The Interpretation of Dreams
THE MATERIAL AND SOURCES OF DREAMS
Having realized, as a result of analysing the dream of Irma's injection, that the dream was the fulfilment of a wish, we were immediately interested to ascertain whether we had thereby discovered a general characteristic of dreams, and for the time being we put aside every other scientific problem which may have suggested itself in the course of the interpretation. Now that we have reached the goal on this one path, we may turn back and select a new point of departure for exploring dream-problems, even though we may for a time lose sight of the theme of wishfulfilment, which has still to be further considered.
Now that we are able, by applying our process of interpretation, to detect a latent dream-content whose significance far surpasses that of the manifest dream-content, we are naturally impelled to return to the individual dream-problems, in order to see whether the riddles and contradictions which seemed to elude us when we had only the manifest content to work upon may not now be satisfactorily solved.
The opinions of previous writers on the relation of dreams to waking life, and the origin of the material of dreams, have not been given here. We may recall however three peculiarities of the memory in dreams, which have been often noted, but never explained:
1. That the dream clearly prefers the impressions of the last few days (Robert, Strumpell, Hildebrandt; also Weed Hallam);
2. That it makes a selection in accordance with principles other than those governing our waking memory, in that it recalls not essential and important, but subordinate and disregarded things;
3. That it has at its disposal the earliest impressions of our childhood, and brings to light details from this period of life, which, again, seem trivial to us, and which in waking life were believed to have been long since forgotten. These peculiarities in the dream's choice of material have, of course, been observed by previous writers in the manifest dream- content.
A. Recent and Indifferent Impressions in the Dream
If I now consult my own experience with regard to the origin of the elements appearing in the dream-content, I must in the first place express the opinion that in every dream we may find some reference to the experiences of the preceding day. Whatever dream I turn to, whether my own or someone else's, this experience is always confirmed. Knowing this, I may perhaps begin the work of interpretation by looking for the experience of the preceding day which has stimulated the dream; in many cases this is indeed the quickest way. With the two dreams which I subjected to a close analysis in the last chapter (the dreams of Irma's injection, and of the uncle with the yellow beard) the reference to the preceding day is so evident that it needs no further elucidation. But in order to show how constantly this reference may be demonstrated, I shall examine a portion of my own dream- chronicle, I shall relate only so much of the dreams as is necessary for the detection of the dream-source in question.
1. I pay a call at a house to which I gain admittance only with difficulty, etc., and meanwhile I am keeping a woman waiting for me.
Source: A conversation during the evening with a female relative to the effect that she would have to wait for a remittance for which she had asked, until... etc.
2. I have written a monograph on a species (uncertain) of plant.
Source: In the morning I had seen in a bookseller's window a monograph on the genus Cyclamen.
3. I see two women in the street, mother and daughter, the latter being a patient.
Source: A female patient who is under treatment had told me in the evening what difficulties her mother puts in the way of her continuing the treatment.
4. At S and R's bookshop I subscribe to a periodical which costs 20 florins annually.
Source: During the day my wife has reminded me that I still owe her 20 florins of her weekly allowance.
5. I receive a communication from the Social Democratic Committee, in which I am addressed as a member.
Source: I have received simultaneous communications from the Liberal Committee on Elections and from the president of the Humanitarian Society, of which latter I am actually a member.
6. A man on a steep rock rising from the sea, in the manner of Bocklin.
Source: Dreyfus on Devil's Island; also news from my relatives in England, etc.
The question might be raised, whether a dream invariably refers to the events of the preceding day only, or whether the reference may be extended to include impressions from a longer period of time in the immediate past. This question is probably not of the first importance, but I am inclined to decide in favour of the exclusive priority of the day before the dream (the dream-day). Whenever I thought I had found a case where an impression two or three days old was the source of the dream, I was able to convince myself after careful investigation that this impression had been remembered the day before; that is, that a demonstrable reproduction on the day before had been interpolated between the day of the event and the time of the dream; and further, I was able to point to the recent occasion which might have given rise to the recollection of the older impression. On the other hand, I was unable to convince myself that a regular interval of biological significance (H. Swoboda gives the first interval of this kind as eighteen hours) elapses between the dream-exciting daytime impression and its recurrence in the dream.
I believe, therefore, that for every dream a dream-stimulus may be found among these experiences "on which one has not yet slept."
Havelock Ellis, who has likewise given attention to this problem, states that he has not been able to find any such periodicity of reproduction in his dreams, although he has looked for it. He relates a dream in which he found himself in Spain; he wanted to travel to a place called Daraus, Varaus, or Zaraus. On awaking he was unable to recall any such place-names, and thought no more of the matter. A few months later he actually found the name Zaraus; it was that of a railway-station between San Sebastian and Bilbao, through which he had passed in the train eight months (250 days) before the date of the dream.
Thus the impressions of the immediate past (with the exception of the day before the night of the dream) stand in the same relation to the dream content as those of periods indefinitely remote. The dream may select its material from any period of life, provided only that a chain of thought leads back from the experiences of the day of the dream (the recent impressions) of that earlier period.
But why this preference for recent impressions? We shall arrive at some conjectures on this point if we subject one of the dreams already mentioned to a more precise analysis. I select the
Dream of the Botanical Monograph
I have written a monograph on a certain plant. The book lies before me; I am just turning over a folded coloured plate. A dried specimen of the plant, as though from a herbarium, is bound up with every copy.
In the morning I saw in a bookseller's window a volume entitled The Genus Cyclamen, apparently a monograph on this plant.
The cyclamen is my wife's favorite flower. I reproach myself for remembering so seldom to bring her flowers, as she would like me to do. In connection with the theme of giving her flowers, I am reminded of a story which I recently told some friends of mine in proof of my assertion that we often forget in obedience to a purpose of the unconscious, and that forgetfulness always enables us to form a deduction about the secret disposition of the forgetful person. A young woman who has been accustomed to receive a bouquet of flowers from her husband on her birthday misses this token of affection on one of her birthdays, and bursts into tears. The husband comes in, and cannot understand why she is crying until she tells him: "Today is my birthday." He claps his hand to his forehead, and exclaims: "Oh, forgive me, I had completely forgotten it!" and proposes to go out immediately in order to get her flowers. But she refuses to be consoled, for she sees in her husband's forgetfulness a proof that she no longer plays the same part in his thoughts as she formerly did. This Frau L met my wife two days ago, told her that she was feeling well, and asked after me. Some years ago she was a patient of mine.
Supplementary facts: I did once actually write something like a monograph on a plant, namely, an essay on the coca plant, which attracted the attention of K. Koller to the anaesthetic properties of cocaine. I had hinted that the alkaloid might be employed as an anaesthetic, but I was not thorough enough to pursue the matter farther. It occurs to me, too, that on the morning of the day following the dream (for the interpretation of which I did not find time until the evening) I had thought of cocaine in a kind of day-dream. If I were ever afflicted with glaucoma, I would go to Berlin, and there undergo an operation, incognito, in the house of my Berlin friend, at the hands of a surgeon whom he would recommend. The surgeon, who would not know the name of his patient, would boast, as usual, how easy these operations had become since the introduction of cocaine; and I should not betray the fact that I myself had a share in this discovery. With this phantasy were connected thoughts of how awkward it really is for a physician to claim the professional services of a colleague. I should be able to pay the Berlin eye specialist, who did not know me, like anyone else. Only after recalling this day-dream do I realize that there is concealed behind it the memory of a definite event. Shortly after Koller's discovery, my father contracted glaucoma; he was operated on by my friend Dr. Koenigstein, the eye specialist. Dr. Koller was in charge of the cocaine anaesthetization, and he made the remark that on this occasion all the three persons who had been responsible for the introduction of cocaine had been brought together.
My thoughts now pass on to the time when I was last reminded of the history of cocaine. This was a few days earlier, when I received a Festschrift, a publication in which grateful pupils had commemorated the jubilee of their teacher and laboratory director. Among the titles to fame of persons connected with the laboratory I found a note to the effect that the discovery of the anaesthetic properties of cocaine had been due to K. Koller. Now I suddenly become aware that the dream is connected with an experience of the previous evening. I had just accompanied Dr. Koenigstein to his home, and had entered into a discussion of a subject which excites me greatly whenever it is mentioned. While I was talking
with him in the entrance-hall Professor Gartner and his young wife came up. I could not refrain from congratulating them both upon their blooming appearance. Now Professor Gartner is one of the authors of the Festschrift of which I have just spoken, and he may well have reminded me of it. And Frau L, of whose birthday disappointment I spoke a little way back, had been mentioned, though of course in another connection, in my conversation with Dr. Koenigstein.
I shall now try to elucidate the other determinants of the dream- content. A dried specimen of the plant accompanies the monograph, as though it were a herbarium. And herbarium reminds me of the Gymnasium. The director of our Gymnasium once called the pupils of the upper classes together, in order that they might examine and clean the Gymnasium herbarium. Small insects had been found- book-worms. The director seemed to have little confidence in my ability to assist, for he entrusted me with only a few of the pages. I know to this day that there were crucifers on them. My interest in botany was never very great. At my preliminary examination in botany I was required to identify a crucifer, and failed to recognize it; had not my theoretical knowledge come to my aid, I should have fared badly indeed. Crucifers suggest composites. The artichoke is really a composite, and in actual fact one which I might call my favourite flower. My wife, more thoughtful than I, often brings this favourite flower of mine home from the market.
I see the monograph which I have written lying before me. Here again there is an association. My friend wrote to me yesterday from Berlin: "I am thinking a great deal about your dream-book. I see it lying before me, completed, and I turn the pages." How I envied him this power of vision! If only I could see it lying before me, already completed!
The folded coloured plate. When I was a medical student I suffered a sort of craze for studying monographs exclusively. In spite of my limited means, I subscribed to a number of the medical periodicals, whose coloured plates afforded me much delight. I was rather proud of this inclination to thoroughness. When I subsequently began to publish books myself, I had to draw the plates for my own treatises, and I remember one of them turned out so badly that a well-meaning colleague ridiculed me for it. With this is associated, I do not exactly know how, a very early memory of my childhood. My father, by the way of a jest, once gave my elder sister and myself a book containing coloured plates (the book was a narrative of a journey through Persia) in order that we might destroy it. From an educational point of view this was hardly to be commended. I was at the time five years old, and my sister less than three, and the picture of us two children blissfully tearing the book to pieces (I should add, like an artichoke, leaf by leaf), is almost the only one from this period of my life which has remained vivid in my memory. When I afterwards became a student, I developed a conspicuous fondness for collecting and possessing books (an analogy to the inclination for studying from monographs, a hobby alluded to in my dream-thoughts, in connection with cyclamen and artichoke). I became a book-worm (cf. herbarium). Ever since I have been engaged in introspection I have always traced this earliest passion of my life to this impression of my childhood: or rather, I have recognized in this childish scene a screen or concealing memory for my subsequent bibliophilia. And of course I learned at an early age that our passions often become our misfortunes. When I was seventeen, I ran up a very considerable account at the bookseller's, with no means with which to settle it, and my father would hardly accept it as an excuse that my passion was at least a respectable one. But the mention of this experience of my youth brings me back to my conversation with my friend Dr. Koenigstein on the evening preceding the dream; for one of the themes of this conversation was the same old reproach- that I am much too absorbed in my hobbies.
