Brill reports the following example: --
"While conversing one day with a very brilliant young woman she hadoccasion to quote from Keats. The poem was entitled 'Ode to Apollo,' andshe recited the following lines: --
When thou sittest in thy state,
Bards, that erst sublimely told
Heroic deeds and sang of fate.'
The words italicized are those that have been forgotten and replacedby others during the recitation.
"She was astonished at her many mistakes, and attributed them to a failureof memory. I could readily convince her, however, that there was no qualitativeor quantitative disturbance of memory in her case, and recalled to herour conversation immediately before quoting these lines.
"We were discussing the over-estimation of personality among lovers,and she thought it was Victor Hugo who said that love is the greatest thingin the world because it makes an angel or a god out of a grocery clerk.She continued: "Only when we are in love have we blind faith in humanity;everything is perfect, everything [p. 31] is beautiful, and . . . everythingis so poetically unreal. Still, it is a wonderful experience; worth goingthrough, notwithstanding the terrible disappointments that usually follow.It puts us on a level with the gods and incites us to all sorts of artisticactivities. We become real poets; we not only memorize and quote poetry,but we often become Apollos ourselves.' She then quoted the lines givenabove.
"When I asked on what occasion she memorized the lines she could notrecall. As a teacher of elocution she was wont to memorize so much andso often that it was difficult to tell just when she had memorized theselines. 'Judging by the conversation,' I suggested, 'it would seem thatthis poem is intimately associated with the idea of over-estimation ofpersonality of one in love. Have you perhaps memorized this poem when youwere in such a state?' She became thoughtful for a while and soon recalledthe following facts: Twelve years before, when she was eighteen years old,she fell in love. She met the young man while participating in an amateurtheatrical performance. He was at the time studying for the stage, andit was predicated that some day he would be a matinée idol. He wasendowed with all the attributes needed for such a calling. He was wellbuilt, fascinating, impulsive, very clever, and . . . very fickle-minded.She was warned against him, but she [p. 32] paid no heed, attributing itall to the envy of her counsellors. Everything went well for a few months,when she suddenly received word that her Apollo, for whom she had memorizedthese lines, had eloped with and married a very wealthy young woman. Afew years later she heard that he was living in a Western city, where hewas taking care of his father-in-law's interests.
"The misquoted lines are now quite plain. The discussion about the over-estimationof personality among lovers unconsciously recalled to her a disagreeableexperience, when she herself over-estimated the personality of the manshe loved. She thought he was a god, but he turned out to be even worsethan the average mortal. The episode could not come to the surface becauseit was determined by very disagreeable and painful thoughts, but the unconsciousvariations in the poem plainly showed her present mental state. The poeticexpressions were not only changed to prosaic ones, but they clearly alludedto the whole episode."
Another example of forgetting the order of words of a poem well knownto the person I shall cite from Dr. C. G. Jung, quotingthe words of the author: --
"A man wished to recite the familiar poem, [p. 33] 'A Pine-tree StandsAlone,' etc. In the line 'He felt drowsy' he became hopelessly stuck atthe words 'with the white sheet.' This forgetting of such a well-knownverse seemed to me rather peculiar, and I therefore asked him to reproducewhat came to his mind when he thought of the words 'with the white sheet.'He gave the following series of associations 'The white sheet makes onethink of a white sheet on a corpse -- a linen sheet with which one coversa dead body -- [pause] -- now I think of a near friend -- his brother diedquite recently -- he is supposed to have died of heart disease -- he wasalso very corpulent -- my friend is corpulent, too, and I thought thathe might meet the same fate -- probably he doesn't exercise enough -- whenI heard of this death I suddenly became frightened: the same thing mighthappen to me, as my own family is predisposed to obesity -- my grandfatherdied of heart disease -- I, also, am somewhat too corpulent, and for thatreason I began an obesity cure a few days ago.'"
Jung remarks: "The man had unconsciously immediately identified himselfwith the pine-tree which was covered with a white sheet."
For the following example of forgetting the order of words I am indebtedto my friend Dr. Ferenczi, of Budapest. Unlike the former examples, itdoes not refer to a verse taken from [p. 34] poetry, but to a self-coinedsaying. It may also demonstrate to us the rather unusual case where theforgetting places itself at the disposal of discretion when the latteris in danger of yielding to a momentary desire. The mistake thus advancesto a useful function. After we have sobered down we justify that innerstriving which at first could manifest itself only by way of inability,as in forgetting or psychic impotence.
