the deep blue of the water, the brown smoke of the funnels–all these together produce an intense and gloomy impression.
The localities in this dream are compiled from several journeys to the Adriatic (Miramare, Duino, Venice, Aquileia). A short but enjoyable Easter trip to Aquileia with my brother, a few weeks before the dream, was still fresh in my memory; also the naval war between America and Spain, and, associated with this my anxiety as to the fate of my relatives in America, play a part in the dream. Manifestations of affect appear at two places in the dream. In one place an affect that would be expected is lacking: it expressly emphasized that the death of the governor makes no impression upon me; at another point, when I see the warships, I am frightened, and experience all the sensations of fright in my sleep. The distribution of affects in this well-constructed dream has been effected in such a way that any obvious contradiction is avoided. For there is no reason why I should be frightened at the governor's death, and it is fitting that, as the commander of the castle, I should be alarmed by the sight of the warship. Now analysis shows that Herr P is nothing but a substitute for my own ego (in the dream I am his substitute). I am the governor who suddenly dies. The dream-thoughts deal with the future of my family after my premature death. No other disagreeable thought is to be found among the dream-thoughts. The alarm which goes with the sight of the warship must be transferred from it to this disagreeable thought. Inversely, the analysis shows that the region of the dream-thoughts from which the warship comes is laden with most cheerful reminiscences. In Venice, a year before the dream, one magically beautiful day, we stood at the windows of our room on the Riva Schiavoni and looked out over the blue lagoon, on which there was more traffic to be seen than usual. Some English ships were expected; they were to be given a festive reception; and suddenly my wife cried, happy as a child: "Here comes the English warship!" In the dream I am frightened by the very same words; once more we see that speeches in dreams have their origin in speeches in real life. I shall presently show that even the element English in this speech has not been lost for the dream-work. Here, then, between the dream-thoughts and the dream-content, I turn joy into fright, and I need only point to the fact that by means of this transformation I give expression to part of the latent dream-content. The example shows, however, that the dream-work is at liberty to detach the occasion of an affect from its connections in the dream-thoughts, and to insert it at any other place it chooses in the dream- content.
I will take the opportunity which is here, incidentally offered of subjecting to a closer analysis the breakfast ship, whose appearance in the dream so absurdly concludes a situation that has been rationally adhered to. If I look more closely at this dream-object, I am impressed after the event by the fact that it was black. and that by reason of its truncation at its widest beam it achieved, at the truncated end, a considerable resemblance to an object which had aroused our interest in the museums of the Etruscan cities. This object was a rectangular cup of black clay, with two handles, upon which stood things like coffee-cups or tea-cups, very similar to our modern service for the breakfast table. Upon inquiry we learned that this was the toilet set of an Etruscan lady, with little boxes for rouge and powder; and we told one another jestingly that it would not be a bad idea to take a thing like that home to the lady of the house. The dream-object, therefore, signifies a black toilet (toilette = dress), or mourning. and refers directly to a death. The other end of the dream-object reminds us of the boat (German, Nachen, from the Greek root, nechus, as a philological friend informs me), upon which corpses were laid in prehistoric times, and were left to be buried by the sea. This is associated with the return of the ships in the dream.
"Silently on his rescued boat the old man drifts into harbour."
It is the return voyage after the shipwreck (German: Schiff-bruch = ship-breaking); the breakfast ship looks as though it were broken off amidships. But whence comes the name breakfast ship? This is where English comes in, which we have left over from the warships. Breakfast, a breaking of the fast. Breaking again belongs to shipwreck (Schiff-bruch), and fasting is associated with the black (mourning).
But the only thing about this breakfast ship which has been newly created by the dream is its name. The thing existed in reality, and recalls to me one of the merriest moments of my last journey. As we distrusted the fare in Aquileia, we took some food with us from Goerz, and bought a bottle of the excellent Istrian wine in Aquileia; and while the little mail-steamer slowly travelled through the canale delle Mee and into the lonely expanse of lagoon in the direction of Grado, we had breakfast on deck in the highest spirits–we were the only passengers–and it tasted to us as few breakfasts have ever tasted. This, then, was the breakfast ship, and it is behind this very recollection of the gayest joie de vivre that the dream hides the saddest thoughts of an unknown and mysterious future.
The detachment of affects from the groups of ideas which have occasioned their liberation is the most striking thing that happens to them in dream-formation, but it is neither the only nor even the most essential change which they undergo on the way from the dream-thoughts to the manifest dream. If the affects in the dream-thoughts are compared with those in the dream, one thing at once becomes clear: Wherever there is an affect in the dream, it is to be found also in the dream-thoughts; the converse, however, is not true. In general, a dream is less rich in affects than the psychic material from which it is elaborated. When I have reconstructed the dream-thoughts, I see that the most intense psychic impulses are constantly striving in them for self- assertion, usually in conflict with others which are sharply opposed to them. Now, if I turn back to the dream. I often find it colourless and devoid of any very intensive affective tone. Not only the content, but also the affective tone of my thoughts is often reduced by the dream-work to the level of the indifferent. I might say that a suppression of the affects has been accomplished by the dream-work. Take, for example, the dream of the botanical monograph. It corresponds to a passionate plea for my freedom to act as I am acting, to arrange my life as seems right to me, and to me alone. The dream which results from this sounds indifferent; I have written a monograph; it is lying before me; it is provided with coloured plates, and dried plants are to be found in each copy. It is like the peace of a deserted battlefield; no trace is left of the tumult of battle.
But things may turn out quite differently; vivid expressions of affect may enter into the dream itself; but we will first of all consider the unquestioned fact that so many dreams appear indifferent, whereas it is never possible to go deeply into the dream-thoughts without deep emotion.
The complete theoretical explanation of this suppression of affects during the dream-work cannot be given here; it would require a most careful investigation of the theory of the affects and of the mechanism of repression. Here I can put forward only two suggestions. I am forced–for other reasons–to conceive the liberation of affects as a centrifugal process directed towards the interior of the body, analogous to the processes of motor and secretory innervation. Just as in the sleeping state the emission of motor impulses towards the outer world seems to be suspended, so the centrifugal awakening of affects by unconscious thinking during sleep may be rendered more difficult. The affective impulses which occur during the course of the dream-thoughts may thus in themselves be feeble, so that those that find their way into the dream are no stronger. According to this line of thought, the suppression of the affects would not be a consequence of the dream-work at all, but a consequence of the state of sleep. This may be so, but it cannot possibly be all the truth. We must remember that all the more complex dreams have revealed themselves as the result of a compromise between conflicting psychic forces. On the one hand, the wish-forming thoughts have to oppose the contradiction of a censorship; on the other hand, as we have often seen, even in unconscious thinking, every train of thought is harnessed to its contradictory counterpart. Since all these trains of thought are capable of arousing affects, we shall, broadly speaking, hardly go astray if we conceive the suppression of affects as the result of the inhibition which the contrasts impose upon one another, and the censorship upon the urges which it has suppressed. The inhibition of affects would accordingly be the second consequence of the dream-censorship, just as dream-distortion was the first consequence.
I will here insert an example of a dream in which the indifferent emotional tone of the dream-content may be explained by the antagonism of the dream-thoughts. I must relate the following short dream, which every reader will read with disgust.
4. Rising ground, and on it something like an open-air latrine; a very long bench, at the end of which is a wide aperture. The whole of the back edge is thickly covered with little heaps of excrement of all sizes and degrees of freshness. A thicket behind the bench. I urinate upon the bench; a long stream of urine rinses everything clean, the patches of excrement come off easily and fall into the opening. Nevertheless, it seems as though something remained at the end.
Why did I experience no disgust in this dream?
Because, as the analysis shows, the most pleasant and gratifying thoughts have cooperated in the formation of this dream. Upon analysing it, I immediately think of the Augean stables which were cleansed by Hercules. I am this Hercules. The rising ground and the thicket belong to Aussee, where my children are now staying. I have discovered the infantile aetiology of the neuroses, and have thus guarded my own children from falling ill. The bench (omitting the aperture, of course) is the faithful copy of a piece of furniture of which an affectionate female patient has made me a present. This reminds me how my patients honour me. Even the museum of human excrement is susceptible of a gratifying interpretation. However much it disgusts me, it is a souvenir of the beautiful land of Italy, where in the small cities, as everyone knows, the privies are not equipped in any other way. The stream of urine that washes everything clean is an unmistakable allusion to greatness. It is in this manner that Gulliver extinguishes the great fire in Lilliput; to be sure, he thereby incurs the displeasure of the tiniest of queens. In this way, too, Gargantua, the superman of Master Rabelais, takes vengeance upon the Parisians, straddling Notre-Dame and training his stream of urine upon the city. Only yesterday I was turning over the leaves of Garnier's illustrations to Rabelais before I went to bed. And, strangely enough, here is another proof that I am the superman! The platform of Notre-Dame was my favourite nook in Paris; every free afternoon I used to go up into the towers of the cathedral and there clamber about between the monsters and gargoyles. The circumstance that all the excrement vanishes so rapidly before the stream of urine corresponds to the motto: Afflavit et dissipati sunt, which I shall some day make the title of a chapter on the therapeutics of hysteria.