For reasons which are not relevant here I shall not continue the interpretation of this dream, but will merely indicate the path which leads to it. In the course of the interpretation I was reminded of my conversation with Dr. Koenigstein, and, indeed, of more than one portion of it. When I consider the subjects touched upon in this conversation, the meaning of the dream immediately becomes clear to me. All the trains of thought which have been started- my own inclinations, and those of my wife, the cocaine, the awkwardness of securing medical treatment from one's own colleagues, my preference for monographical studies, and my neglect of certain subjects, such as botany- all these are continued in and lead up to one branch or another of this widely- ramified conversation. The dream once more assumes the character of a justification, of a plea for my rights (like the dream of Irma's injection, the first to be analysed); it even continues the theme which that dream introduced, and discusses it in association with the new subject-matter which has been added in the interval between the two dreams. Even the dream's apparently indifferent form of expression at once acquires a meaning. Now it means: "I am indeed the man who has written that valuable and successful treatise (on cocaine)," just as previously I declared in self-justification: "I am after all a thorough and industrious student"; and in both instances I find the meaning: "I can allow myself this." But I may dispense with the further interpretation of the dream, because my only purpose in recording it was to examine the relation of the dream-content to the experience of the previous day which arouses it. As long as I know only the manifest content of this dream, only one relation to any impression of the day is obvious; but after I have completed the interpretation, a second source of the dream becomes apparent in another experience of the same day. The first of these impressions to which the dream refers is an indifferent one, a
subordinate circumstance. I see a book in a shop window whose title holds me for a moment, but whose contents would hardly interest me. The second experience was of great psychic value; I talked earnestly with my friend, the eye specialist, for about an hour; I made allusions in this conversation which must have ruffled the feelings of both of us, and which in me awakened memories in connection with which I was aware of a great variety of inner stimuli. Further, this conversation was broken off unfinished, because some acquaintances joined us. What, now, is the relation of these two impressions of the day to one another, and to the dream which followed during the night?
In the manifest dream-content I find merely an allusion to the indifferent impression, and I am thus able to reaffirm that the dream prefers to take up into its content experiences of a non- essential character. In the dream-interpretation, on the contrary, everything converges upon the important and justifiably disturbing event. If I judge the sense of the dream in the only correct way, according to the latent content which is brought to light in the analysis, I find that I have unwittingly lighted upon a new and important discovery. I see that the puzzling theory that the dream deals only with the worthless odds and ends of the day's experiences has no justification; I am also compelled to contradict the assertion that the psychic life of the waking state is not continued in the dream, and that hence, the dream wastes our psychic energy on trivial material. The very opposite is true; what has claimed our attention during the day dominates our dream-thoughts also, and we take pains to dream only in connection with such matters as have given us food for thought during the day.
Perhaps the most immediate explanation of the fact that I dream of the indifferent impression of the day, while the impression which has with good reason excited me causes me to dream, is that here again we are dealing with the phenomenon of dream- distortion, which we have referred to as a psychic force playing the part of a censorship. The recollection of the monograph on the genus cyclamen is utilized as though it were an allusion to the conversation with my friend, just as the mention of my patient's friend in the dream of the deferred supper is represented by the
allusion smoked salmon. The only question is: by what intermediate links can the impression of the monograph come to assume the relation of allusion to the conversation with the eye specialist, since such a relation is not at first perceptible? In the example of the deferred supper, the relation is evident at the outset; smoked salmon, as the favourite dish of the patient's friend, belongs to the circle of ideas which the friend's personality would naturally evoke in the mind of the dreamer. In our new example we are dealing with two entirely separate impressions, which at first glance seem to have nothing in common, except indeed that they occur on the same day. The monograph attracts my attention in the morning: in the evening I take part in the conversation. The answer furnished by the analysis is as follows: Such relations between the two impressions as do not exist from the first are established subsequently between the idea-content of the one impression and the idea-content of the other. I have already picked out the intermediate links emphasized in the course of writing the analysis. Only under some outside influence, perhaps the recollection of the flowers missed by Frau L, would the idea of the monograph on the cyclamen have attached itself to the idea that
the cyclamen is my wife's favourite flower. I do not believe that these inconspicuous thoughts would have sufficed to evoke a dream.
There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this,
as we read in Hamlet. But behold! in the analysis I am reminded that the name of the man who interrupted our conversation was Gartner (gardener), and that I thought his wife looked blooming; indeed, now I even remember that one of my female patients, who bears the pretty name of Flora, was for a time the main subject of our conversation. It must have happened that by means of these intermediate links from the sphere of botanical ideas the association was effected between the two events of the day, the indifferent one and the stimulating one. Other relations were then established, that of cocaine for example, which can with perfect appropriateness form a link between the person of Dr. Koenigstein and the botanical monograph which I have written, and thus secure the fusion of the two circles of ideas, so that now a portion of the first experience may be used as an allusion to the second.
I am prepared to find this explanation attacked as either arbitrary or artificial. What would have happened if Professor Gartner and his blooming wife had not appeared, and if the patient who was under discussion had been called, not Flora, but Anna? And yet the answer is not hard to find. If these thought- relations had not been available, others would probably have been selected. It is easy to establish relations of this sort, as the jocular questions and conundrums with which we amuse ourselves suffice to show. The range of wit is unlimited. To go a step farther: if no sufficiently fertile associations between the two impressions of the day could have been established, the dream would simply have followed a different course; another of the indifferent impressions of the day, such as come to us in multitudes and are forgotten, would have taken the place of the monograph in the dream, would have formed an association with the content of the conversation, and would have represented this in the dream. Since it was the impression of the monograph and no other that was fated to perform this function, this impression was probably that most suitable for the purpose. One need not, like Lessing's Hanschen Schlau, be astonished that "only the rich people of the world possess the most money."
Still the psychological process by which, according to our exposition, the indifferent experience substitutes itself for the psychologically important one seems to us odd and open to question. In a later chapter we shall undertake the task of making the peculiarities of this seemingly incorrect operation more intelligible. Here we are concerned only with the result of this process, which we were compelled to accept by constantly recurring experiences in the analysis of dreams. In this process it is as though, in the course of the intermediate steps, a displacement occurs- let us say, of the psychic accent- until ideas of feeble potential, by taking over the charge from ideas which have a stronger initial potential, reach a degree of intensity which enables them to force their way into consciousness. Such displacements do not in the least surprise us when it is a question of the transference of affective magnitudes or of motor activities. That the lonely spinster transfers her affection to animals, that the bachelor becomes a passionate collector, that the soldier defends a scrap of coloured cloth- his flag- with his life-blood, that in a love affair a clasp of the hands a moment longer than usual evokes a sensation of bliss, or that in Othello a lost handkerchief causes an outburst of rage all these are examples of psychic displacements which to us seem incontestable. But if, by the same means, and in accordance with the same
fundamental principles, a decision is made as to what is to reach our consciousness and what is to be withheld from it- that is to say, what we are to think- this gives us the impression of morbidity, and if it occurs in waking life we call it an error of thought. We may here anticipate the result of a discussion which will be undertaken later, namely, that the psychic process which we have recognized in dream-displacement proves to be not a morbidly deranged process, but one merely differing from the normal, one of a more primary nature.
Thus we interpret the fact that the dream-content takes up remnants of trivial experiences as a manifestation of dream- distortion (by displacement), and we thereupon remember that we have recognized this dream-distortion as the work of a censorship operating between the two psychic instances. We may therefore expect that dream-analysis will constantly show us the real and psychically significant source of the dream in the events of the day, the memory of which has transferred its accentuation to some indifferent memory. This conception is in complete opposition to Robert's theory, which consequently has no further value for us. The fact which Robert was trying to explain simply does not exist;
its assumption is based on a misunderstanding, on a failure to substitute the real meaning of the dream for its apparent meaning. A further objection to Robert's doctrine is as follows: If the task of the dream were really to rid our memory, by means of a special psychic activity, of the slag of the day's recollections, our sleep would perforce be more troubled, engaged in more strenuous work, than we can suppose it to be, judging by our waking thoughts. For the number of the indifferent impressions of the day against which we should have to protect our memory is obviously immeasurably large; the whole night would not be long enough to dispose of them all. It is far more probable that the forgetting of the
indifferent impressions takes place without any active interference on the part of our psychic powers.
Still, something cautions us against taking leave of Robert's theory without further consideration. We have left unexplained the fact that one of the indifferent impressions of the day- indeed, even of the previous day- constantly makes a contribution to the dream-content. The relations between this impression and the real source of the dream in the unconscious do not always exist from the outset; as we have seen, they are established subsequently, while the dream is actually at work, as though to serve the purpose of the intended displacement. Something, therefore, must
necessitate the opening up of connections in the direction of the recent but indifferent impression; this impression must possess some quality that gives it a special fitness. Otherwise it would be just as easy for the dream- thoughts to shift their accentuation to some inessential component of their own sphere of ideas.
Experiences such as the following show us the way to an explanation: If the day has brought us two or more experiences which are worthy to evoke a dream, the dream will blend the allusion of both into a single whole: it obeys a compulsion to make them into a single whole. For example: One summer afternoon I entered a railway carriage in which I found two acquaintances of mine who were unknown to one another. One of them was an influential colleague, the other a member of a distinguished family which I had been attending in my professional capacity. I introduced the two gentlemen to each other; but during the long journey they conversed with each other through me, so that I had to discuss this or that topic now with one, now with the other. I asked my colleague to recommend a mutual acquaintance who had just begun to practise as a physician. He replied that he was convinced of the young man's ability, but that his undistinguished appearance would make it difficult for him to obtain patients in the upper ranks of society. To this I rejoined: "That is precisely why he needs recommendation." A little later, turning to my other fellow-traveller, I inquired after the health of his aunt- the mother of one of my patients- who was at this time prostrated by a serious illness. On the night following this journey I dreamt that the young friend whom I had asked one of my companions to recommend was in a fashionable
drawing-room, and with all the bearing of a man of the world was making- before a distinguished company, in which I recognized all the rich and aristocratic persons of my acquaintance- a funeral oration over the old lady (who in my dream had already died) who was the aunt of my second fellow- traveller. (I confess frankly that I had not been on good terms with this lady.) Thus my dream had once more found the connection between the two impressions of the day, and by means of the two had constructed a unified situation.
In view of many similar experiences, I am persuaded to advance the proposition that a dream works under a kind of compulsion which forces it to combine into a unified whole all the sources of dream-stimulation which are offered to it. In a subsequent chapter (on the function of dreams) we shall consider this impulse of combination as part of the process of condensation, another primary psychic process.