"At a social gathering some one quoted, Tout comprendre c'est toutpardonner, to which I remarked that the first part of the sentenceshould suffice, as 'pardoning' is an exemption which must be left to Godand the priest. One of the guests thought this observation very good, whichin turn emboldened me to remark -- probably to ensure myself of the goodopinion of the well-disposed critic -- that some time ago I thought ofsomething still better. But when I was about to repeat this clever ideaI was unable to recall it. Thereupon I immediately withdrew from the companyand wrote my concealing thoughts. I first recalled the name of the friendwho had witnessed the birth of this (desired) thought, and of the streetin Budapest where it took place, and then the name of another friend, whosename was Max, whom we usually called Maxie. That led me to the word 'maxim,'and to the thought that at that time, as in the present case, it was aquestion [p. 35] of varying a well-known maxim. Strangely enough, I didnot recall any maxim but the following sentence: 'God created man inHis own image,' and its changed conception, 'Man created God inhis own image. Immediately I recalled the sought-for recollection.
"My friend said to me at that time in Andrassy Street, 'Nothing humanis foreign to me.' To which I remarked, basing it on psychoanalyticexperience, "You should go further and acknowledge that nothing animalis foreign to you."
"But after I had finally found the desired recollection I was even thenprevented from telling it in this social gathering. The young wife of thefriend whom I had reminded of the animality of the unconscious was alsoamong those present, and I was perforce reminded that she was not at allprepared for the reception of such unsympathetic views. The forgettingspared me a number of unpleasant questions from her and a hopeless discussion,and just that must have been the motive of the 'temporary amnesia.'
"It is interesting to note that as a concealing thought there emergeda sentence in which the deity is degraded to a human invention, while inthe sought-for sentence there was an allusion to the animal in the man.The capitis diminutio is therefore common to both. The whole matter[p. 36] was apparently only a continuation of the stream of thought concerningunderstanding and forgiving which was stimulated by the discussion.
"That the desired thought so rapidly appeared may be also due to thefact that I withdrew into a vacant room, away from the society in whichit was censored."
I have since then analysed a large number of cases of forgetting orfaulty reproduction of the order of words, and the consistent result ofthese investigations led me to assume that the mechanisms of forgettingas demonstrated in the examples "aliquis" and "Ode to Apollo,"are almost of universal validity. It is not always very convenient to reportsuch analyses, for, just as those cited, they usually lead to intimateand painful things in the person analysed; I shall therefore add no moreto the number of such examples. What is common to all these cases, regardlessof the material, is the fact that the forgotten or distorted material becomesconnected through some associative road with an unconscious stream of thought,which gives rise to the influence that comes to light as forgetting.
I am now returning to the forgetting of names, concerning which we haveso far considered exhaustively neither the casuistic elements nor the motives.As this form of faulty acts can at times be abundantly observed in myself,I am not at a loss for examples. The slight attacks [p. 37] of migraine,from which I am still suffering, are wont to announce themselves hoursbefore through the forgetting of names, and at the height of the attack,during which I am not forced, however, to give up my work, I am often unableto recall all proper names.
Still, just such cases as mine may furnish the cause for a strong objectionto our analytic efforts. Should not one be forced to conclude from suchobservations that the causation of the forgetfulness, especially the forgettingof names, is to be sought in circulatory or functional disturbances ofthe brain, and spare himself the trouble of searching for psychologic explanationsfor these phenomena? Not at all; that would mean to interchange the mechanismof a process, which is the same in all cases, with its variations. Butinstead of an analysis I shall cite a comparison which will settle theargument.
Let us assume that I was so reckless as to take a walk at night in anuninhabited neighbourhood of a big city, and was attacked and robbed ofmy watch and purse. At the nearest police-station I report the matter inthe following words: "I was in this or that street, and was there robbedof my watch and purse by lonesomeness and darkness." Althoughthese words would not express anything that is incorrect, I would, nevertheless,run the danger [p. 38] of being considered -- judging from the wordingof this report -- as not quite right in the head. To be correct, the stateof affairs could only be described by saying that, favoured by thelonesomeness of the place and under cover of darkness, I was robbedof my valuables by unknown malefactors.