And now as to the affective occasion of the dream. It had been a hot summer afternoon; in the evening, I had given my lecture on the connection between hysteria and the perversions, and everything which I had to say displeased me thoroughly, and seemed utterly valueless. I was tired; I took not the least pleasure in my difficult work, and longed to get away from this rummaging in human filth; first to see my children, and then to revisit the beauties of Italy. In this mood I went from the lecture-hall to a cafe to get some little refreshment in the open air, for my appetite had forsaken me. But a member of my audience went with me; he begged for permission to sit with me while I drank my coffee and gulped down my roll, and began to say flattering things to me. He told me how much he had learned from me, that he now saw everything through different eyes, that I had cleansed the Augean stables of error and prejudice, which encumbered the theory of the neuroses–in short, that I was a very great man. My mood was ill-suited to his hymn of praise; I struggled with my disgust, and went home earlier in order to get rid of him; and before I went to sleep I turned over the leaves of Rabelais, and read a short story by C. F. Meyer entitled Die Leiden eines Knaben (The Sorrows of a Boy).
The dream had originated from this material, and Meyer's novel had supplied the recollections of scenes of childhood.* The day's mood of annoyance and disgust is continued in the dream, inasmuch as it is permitted to furnish nearly all the material for the dream-content. But during the night the opposite mood of vigorous, even immoderate self-assertion awakened and dissipated the earlier mood. The dream had to assume such a form as would accommodate both the expressions of self-depreciation and exaggerated self-glorification in the same material. This compromise-formation resulted in an ambiguous dream-content, but, owing to the mutual inhibition of the opposites, in an indifferent emotional tone.
*Cf. the dream about Count Thun, last scene.
According to the theory of wish-fulfilment, this dream would not have been possible had not the opposed, and indeed suppressed, yet pleasure-emphasized megalomanic train of thought been added to the thoughts of disgust. For nothing painful is intended to be represented in dreams; the painful elements of our daily thoughts are able to force their way into our dreams only if at the same time they are able to disguise a wish-fulfilment.
The dream-work is able to dispose of the affects of the dream- thoughts in yet another way than by admitting them or reducing them to zero. It can transform them into their opposites. We are acquainted with the rule that for the purposes of interpretation every element of the dream may represent its opposite, as well as itself. One can never tell beforehand which is to be posited; only the context can decide this point. A suspicion of this state of affairs has evidently found its way into the popular consciousness; the dream-books, in their interpretations, often proceed according to the principle of contraries. This transformation into the contrary is made possible by the intimate associative ties which in our thoughts connect the idea of a thing with that of its opposite. Like every other displacement, this serves the purposes of the censorship, but it is often the work of wish-fulfilment, for wish-fulfilment consists in nothing more than the substitution of an unwelcome thing by its opposite. Just as concrete images may be transformed into their contraries in our dreams, so also may the affects of the dream-thoughts, and it is probable that this inversion of affects is usually brought about by the dream-censorship. The suppression and inversion of affects is useful even in social life, as is shown by the familiar analogy of the dream-censorship and, above all, hypocrisy. If I am conversing with a person to whom I must show consideration while I should like to address him as an enemy, it is almost more important that I should conceal the expression of my affect from him than that I should modify the verbal expression of my thoughts. If I address him in courteous terms, but accompany them by looks or gestures of hatred and disdain, the effect which I produce upon him is not very different from what it would have been had I cast my unmitigated contempt into his face. Above all, then, the censorship bids me suppress my affects. and if I am a master of the art of dissimulation I can hypocritically display the opposite affect–smiling where I should like to be angry, and pretending affection where I should like to destroy.
We have already had an excellent example of such an inversion of affect in the service of the dream-censorship. In the dream of my uncle's beard I feel great affection for my friend R, while (and because) the dream-thoughts berate him as a simpleton. From this example of the inversion of affects we derived our first proof of the existence of the censorship. Even here it is not necessary to assume that the dream-work creates a counter-affect of this kind that is altogether new; it usually finds it lying ready in the material of the dream-thoughts, and merely intensifies it with the psychic force of the defence-motives until it is able to predominate in the dream-formation. In the dream of my uncle, the affectionate counter-affect probably has its origin in an infantile source (as the continuation of the dream would suggest), for owing to the peculiar nature of my earliest childhood experiences the relation of uncle and nephew has become the source of all my friendships and hatreds (cf. analysis chapter VI., F.).
An excellent example of such a reversal of affect is found in a dream recorded by Ferenczi.* "An elderly gentleman was awakened at night by his wife, who was frightened because he laughed so loudly and uncontrollably in his sleep. The man afterwards related that he had had the following dream: I lay in my bed, a gentleman known to me came in, I wanted to turn on the light, but I could not; I attempted to do so repeatedly, but in vain. Thereupon my wife got out of bed, in order to help me, but she, too, was unable to manage it; being ashamed of her neglige in the presence of the gentleman, she finally gave it up and went back to her bed; all this was so comical that I had to laugh terribly. My wife said: 'What are you laughing at, what are you laughing at?' but I continued to laugh until I woke. The following day the man was extremely depressed, and suffered from headache: 'From too much laughter, which shook me up,' he thought.
*Internat. Zeitschr. f. Psychoanalyse, IV (1916).
"Analytically considered, the dream looks less comical. In the latent dream-thoughts the gentleman known to him who came into the room is the image of death as the 'great unknown,' which was awakened in his mind on the previous day. The old gentleman, who suffers from arteriosclerosis, had good reason to think of death on the day before the dream. The uncontrollable laughter takes the place of weeping and sobbing at the idea that he has to die. It is the light of life that he is no longer able to turn on. This mournful thought may have associated itself with a failure to effect sexual intercourse, which he had attempted shortly before this, and in which the assistance of his wife en neglige was of no avail; he realized that he was already on the decline. The dream-work knew how to transform the sad idea of impotence and death into a comic scene, and the sobbing into laughter."
There is one class of dreams which has a special claim to be called hypocritical, and which severely tests the theory of wish- fulfilment. My attention was called to them when Frau Dr. M. Hilferding proposed for discussion by the Psychoanalytic Society of Vienna a dream recorded by Rosegger, which is here reprinted:
In Waldheimat, vol. xi, Rosegger writes as follows in his story, Fremd gemacht (p.303):
"I usually enjoy healthful sleep, yet I have gone without repose on many a night; in addition to my modest existence as a student and literary man, I have for long years dragged out the shadow of a veritable tailor's life–like a ghost from which I could not become divorced.
"It is not true that I have occupied myself very often or very intensely with thoughts of my past during the day. A stormer of heaven and earth who has escaped from the hide of the Philistine has other things to think about. And as a gay young fellow, I hardly gave a thought to my nocturnal dreams; only later, when I had formed the habit of thinking about everything, or when the Philistine within me began to assert itself a little, did it strike me that–when I dreamed at all–I was always a journeyman tailor, and that in that capacity I had already worked in my master's shop for a long time without any pay. As I sat there beside him, and sewed and pressed, I was perfectly well aware that I no longer belonged there, and that as a burgess of the town I had other things to attend to; but I was always on a holiday, or away in the country, and so I sat beside my master and helped him. I often felt far from comfortable about it, and regretted the waste of time which I might have employed for better and more useful purposes. If anything was not quite correct in measure and cut I had to put up with a scolding from my master. Of wages there was never a question. Often, as I sat with bent back in the dark workshop, I decided to give notice and make myself scarce. Once I actually did so, but the master took no notice of me, and next time I was sitting beside him again and sewing.
"How happy I was when I woke up after such weary hours! And I then resolved that, if this intrusive dream should ever occur again, I would energetically throw it off, and would cry aloud: 'It is only a delusion, I am lying in bed, and I want to sleep'... And the next night I would be sitting in the tailor's shop again.
"So it went on for years, with dismal regularity. Once when the master and I were working at Alpelhofer's, at the house of the peasant with whom I began my apprenticeship, it happened that my master was particularly dissatisfied with my work. 'I should like to know where in the world your thoughts are?' he cried, and looked at me sullenly. I thought the most sensible thing to do would be to get up and explain to the master that I was working with him only as a favour, and then take my leave. But I did not do this. I even submitted when the master engaged an apprentice, and ordered me to make room for him on the bench. I moved into the corner, and kept on sewing. On the same day another journeyman was engaged; a bigoted fellow; he was the Bohemian who had worked for us nineteen years earlier, and then had fallen into the lake on his way home from the public-house. When he tried to sit down there was no room for him. I looked at the master inquiringly, and he said to me: 'You have no talent for tailoring; you may go; you're a stranger henceforth.' My fright on that occasion was so overpowering that I woke.