I shall now consider the question whether the dream-exciting source to which our analysis leads us must always be a recent (and significant) event, or whether a subjective experience- that is to say, the recollection of a psychologically significant event, a train of thought- may assume the role of a dream- stimulus. The very definite answer, derived from numerous analyses, is as follows: The stimulus of the dream may be a subjective transaction, which has been made recent, as it were, by the mental activity of the day.
And this is perhaps the best time to summarize in schematic form the different conditions under which the dream sources are operative.
The source of a dream may be:
(a) A recent and psychologically significant event which is directly represented in the dream.
(b) Several recent and significant events, which are combined by the dream in a single whole.
(c) One or more recent and significant events, which are represented in the dream-content by allusion to a contemporary but indifferent event.
(d) A subjectively significant experience (recollection, train of thought), which is constantly represented in the dream by allusion to a recent but indifferent impression.
As may be seen, in dream-interpretation the condition is always fulfilled that one component of the dream-content repeats a recent impression of the day of the dream. The component which is destined to be represented in the dream may either belong to the same circle of ideas as the dream stimulus itself (as an essential or even an inessential element of the same); or it may originate in the neighbourhood of an indifferent impression, which has been brought by more or less abundant associations into relation with the sphere of the dream-stimulus. The apparent multiplicity of
these conditions results merely from the alternative, that a displacement has or has not occurred, and it may here be noted that this alternative enables us to explain the contrasts of the dream quite as readily as the medical theory of the dream explains the series of states from the partial to the complete waking of the brain cells.
In considering this series of sources we note further that the psychologically significant but not recent element (a train of thought, a recollection) may be replaced for the purposes of dream-formation by a recent but psychologically indifferent element, provided the two following conditions are fulfilled: (1) the dream-content preserves a connection with things recently experienced; (2) the dream-stimulus is still a psychologically significant event. In one single case (a) both these conditions are fulfilled by the same impression. If we now consider that these same indifferent
impressions, which are utilized for the dream as long as they are recent, lose this qualification as soon as they are a day (or at most several days) older, we are obliged to assume that the very freshness of an impression gives it a certain psychological value for dream-formation, somewhat equivalent to the value of emotionally accentuated memories or trains of thought. Later on, in the light of certain Psychological considerations, we shall be able to divine the explanation of this importance of recent impressions in dream formation.
Incidentally our attention is here called to the fact that at night, and unnoticed by our consciousness, important changes may occur in the material comprised by our ideas and memories. The injunction that before making a final decision in any matter one should sleep on it for a night is obviously fully justified. But at this point we find that we have passed from the psychology of dreaming to the psychology of sleep, a step which there will often be occasion to take.
At this point there arises an objection which threatens to invalidate the conclusions at which we have just arrived. If indifferent impressions can find their way into the dream only so long as they are of recent origin, how does it happen that in the dream-content we find elements also from earlier periods of our lives, which, at the time when they were still recent, possessed, as Strumpell puts it, no psychic value, and which, therefore, ought to have been forgotten long ago; elements, that is, which are neither fresh nor psychologically significant?
This objection can be disposed of completely if we have recourse to the results of the psychoanalysis of neurotics. The solution is as follows: The process of shifting and rearrangement which replaces material of psychic significance by material which is indifferent (whether one is dreaming or thinking) has already taken place in these earlier periods of life, and has since become fixed in the memory. Those elements which were originally indifferent are in fact no longer so, since they have acquired the value of psychologically significant material. That which has actually remained indifferent can never be reproduced in the dream.
From the foregoing exposition the reader may rightly conclude that I assert that there are no indifferent dream-stimuli, and therefore no guileless dreams. This I absolutely and unconditionally believe to be the case, apart from the dreams of children, and perhaps the brief dream-reactions to nocturnal sensations. Apart from these exceptions, whatever one dreams is either plainly recognizable as being psychically significant, or it is distorted and can be judged correctly only after complete interpretation, when it proves, after all, to be of psychic significance. The dream never concerns itself with trifles; we do not allow sleep to be disturbed by trivialities. Dreams which are apparently guileless turn out to be the reverse of innocent, if one takes the trouble to interpret them; if I may be permitted the expression, they all show "the mark of the beast." Since this is another point on which I may expect contradiction, and since I am glad of an opportunity to show dream-distortion at work, I shall here subject to analysis a number of guileless dreams from my collection.
An intelligent and refined young woman, who in real life is distinctly reserved, one of those people of whom one says that "still waters run deep," relates the following dream: "I dreamt that I arrived at the market too late, and could get nothing from either the butcher or the greengrocer woman." Surely a guileless dream, but as it has not the appearance of a real dream I induce her to relate it in detail. Her report then runs as follows: She goes to the market with her cook, who carries the basket. The butcher tells her, after she has asked him for something: "That is no longer to be obtained," and waits to give her something else, with the remark: "That is good, too." She refuses, and goes to the greengrocer woman. The latter tries to sell her a peculiar vegetable, which is bound up in bundles, and is black in colour. She says: "I don't know that, I won't take it."
The connection of the dream with the preceding day is simple enough. She had really gone to the market too late, and had been unable to buy anything. The meatshop was already closed, comes into one's mind as a description of the experience. But wait, is not that a very vulgar phrase which- or rather, the opposite of which- denotes a certain neglect with regard to man's clothing? The dreamer has not used these words; she has perhaps avoided them: but let us look for the interpretation of the details contained in the dream.
When in a dream something has the character of a spoken utterance- that is, when it is said or heard, not merely thought, and the distinction can usually be made with certainty- then it originates in the utterances of waking life, which have, of course, been treated as raw material, dismembered, and slightly altered, and above all removed from their context. In the work of interpretation we may take such utterances as our starting- point. Where, then, does the butcher's statement, That is no longer to be obtained, come from? From myself; I had explained to her some days previously "that the oldest experiences of childhood are no longer to be obtained as such, but will be replaced in the analysis by transferences and dreams." Thus, I am the butcher, and she refuses to accept these transferences to the present of old ways of thinking and feeling. Where does her dream utterance, I don't know that, I won't take it, come from? For the purposes of the analysis this has to be dissected. I don't know that she herself had said to her cook, with whom she had a dispute on the previous day, but she had then added: Behave yourself decently. Here a displacement is palpable; of the two sentences which she spoke to her cook, she included the insignificant one in her dream; but the
suppressed sentence, Behave yourself decently! alone fits in with the rest of the dream-content. One might use the words to a man who was making indecent overtures, and had neglected "to close his meat-shop." That we have really hit upon the trail of the interpretation is proved by its agreement with the allusions made by the incident with the greengrocer woman. A vegetable which is sold tied up in bundles (a longish vegetable, as she subsequently adds), and is also black: what can this be but a dream-combination of asparagus and black radish? I need not interpret asparagus to the initiated; and the other vegetable, too (think of the exclamation: "Blacky, save yourself!"), seems to me to point to the sexual theme at which we guessed in the beginning, when we wanted to replace the story of the dream by "the meat-shop is closed." We are not here concerned with the full meaning of the dream; so much is certain, that it is full of meaning and by no means guileless.
Another guileless dream of the same patient, which in some respects is a pendant to the above. Her husband asks her: "Oughtn't we to have the piano tuned?" She replies: "It's not worth while, the hammers would have to be rebuffed as well." Again we have the reproduction of an actual event of the preceding day. Her husband had asked her such a question, and she had answered it in such words. But what is the meaning of her dreaming it? She says of the piano that it is a disgusting old box which has a bad tone; it belonged to her husband before they were married, etc., but the key to the true solution lies in the phrase: It isn't worth while. This has its origin in a call paid yesterday to a woman friend. She was asked to take off her coat, but declined, saying: "Thanks, it isn't worth while, I must go in a moment." At this point I recall that yesterday, during the analysis, she suddenly took hold of her coat, of which a button had come undone. It was as though she meant to say: "Please don't look in, it isn't worth while." Thus box becomes chest, and the interpretation of the dream leads to the years when she was growing out of her childhood, when she began to be dissatisfied with her figure. It leads us back, indeed, to earlier periods, if we take into consideration the disgusting and the bad tone, and remember how often in allusions and in dreams the two small hemispheres of the female body take the place- as a substitute and an antithesis- of the large ones.
I will interrupt the analysis of this dreamer in order to insert a short, innocent dream which was dreamed by a young man. He dreamt that he was putting on his winter overcoat again; this was terrible. The occasion for this dream is apparently the sudden advent of cold weather. On more careful examination we note that the two brief fragments of the dream do not fit together very well, for what could be terrible about wearing a thick or heavy coat in cold weather? Unfortunately for the innocency of this dream, the first association, under analysis, yields the recollection that yesterday a lady had confidentially confessed to him that her last child owed its existence to the splitting of a condom. He now reconstructs his thoughts in accordance with this suggestion: A thin condom is dangerous, a thick one is bad. The condom is a "pullover" (Ueberzieher = literally pullover), for it is pulled over something: and Uebersieher is the German term for a light overcoat. An experience like that related by the lady would indeed be terrible for an unmarried man. We will now return to our other innocent dreamer.
She puts a candle into a candlestick; but the candle is broken, so that it does not stand up. The girls at school say she is clumsy; but she replies that it is not her fault. Here, too, there is an actual occasion for the dream; the day before she had actually put a candle into a candlestick; but this one was not broken. An obvious symbolism has here been employed. The candle is an object which excites the female genitals; its being broken, so that it does not stand upright, signifies impotence on the man's part (it is not her fault). But does this young woman, carefully brought up, and a stranger to all obscenity, know of such an application of the candle? By chance she is able to tell how she came by this information. While paddling a canoe on the Rhine, a boat passed her which contained some students, who were singing rapturously, or rather yelling: "When the Queen of Sweden, behind closed shutters, with the candles of Apollo..."
She does not hear or else understand the last word. Her husband was asked to give her the required explanation. These verses are then replaced in the dream-content by the innocent recollection of a task which she once performed clumsily at her boarding- school, because of the closed shutters. The connection between the theme of masturbation and that of impotence is clear enough. Apollo in the latent dream-content connects this dream with an earlier one in which the virgin Pallas figured. All this is obviously not innocent.
Lest it may seem too easy a matter to draw conclusions from dreams concerning the dreamer's real circumstances, I add another dream originating with the same person, which once more appears innocent. "I dreamt of doing something," she relates, "which I actually did during the day, that is to say, I filled a little trunk so full of books that I had difficulty in closing it. My dream was just like the actual occurrence." Here the dreamer herself emphasizes the correspondence between the dream and the reality. All such criticisms of the dream, and comments on the dream, although they have found a place in the waking thoughts, properly belong to the latent dream-content, as further examples will confirm. We are told, then, that what the dream relates has actually occurred during the day. It would take us too far afield to show how we arrive at the idea of making use of the English language to help us in the interpretation of this dream. Suffice it to say that it is again a question of a little box (cf. chap. IV, the dream of the dead child in the box) which has been filled so full that nothing can go into it.