Now, then, the state of affairs in forgetting names need not be different.Favoured by exhaustion, circulatory disturbances, and intoxication, I amrobbed by an unknown psychic force of the disposal over the proper namesbelonging to my memory; it is the same force which in other cases may bringabout the same failure of memory during perfect health and mental capacity.
When I analyse those cases of name-forgetting occurring in myself, Ifind almost regularly that the name withheld shows some relation to a themewhich concerns my own person, and is apt to provoke in me strong and oftenpainful emotions. Following the convenient and commendable practice ofthe Zurich School (Bleuler, Jung, Riklin), I might express the same thingin the following form: The name withheld has touched a "personal complex"in me. The relation of the name to my person is an unexpected one, andis mostly brought about through superficial associations (words of doublemeaning and of [p. 39] similar sounds); it may generally be designatedas a side association. A few simple examples will best illustrate the natureof the same: --
(a) A patient requested me to recommend to him a sanatorium inthe Riviera. I knew of such a place very near Genoa, I also recalled thename of the German colleague who was in charge of the place, but the placeitself I could not name, well as I believed I knew it. There was nothingleft to do but ask the patient to wait, and to appeal quickly to the womenof the family.
"Just what is the name of the place near Genoa where Dr. X. has hissmall institution in which Mrs. So-and-so remained so long under treatment?"
"Of course you would forget a name of that sort. The name is Nervi."
To be sure, I have enough to do with nerves.
(b) Another patient spoke about a neighbouring summer resort,and maintained that besides the two familiar inns there was a third. Idisputed the existence of any third inn, and referred to the fact thatI had spent seven summers in the vicinity and therefore knew more aboutthe place than he. Instigated by my contradiction, he recalled the name.The name of the third inn was "The Hochwartner." Of course, I had to admitit; indeed, I was forced to confess that for seven summers I had lived
[p. 40] near this very inn whose existence I had so strenuously denied.But why should I have forgotten the name and the object? I believe becausethe name sounded very much like that of a Vienna colleague who practisedthe same specialty as my own. It touched in me the "professional complex."
(c) On another occasion, when about to buy a railroad ticketon the Reichenhall Station, I could not recall the very familiar name ofthe next big railroad station which I had so often passed. I was forcedto look it up in the time-table. The name was Rosehome (Rosenheim). I soondiscovered through what associations I lost it. An hour earlier I had visitedmy sister in her home near Reichenhall; my sister's name is Rose, hencealso a Rosehome. This name was taken away by my "family complex."
(d) This predatory influence of the "family complex" I can demonstratein a whole series of complexes.
One day I was consulted by a young man, younger brother of one of myfemale patients, whom I saw any number of times, and whom I used to callby his fist name. Later, while wishing to talk about his visit, I forgothis first name, in no way an unusual one, and could not recall it in anyway. I walked into the street to read the business signs and recognizedthe name as soon as it met my eyes.
[p. 41] The analysis showed that I had formed a parallel between thevisitor and my own brother which centred in the question: "Would my brother,in a similar case, have behaved like him or even more contrarily?" Theouter connection between the thoughts concerning the stranger and my ownfamily was rendered possible through the accident that the name of themothers in each case was the same, Amelia. Subsequently I also understoodthe substitutive names, Daniel and Frank, which obtruded themselves withoutany explanation. These names, as well as Amelia, belong to Schiller's playThe Robbers; they are all connected with a joke of the Vienna pedestrian,Daniel Spitzer.
(e) On another occasion I was unable to find a patient's namewhich had a certain reference to my early life. The analysis had to befollowed over a long devious road before the desired name was discovered.The patient expressed his apprehension lest he should lose his eyesight;this recalled a young man who became blind from a gunshot, and this againled to a picture of another youth who shot himself, and the latter borethe same name as my first patient, though not at all related to him. Thename became known to me, however, only after the anxious apprehension fromthese two juvenile cases was transferred to a person of my own family.