"The grey of morning glimmered through the clear windows of my familiar home. Objets d'art surrounded me; in the tasteful bookcase stood the eternal Homer, the gigantic Dante, the incomparable Shakespeare, the glorious Goethe–all radiant and immortal. From the adjoining room resounded the clear little voices of the children, who were waking up and prattling to their mother. I felt as though I had rediscovered that idyllically sweet, peaceful, poetical and spiritualized life in which I have so often and so deeply been conscious of contemplative human happiness. And yet I was vexed that I had not given my master notice first, but had been dismissed by him.
"And how remarkable this seems to me: since that night, when my master 'made a stranger' of me, I have enjoyed restful sleep; I no longer dream of my tailoring days, which now lie in the remote past: which in their unpretentious simplicity were really so cheerful, but which, none the less, have cast a long shadow over the later years of my life."
In this series of dreams of a poet who, in his younger years, had been a journeyman tailor, it is hard to recognize the domination of the wish-fulfilment. All the delightful things occurred in his waking life, while the dream seemed to drag along with it the ghost-like shadow of an unhappy existence which had long been forgotten. Dreams of my own of a similar character enable me to give some explanation of such dreams. As a young doctor, I worked for a long time in the Chemical Institute without being able to accomplish anything in that exacting science, so that in the waking state I never think about this unfruitful and actually somewhat humiliating period of my student days. On the other hand, I have a recurring dream to the effect that I am working in the laboratory, making analyses, and experiments, and so forth; these dreams, like the examination-dreams, are disagreeable, and they are never very distinct. During the analysis of one of these dreams my attention was directed to the word analysis, which gave me the key to an understanding of them. Since then I have become an analyst. I make analyses which are greatly praised–psycho- analyses, of course. Now I understand: when I feel proud of these analyses in my waking life, and feel inclined to boast of my achievements, my dreams hold up to me at night those other, unsuccessful analyses, of which I have no reason to be proud; they are the punitive dreams of the upstart, like those of the journeyman tailor who became a celebrated poet. But how is it possible for a dream to place itself at the service of self- criticism in its conflict with parvenu pride, and to take as its content a rational warning instead of a prohibited wish- fulfilment? I have already hinted that the answer to this question presents many difficulties. We may conclude that the foundation of the dream consisted at first of an arrogant phantasy of ambition; but that in its stead only its suppression and abasement has reached the dream-content. One must remember that there are masochistic tendencies in mental life to which such an inversion might be attributed. I see no objection to regarding such dreams as punishment-dreams, as distinguished from wish-fulfilling dreams. I should not see in this any limitation of the theory of dreams hitherto as presented, but merely a verbal concession to the point of view to which the convergence of contraries seems strange. But a more thorough investigation of individual dreams of this class allows us to recognize yet another element. In an indistinct, subordinate portion of one of my laboratory dreams, I was just at the age which placed me in the most gloomy and most unsuccessful year of my professional career; I still had no position, and no idea how I was going to support myself, when I suddenly found that I had the choice of several women whom I might marry! I was, therefore, young again and, what is more, she was young again–the woman who has shared with me all these difficult years. In this way, one of the wishes which constantly gnaws at the heart of the aging man was revealed as the unconscious dream-instigator. The conflict raging in other psychic strata between vanity and self-criticism had certainly determined the dream-content, but the more deeply-rooted wish for youth had alone made it possible as a dream. One often says to oneself even in the waking state: "To be sure, things are going well with you today, and once you found life very hard; but, after all, life was sweet in those days, when you were still so young."*
*Ever since psycho-analysis has dissected the personality into an ego and a super-ego (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, p.664 below), it has been easy to recognize in these punishment-dreams wishfulfilments of the super-ego.
Another group of dreams, which I have often myself experienced, and which I have recognized to be hypocritical, have as their content a reconciliation with persons with whom one has long ceased to have friendly relations. The analysis constantly discovers an occasion which might well induce me to cast aside the last remnants of consideration for these former friends, and to treat them as strangers or enemies. But the dream chooses to depict the contrary relation.
In considering dreams recorded by a novelist or poet, we may often enough assume that he has excluded from the record those details which he felt to be disturbing and regarded as unessential. His dreams thus set us a problem which could be readily solved if we had an exact reproduction of the dream- content.
O. Rank has called my attention to the fact that in Grimm's fairy- tale of the valiant little tailor, or Seven at One Stroke, there is related a very similar dream of an upstart. The tailor, who has become a hero, and has married the king's daughter, dreams one night while lying beside the princess, his wife, about his trade; having become suspicious, on the following night she places armed guards where they can listen to what is said by the dreamer, and arrest him. But the little tailor is warned, and is able to correct his dream.
The complicated processes of removal, diminution, and inversion by which the affects of the dream-thoughts finally become the affects of the dream may be very well survived in suitable syntheses of completely analysed dreams. I shall here discuss a few examples of affective manifestations in dreams which will, I think, prove this conclusively in some of the cases cited.
5. In the dream about the odd task which the elder Brucke sets me– that of preparing my own pelvis–I am aware in the dream itself of not feeling appropriate horror. Now this is a wish-fulfilment in more senses than one. The preparation signifies the self- analyses which I perform, as it were, by publishing my book on dreams, which I actually found so painful that I postponed the printing of the completed manuscript for more than a year. The wish now arises that I may disregard this feeling of aversion, and for that reason I feel no horror (Grauen, which also means to grow grey) in the dream. I should much like to escape Grauen in the other sense too, for I am already growing quite grey, and the grey in my hair warns me to delay no longer. For we know that at the end of the dream this thought secures representation: "I shall have to leave my children to reach the goal of their difficult journey without my help."
In the two dreams that transfer the expression of satisfaction to the moments immediately after waking, this satisfaction is in the one case motivated by the expectation that I am now going to learn what is meant by I have already dreamed of this, and refers in reality to the birth of my first child, and in the other case it is motivated by the conviction that "that which has been announced by a premonitory sign" is now going to happen, and the satisfaction is that which I felt on the arrival of my second son. Here the same affects that dominated in the dream-thoughts have remained in the dream, but the process is probably not quite so simple as this in any dream. If the two analyses are examined a little more closely it will be seen that this satisfaction, which does not succumb to the censorship, receives reinforcement from a source which must fear the censorship, and whose affect would certainly have aroused opposition if it had not screened itself by a similar and readily admitted affect of satisfaction from the permitted source, and had, so to speak, sneaked in behind it. I am unfortunately unable to show this in the case of the actual dream, but an example from another situation will make my meaning intelligible. I will put the following case: Let there be a person near me whom I hate so strongly that I have a lively impulse to rejoice should anything happen to him. But the moral side of my nature does not give way to this impulse; I do not dare to express this sinister wish, and when something does happen to him which he does not deserve I suppress my satisfaction, and force myself to thoughts and expressions of regret. Everyone will at some time have found himself in such a position. But now let it happen that the hated person, through some transgression of his own, draws upon himself a well-deserved calamity; I shall now be allowed to give free rein to my satisfaction at his being visited by a just punishment, and I shall be expressing an opinion which coincides with that of other impartial persons. But I observe that my satisfaction proves to be more intense than that of others, for it has received reinforcement from another source–from my hatred, which was hitherto prevented by the inner censorship from furnishing the affect, but which, under the altered circumstances, is no longer prevented from doing so. This case generally occurs in social life when antipathetic persons or the adherents of an unpopular minority have been guilty of some offence. Their punishment is then usually commensurate not with their guilt, but with their guilt plus the ill-will against them that has hitherto not been put into effect. Those who punish them doubtless commit an injustice, but they are prevented from becoming aware of it by the satisfaction arising from the release within themselves of a suppression of long standing. In such cases the quality of the affect is justified, but not its degree; and the self-criticism that has been appeased in respect of the first point is only too ready to neglect to scrutinize the second point. Once you have opened the doors, more people enter than it was your original intention to admit.