In all these "innocent" dreams the sexual factor as the motive of the censorship is very prominent. But this is a subject of primary significance, which we must consider later.
B. Infantile Experiences as the Source of Dreams
As the third of the peculiarities of the dream-content, we have adduced the fact, in agreement with all other writers on the subject (excepting Robert), that impressions from our childhood may appear in dreams, which do not seem to be at the disposal of the waking memory. It is, of course, difficult to decide how seldom or how frequently this occurs, because after waking the origin of the respective elements of the dream is not recognized. The proof that we are dealing with impressions of our childhood must thus be adduced objectively, and only in rare instances do the conditions favour such proof. The story is told by A. Maury, as being particularly conclusive, of a man who decides to visit his birthplace
after an absence of twenty years. On the night before his departure he dreams that he is in a totally unfamiliar locality, and that he there meets a strange man with whom he holds a conversation. Subsequently, upon his return home, he is able to convince himself that this strange locality really exists in the vicinity of his home, and the strange man in the dream turns out to be a friend of his dead father's, who is living in the town. This is, of course, a conclusive proof that in his childhood he had seen both the man and the locality. The dream, moreover, is to be interpreted as a dream of impatience, like the dream of the girl who carries in her pocket the ticket for a concert, the dream of the child whose father had promised him an excursion to the Hameau (ch. III), and so forth. The motives which reproduce just these impressions of childhood for the dreamer cannot, of course, be discovered without analysis.
One of my colleagues, who attended my lectures, and who boasted that his dreams were very rarely subject to distortion, told me that he had sometime previously seen, in a dream, his former tutor in bed with his nurse, who had remained in the household until his eleventh year. The actual location of this scene was realized even in the dream. As he was greatly interested, he related the dream to his elder brother, who laughingly confirmed its reality. The brother said that he remembered the affair very distinctly, for he was six years old at the time. The lovers were in the habit of making him, the elder boy, drunk with beer whenever circumstances were favourable to their nocturnal intercourse. The
younger child, our dreamer, at that time three years of age, slept in the same room as the nurse, but was not regarded as an obstacle.
In yet another case it may be definitely established, without the aid of dream-interpretation, that the dream contains elements from childhood namely, if the dream is a so-called perennial dream, one which, being first dreamt in childhood, recurs again and again in adult years. I may add a few examples of this sort to those already known, although I have no personal knowledge of perennial dreams. A physician, in his thirties, tells me that a yellow lion, concerning which he is able to give the precisest information, has often appeared in his dream-life, from his earliest childhood up to the present day. This lion, known to him from his dreams, was one day discovered in natura, as a longforgotten china animal. The
young man then learned from his mother that the lion had been his favourite toy in early childhood, a fact which he himself could no longer remember.
If we now turn from the manifest dream-content to the dream thoughts which are revealed only on analysis, the experiences of childhood may be found to recur even in dreams whose content would not have led us to suspect anything of the sort. I owe a particularly delightful and instructive example of such a dream
to my esteemed colleague of the "yellow lion." After reading Nansen's account of his polar expedition, he dreamt that he was giving the intrepid explorer electrical treatment on an ice-floe for the sciatica of which the latter complained! During the analysis of this dream he remembered an incident of his childhood, without which the dream would be wholly unintelligible. When he was three or four years of age he was one day listening attentively to the conversation of his elders; they were talking of exploration, and he presently asked his father whether exploration was a bad illness. He had apparently confounded Reisen (journey, trips) with Reissen (gripes, tearing pains), and the derision of his brothers and sisters prevented his ever forgetting the humiliating experience.
We have a precisely similar case when, in the analysis of the dream of the monograph on the genus cyclamen, I stumble upon a memory, retained from childhood, to the effect that when I was five years old my father allowed me to destroy a book embellished with coloured plates. It will perhaps be doubted whether this recollection really entered into the composition of the dream content, and it may be suggested that the connection was established subsequently by the analysis. But the abundance and intricacy of the associative connections vouch for the truth of my explanation: cyclamen- favourite flower- favourite dish- artichoke; to pick to pieces like an artichoke, leaf by leaf (a phrase which at that time one heard daily, a propos of the dividing up of the Chinese empire); herbarium- bookworm, whose favourite food is books. I can further assure the reader that the ultimate meaning of the dream, which I have not given here, is most intimately connected with the content of the scene of childish destruction.
In another series of dreams we learn from analysis that the very wish which has given rise to the dream, and whose fulfilment the dream proves to be, has itself originated in childhood, so that one is astonished to find that the child with all his impulses survives in the dream.
I shall now continue the interpretation of a dream which has already proved instructive: I refer to the dream in which my friend R is my uncle. We have carried its interpretation far enough for the wish-motive- the wish to be appointed professor- to assert itself palpably; and we have explained the affection felt for my friend R in the dream as the outcome of opposition to, and defiance of, the two colleagues who appear in the dream thoughts. Thee dream was my own; I may, therefore, continue the analysis by stating that I did not feel quite satisfied with the solution arrived at. I knew that my opinion of these colleagues. who were so badly treated in my dream-thoughts, would have been expressed in very different language in my waking life; the intensity of the wish that I might not share their fate as regards the appointment seemed to me too slight fully to account for the discrepancy between my dream- opinion and my waking opinion. If the desire to be addressed by another title were really so intense, it would be proof of a morbid ambition, which I do not think I cherish, and which I believe I was far from entertaining. I do not know how others who think they know me would judge me; perhaps I really was ambitious; but if I was, my ambition has long since been transferred to
objects other than the rank and title of Professor extraordinarius.
Whence, then, the ambition which the dream has ascribed to me? Here I am reminded of a story which I heard often in my childhood, that at my birth an old peasant woman had prophesied to my happy mother (whose first-born I was) that she had brought a great man into the world. Such prophecies must be made very
frequently; there are so many happy and expectant mothers, and so many old peasant women, and other old women who, since their mundane powers have deserted them, turn their eyes toward the future; and the prophetess is not likely to suffer for her prophecies. Is it possible that my thirst for greatness has originated from this source? But here I recollect an impression from the later years of my childhood, which might serve even better as an explanation. One evening, at a restaurant on the Prater, where my parents were accustomed to take me when I was eleven or twelve years of age, we noticed a man who was going from table to table and, for a small sum, improvising verses upon any subject that was given him. I was sent to bring the poet to our table, and he showed his gratitude. Before asking for a subject he threw off a few rhymes about myself, and told us that if he could trust his inspiration I should probably one day become a minister. I can still distinctly remember the impression produced by this second prophecy. It was in the days of the "bourgeois Ministry"; my father had recently brought home the portraits of the bourgeois university graduates, Herbst, Giskra, Unger, Berger and others, and we illuminated the house in their honour. There were even
Jews among them; so that every diligent Jewish schoolboy carried a ministerial portfolio in his satchel. The impression of that time must be responsible for the fact that until shortly before I went to the university I wanted to study jurisprudence, and changed my mind only at the last moment. A medical man has no chance of becoming a minister. And now for my dream: It is only now that I begin to see that it translates me from the sombre present to the hopeful days of the bourgeois Ministry, and completely fulfils what was then my youthful ambition. In treating my two estimable and learned colleagues, merely because they are Jews, so badly, one as though he were a simpleton and the other as though he were a criminal, I am acting as though I were the Minister; I have put myself in his place. What a revenge I take upon his Excellency! He refuses to appoint me Professor extraordinarius, and so in my dream I put myself in his place.
In another case I note the fact that although the wish that excites the dream is a contemporary wish it is nevertheless greatly reinforced by memories of childhood. I refer to a series of dreams which are based on the longing to go to Rome. For a long time to come I shall probably have to satisfy this longing by means of dreams, since, at the season of the year when I should be able to travel, Rome is to be avoided for reasons of health. Thus I once dreamt that I saw the Tiber and the bridge of Sant' Angelo from the window of a railway carriage; presently the train started, and I realized that I had never entered the city at all. The view that appeared in the dream was modelled after a well-known engraving which I had casually noticed the day before in the drawing-room of one of my patients. In another dream someone took me up a hill and showed me Rome half shrouded in mist, and so distant that I was astonished at the distinctness of the view. The content of this dream is too rich to be fully reported here. The motive, "to see the promised land afar," is here easily recognizable. The city which I thus saw in the mist is Lubeck; the original of the hill is the Gleichenberg. In a third dream I am at last in Rome. To my disappointment the scenery is anything but urban: it consists of a little stream of black water, on one side of which are black rocks, while on the other are meadows with large white flowers. I notice a certain Herr Zucker (with whom I am superficially acquainted), and resolve to ask him to show me the way into the city. It is obvious that I am trying in vain to see in my dream a city which I have never seen in my waking life. If I resolve the landscape into its elements, the white flowers point to Ravenna, which is known to me, and which once, for a time, replaced Rome as the capital of Italy. In the marshes around Ravenna we had found
the most beautiful water-lilies in the midst of black pools of water; the dream makes them grow in the meadows, like the narcissi of our own Aussee, because we found it so troublesome to cull them from the water. The black rock so close to the water vividly recalls the valley of the Tepl at Karlsbad. Karlsbad now enables me to account for the peculiar circumstance that I ask Herr Zucker to show me the way. In the material of which the dream is woven I am able to recognize two of those amusing Jewish anecdotes which conceal such profound and, at times, such bitter worldly wisdom, and which we are so fond of quoting in our letters and conversation. One is the story of the constitution; it tells how a poor Jew sneaks into the Karlsbad express without a ticket; how he is detected, and is treated more and more harshly by the conductor at each succeeding call for tickets; and how, when a friend whom he meets at one of the stations during his miserable journey asks him where he is going, he answers: "To Karlsbad- if my constitution holds out." Associated in memory with this is another story about a Jew who is ignorant of French, and who has express instructions to ask in Paris for the Rue Richelieu. Paris was for many years the goal of my own longing, and I regarded the satisfaction with which I first set foot on the pavements of Paris as a warrant that I should attain to the fulfilment of other wishes also. Moreover, asking the way is a direct allusion to Rome, for, as we know, "all roads lead to Rome." And further, the name Zucker (sugar) again points to Karlsbad, whither we send persons afflicted with the constitutional disease, diabetes (Zuckerkrankheit, sugardisease.) The occasion for this dream was the proposal of my Berlin friend that we should meet in Prague at Easter. A further association with sugar and diabetes might be found in the matters which I had to discuss with him. -
A fourth dream, occurring shortly after the last-mentioned, brings me back to Rome. I see a street corner before me, and am astonished that so many German placards should be posted there. On the previous day, when writing to my friend, I had told him, with truly prophetic vision, that Prague would probably not be a comfortable place for German travellers. The dream, therefore, expressed simultaneously the wish to meet him in Rome instead of in the Bohemian capital, and the desire, which probably originated during my student days, that the German language might be accorded more tolerance in Prague. As a matter of fact, I must have understood the Czech language in the first years of my childhood, for I was born in a small village in Moravia, amidst a Slay population. A Czech nursery rhyme, which I heard in my seventeenth year, became, without effort on my part, so imprinted upon my memory that I can repeat it to this day, although I have no idea of its meaning. Thus in these dreams also there is no lack of manifold relations to the impressions of my early childhood.
