Classical Texts in Psychology
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The Interpretation of Dreams
Sigmund Freud (1900)
Sigmund Freud (1900)
CHAPTER 6 (part 3)
F. Examples- Arithmetic and Speech in Dreams
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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. -
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.
G. Absurd Dreams- Intellectual Performances in Dreams
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 [sic], 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
 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).
Saluti publicae vixit
non diu sed totus.
 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.
 [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.
 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:
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
(go on to Chapter 6 part 4)
(return to index)