A striking feature of the neurotic character, namely, that in it causes capable of evoking affect produce results which are qualitatively justified but quantitatively excessive, is to be explained on these lines, in so far as it admits of a psychological explanation at all. But the excess of affect proceeds from unconscious and hitherto suppressed affective sources which are able to establish an associative connection with the actual occasion, and for whose liberation of affect the unprotested and permitted source of affects opens up the desired path. Our attention is thus called to the fact that the relation of mutual inhibition must not be regarded as the only relation obtaining between the suppressed and the suppressing psychic institution. The cases in which the two institutions bring about a pathological result by co-operation and mutual reinforcement deserve just as much attention. These hints regarding the psychic mechanism will contribute to our understanding of the expressions of affects in dreams. A gratification which makes its appearance in a dream, and which, of course, may readily be found in its proper place in the dream-thoughts, may not always be fully explained by means of this reference. As a rule, it is necessary to search for a second source in the dream-thoughts, upon which the pressure of the censorship rests, and which, under this pressure, would have yielded not gratification but the contrary affect, had it not been enabled by the presence of the first dream-source to free its gratification-affect from repression, and reinforce the gratification springing from the other source. Hence affects which appear in dreams appear to be formed by the confluence of several tributaries, and are over-determined in respect of the material of the dream-thoughts. Sources of affect which are able to furnish the same affect combine in the dream- work in order to produce it.*
*I have since explained the extraordinary effect of pleasure produced by tendency wit on analogous lines.
Some insight into these involved relations is gained from the analysis of the admirable dream in which Non vixit constitutes the central point (cf. chapter VI., F). In this dream expressions of affect of different qualities are concentrated at two points in the manifest content. Hostile and painful impulses (in the dream itself we have the phrase overcome by strange emotions) overlap one another at the point where I destroy my antagonistic friend with a couple of words. At the end of the dream I am greatly pleased, and am quite ready to believe in a possibility which I recognize as absurd when I am awake, namely, that there are revenants who can be swept away by a mere wish.
I have not yet mentioned the occasion of this dream. It is an important one, and leads us far down into the meaning of the dream. From my friend in Berlin (whom I have designated as Fl) I had received the news that he was about to undergo an operation, and that relatives of his living in Vienna would inform me as to his condition. The first few messages after the operation were not very reassuring, and caused me great anxiety. I should have liked to go to him myself, but at that time I was afflicted with a painful complaint which made every movement a torment. I now learn from the dream-thoughts that I feared for this dear friend's life. I knew that his only sister, with whom I had never been acquainted, had died young, after a very brief illness. (In the dream Fl tells me about his sister, and says: "In three- quarters of an hour she was dead.") I must have imagined that his own constitution was not much stronger, and that I should soon be travelling, in spite of my health, in response to far worse news– and that I should arrive too late, for which I should eternally reproach myself.* This reproach, that I should arrive too late, has become the central point of the dream, but it has been represented in a scene in which the revered teacher of my student years–Brucke–reproaches me for the same thing with a terrible look from his blue eyes. What brought about this alteration of the scene will soon become apparent: the dream cannot reproduce the scene itself as I experienced it. To be sure, it leaves the blue eyes to the other man, but it gives me the part of the annihilator, an inversion which is obviously the work of the wish- fulfilment. My concern for the life of my friend, my self- reproach for not having gone to him, my shame (he had come to me in Vienna unobtrusively), my desire to consider myself excused on account of my illness–all this builds up an emotional tempest which is distinctly felt in my sleep, and which rages in that region of the dream-thoughts.
*It is this fancy from the unconscious dream-thoughts which peremptorily demands non vivit instead of non vixit. "You have come too late, he is no longer alive." The fact that the manifest situation of the dream aims at the non vivit has been mentioned in chapter VI., G.
But there was another thing in the occasion of the dream which had quite the opposite effect. With the unfavourable news during the first days of the operation I received also an injunction to speak to no one about the whole affair, which hurt my feelings, for it betrayed an unnecessary distrust of my discretion. I knew, of course, that this request did not proceed from my friend, but that it was due to clumsiness or excessive timidity on the part of the messenger; yet the concealed reproach affected me very disagreeably, because it was not altogether unjustified. As we know, only reproaches which have something in them have the power to hurt. Years ago, when I was younger than I am now, I knew two men who were friends, and who honoured me with their friendship; and I quite superfluously told one of them what the other had said of him. This incident, of course, had nothing to do with the affairs of my friend Fl, but I have never forgotten the reproaches to which I had to listen on that occasion. One of the two friends between whom I made trouble was Professor Fleischl; the other one I will call by his baptismal name, Josef, a name which was borne also by my friend and antagonist P, who appears in this dream.
In the dream the element unobtrusively points to the reproach that I cannot keep anything to myself, and so does the question of Fl as to how much of his affairs I have told P. But it is the intervention of that old memory which transposes the reproach for arriving too late from the present to the time when I was working in Brucke's laboratory; and by replacing the second person in the annihilation scene of the dream by a Josef, I enable this scene to represent not only the first reproach–that I have arrived too late–but also that other reproach, more strongly affected by the repression, to the effect that I do not keep secrets. The work of condensation and displacement in this dream, as well as the motives for it, are now obvious.
My present trivial annoyance at the injunction not to divulge secrets draws reinforcement from springs that flow far beneath the surface, and so swells to a stream of hostile impulses towards persons who are in reality dear to me. The source which furnishes the reinforcement is to be found in my childhood. I have already said that my warm friendships as well as my enmities with persons of my own age go back to my childish relations to my nephew, who was a year older than I. In these he had the upper hand, and I early learned how to defend myself; we lived together, were inseparable, and loved one another, but at times, as the statements of older persons testify, we used to squabble and accuse one another. In a certain sense, all my friends are incarnations of this first figure; they are all revenants. My nephew himself returned when a young man, and then we were like Caesar and Brutus. An intimate friend and a hated enemy have always been indispensable to my emotional life; I have always been able to create them anew, and not infrequently my childish ideal has been so closely approached that friend and enemy have coincided in the same person; but not simultaneously, of course, nor in constant alternation, as was the case in my early childhood.
How, when such associations exist, a recent occasion of emotion may cast back to the infantile occasion and substitute this as a cause of affect, I shall not consider now. Such an investigation would properly belong to the psychology of unconscious thought, or a psychological explanation of the neuroses. Let us assume, for the purposes of dream-interpretation, that a childish recollection presents itself, or is created by the phantasy with, more or less, the following content: We two children quarrel on account of some object–just what we shall leave undecided, although the memory, or illusion of memory, has a very definite object in view–and each claims that he got there first, and therefore has the first right to it. We come to blows; Might comes before Right; and, according to the indications of the dream, I must have known that I was in the wrong (noticing the error myself); but this time I am the stronger, and take possession of the battlefield; the defeated combatant hurries to my father, his grandfather, and accuses me, and I defend myself with the words, which I have heard from my father: "I hit him because he hit me." Thus, this recollection, or more probably phantasy, which forces itself upon my attention in the course of the analysis–without further evidence I myself do not know how– becomes a central item of the dream-thoughts, which collects the affective impulses prevailing in the dream-thoughts, as the bowl of a fountain collects the water that flows into it. From this point the dream-thoughts flow along the following channels: "It serves you right that you have had to make way for me; why did you try to push me off? I don't need you; I'll soon find someone else to play with," etc. Then the channels are opened through which these thoughts flow back again into the dream- representation. For such an "ote-toi que je m'y mette,"* I once had to reproach my deceased friend Josef. He was next to me in the line of promotion in Brucke's laboratory, but advancement there was very slow. Neither of the two assistants budged from his place, and youth became impatient. My friend, who knew that his days were numbered, and was bound by no intimate relation to his superior, sometimes gave free expression to his impatience. As this superior was a man seriously ill, the wish to see him removed by promotion was susceptible of an obnoxious secondary interpretation. Several years earlier, to be sure, I myself had cherished, even more intensely, the same wish–to obtain a post which had fallen vacant; wherever there are gradations of rank and promotion the way is opened for the suppression of covetous wishes. Shakespeare's Prince Hal cannot rid himself of the temptation to see how the crown fits, even at the bedside of his sick father. But, as may readily be understood, the dream inflicts this inconsiderate wish not upon me, but upon my friend. *(2)
*Make room for me./*(2) It will have been obvious that the name Josef plays a great part in my dreams (see the dream about my uncle). It is particularly easy for me to hide my ego in my dreams behind persons of this name, since Joseph was the name of the dream- interpreter in the Bible.
"As he was ambitious, I slew him." As he could not expect that the other man would make way for him, the man himself has been put out of the way. I harbour these thoughts immediately after attending the unveiling of the memorial to the other man at the University. Part of the satisfaction which I feel in the dream may therefore be interpreted: A just punishment; it serves you right.
At the funeral of this friend a young man made the following remark, which seemed rather out of place: "The preacher talked as though the world could no longer exist without this one human being." Here was a stirring of revolt in the heart of a sincere man, whose grief had been disturbed by exaggeration. But with this speech are connected the dream-thoughts: "No one is really irreplaceable; how many men have I already escorted to the grave! But I am still alive; I have survived them all; I claim the field." Such a thought, at the moment when I fear that if I make a journey to see him I shall find my friend no longer among the living, permits only of the further development that I am glad once more to have survived someone; that it is not I who have died but he; that I am master of the field, as once I was in the imagined scene of my childhood. This satisfaction, infantile in origin, at the fact that I am master of the field, covers the greater part of the affect which appears in the dream. I am glad that I am the survivor; I express this sentiment with the naive egoism of the husband who says to his wife: "If one of us dies, I shall move to Paris." My expectation takes it as a matter of course that I am not the one to die.