During my last Italian journey, which took me past Lake Trasimenus, I at length discovered, after I had seen the Tiber, and had reluctantly turned back some fifty miles from Rome, what a reinforcement my longing for the Eternal City had received from the impressions of my childhood. I had just conceived a plan of travelling to Naples via Rome the following year when this sentence, which I must have read in one of our German classics, occurred to me: "It is a question which of the two paced to and fro in his room the more impatiently after he had conceived the plan of going to Rome- Assistant Headmaster Winckelmann or the great General Hannibal." I myself had walked in Hannibal's footsteps; like him I was destined never to see Rome, and he too had gone to Campania when all were expecting him in Rome. Hannibal, with whom I had achieved this point of similarity, had been my favourite hero during my years at the Gymnasium; like so many boys of my age, I bestowed my sympathies in the Punic war not on the Romans, but on the Carthaginians. Moreover, when I finally came to realize the consequences of belonging to an alien race, and was forced by the anti-Semitic feeling among my classmates to take a definite stand, the figure of the Semitic commander assumed still greater proportions in my imagination. Hannibal and Rome symbolized, in my youthful eyes, the struggle between the tenacity of the Jews and the organization of the Catholic Church. The significance for our emotional life which the anti-Semitic movement has since assumed helped to fix the thoughts and impressions of those earlier days. Thus the desire to go to Rome has in my dream- life become the mask and symbol for a number of warmly cherished wishes, for whose realization one had to work with the tenacity and single-mindedness of the Punic general, though their fulfilment at times seemed as remote as Hannibal's life-long wish to enter Rome. -
And now, for the first time, I happened upon the youthful experience which even to-day still expresses its power in all these emotions and dreams. I might have been ten or twelve years old when my father began to take me with him on his walks, and in his conversation to reveal his views on the things of this world. Thus it was that he once told me the following incident, in order to show me that I had been born into happier times than he: "When I was a young man, I was walking one Saturday along the street in the village where you were born; I was well-dressed, with a new fur cap on my head. Up comes a Christian, who knocks my cap into the mud, and shouts, 'Jew, get off the pavement!'"- "And what did you do?"- "I went into the street and picked up the cap," he calmly replied. That did not seem heroic on the part of the big, strong man who was leading me, a little fellow, by the hand. I contrasted this situation, which did not please me, with another, more in harmony with my sentiments the scene in which Hannibal's father, Hamilcar Barcas, made his son swear before the household altar to take vengeance on the Romans. Ever since then Hannibal has had a place in my phantasies. -
I think I can trace my enthusiasm for the Carthaginian general still further back into my childhood, so that it is probably only an instance of an already established emotional relation being transferred to a new vehicle. One of the first books which fell into my childish hands after I learned to read was Thiers' Consulate and Empire. I remember that I pasted on the flat backs of my wooden soldiers little labels bearing the names of the Imperial marshals, and that at that time Massena (as a Jew, Menasse) was already my avowed favourite. This preference is doubtless also to be explained by the fact of my having been born, a hundred years later, on the same date. Napoleon himself is associated with Hannibal through the crossing of the Alps. And perhaps the development of this martial ideal may be traced yet farther back, to the first three years of my childhood, to wishes which my alternately friendly and hostile relations with a boy a year older than myself must have evoked in the weaker of the two playmates. -
The deeper we go into the analysis of dreams, the more often are we put on the track of childish experiences which play the part of dream-sources in the latent dream-content.
We have learned that dreams very rarely reproduce memories in such a manner as to constitute, unchanged and unabridged, the sole manifest dream-content. Nevertheless, a few authentic examples which show such reproduction have been recorded, and I can add a few new ones, which once more refer to scenes of childhood. In the case of one of my patients a dream once gave a barely distorted reproduction of a sexual incident, which was immediately recognized as an accurate recollection. The memory of it had never been completely lost in the waking life, but it had been greatly obscured, and it was revivified by the previous work of analysis. The dreamer had at the age of twelve visited a bedridden schoolmate, who had exposed himself, probably only by a chance movement in bed. At the sight of the boy's genitals he was seized by a kind of compulsion, exposed himself, and took hold of the member of the other boy who, however, looked at him in surprise and indignation, whereupon he became embarrassed and let it go. A dream repeated this scene twenty-three years later, with all the details of the accompanying emotions, changing it, however, in this respect, that the dreamer played the passive instead of the active role, while the person of the schoolmate was replaced by a contemporary.
As a rule, of course, a scene from childhood is represented in the manifest dream-content only by an allusion, and must be disentangled from the dream by interpretation. The citation of examples of this kind cannot be very convincing, because any guarantee that they are really experiences of childhood is lacking; if they belong to an earlier period of life, they are no longer recognized by our memory. The conclusion that such childish experiences recur at all in dreams is justified in psychoanalytic work by a great number of factors, which in their combined results appear to be sufficiently reliable. But when, for the purposes of dream-interpretation, such references to childish experiences are torn out of their context, they may not perhaps seem very impressive, especially where I do not even give all the material upon which the interpretation is based. However, I shall not let this deter me from giving a few examples. -
With one of my female patients all dreams have the character of hurry; she is hurrying so as to be in time, so as not to miss her train, and so on. In one dream she has to visit a girl friend; her mother had told her to ride and not walk; she runs, however, and keeps on calling. The material that emerged in the analysis allowed one to recognize a memory of childish romping, and, especially for one dream, went back to the popular childish game of rapidly repeating the words of a sentence as though it was all one word. All these harmless jokes with little friends were remembered because they replaced other less harmless ones. -
The following dream was dreamed by another female patient: She is in a large room in which there are all sorts of machines; it is rather like what she would imagine an orthopaedic institute to be. She hears that I am pressed for time, and that she must undergo treatment along with five others. But she resists, and is unwilling to lie down on the bed- or whatever it is- which is intended for her. She stands in a corner, and waits for me to say "It is not true." The others, meanwhile, laugh at her, saying it is all foolishness on her part. At the same time, it is as though she were called upon to make a number of little squares.
The first part of the content of this dream is an allusion to the treatment and to the transference to myself. The second contains an allusion to a scene of childhood; the two portions are connected by the mention of the bed. The orthopaedic institute is an allusion to one of my talks, in which I compared the treatment, with regard to its duration and its nature. to an orthopaedic treatment. At the beginning of the treatment I had to tell her that for the present I had little time to give her, but that later on I would devote a whole hour to her daily. This aroused in her the old sensitiveness, which is a leading characteristic of children who are destined to become hysterical. Their desire for love is insatiable. My patient
was the youngest of six brothers and sisters (hence, with five others), and as such her father's favourite, but in spite of this she seems to have felt that her beloved father devoted far too little time and attention to her. Her waiting for me to say It is not trite was derived as follows: A little tailor's apprentice had brought her a dress, and she had given him the money for it. Then she asked her husband whether she would have to pay the money again if the boy were to lose it. To tease her, her husband answered "Yes" (the teasing in the dream), and she asked again and again, and waited for him to say "It is not true." The thought of the latent dream- content may now be construed as follows: Will she have to pay me double the amount when I devote twice as much time to her?- a thought which is stingy or filthy (the uncleanliness of childhood is often replaced in dreams by greed for money; the word filthy here supplies the bridge). If all the passage referring to her waiting until I say It is not true is intended in the dream as a circumlocution for the word dirty, the standingin-the-corner and not lying-down-on-the-bed are in keeping with this word, as component parts of a scene of her childhood in which she had soiled her bed, in punishment for which she was put into the corner, with a warning that papa would not love her any more, whereupon her brothers and sisters laughed at her, etc. The little squares refer to her young niece, who showed her the arithmetical trick of writing figures in nine squares (I think) in such a way that on being added together in any direction they make fifteen. -
Here is a man's dream: He sees two boys tussling with each other; they are cooper's boys, as he concludes from the tools which are lying about; one of the boys has thrown the other down; the prostrate boy is wearing ear-rings with blue stones. He runs towards the assailant with lifted cane, in order to chastise him. The boy takes refuge behind a woman, as though she were his mother, who is standing against a wooden fence. She is the wife of a day-labourer, and she turns her back to the man who is dreaming. Finally she turns about and stares at him with a horrible look, so that he runs away in terror; the red flesh of the lower lid seems to stand out from her eyes.
This dream has made abundant use of trivial occurrences from the previous day, in the course of which he actually saw two boys in the street, one of whom threw the other down. When he walked up to them in order to settle the quarrel, both of them took to their heels. Cooper's boys- this is explained only by a
subsequent dream, in the analysis of which he used the proverbial expression: "To knock the bottom out of the barrel." Ear-rings with blue stones, according to his observation, are worn chiefly by prostitutes. This suggests a familiar doggerel rhyme about two boys: "The other boy was called Marie": that is, he was a girl. The woman standing by the fence: after the scene with the two boys he went for a walk along the bank of the Danube and, taking advantage of being alone, urinated against a wooden fence. A little farther on a respectably dressed, elderly lady smiled at him very pleasantly and wanted to hand him her card with her address.
Since, in the dream, the woman stood as he had stood while urinating, there is an allusion to a woman urinating, and this explains the horrible look and the prominence of the red flesh, which can only refer to the genitals gaping in a squatting posture; seen in childhood, they had appeared in later recollection as proud flesh, as a wound. The dream unites two occasions upon which, as a little boy, the dreamer was enabled to see the genitals of little girls, once by throwing the little girl down, and once while the child was urinating; and, as is shown by another association, he had retained in his memory the punishment administered or threatened by his father on account of these manifestations of sexual curiosity. -
A great mass of childish memories, which have been hastily combined into a phantasy, may be found behind the following dream of an elderly lady: She goes out in a hurry to do some shopping. On the Graben she sinks to her knees as though she had broken down. A number of people collect around her, especially cabdrivers, but no one helps her to get up. She makes many vain attempts; finally she must have succeeded, for she is put into a cab which is to take her home. A large, heavily laden basket (something like a market- basket) is thrown after her through the window.