Thus an incessant stream of "self-reference" [p. 42] flows through mythoughts concerning which I usually have no inkling, but which betraysitself through such name-forgetting. It seems as if I were forced to comparewith my own person all that I hear about strangers, as if my personal complexesbecame stirred up at every information from others. It seems impossiblethat this should be an individual peculiarity of my own person; it must,on the contrary, point to the way we grasp outside matters in general.I have reasons to assume that other individuals meet with experiences quitesimilar to mine.
The best example of this kind was reported to me by a gentleman namedLederer as a personal experience. While on his wedding trip in Venice hecame across a man with whom he was but slightly acquainted, and whom hewas obliged to introduce to his wife. As he forgot the name of the strangerhe got himself out of the embarrassment the first time by mumbling thename unintelligibly. But when he met the man a second time, as is inevitablein Venice, he took him aside and begged him to help him out of the difficultyby telling him his name, which he unfortunately had forgotten. The answerof the stranger pointed to a superior knowledge of human nature: "I readilybelieve that you did not grasp my name. My name is like yours -- Lederer!"
One cannot suppress a slight feeling of unpleasantness on discoveringhis own name in a [p. 43] stranger. I had recently felt it very plainlywhen I was consulted during my office hours by a man named S. Freud. However,I am assured by one of my own critics that in this respect he behaves inquite the opposite manner.
(f) The effect of personal relation can be recognized also inthe following examples reported by Jung.
"Mr. Y. falls in love with a lady who soon thereafter marries Mr. X.In spite of the fact that Mr. Y. was an old acquaintance of Mr. X., andhad business relations with him, he repeatedly forgot the name, and ona number of occasions, when wishing to correspond with X., he was obligedto ask other people for his name."
However, the motivation for the forgetting is more evident in this casethan in the preceding ones, which were under the constellation of the personalreference. Here the forgetting is manifestly a direct result of the dislikeof Y. for the happy rival; he does not wish to know anything about him.
(g) The following case, reported by Ferenczi, the analysis ofwhich is especially instructive through the explanation of the substitutivethoughts (like 'Botticelli-Boltraffio to Signorelli), showsin a somewhat different way how self-reference leads to the forgettingof a name: --
"A lady who heard something about psycho- [p. 44] analysis could notrecall the name of the psychiatrist, Young (Jung).
"Instead, the following names occurred to her: K1. (a name) -- Wilde-- Nietzsche -- Hauptmann.
"I did not tell her the name, and requested her to repeat her free associationsto every thought.
"To K1. she at once thought of Mrs. K1., that she was an embellishedand affected person who looked very well for her age. 'She does not age.'As a general and principal conception of Wilde and Nietzsche, she gavethe association 'mental disease.' She then added jocosely: 'The Freudianswill continue looking for the causes of mental diseases until they themselvesbecome insane.' She continued: 'I cannot bear Wilde and Nietzsche. I donot understand them. I hear that they were both homosexual. Wilde has occupiedhimself with young people' (although she uttered in this sentencethe correct name she still could not remember it).
"To Hauptmann she associated the words half and youth,and only after I called her attention to the word youth did shebecome aware that she was looking for the name Young (Jung)."
It is clear that this lady, who had lost her husband at the age of thirty-nine,and had no prospect of marrying a second time, had cause enough to avoidreminiscences recalling youth or old age. The remarkable thing is thatthe concealing thoughts of the desired name came to the surface [p. 45]as simple associations of content without any sound-associations.
(h) Still different and very finely motivated is an example ofname-forgetting which the person concerned has himself explained.
"While taking an examination in philosophy as a minor subject I wasquestioned by the examiner about the teachings of Epicurus, and was askedwhether I knew who took up his teachings centuries later. I answered thatit was Pierre Gassendi, whom two days before while in a café I hadhappened to hear spoken of as a follower of Epicurus. To the question howI knew this I boldly replied that I had taken an interest in Gassendi fora long time. This resulted in a certificate with a magna cum laude,but later, unfortunately, also in a persistent tendency to forget the nameGassendi. I believe that it is due to my guilty conscience that even nowI cannot retain this name despite all efforts. I had no business knowingit at that time."
To have a proper appreciation of the intense repugnance entertainedby our narrator against the recollection of this examination episode, onemust have realized how highly he prizes his doctor's degree, and for howmany other things this substitute must stand.