It cannot be denied that great self-control is needed to interpret one's dreams and to report them. One has to reveal oneself as the sole villain among all the noble souls with whom one shares the breath of life. Thus, I find it quite comprehensible that revenants should exist only as long as one wants them, and that they can be obliterated by a wish. It was for this reason that my friend Josef was punished. But the revenants are the successive incarnations of the friend of my childhood; I am also gratified at having replaced this person for myself over and over again, and a substitute will doubtless soon be found even for the friend whom I am now on the point of losing. No one is irreplaceable.
But what has the dream-censorship been doing in the meantime? Why does it not raise the most emphatic objection to a train of thoughts characterized by such brutal selfishness, and transform the satisfaction inherent therein into extreme discomfort? I think it is because other unobjectionable trains of thought referring to the same persons result also in satisfaction, and with their affect cover that proceeding from the forbidden infantile sources. In another stratum of thought I said to myself, at the ceremony of unveiling the memorial: "I have lost so many dear friends, some through death, some through the dissolution of friendship; is it not good that substitutes have presented themselves, that I have gained a friend who means more to me than the others could, and whom I shall now always retain, at an age when it is not easy to form new friendships?" The gratification of having found this substitute for my lost friend can be taken over into the dream without interference, but behind it there sneaks in the hostile feeling of malicious gratification from the infantile source. Childish affection undoubtedly helps to reinforce the rational affection of today; but childish hatred also has found its way into the representation.
But besides this, there is in the dream a distinct reference to another train of thoughts which may result in gratification. Some time before this, after long waiting, a little daughter was born to my friend. I knew how he had grieved for the sister whom he had lost at an early age, and I wrote to him that I felt that he would transfer to this child the love he had felt for her, that this little girl would at last make him forget his irreparable loss.
Thus this train also connects up with the intermediary thoughts of the latent dream-content, from which paths radiate in the most contrary directions: "No one is irreplaceable. See, here are only revenants; all those whom one has lost return." And now the bonds of association between the contradictory components of the dream- thoughts are more tightly drawn by the accidental circumstance that my friend's little daughter bears the same name as the girl playmate of my own youth, who was just my own age, and the sister of my oldest friend and antagonist. I heard the name Pauline with satisfaction, and in order to allude to this coincidence I replaced one Josef in the dream by another Josef, and found it impossible to suppress the identical initials in the name Fleischl and Fl. From this point a train of thought runs to the naming of my own children. I insisted that the names should not be chosen according to the fashion of the day, but should be determined by regard for the memory of those dear to us. The children's names make them revenants. And, finally, is not the procreation of children for all men the only way of access to immortality?
I shall add only a few observations as to the affects of dreams considered from another point of view. In the psyche of the sleeper an affective tendency–what we call a mood–may be contained as its dominating element, and may induce a corresponding mood in the dream. This mood may be the result of the experiences and thoughts of the day, or it may be of somatic origin; in either case it will be accompanied by the corresponding trains of thought. That this ideational content of the dream-thoughts should at one time determine the affective tendency primarily, while at another time it is awakened in a secondary manner by the somatically determined emotional disposition, is indifferent for the purposes of dream-formation. This is always subject to the restriction that it can represent only a wish-fulfilment, and that it may lend its psychic energy to the wish alone. The mood actually present will receive the same treatment as the sensation which actually emerges during sleep (Cf. chapter V., C), which is either neglected or reinterpreted in the sense of a wish-fulfilment. Painful moods during sleep become the motive force of the dream, inasmuch as they awake energetic wishes which the dream has to fulfil. The material in which they inhere is elaborated until it is serviceable for the expression of the wish-fulfilment. The more intense and the more dominating the element of the painful mood in the dream-thoughts, the more surely will the most strongly suppressed wish-impulses take advantage of the opportunity to secure representation; for thanks to the actual existence of discomfort, which otherwise they would have to create, they find that the more difficult part of the work necessary to ensure representation has already been accomplished; and with these observations we touch once more upon the problem of anxiety- dreams, which will prove to be the boundary-case of dream- activity.
[Psych Web editor's note: in later editions of The Interpretation of Dreams, this was rendered as "Secondary Revision" with a footnote saying previous editions used "the somewhat misleading English translation 'secondary elaboration.'"]
We will at last turn our attention to the fourth of the factors participating in dream-formation.
If we continue our investigation of the dream-content on the lines already laid down–that is, by examining the origin in the dream-thoughts of conspicuous occurrences–we come upon elements that can be explained only by making an entirely new assumption. I have in mind cases where one manifests astonishment, anger, or resistance in a dream, and that, too, in respect of part of the dream-content itself. Most of these impulses of criticism in dreams are not directed against the dream-content, but prove to be part of the dream-material, taken over and fittingly applied, as I have already shown by suitable examples. There are, however, criticisms of this sort which are not so derived: their correlatives cannot be found in the dream-material. What, for instance, is meant by the criticism not infrequent in dreams: "After all, it's only a dream"? This is a genuine criticism of the dream, such as I might make if I were awake, Not infrequently it is only the prelude to waking; even oftener it is preceded by a painful feeling, which subsides when the actuality of the dream- state has been affirmed. The thought: "After all, it's only a dream" in the dream itself has the same intention as it has on the stage on the lips of Offenbach's Belle Helene; it seeks to minimize what has just been experienced, and to secure indulgence for what is to follow. It serves to lull to sleep a certain mental agency which at the given moment has every occasion to rouse itself and forbid the continuation of the dream, or the scene. But it is more convenient to go on sleeping and to tolerate the dream, "because, after all, it's only a dream." I imagine that the disparaging criticism: "After all, it's only a dream," appears in the dream at the moment when the censorship. which is never quite asleep, feels that it has been surprised by the already admitted dream. It is too late to suppress the dream, and the agency therefore meets with this remark the anxiety or painful emotion which rises into the dream. It is an expression of the esprit d'escalier on the part of the psychic censorship.
In this example we have incontestable proof that everything which the dream contains does not come from the dream-thoughts, but that a psychic function, which cannot be differentiated from our waking thoughts, may make contributions to the dream-content. The question arises, does this occur only in exceptional cases, or does the psychic agency, which is otherwise active only as the censorship, play a constant part in dream-formation?
One must decide unhesitatingly for the latter view. It is indisputable that the censoring agency, whose influence we have so far recognized only in the restrictions of and omissions in the dream-content, is likewise responsible for interpolations in and amplifications of this content. Often these interpolations are readily recognized; they are introduced with hesitation, prefaced by an "as if"; they have no special vitality of their own, and are constantly inserted at points where they may serve to connect two portions of the dream-content or create a continuity between two sections of the dream. They manifest less ability to adhere in the memory than do the genuine products of the dream-material; if the dream is forgotten, they are forgotten first, and I strongly suspect that our frequent complaint that although we have dreamed so much we have forgotten most of the dream, and have remembered only fragments, is explained by the immediate falling away of just these cementing thoughts. In a complete analysis, these interpolations are often betrayed by the fact that no material is to be found for them in the dream- thoughts. But after careful examination I must describe this case as the less usual one; in most cases the interpolated thoughts can be traced to material in the dream-thoughts which can claim a place in the dream neither by its own merits nor by way of over- determination. Only in the most extreme cases does the psychic function in dream-formation which we are now considering rise to original creation; whenever possible it makes use of anything appropriate that it can find in the dream-material.
What distinguishes this part of the dream-work, and also betrays it, is its tendency. This function proceeds in a manner which the poet maliciously attributes to the philosopher: with its rags and tatters it stops up the breaches in the structure of the dream. The result of its efforts is that the dream loses the appearance of absurdity and incoherence, and approaches the pattern of an intelligible experience. But the effort is not always crowned with complete success. Thus, dreams occur which may, upon superficial examination, seem faultlessly logical and correct; they start from a possible situation, continue it by means of consistent changes, and bring it–although this is rare–to a not unnatural conclusion. These dreams have been subjected to the most searching elaboration by a psychic function similar to our waking thought; they seem to have a meaning, but this meaning is very far removed from the real meaning of the dream. If we analyse them, we are convinced that the secondary elaboration has handled the material with the greatest freedom, and has retained as little as possible of its proper relations. These are the dreams which have, so to speak, already been once interpreted before we subject them to waking interpretation. In other dreams this tendencious elaboration has succeeded only up to a point; up to this point consistency seems to prevail, but then the dream becomes nonsensical or confused; but perhaps before it concludes it may once more rise to a semblance of rationality In yet other dreams the elaboration has failed completely; we find ourselves helpless, confronted with a senseless mass of fragmentary contents.