This is the woman who is always harassed in her dreams; just as she used to be harassed when a child. The first situation of the dream is apparently taken from the sight of a fallen horse; just as broken down points to horse-racing. In her youth she was a rider; still earlier she was probably also a horse. With the idea of falling down is connected her first childish reminiscence of the seventeen-year-old son of the hall porter, who had an epileptic seizure in the street and was brought home in a cab. Of this, of course, she had only heard, but the idea of epileptic fits, of falling down, acquired a great influence over her phantasies, and later on influenced the form of her own hysterical attacks. When a person of the female sex dreams of falling, this almost always has a sexual significance; she becomes a fallen woman, and, for the purpose of the dream under consideration, this interpretation is probably the least doubtful, for she falls in the Graben, the street in Vienna which is known as the concourse of prostitutes. The market-basket admits of more than one interpretation; in the sense of refusal (German, Korb = basket = snub, refusal) it reminds her of the many snubs which she at first administered to her suitors and which, she thinks, she herself received later. This agrees with the detail: no one will help her up, which she herself interprets as being disdained. Further, the market-basket recalls phantasies which have already appeared in the course of analysis, in which she imagines that she has married far beneath her station and now goes to the market as a marketwoman. Lastly, the market- basket might be interpreted as the mark of a servant. This suggests further memories of her childhood- of a cook who was discharged because she stole; she, too, sank to her knees and begged for mercy. The dreamer was at that time twelve years of age. Then emerges a recollection of a chamber-maid, who was dismissed because she had an affair with the coachman of the household, who, incidentally, married her afterwards. This recollection, therefore, gives us a clue to the cab-drivers in the dream (who, in opposition to the reality, do not stand by the fallen woman). But there still remains to be explained the throwing of the basket; in particular, why it is thrown through the window? This reminds her of the forwarding of luggage by rail, to the custom of Fensterln in the country, and to trivial impressions of a summer resort, of a gentleman who threw some blue plums into the window of a lady's room, and of her little sister, who was frightened because an idiot who was
passing looked in at the window. And now, from behind all this emerges an obscure recollection from her tenth year of a nurse in the country to whom one of the men-servants made love (and whose conduct the child may have noticed), and who was sent packing, thrown out, together with her lover (in the dream we have the expression: thrown into); an incident which we have been approaching by several other paths. The luggage or box of a servant is disparagingly described in Vienna as "seven plums." "Pack up your seven plums and get out!" -
My collection, of course, contains a plethora of such patients' dreams, the analysis of which leads back to impressions of childhood, often dating back to the first three years of life, which are remembered obscurely, or not at all. But it is a questionable proceeding to draw conclusions from these and apply them to dreams in general, for they are mostly dreams of neurotic, and especially hysterical, persons; and the part played in these dreams by childish scenes might be conditioned by the nature of the neurosis, and not by the nature of dreams in general. In the interpretation of
my own dreams, however, which is assuredly not undertaken on account of grave symptoms of illness, it happens just as frequently that in the latent dreamcontent I am unexpectedly confronted with a scene of my childhood, and that a whole series of my dreams will suddenly converge upon the paths proceeding from a single childish experience. I have already given examples of this, and I shall give yet more in different connections. Perhaps I cannot close this chapter more fittingly than by citing several dreams of my own, in which recent events and longforgotten experiences of my childhood appear together as dream-sources.
After I have been travelling, and have gone to bed hungry and tired, the prime necessities of life begin to assert their claims in sleep, and I dream as follows: I go into a kitchen in order to ask for some pudding. There three women are standing, one of whom is the hostess; she is rolling something in her hands, as though she were making dumplings. She replies that I must wait until she has finished (not distinctly as a speech). I become impatient, and go away affronted. I want to put on an overcoat; but the first I try on is too long. I take it off, and am somewhat astonished to find that it is trimmed with fur. A second coat has a long strip of cloth with a Turkish design sewn into it. A stranger with a long face and a short, pointed beard comes up and
prevents me from putting it on, declaring that it belongs to him. I now show him that it is covered all over with Turkish embroideries. He asks: "How do the Turkish (drawings, strips of cloth...) concern you?" But we soon become quite friendly.
In the analysis of this dream I remember, quite unexpectedly, the first novel which I ever read, or rather, which I began to read from the end of the first volume, when I was perhaps thirteen years of age. I have never learned the name of the novel, or that of its author, but the end remains vividly in my memory. The hero becomes insane, and continually calls out the names of the three women who have brought the greatest happiness and the greatest misfortune into his life. Pelagie is one of these names. I still do not know what to make of this recollection during the analysis. Together with the three women there now emerge the three Parcae, who spin the fates of men, and I know that one of the three women, the hostess in the dream, is the mother who gives life, and who, moreover, as in my own case, gives the child its first nourishment. Love and hunger meet at the mother's breast. A young man- so runs an anecdote- who became a great admirer of womanly beauty, once observed, when the conversation turned upon the handsome wet-nurse who had suckled him as a child, that he was sorry that he had not taken better advantage of his opportunities. I am in the habit of using the anecdote to elucidate the factor of retrospective tendencies in the mechanism of the psychoneuroses.
One of the Parcae, then, is rubbing the palms of her hands together, as though she were making dumplings. A strange occupation for one of the Fates, and urgently in need of explanation! This explanation is furnished by another and earlier memory of my childhood. When I was six years old, and receiving my first lessons from my mother, I was expected to believe that we are made of dust, and must, therefore, return to dust. But this did not please me, and I questioned the doctrine. Thereupon my mother rubbed the palms of her hands together-just as in making dumplings,
except that there was no dough between them- and showed me the blackish scales of epidermis which were thus rubbed off, as a proof that it is of dust that we are made. Great was my astonishment at this demonstration ad oculos, and I acquiesced in the idea which I was later to hear expressed in the words: "Thou owest nature a death." Thus the women to whom I go in the kitchen, as I so often did in my childhood when I was hungry and my mother, sitting by the fire, admonished me to wait until lunch was ready, are really the Parcae. And now for the dumplings! At least one of my teachers at the University- the very one to whom I am indebted for my histological knowledge (epidermis)- would be reminded by the name Knodl (Knodl means dumpling), of a person whom he had to prosecute for plagiarizing his writings. Committing a plagiarism, taking anything one can lay hands on, even though it belongs to another, obviously leads to the second part of the dream, in which I am treated like the overcoat thief who for some time plied his trade in the lecture halls. I have written the word plagiarism- without definite intention- because it occurred to me, and now I see that it must belong to the latent dream-content and that it will serve as a bridge between the different parts of the
manifest dream-content. The chain of associations- Pelagie- plagiarism- plagiostomi (sharks)- fish-bladder- connects the old novel with the affair of Knodl and the overcoats (German: Uberzieher = pullover, overcoat or condom), which obviously refer to an appliance appertaining to the technique of sex. This, it is true, is a very forced and irrational connection, but it is nevertheless one which I could not have established in waking life if it had not already been established by the dream-work. Indeed, as though nothing were sacred to this impulse to enforce associations, the beloved name, Brucke (bridge of words, see above), now serves to remind me of the very institute in which I spent my happiest hours as a student, wanting for nothing. "So will you at the breasts of Wisdom every day more pleasure find"), in the most complete contrast to the desires which plague me (German: plagen) while I dream. And finally, there emerges the recollection of another dear teacher, whose name once more sounds like something edible (Fleischl- Fleisch = meat- like Knodl = dumplings), and of a pathetic scene in which the scales of epidermis play a part (mother- hostess), and mental derangement (the novel), and a remedy from the Latin pharmacopeia (Kuche = kitchen) which numbs the sensation of hunger, namely, cocaine.
In this manner I could follow the intricate trains of thought still farther, and could fully elucidate that part of the dream which is lacking in the analysis; but I must refrain, because the personal sacrifice which this would involve is too great. I shall take up only one of the threads, which will serve to lead us directly to one of the dream-thoughts that lie at the bottom of the medley. The stranger with the long face and pointed beard, who wants to prevent me from putting on the overcoat, has the features of a tradesman of Spalato, of whom my wife bought a great deal of Turkish cloth. His name was Popovic, a suspicious name, which even gave the humorist Stettenheim a pretext for a suggestive remark: "He told me his name, and blushingly shook my hand." For the rest, I find the same misuse of names as above in the case of Pelagie, Knodl, Brucke, Fleischl. No one will deny that such playing with names is a childish trick; if I indulge in it the practice amounts to an act of retribution, for my own name has often enough been the subject of such feeble attempts at wit. Goethe once remarked how sensitive a man is in respect to his name, which he feels that he fills even as he fills his skin; Herder having written the following lines on his name:
Der du von Gottern abstammst, von Gothen oder vom Kote.
So seid ihr Gotterbilder auch zu Staub. -
[Thou who art born of the gods, of the Goths, or of the mud. Thus are thy godlike images even dust.] -
I realize that this digression on the misuse of names was intended merely to justify this complaint. But here let us stop.... The purchase at Spalato reminds me of another purchase at Cattaro, where I was too cautious, and missed the opportunity of making an excellent bargain. (Missing an opportunity at the breast of the wet- nurse; see above.) One of the dream-thoughts occasioned by the sensation of hunger really amounts to this: We should let nothing escape; we should take what we can get, even if we do a little wrong; we should never let an opportunity go by; life is so short, and death inevitable. Because this is meant even sexually, and because desire is unwilling to check itself before the thought of doing wrong, this philosophy of carpe diem has reason to fear the censorship, and must conceal itself behind a dream. And so all sorts of counter-thoughts find expression, with recollections of the time when spiritual nourishment alone was sufficient for the dreamer, with hindrances of every kind and even threats of disgusting sexual punishments. -
A second dream requires a longer preliminary statement:
I had driven to the Western Station in order to start on a holiday trip to the Aussee, but I went on to the platform in time for the Ischl train, which leaves earlier. There I saw Count Thun, who was again going to see the Emperor at Ischl. In spite of the rain he arrived in an open carriage, came straight through the entrance- gate for the local trains, and with a curt gesture and not a word of explanation he waved back the gatekeeper, who did not know him and wanted to take his ticket. After he had left in the Ischl train, I was asked to leave the platform and return to the waitingroom; but after some difficulty I obtained permission to remain. I passed the time noting how many people bribed the officials to secure a compartment; I fully intended to make a complaint- that is, to demand the same privilege. Meanwhile I sang something to myself, which I afterwards recognized as the aria from The Marriage of Figaro: -
If my lord Count would tread a measure, tread a measure, Let him but say his pleasure,
And I will play the tune. -
(Possibly another person would not have recognized the tune.) The whole evening I was in a high-spirited, pugnacious mood; I chaffed the waiter and the cab-driver, I hope without hurting their feelings; and now all kinds of bold and revolutionary thoughts came into my mind, such as would fit themselves to the words of Figaro, and to memories of Beaumarchais' comedy, of which I had seen a performance at the Comedie Francaise. The speech about the great men who have taken the trouble to be born; the seigneurial right which Count Almaviva wishes to exercise with regard to Susanne; the jokes which our malicious Opposition journalists make on the name of Count Thun (German, thun = do), calling him Graf Nichtsthun, Count-Do-Nothing. I really do not envy him; he now has a difficult audience with the Emperor before him, and it is I who am the real Count-Do-Nothing, for I am going off for a holiday. I make all sorts of amusing plans for the vacation. Now a gentleman arrives whom I know as a Government representative at the medical examinations, and who has won the flattering nickname of "the Governmental bed-fellow" (literally, by-sleeper) by his activities in this capacity. By insisting on his official status he secured half a first-class compartment, and I heard one guard say to another: "Where are we going to put the gentleman with the first-class half-compartment?" A pretty sort of favouritism! I am paying for a whole first-class compartment. I did actually get a whole compartment to myself, but not in a through carriage, so there was no lavatory at my disposal during the night. My complaints to the guard were fruitless; I revenged myself by suggesting that at least a hole be made in the floor of this compartment, to serve the possible needs of passengers. At a quarter to three in the morning I wake, with an urgent desire to urinate, from the
A crowd, a students' meeting.... A certain Count (Thun or Taaffe) is making a speech. Being asked to say something about the Germans, he declares, with a contemptuous gesture, that their favourite flower is coltsfoot, and he then puts into his buttonhole something like a torn leaf, really the crumpled skeleton of a leaf. I jump up, and I jump up, but I am surprised at my implied attitude. Then, more indistinctly: It seems as though this were the vestibule (Aula); the exits are thronged, and one must escape. I make my way through a suite of handsomely appointed rooms, evidently ministerial apartments, with furniture of a colour between brown and violet, and at last I come to a corridor in which a
housekeeper, a fat, elderly woman, is seated. I try to avoid speaking to her, but she apparently thinks I have a right to pass this way, because she asks whether she shall accompany me with the lamp. I indicate with a gesture, or tell her, that she is to remain standing on the stairs, and it seems to me that I am very clever, for after all I am evading detection. Now I am downstairs, and I find a narrow, steeply rising path, which I follow. -
Again indistinctly: It is as though my second task were to get away from the city, just as my first was to get out of the building. I am riding in a one-horse cab, and I tell the driver to take me to a railway station. "I can't drive with you on the railway line itself," I say, when he reproaches me as though I had tired him out. Here it seems as though I had already made a journey in his cab which is usually made by rail. The stations are crowded; I am wondering whether to go to Krems or to Znaim, but I reflect that the Court will be there, and I decide in favour of Graz or some such place. Now I am seated in the railway carriage, which is rather like a tram, and I have in my buttonhole a peculiar long braided thing, on which are violet-brown violets of stiff material, which makes a great impression on people. Here the scene breaks off.