I add here another example of forgetting the name of a city, an instancewhich is perhaps not as simple as those given before, but which will [p.46] appear credible and valuable to those more familiar with such investigations.The name of an Italian city withdrew itself from memory on account of itsfar-reaching sound-similarity to a woman's first name, which was in turnconnected with various emotional reminiscences which were surely not exhaustivelytreated in this report. Dr. S. Ferenczi, who observed this case of forgettingin himself, treated it -- quite justly -- as an analysis of a dream oran erotic idea.
"To-day I visited some old friends, and the conversation turned to citiesof Northern Italy. Some one remarked that they still showed the Austrianinfluence. A few of these cities were cited. I, too, wished to mentionone, but the name did not come to me, although I knew that I had spenttwo very pleasant days there; this, of course, does not quite concur withFreud's theory of forgetting. Instead of the desired name of the city thereobtruded themselves the following thoughts: 'Capua -- Brescia -- the lionof Brescia.' This lion I saw objectively before me in the form of a marblestatue, but I soon noticed that he resembled less the lion of the statueof liberty in Brescia (which I saw only in a picture) than the other marblelion which I saw in Lucerne on the monument in honour of the Swiss Guardfallen in the Tuileries. I finally thought of the desired name: it wasVerona.
"I knew at once the cause of this amnesia. [p. 47] No other than a formerservant of the family whom I visited at the time. Her name was Veronica;in Hungarian Verona. I felt a great antipathy for her on account of herrepulsive physiognomy, as well as her hoarse, shrill voice and her unbearableself-assertion (to which she thought herself entitled on account of herlong service). Also the tyrannical way in which she treated the childrenof the family was insufferable to me. Now I knew the significance of thesubstitutive thoughts.
"To Capua I immediately associated caput mortuum. I had oftencompared Veronica's head to a skull. The Hungarian word kapzoi (greedafter money) surely furnished a determinant for the displacement. NaturallyI also found those more direct associations which connected Capua and Veronaas geographical ideas and as Italian words of the same rhythm.
"The same held true for Brescia; here, too, I found concealed side-tracksof associations of ideas.
"My antipathy at that time was so violent that I thought Veronica veryugly, and have often expressed my astonishment at the fact that any oneshould love her: 'Why, to kiss her,' I said, 'must provoke nausea.'
"Brescia, at least in Hungary, is very often mentioned not in connectionwith the lion but with another wild beast. The most hated name [p. 48]in this country, as well as in North Italy, is that of General Haynau,who is briefly referred to as the hyena of Brescia. From the hated tyrantHaynau one stream of thought leads over Brescia to the city of Verona,and the other over the idea of the grave-digging animal with the hoarsevoice (which corresponds to the thought of a monument to the dead),to the skull, and to the disagreeable organ of Veronica, which was so cruellyinsulted in my unconscious mind. Veronica in her time ruled as tyranicallyas did the Austrian General after the Hungarian and Italian struggles forliberty.
"Lucerne is associated with the idea of the summer which Veronica spentwith her employers in a place near Lucerne. The Swiss Guard again recallsthat she tyrannized not only the children but also the adult members ofthe family, and thus played the part of the 'Garde-Dame.'
"I expressly observe that this antipathy of mine against V. consciouslybelongs to things long overcome. Since that time she has changed in herappearance and manner, very much to her advantage, so that I am able tomeet her with sincere regard (to be sure I hardly find such occasion).As usual, however, my unconscious sticks more tenaciously to those impressions;it is old in its resentment.
"The Tuileries represent an allusion to a second personality, an oldFrench lady who [p. 49] actually 'guarded' the women of the house, andwho was in high regard and somewhat feared by everybody. For a long timeI was her élève in French conversation. The word élèverecalls that when I visited the brother-in-law of my present host in northernBohemia I had to laugh a great deal because the rural population referredto the élèves (pupils) of the school of forestry aslöwen (lions). Also this jocose recollection might have takenpart in the displacement of the hyena by the lion."
(i) The following example can also show how a personal complexswaying the person at the time being may by devious ways bring about theforgetting of a name.
Two men, an elder and a younger, who had travelled together in Sicilysix months before, exchanged reminiscences of those pleasant and interestingdays.