I do not wish to deny to this fourth dream-forming power, which will soon become familiar to us–it is in reality the only one of the four dream-creating factors which is familiar to us in other connections–I do not wish to deny to this fourth factor the faculty of creatively making new contributions to our dreams. But its influence is certainly exerted, like that of the other factors, mainly in the preference and selection of psychic material already formed in the dream-thoughts. Now there is a case where it is to a great extent spared the work of building, as it were, a facade to the dream by the fact that such a structure, only waiting to be used, already exists in the material of the dream-thoughts. I am accustomed to describe the element of the dream-thoughts which I have in mind as phantasy; I shall perhaps avoid misunderstanding if I at once point to the day-dream as an analogy in waking life.* The part played by this element in our psychic life has not yet been fully recognized and revealed by psychiatrists; though M. Benedikt has, it seems to me, made a highly promising beginning. Yet the significance of the day-dream has not escaped the unerring insight of the poets; we are all familiar with the description of the day-dreams of one of his subordinate characters which Alphonse Daudet has given us in his Nabab. The study of the psychoneuroses discloses the astonishing fact that these phantasies or day-dreams are the immediate predecessors of symptoms of hysteria–at least, of a great many of them; for hysterical symptoms are dependent not upon actual memories, but upon the phantasies built up on a basis of memories. The frequent occurrence of conscious day-phantasies brings these formations to our ken; but while some of these phantasies are conscious, there is a super-abundance of unconscious phantasies, which must perforce remain unconscious on account of their content and their origin in repressed material. A more thorough examination of the character of these day- phantasies shows with what good reason the same name has been given to these formations as to the products of nocturnal thought– dreams. They have essential features in common with nocturnal dreams; indeed, the investigation of day-dreams might really have afforded the shortest and best approach to the understanding of nocturnal dreams.
*Reve, petit roman = day-dream, story.
Like dreams, they are wish-fulfilments; like dreams, they are largely based upon the impressions of childish experiences; like dreams, they obtain a certain indulgence from the censorship in respect of their creations. If we trace their formation, we become aware how the wish-motive which has been operative in their production has taken the material of which they are built, mixed it together, rearranged it, and fitted it together into a new whole. They bear very much the same relation to the childish memories to which they refer as many of the baroque palaces of Rome bear to the ancient ruins, whose hewn stones and columns have furnished the material for the structures built in the modern style.
In the secondary elaboration of the dream-content which we have ascribed to our fourth dream-forming factor, we find once more the very same activity which is allowed to manifest itself, uninhibited by other influences, in the creation of day-dreams. We may say, without further preliminaries, that this fourth factor of ours seeks to construct something like a day-dream from the material which offers itself. But where such a day-dream has already been constructed in the context of the dream-thoughts, this factor of the dream-work will prefer to take possession of it, and contrive that it gets into the dream-content. There are dreams that consist merely of the repetition of a day-phantasy, which has perhaps remained unconscious–as, for instance, the boy's dream that he is riding in a war-chariot with the heroes of the Trojan war. In my Autodidasker dream the second part of the dream at least is the faithful repetition of a day-phantasy– harmless in itself–of my dealings with Professor N. The fact that the exciting phantasy forms only a part of the dream, or that only a part of it finds its way into the dream-content, is due to the complexity of the conditions which the dream must satisfy at its genesis. On the whole, the phantasy is treated like any other component of the latent material; but it is often still recognizable as a whole in the dream. In my dreams there are often parts which are brought into prominence by their producing a different impression from that produced by the other parts. They seem to me to be in a state of flux, to be more coherent and at the same time more transient than other portions of the same dream. I know that these are unconscious phantasies which find their way into the context of the dream, but I have never yet succeeded in registering such a phantasy. For the rest, these phantasies, like all the other component parts of the dream- thoughts, are jumbled together, condensed, superimposed, and so on; but we find all the transitional stages, from the case in which they may constitute the dream-content, or at least the dream-facade, unaltered, to the most contrary case, in which they are represented in the dream-content by only one of their elements, or by a remote allusion to such an element. The fate of the phantasies in the dream-thoughts is obviously determined by the advantages they can offer as against the claims of the censorship and the pressure of condensation.
In my choice of examples for dream-interpretation I have, as far as possible, avoided those dreams in which unconscious phantasies play a considerable part, because the introduction of this psychic element would have necessitated an extensive discussion of the psychology of unconscious thought. But even in this connection I cannot entirely avoid the phantasy, because it often finds its way into the dream complete, and still more often perceptibly glimmers through it. I might mention yet one more dream, which seems to be composed of two distinct and opposed phantasies, overlapping here and there, of which the first is superficial, while the second becomes, as it were, the interpretation of the first.*
*I have analysed an excellent example of a dream of this kind, having its origin in the stratification of several phantasies, in the Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (Collected Papers, vol. III). I undervalued the significance of such phantasies for dream-formation as long as I was working principally on my own dreams, which were rarely based upon day- dreams but most frequently upon discussions and mental conflicts. With other persons it is often much easier to prove the complete analogy between the nocturnal dream and the day-dream. In hysterical patients an attack may often be replaced by a dream; it is then obvious that the day-dream phantasy is the first step for both these psychic formations.
The dream–it is the only one of which I possess no careful notes– is roughly to this effect: The dreamer–a young unmarried man–is sitting in his favourite inn, which is seen correctly; several persons come to fetch him, among them someone who wants to arrest him. He says to his table companions, "I will pay later, I am coming back." But they cry, smiling scornfully: "We know all about that; that's what everybody says." One guest calls after him: "There goes another one." He is then led to a small place where he finds a woman with a child in her arms. One of his escorts says: "This is Herr Muller." A commissioner or some other official is running through a bundle of tickets or papers, repeating Muller, Muller, Muller. At last the commissioner asks him a question, which he answers with a "Yes." He then takes a look at the woman, and notices that she has grown a large beard.
The two component parts are here easily separable. What is superficial is the phantasy of being arrested; this seems to be newly created by the dream-work. But behind it the phantasy of marriage is visible, and this material, on the other hand, has been slightly modified by the dream-work, and the features which may be common to the two phantasies appear with special distinctness, as in Galton's composite photographs. The promise of the young man, who is at present a bachelor, to return to his place at his accustomed table–the scepticism of his drinking companions, made wise by their many experiences–their calling after him: "There goes (marries) another one"–are all features easily susceptible of the other interpretation, as is the affirmative answer given to the official. Running through a bundle of papers and repeating the same name corresponds to a subordinate but easily recognized feature of the marriage ceremony–the reading aloud of the congratulatory telegrams which have arrived at irregular intervals, and which, of course, are all addressed to the same name. In the personal appearance of the bride in this dream the marriage phantasy has even got the better of the arrest phantasy which screens it. The fact that this bride finally wears a beard I can explain from information received–I had no opportunity of making an analysis. The dreamer had, on the previous day, been crossing the street with a friend who was just as hostile to marriage as himself, and had called his friend's attention to a beautiful brunette who was coming towards them. The friend had remarked: "Yes, if only these women wouldn't get beards as they grow older, like their fathers."
Of course, even in this dream there is no lack of elements with which the dream-distortion has done deep work. Thus, the speech, "I will pay later," may have reference to the behaviour feared on the part of the father-in-law in the matter of a dowry. Obviously all sorts of misgivings are preventing the dreamer from surrendering himself with pleasure to the phantasy of marriage. One of these misgivings–at with marriage he might lose his freedom–has embodied itself in the transformation of a scene of arrest.
If we once more return to the thesis that the dream-work prefers to make use of a ready-made phantasy, instead of first creating one from the material of the dream-thoughts, we shall perhaps be able to solve one of the most interesting problems of the dream. I have related the dream of Maury, who is struck on the back of the neck by a small board, and wakes after a long dream–a complete romance of the period of the French Revolution. Since the dream is produced in a coherent form, and completely fits the explanation of the waking stimulus, of whose occurrence the sleeper could have had no forboding, only one assumption seems possible, namely, that the whole richly elaborated dream must have been composed and dreamed in the short interval of time between the falling of the board on cervical vertebrae and the waking induced by the blow. We should not venture to ascribe such rapidity to the mental operations of the waking state, so that we have to admit that the dream-work has the privilege of a remarkable acceleration of its issue.