I am once more in front of the railway station, but I am in the company of an elderly gentleman. I think out a scheme for remaining unrecognized, but I see this plan already being carried out. Thinking and experiencing are here, as it were, the same thing. He pretends to be blind, at least in one eye, and I hold before him a male glass urinal (which we have to buy in the city, or have bought). I am thus a sick-nurse, and have to give him the urinal because he is blind. If the conductor sees us in this position, he must pass us by without drawing attention to us. At the same time the position of the elderly man, and his urinating organ, is plastically perceived. Then I wake with a desire to urinate.
The whole dream seems a sort of phantasy, which takes the dreamer back to the year of revolution, 1848, the memory of which had been revived by the jubilee of 1898, as well as by a little excursion to Wachau, on which I visited Emmersdorf, the refuge of the student leader Fischof, to whom several features of the manifest dream- content might refer. The association of ideas then leads me to England, to the house of my brother, who used in jest to twit his wife with the title of Tennyson's poem Fifty Years Ago, whereupon the children were used to correct him: Fifteen Years Ago. This phantasy, however, which attaches itself to the thoughts evoked by the sight of Count Thun, is, like the facade of an Italian church, without organic connection with the structure behind it, but unlike such a facade it is full of gaps, and confused, and in many places portions of the interior break through. The first situation of the dream is made up of a number of scenes, into which I am able to dissect it. The arrogant attitude of the Count in the dream is copied from a scene at my school which occurred in my fifteenth year. We had hatched a conspiracy against an unpopular and ignorant teacher; the leading spirit in this conspiracy was a schoolmate who since that time seems to have taken Henry VIII of England as his model. It fell to me to carry out the coup d'etat, and a discussion of the importance of the Danube (German, Donau) to Austria (Wachau!) was the occasion of an open revolt. One of our fellow-conspirators was our only aristocratic schoolmate- he was called "the giraffe" on account of his conspicuous height- and while he was being reprimanded by the tyrant of the school, the professor of the German language, he stood just as the Count stood in the dream. The explanation of the favourite flower, and the putting into a button-hole of something that must have been a flower (which recalls the orchids which I had given that day to a friend, and also a rose of Jericho) prominently recalls the incident in Shakespeare's historical play which opens the civil wars of the Red and the White Roses; the mention of Henry VIII has paved the way to this reminiscence. Now it is not very far from roses to red and white carnations. (Meanwhile two little rhymes, the one German, the other Spanish, insinuate themselves into the analysis: Rosen, Tulpen, Nelken, alle Blumen welken, and Isabelita, no llores, que se marchitan las flores. The Spanish line occurs in Figaro.) Here in Vienna white carnations have become the badge of the Anti-Semites, red ones of the Social
Democrats. Behind this is the recollection of an anti-Semitic challenge during a railway journey in beautiful Saxony (Anglo Saxon). The third scene contributing to the formation of the first situation in the dream dates from my early student days. There was a debate in a German students' club about the relation of philosophy to the general sciences. Being a green youth, full of materialistic doctrines, I thrust myself forward in order to defend an extremely one-sided position. Thereupon a sagacious older fellow- student, who has since then shown his capacity for leading men and organizing the masses, and who, moreover, bears a name belonging to the animal kingdom, rose and gave us a thorough dressing-down; he too, he said, had herded swine in his youth, and had then returned repentant to his father's house. I jumped up (as in the dream), became piggishly rude, and retorted that since I knew he had herded swine, I was not surprised at the tone of his discourse. (In the dream I am surprised at my German Nationalistic feelings.) There was a great commotion, and an almost general demand that I should retract my words, but I stood my ground. The insulted student was too sensible to take the advice which was offered him, that he should send me a challenge, and let the matter drop. -
The remaining elements of this scene of the dream are of more remote origin. What does it mean that the Count should make a scornful reference to coltsfoot? Here I must question my train of associations. Coltsfoot (German: Huflattich), Lattice (lettuce), Salathund (the dog that grudges others what he cannot eat himself). Here plenty of opprobrious epithets may be discerned: Gir-affe (German: Affe = monkey, ape), pig, sow, dog; I might even arrive, by way of the name, at donkey, and thereby pour contempt upon an academic professor. Furthermore, I translate coltsfoot (Huflattich)- I do not know whether I do so correctly- by pisse-en-lit. I get this idea from Zola's Germinal, in which some children are told to bring some dandelion salad with them. The dog- chien- has a name sounding not unlike the verb for the major function (chier, as pisser stands for the minor one). Now we shall soon have the indecent in all its three physical categories, for in the same Germinal, which deals with the future revolution, there is a description of a very peculiar contest, which relates to the production of the gaseous excretions known as flatus. And now I cannot but observe how the way to this flatus has been prepared a long while since, beginning with the flowers, and proceeding to the Spanish rhyme of Isabelita, to Ferdinand and Isabella, and, by way of Henry VIII, to English history at the time of the Armada, after the victorious termination of which the English struck a medal with the inscription: Flavit et dissipati sunt, for the storm had scattered the Spanish fleet.  I had thought of using this phrase, half jestingly, as the title of a chapter on "Therapy," if I should ever succeed in giving a detailed account of my conception and treatment of hysteria.
I cannot give so detailed an interpretation of the second scene of the dream, out of sheer regard for the censorship. For at this point I put myself in the place of a certain eminent gentleman of the revolutionary period, who had an adventure with an eagle (German: Adler) and who is said to have suffered from incontinence of the bowels, incontinentia and, etc.; and here I believe that I should not be justified in passing the censorship, even though it was an aulic councillor (aula, consiliarizis aulicus) who told me the greater part of this history. The suite of rooms in the dream is suggested by his Excellency's private saloon carriage, into which I was able to glance; but it means, as it so often does in dreams, a woman. The personality of the housekeeper is an ungrateful allusion to a witty old lady, which ill repays her for the good times and the many good stories which I have enjoyed in her house. The incident of the lamp goes back to Grillparzer, who notes a charming experience of a similar nature, of which he afterwards made use in Hero and Leander (the waves of the sea and of love- the Armada and the storm). -
I must forego a detailed analysis of the two remaining portions of the dream; I shall single out only those elements which lead me back to the two scenes of my childhood for the sake of which alone I have selected the dream. The reader will rightly assume that it is sexual material which necessitates the suppression; but he may not be content with this explanation. There are many things of which one makes no secret to oneself, but which must be treated as secrets in addressing others, and here we are concerned not with the reasons which induce me to conceal the solution, but with the motive of the inner censorship which conceals the real content of the dream even from myself. Concerning this, I will confess that the analysis reveals these three portions of the dream as impertinent boasting, the exuberance of an absurd megalomania, long ago suppressed in my waking life, which, however, dares to show itself, with individual ramifications, even in the manifest dream- content (it seems to me that I am a cunning fellow), making the high-spirited mood of the evening before the dream perfectly intelligible.
Boasting of every kind, indeed thus, the mention of Graz points to the phrase: "What price Graz?" which one is wont to use when one feels unusually wealthy. Readers who recall Master Rabelais's inimitable description of the life and deeds of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel will be able to enroll even the suggested content of the first portion of the dream among the boasts to which I have alluded. But the following belongs to the two scenes of childhood of which I have spoken: I had bought a new trunk for this journey, the colour of which, a brownish violet, appears in
the dream several times (violet-brown violets of a stiff cloth, on an object which is known as a girl-catcher- the furniture in the ministerial chambers). Children, we know, believe that one attracts people's attention with anything new. Now I have been told of the following incident of my childhood; my recollection of the occurrence itself has been replaced by my recollection of the story. I am told that at the age of two I still used occasionally to wet my bed, and that when I was reproved for doing so I consoled my father by promising to buy him a beautiful new red bed in N (the nearest large town). Hence, the interpolation in the dream, that we had bought the urinal in the city or had to buy it; one must keep
one's promises. (One should note, moreover, the association of the male urinal and the woman's trunk, box.) All the megalomania of the child is contained in this promise. The significance of dreams of urinary difficulties in the case of children has already been considered in the interpretation of an earlier dream (cf. the dream in chapter V., A.). The psycho-analysis of neurotics has taught us to recognize the intimate connection between wetting the bed and the character trait of ambition.
Then, when I was seven or eight years of age another domestic incident occurred which I remember very well. One evening, before going to bed, I had disregarded the dictates of discretion, and had satisfied my needs in my parents' bedroom, and in their presence. Reprimanding me for this delinquency, my father remarked: "That boy will never amount to anything." This must have been a terrible affront to my ambition, for allusions to this scene recur again and again in my dreams, and are constantly coupled with enumerations of my accomplishments and successes, as though
I wanted to say: "You see, I have amounted to something after all." This childish scene furnishes the elements for the last image of the dream, in which the roles are interchanged, of course for the purpose of revenge. The elderly man obviously my father, for the blindness in one eye signifies his one-sided glaucoma, is now urinating before me as I once urinated before him. By means of the glaucoma I remind my father of cocaine, which stood him in good stead during his operation, as though I had thereby fulfilled my promise. Besides, I make sport of him; since he is blind, I must hold the glass in front of him, and I delight in allusions to my knowledge of the theory of hysteria, of which I am proud.