"Let's see, what was the name of that place," asked the younger, "wherewe passed the night before taking the trip to Selinunt? Calatafini,was it not?"
The elder rejected this by saying: "Certainly not; but I have forgottenthe name, too, although I can recall perfectly all the details of the place.Whenever I hear some one forget a name it immediately produces forgetfulnessin me. Let us look for the name. I cannot think of any other [p. 50] nameexcept Caltanisetta, which is surely not correct."
"No," said the younger, "the name begins with, or contains, a w."
"But the Italian language contains no w," retorted the elder.
"I really meant a v, and I said w because I am accustomedto interchange them in my mother tongue."
The elder, however, objected to the v. He added: "I believe thatI have already forgotten many of the Sicilian names. Suppose we try tofind out. For example, what is the name of the place situated on a heightwhich was called Enna in antiquity?"
"Oh, I know that: Castrogiovanni." In the next moment the youngerman discovered the lost name. He cried out 'Castelvetrano,' andwas pleased to be able to demonstrate the supposed v.
For a moment the elder still lacked the feeling of recognition, butafter he accepted the name he was able to state why it had escaped him.He thought: "Obviously because the second half, vetrano, suggestsveteran. I am aware that I am not quite anxious to think of ageing,and react peculiarly when I am reminded of it. Thus, e.g.,I had recently reminded a very esteemed friend in most unmistakable termsthat he had 'long ago passed the years of youth,' because before this heonce remarked in the most flattering manner, [p. 51] 'I am no longer ayoung man.' That my resistance was directed against the second half ofthe name Castelvetrano is shown by the fact that the initial soundof the same returned in the substitutive name Caltanisetta."
"What about the name Caltanisetta itself?" asked the younger.
"That always seemed to me like a pet name of a young woman," admittedthe elder.
Somewhat later he added: "The name for Enna was also only a substitutivename. And now it occurs to me that the name Castrogiovanni, whichobtruded itself with the aid of a rationalization, alludes as expresslyto giovane, young, as the last name, Castelvetrano, to veteran."
The older man believed that he had thus accounted for his forgettingthe name. What the motive was that led the young man to this memory failurewas not investigated.
In some cases one must have recourse to all the fineness of psychoanalytictechnique in order to explain the forgetting of a name. Those who wishto read an example of such work I refer to a communication by ProfessorE. Jones.
I could multiply the examples of name-forgetting and prolong the discussionvery much further if I did not wish to avoid elucidating here almost allthe view-points which will be considered in [p. 52] later themes. I shall,however, take the liberty of comprehending in a few sentences the resultsof the analyses reported here.
The mechanism of forgetting, or rather of losing or temporary forgettingof a name, consists in the disturbance of the intended reproduction ofthe name through a strange stream of thought unconscious at the time. Betweenthe disturbed name and the disturbing complex there exists a connectioneither from the beginning or such a connection has been formed -- perhapsby artificial means - through superficial (outer) associations.
The self-reference complex (personal, family or professional) provesto be the most effective of the disturbing complexes.
A name which by virtue of its many meanings belongs to a number of thoughtassociations (complexes) is frequently disturbed in its connection to oneseries of thoughts through a stronger complex belonging to the other associations.
To avoid the awakening of pain through memory is one of the objectsamong the motives of these disturbances.
In general one may distinguish two principal cases of name-forgetting;when the name itself touches something unpleasant, or when it is broughtinto connection with other associations which are influenced by such effects.So that names can be disturbed on their own account or [p. 53] on accountof their nearer or more remote associative relations in the reproduction.
A review of these general principles readily convinces us that the temporaryforgetting of a name is observed as the most frequent faulty action ofour mental functions.
However, we are far from having described all the peculiarities of thisphenomenon. I also wish to call attention to the fact that name-forgettingis extremely contagious. In a conversation between two persons the meremention of having forgotten this or that name by one often suffices toinduce the same memory slip in the other. But whenever the forgetting isinduced, the sought for name easily comes to the surface.
There is also a continuous forgetting of names in which whole chainsof names are withdrawn from memory. If in the course of endeavouring todiscover an escaped name one finds others with which the latter is intimatelyconnected, it often happens that these new names also escape. The forgettingthus jumps from one name to another, as if to demonstrate the existenceof a hindrance not to be easily removed.