To this conclusion, which rapidly became popular, more recent authors (Le Lorrain, Egger, and others) have opposed emphatic objections; some of them doubt the correctness of Maury's record of the dream, some seek to show that the rapidity of our mental operations in waking life is by no means inferior to that which we can, without reservation, ascribe to the mental operations in dreams. The discussion raises fundamental questions, which I do not think are at all near solution. But I must confess that Egger's objections, for example, to Maury's dream of the guillotine, do not impress me as convincing. I would suggest the following explanation of this dream: Is it so very improbable that Maury's dream may have represented a phantasy which had been preserved for years in his memory, in a completed state, and which was awakened–I should like to say, alluded to–at the moment when he became aware of the waking stimulus? The whole difficulty of composing so long a story, with all its details, in the exceedingly short space of time which is here at the dreamer's disposal then disappears; the story was already composed. If the board had struck Maury's neck when he was awake, there would perhaps have been time for the thought: "Why, that's just like being guillotined." But as he is struck by the board while asleep, the dream-work quickly utilizes the incoming stimulus for the construction of a wish-fulfilment, as if it thought (this is to be taken quite figuratively): "Here is a good opportunity to realize the wish-phantasy which I formed at such and such a time while I was reading." It seems to me undeniable that this dream-romance is just such a one as a young man is wont to construct under the influence of exciting impressions. Who has not been fascinated–above all, a Frenchman and a student of the history of civilization–by descriptions of the Reign of Terror, in which the aristocracy, men and women, the flower of the nation, showed that it was possible to die with a light heart, and preserved their ready wit and the refinement of their manners up to the moment of the last fateful summons? How tempting to fancy oneself in the midst of all this, as one of these young men who take leave of their ladies with a kiss of the hand, and fearlessly ascend the scaffold! Or perhaps ambition was the ruling motive of the phantasy–the ambition to put oneself in the place of one of those powerful personalities who, by their sheer force of intellect and their fiery eloquence, ruled the city in which the heart of mankind was then beating so convulsively; who were impelled by their convictions to send thousands of human beings to their death, and were paving the way for the transformation of Europe; who, in the meantime, were not sure of their own heads, and might one day lay them under the knife of the guillotine, perhaps in the role of a Girondist or the hero Danton? The detail preserved in the memory of the dream, accompanied by an enormous crowd, seems to show that Maury's phantasy was an ambitious one of just this character.
But the phantasy prepared so long ago need not be experienced again in sleep; it is enough that it should be, so to speak, "touched off." What I mean is this: If a few notes are struck, and someone says, as in Don Juan: "That is from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart," memories suddenly surge up within me, none of which I can recall to consciousness a moment later. The phrase serves as a point of irruption from which a complete whole is simultaneously put into a condition of stimulation. It may well be the same in unconscious thinking. Through the waking stimulus the psychic station is excited which gives access to the whole guillotine phantasy. This phantasy, however, is not run through in sleep, but only in the memory of the awakened sleeper. Upon waking, the sleeper remembers in detail the phantasy which was transferred as a whole into the dream. At the same time, he has no means of assuring himself that he is really remembering something which was dreamed. The same explanation–namely, that one is dealing with finished phantasies which have been evoked as wholes by the waking stimulus–may be applied to other dreams which are adapted to the waking stimulus–for example, to Napoleon's dream of a battle before the explosion of a bomb. Among the dreams collected by Justine Tobowolska in her dissertation on the apparent duration of time in dreams,* I think the most corroborative is that related by Macario (1857) as having been dreamed by a playwright, Casimir Bonjour. Bonjour intended one evening to witness the first performance of one of his own plays, but he was so tired that he dozed off in his chair behind the scenes just as the curtain was rising. In his sleep he went through all the five acts of his play, and observed all the various signs of emotion which were manifested by the audience during each individual scene. At the close of the performance, to his great satisfaction, he heard his name called out amidst the most lively manifestations of applause. Suddenly he woke. He could hardly believe his eyes or his ears; the performance had not gone beyond the first lines of the first scene; he could not have been asleep for more than two minutes. As for the dream, the running through the five acts of the play and the observing the attitude of the public towards each individual scene need not, we may venture to assert, have been something new, produced while the dreamer was asleep; it may have been a repetition of an already completed work of the phantasy. Tobowolska and other authors have emphasized a common characteristic of dreams that show an accelerated flow of ideas: namely, that they seem to be especially coherent, and not at all like other dreams, and that the dreamer's memory of them is summary rather than detailed. But these are precisely the characteristics which would necessarily be exhibited by ready-made phantasies touched off by the dream- work–a conclusion which is not, of course, drawn by these authors. I do not mean to assert that all dreams due to a waking stimulus admit of this explanation, or that the problem of the accelerated flux of ideas in dreams is entirely disposed of in this manner.
*Justine Tobowolska, Etude sur les illusions de temps dans les reves du sommeil normal (1900) p.53.
And here we are forced to consider the relation of this secondary elaboration of the dream-content to the other factors of the dream-work. May not the procedure perhaps be as follows? The dream-forming factors, the efforts at condensation, the necessity of evading the censorship, and the regard for representability by the psychic means of the dream first of all create from the dream- material a provisional dream-content, which is subsequently modified until it satisfies as far as possible the exactions of a secondary agency. No, this is hardly probable. We must rather assume that the requirements of this agency constitute from the very first one of the conditions which the dream must satisfy, and that this condition, as well as the conditions of condensation, the opposing censorship, and representability, simultaneously influence, in an inductive and selective manner, the whole mass of material in the dream-thoughts. But of the four conditions necessary for dream-formation, the last recognized is that whose exactions appear to be least binding upon the dream. The following consideration makes it seem very probable that this psychic function, which undertakes the so-called secondary elaboration of the dream-content, is identical with the work of our waking thought: Our waking (preconscious) thought behaves towards any given perceptual material precisely as the function in question behaves towards the dream-content. It is natural to our waking thought to create order in such material, to construct relations, and to subject it to the requirements of an intelligible coherence. Indeed, we go rather too far in this respect; the tricks of conjurers befool us by taking advantage of this intellectual habit of ours. In the effort to combine in an intelligible manner the sensory impressions which present themselves we often commit the most curious mistakes, and even distort the truth of the material before us. The proofs of this fact are so familiar that we need not give them further consideration here. We overlook errors which make nonsense of a printed page because we imagine the proper words. The editor of a widely read French journal is said to have made a bet that he could print the words from in front or from behind in every sentence of a long article without any of his readers noticing it. He won his bet. Years ago I came across a comical example of false association in a newspaper. After the session of the French Chamber in which Dupuy quelled the panic, caused by the explosion of a bomb thrown by an anarchist, with the courageous words, "La seance continue,"* the visitors in the gallery were asked to testify as to their impressions of the outrage. Among them were two provincials. One of these said that immediately after the end of a speech he had heard a detonation, but that he had thought that it was the parliamentary custom to fire a shot whenever a speaker had finished. The other, who had apparently already listened to several speakers, had got hold of the same idea, but with this variation, that he supposed the shooting to be a sign of appreciation following a specially successful speech.
*The meeting will continue.
Thus, the psychic agency which approaches the dream-content with the demand that it must be intelligible, which subjects it to a first interpretation, and in doing so leads to the complete misunderstanding of it, is none other than our normal thought. In our interpretation the rule will be, in every case, to disregard the apparent coherence of the dream as being of suspicious origin and, whether the elements are confused or clear, to follow the same regressive path to the dream-material.
At the same time, we note those factors upon which the above- mentioned (chapter VI., C) scale of quality in dreams–from confusion to clearness–is essentially independent. Those parts of the dream seem to us clear in which the secondary elaboration has been able to accomplish something; those seem confused where the powers of this performance have failed. Since the confused parts of the dream are often likewise those which are less vividly presented, we may conclude that the secondary dream-work is responsible also for a contribution to the plastic intensity of the individual dream-structures.
If I seek an object of comparison for the definitive formation of the dream, as it manifests itself with the assistance of normal thinking, I can think of none better than those mysterious inscriptions with which Die Fliegende Blatter has so long amused its readers. In a certain sentence which, for the sake of contrast, is in dialect, and whose significance is as scurrilous as possible, the reader is led to expect a Latin inscription. For this purpose the letters of the words are taken out of their syllabic groupings, and are rearranged. Here and there a genuine Latin word results; at other points, on the assumption that letters have been obliterated by weathering, or omitted, we allow ourselves to be deluded about the significance of certain isolated and meaningless letters. If we do not wish to be fooled we must give up looking for an inscription, must take the letters as they stand, and combine them, disregarding their arrangement, into words of our mother tongue.
The secondary elaboration is that factor of the dream-work which has been observed by most of the writers on dreams, and whose importance has been duly appreciated. Havelock Ellis gives an amusing allegorical description of its performances: "As a matter of fact, we might even imagine the sleeping consciousness as saying to itself: 'Here comes our master, Waking Consciousness, who attaches such mighty importance to reason and logic and so forth. Quick! gather things up, put them in order–any order will do–before he enters to take possession.'"*
*The World of Dreams, pp.10, 11 (London, 1911).
The identity of this mode of operation with that of waking thought is very clearly stated by Delacroix in his Sur la structure logique du reve (p.526): "Cette fonction d'interpretation n'est pas particuliere au reve; c'est le meme travail de coordination logique que nous faisons sur nos sensations pendant la veille."*
*This function of interpretation is not particular to the dream; it is the same work of logical coordination that we use on our sensations when awake.
J. Sully is of the same opinion; and so is Tobowolska: "Sur ces successions incoherentes d'hallucinations, l'esprit s'efforce de faire le meme travail de coordination logique qu'il fait pendant le veille sur les sensations. Il relie entre elles par un lien imaginaire toutes ces images decousues et bouche les ecarts trop grands qui se trouvaient entre elles"*(p.93).
*With these series of incoherent halucinations, the mind must do the same work of logical coordination that it does with the sensations when awake. With a bon of imagination, it reunites all the disconnected images, and fills in the gaps found which are too great.
Some authors maintain that this ordering and interpreting activity begins even in the dream and is continued in the waking state. Thus Paulhan (p.547): "Cependant j'ai souvent pense qu'il pouvait y avoir une certain deformation, ou plutot reformation du reve dans le souvenir.... La tendence systematisante de l'imagination pourrait fort bien achever apres le reveil ce qu'elle a ebauche pendant le sommeil. De la sorte, la rapidite reelle de la pensee serait augmentee en apparence par les perfectionnements dus a l'imagination eveillee."*
*However, I have often thought that there might be a certain deformation, or rather reformation, of the dream when it is recalled.... The systematizing tendency of the imagination can well finish, after waking, the sketch begun in sleep. In that way, the real speed of thought will be augmented in appearance by improvements due to the wakened imagination.
Leroy and Tobowolska (p.502): "Dans le reve, au contraire, l'interpretation et la coordination se font non seulement a l'aide des donnees du reve, mais encore a l'aide de celles de la veille...."*
*In the dream, on the contrary, the interpretation and coordination are made not only with the aid of what is given by the dream, but also with what is given by the wakened mind.
It was therefore inevitable that this one recognized factor of dream-formation should be over-estimated, so that the whole process of creating the dream was attributed to it. This creative work was supposed to be accomplished at the moment of waking, as was assumed by Goblot, and with deeper conviction by Foucault, who attributed to waking thought the faculty of creating the dream out of the thoughts which emerged in sleep.
In respect to this conception, Leroy and Tobowolska express themselves as follows: "On a cru pouvoir placer le reve au moment du reveil et ils ont attribue a la pensee de la veille la fonction de construire le reve avec les images presentes dans la pensee du sommeil."*
*It was thought that the dream could be placed at the moment of waking, and they attributed to the waking thoughts the function of constructing the dream from the images present in the sleeping thoughts.
To this estimate of the secondary elaboration I will add the one fresh contribution to the dream-work which has been indicated by the sensitive observations of H. Silberer. Silberer has caught the transformation of thoughts into images in flagranti, by forcing himself to accomplish intellectual work while in a state of fatigue and somnolence. The elaborated thought vanished, and in its place there appeared a vision which proved to be a substitute for–usually abstract–thoughts. In these experiments it so happened that the emerging image, which may be regarded as a dream-element, represented something other than the thoughts which were waiting for elaboration: namely, the exhaustion itself, the difficulty or distress involved in this work; that is, the subjective state and the manner of functioning of the person exerting himself rather than the object of his exertions. Silberer called this case, which in him occurred quite often, the functional phenomenon, in contradistinction to the material phenomenon which he expected.
"For example: one afternoon I am lying, extremely sleepy, on my sofa, but I nevertheless force myself to consider a philosophical problem. I endeavour to compare the views of Kant and Schopenhauer concerning time. Owing to my somnolence I do not succeed in holding on to both trains of thought, which would have been necessary for the purposes of comparison. After several vain efforts, I once more exert all my will-power to formulate for myself the Kantian deduction in order to apply it to Schopenhauer's statement of the problem. Thereupon, I directed my attention to the latter, but when I tried to return to Kant, I found that he had again escaped me, and I tried in vain to fetch him back. And now this fruitless endeavour to rediscover the Kantian documents mislaid somewhere in my head suddenly presented itself, my eyes being closed, as in a dream-image, in the form of a visible, plastic symbol: I demand information of a grumpy secretary, who, bent over a desk, does not allow my urgency to disturb him; half straightening himself, he gives me a look of angry refusal."*
*Jahrb., i, p.514.
Other examples, which relate to the fluctuation between sleep and waking:
"Example No. 2. Conditions: Morning, while awaking. While to a certain extent asleep (crepuscular state), thinking over a previous dream, in a way repeating and finishing it, I feel myself drawing nearer to the waking state, yet I wish to remain in the crepuscular state. .."Scene: I am stepping with one foot over a stream, but I at once pull it back again and resolve to remain on this side."*
*Jahrb., iii, p.625.
"Example No. 6. Conditions the same as in Example No. 4 (he wishes to remain in bed a little longer without oversleeping). I wish to indulge in a little longer sleep. .."Scene: I am saying good-bye to somebody, and I agree to meet him (or her) again before long."
I will now proceed to summarize this long disquisition on the dream-work. We were confronted by the question whether in dream- formation the psyche exerts all its faculties to their full extent, without inhibition, or only a fraction of them, which are restricted in their action. Our investigations lead us to reject such a statement of the problem as wholly inadequate in the circumstances. But if, in our answer, we are to remain on the ground upon which the question forces us, we must assent to two conceptions which are apparently opposed and mutually exclusive. The psychic activity in dream-formation resolves itself into two achievements: the production of the dream-thoughts and the transformation of these into the dream-content. The dream- thoughts are perfectly accurate, and are formed with all the psychic profusion of which we are capable; they belong to the thoughts which have not become conscious, from which our conscious thoughts also result by means of a certain transposition. There is doubtless much in them that is worth knowing, and also mysterious, but these problems have no particular relation to our dreams, and cannot claim to be treated under the head of dream-problems.* On the other hand, we have the process which changes the unconscious thoughts into the dream- content, which is peculiar to the dream-life and characteristic of it. Now, this peculiar dream-work is much farther removed from the pattern of waking thought than has been supposed by even the most decided depreciators of the psychic activity in dream- formation. It is not so much that it is more negligent, more incorrect, more forgetful, more incomplete than waking thought; it is something altogether different, qualitatively, from waking thought, and cannot therefore be compared with it. It does not think, calculate, or judge at all, but limits itself to the work of transformation. It may be exhaustively described if we do not lose sight of the conditions which its product must satisfy. This product, the dream, has above all to be withdrawn from the censorship, and to this end the dream-work makes use of the displacement of psychic intensities, even to the transvaluation of all psychic values; thoughts must be exclusively or predominantly reproduced in the material of visual and acoustic memory-traces, and from this requirement there proceeds the regard of the dream-work for representability, which it satisfies by fresh displacements. Greater intensities have (probably) to be produced than are at the disposal of the night dream-thoughts, and this purpose is served by the extensive condensation to which the constituents of the dream-thoughts are subjected. Little attention is paid to the logical relations of the thought- material; they ultimately find a veiled representation in the formal peculiarities of the dream. The affects of the dream- thoughts undergo slighter alterations than their conceptual content. As a rule, they are suppressed; where they are preserved, they are freed from the concepts and combined in accordance with their similarity. Only one part of the dream-work– the revision, variable in amount, which is effected by the partially wakened conscious thought–is at all consistent with the conception which the writers on the subject have endeavoured to extend to the whole performance of dream-formation.
*Formerly I found it extraordinarily difficult to accustom my readers to the distinction between the manifest dream-content and the latent dream-thoughts. Over and over again arguments and objections were adduced from the uninterpreted dream as it was retained in the memory, and the necessity of interpreting the dream was ignored. But now, when the analysts have at least become reconciled to substituting for the manifest dream its meaning as found by interpretation, many of them are guilty of another mistake, to which they adhere just as stubbornly. They look for the essence of the dream in this latent content, and thereby overlook the distinction between latent dream-thoughts and the dream-work. The dream is fundamentally nothing more than a special form of our thinking, which is made possible by the conditions of the sleeping state. It is the dream-work which produces this form, and it alone is the essence of dreaming–the only explanation of its singularity. I say this in order to correct the reader's judgment of the notorious prospective tendency of dreams. That the dream should concern itself with efforts to perform the tasks with which our psychic life is confronted is no more remarkable than that our conscious waking life should so concern itself, and I will only add that this work may be done also in the preconscious, a fact already familiar to us.
On to Chapter 7
APA-style reference for this online book:
Freud, S (1911). The Interpretation of Dreams, 3rd edition (Brill translation). Retrieved from: http://www.psywww.com/
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