If the two childish scenes of urination are, according to my theory, closely associated with the desire for greatness, their resuscitation on the journey to the Aussee was further favoured by the accidental circumstance that my compartment had no lavatory, and that I must be prepared to postpone relief during the journey, as actually happened in the morning when I woke with the sensation of a bodily need. I suppose one might be inclined to credit this sensation with being the actual stimulus of the dream; I should, however, prefer a different explanation, namely, that the dream- thoughts first gave rise to the desire to urinate. It is quite unusual for me to be disturbed in sleep by any physical need, least of all at the time when I woke on this occasion- a quarter to four in the morning. I would forestall a further objection by remarking that I have hardly ever felt a desire to urinate after waking early on other journeys made under more comfortable circumstances. However, I can leave this point undecided without weakening my argument.
Further, since experience in dream-analysis has drawn my attention to the fact that even from dreams the interpretation of which seems at first sight complete, because the dream-sources and the wish- stimuli are easily demonstrable, important trains of thought proceed which reach back into the earliest years of childhood, I had to ask myself whether this characteristic does not even constitute an essential condition of dreaming. If it were permissible to generalize this notion, I should say that every dream is connected through its manifest content with recent experiences, while through its latent content it is connected with the most remote experiences; and I can actually show in the analysis of hysteria that these remote experiences have in a very real sense remained recent right up to the present. But I still find it very difficult to prove this conjecture; I shall have to return to the probable role in dream-formation of the earliest experiences of our childhood in another connection (chapter VII).
Of the three peculiarities of the dream-memory considered above, one- the preference for the unimportant in the dream-content- has been satisfactorily explained by tracing it back to dream distortion. We have succeeded in establishing the existence of the other two peculiarities- the preferential selection of recent and also of infantile material- but we have found it impossible to derive them from the motives of the dream. Let us keep in mind these two characteristics, which we still have to explain or evaluate; a place will have to be found for them elsewhere, either in
the discussion of the psychology of the sleeping state, or in the consideration of the structure of the psychic apparatus- which we shall undertake later after we have seen that by means of dream-interpretation we are able to glance as through an inspection- hole into the interior of this apparatus.
But here and now I will emphasize another result of the last few dream-analyses. The dream often appears to have several meanings; not only may several wish-fulfilments be combined in it, as our examples show, but one meaning or one wish-fulfilment may conceal another. until in the lowest stratum one comes upon the fulfilment of a wish from the earliest period of childhood; and here again it may be questioned whether the word often at the beginning of this sentence may not more correctly be replaced by constantly.
C. The Somatic Sources of Dreams
If we attempt to interest a cultured layman in the problems of dreams, and if, with this end in view, we ask him what he believes to be the source of dreams, we shall generally find that he feels quite sure he knows at least this part of the solution. He thinks immediately of the influence exercised on the formation of dreams by a disturbed or impeded digestion ("Dreams come from the stomach"), an accidental position of the body, a trifling occurrence during sleep. He does not seem to suspect that even after all these factors have been duly considered something still remains to be explained.
In the introductory chapter we examined at length the opinion of scientific writers on the role of somatic stimuli in the formation of dreams, so that here we need only recall the results of this inquiry. We have seen that three kinds of somatic stimuli will be distinguished: the objective sensory stimuli which proceed from external objects, the inner states of excitation of the sensory organs, having only a subjective reality, and the bodily stimuli arising within the body; and we have also noticed that the writers on dreams are inclined to thrust into the background any psychic sources of dreams which may operate simultaneously with the somatic stimuli, or to exclude them altogether. In testing the claims made on behalf of these somatic stimuli we have learned that the significance of the objective excitation of the sensory organs- whether accidental stimuli operating during sleep, or such as cannot be excluded from the dormant relation of these dream-images and ideas to the internal bodily stimuli and confirmed by experiment; that the part played by the subjective sensory stimuli appears to be demonstrated by the recurrence of hypnagogic sensory images in dreams; and that, although the broadly accepted relation of these dream-images and ideas to the internal bodily stimuli cannot be exhaustively demonstrated, it is at all events confirmed by the well-known influence which an excited state of the digestive, urinary and sexual organs exercises upon the content of our dreams.
Nerve stimulus and bodily stimulus would thus be the anatomical sources of dreams; that is, according to many writers, the sole and exclusive sources of dreams. But we have already considered a number of doubtful points, which seem to question not so much the correctness of the somatic theory as its adequacy.
However confident the representatives of this theory may be of its factual basis- especially in respect of the accidental and external nerve stimuli, which may without difficulty be recognized in the dream-content- nevertheless they have all come near to admitting that the rich content of ideas found in dreams cannot be derived from the external nerve-stimuli alone. In this connection Miss Mary Whiton Calkins tested her own dreams, and those of a second person, for a period of six weeks, and found that the element of external sensory perception was demonstrable in only 13.2 per cent and 6.7 percent of these dreams respectively. Only two dreams in the whole collection could be referred to organic sensations. These statistics confirm what a cursory survey of our own experience would already, have led us to suspect.
A distinction has often been made between nerve-stimulus dreams which have already been thoroughly investigated, and other forms of dreams. Spitta, for example, divided dreams into nervestimulus dreams and association-dreams. But it was obvious that this solution remained unsatisfactory unless the link between the somatic sources of dreams and their ideational content could be indicated.
In addition to the first objection, that of the insufficient frequency of the external sources of stimulus, a second objection presents itself, namely, the inadequacy of the explanations of dreams afforded by this category of dream-sources. There are two things which the representatives of this theory have failed to explain: firstly, why the true nature of the external stimulus is not recognized in the dream, but is constantly mistaken for something else; and secondly, why the result of the reaction of the perceiving mind to this misconceived stimulus should be so indeterminate and variable. We have seen that Strumpell, in answer to these questions, asserts that the mind, since it turns away from the outer world during sleep, is not in a position to give the correct interpretation of the objective sensory stimulus, but is forced to construct illusions on the basis of the indefinite stimulation arriving from many directions. In his own words (Die Natur und Entstehung der Traume, p. 108).
"When by an external or internal nerve-stimulus during sleep a feeling, or a complex of feelings, or any sort of psychic process arises in the mind, and is perceived by the mind, this process calls up from the mind perceptual images belonging to the sphere of the waking experiences, that is to say, earlier perceptions, either unembellished, or with the psychic values appertaining to them. It collects about itself, as it were, a greater or lesser number of such images, from which the impression resulting from the nerve-stimulus receives its psychic value. In this connection it is commonly said, as in ordinary language we say of the waking procedure, that the mind interprets in sleep the impressions of nervous stimuli. The result of this interpretation is the socalled nerve-stimulus dream- that is, a dream the components of which are conditioned by the fact that a nervestimulus produces its psychical effect in the life of the mind in accordance with the laws of reproduction."
In all essential points identical with this doctrine is Wundt's statement that the concepts of dreams proceed, at all events for the most part, from sensory stimuli, and especially from the stimuli of general sensation, and are therefore mostly phantastic illusions- probably only to a small extent pure memoryconceptions raised to the condition of hallucinations. To illustrate the relation between dream-content and dream-stimuli which follows from this theory, Strumpell makes use of an excellent simile. It is "as though ten fingers of a person ignorant of music were to stray over
the keyboard of an instrument." The implication is that the dream is not a psychic phenomenon, originating from psychic motives, but the result of a physiological stimulus, which expresses itself in psychic symptomatology because the apparatus affected by the stimulus is not capable of any other mode of expression. Upon a similar assumption is based the explanation of obsessions which Meynert attempted in his famous simile of the dial on which individual figures are most deeply embossed. Popular though this theory of the somatic dream-stimuli has become, and seductive though it may seem, it is none the less easy to detect its weak point. Every somatic dream-stimulus which provokes the psychic apparatus in sleep to interpretation by the formation of illusions may evoke an incalculable number of such attempts at interpretation. It may consequently be represented in the dream- content by an extraordinary number of
different concepts. But the theory of Strumpell and Wundt cannot point to any sort of motive which controls the relation between the external stimulus and the dream-concept chosen to interpret it, and therefore it cannot explain the "peculiar choice" which the stimuli "often enough make in the course of their productive activity" (Lipps, Grundtatsachen des Seelen-lebens, p. 170). Other objections may be raised against the fundamental assumption behind the theory of illusions- the assumption that during sleep the mind is not in a condition to recognize the real nature of the objective sensory stimuli. The old physiologist Burdach shows us that the mind is quite capable even during sleep of a correct interpretation of the sensory impressions which reach it, and of reacting in accordance with this correct interpretation, inasmuch as he demonstrates that certain sensory impressions which seem important to the individual may be excepted from the general neglect of the sleeping mind (as in the example of nurse and child), and that one is more surely awakened by one's own name than by an indifferent auditory impression; all of which presupposes, of course, that the mind discriminates between sensations, even in sleep. Burdach infers from these observations that we must not assume that the mind is incapable of interpreting sensory stimuli in the sleeping state, but rather that it is not sufficiently interested in them. The arguments which Burdach employed in 1830 reappear unchanged in the works of Lipps (in the year 1883), where they are employed for the purpose of attacking the theory of somatic stimuli. According to these arguments the mind seems to be like the sleeper in the anecdote, who, on being asked, "Are you asleep?" answers "No," and on being again addressed with the words: "Then lend me ten florins," takes refuge in the excuse: "I am asleep."
The inadequacy of the theory of somatic dream-stimuli may be further demonstrated in another way. Observation shows that external stimuli do not oblige me to dream, even though these stimuli appear in the dream-content as soon as I begin to dream- supposing that I do dream. In response to a touch or pressure stimulus experienced while I am asleep, a variety of reactions are at my disposal. I may overlook it, and find on waking that my leg has become uncovered, or that I have been lying on an arm; indeed, pathology offers me a host of examples of powerfully exciting sensory and motor stimuli of different kinds which remain ineffective during sleep. I may perceive the sensation during sleep, and
through my sleep, as it were, as constantly happens in the case of pain stimuli, but without weaving the pain into the texture of a dream. And thirdly, I may wake up in response to the stimulus, simply in order to avoid it. Still another, fourth, reaction is possible: namely, that the nervestimulus may cause me to dream; but the other possible reactions occur quite as frequently as the reaction of dream-formation. This, however, would not be the case if the incentive to dreaming did not lie outside the somatic dream-sources.
Appreciating the importance of the above-mentioned lacunae in the explanation of dreams by somatic stimuli, other writers- Scherner, for example, and, following him, the philosopher Volkelt- endeavoured to determine more precisely the nature of the psychic activities which cause the many-coloured images of our dreams to proceed from the somatic stimuli, and in so doing they approached the problem of the essential nature of dreams as a problem of psychology, and regarded dreaming as a psychic activity. Scherner not only gave a poetical, vivid and glowing description of the psychic peculiarities which unfold themselves in the course of dream-formation, but he also believed that he had hit upon the
principle of the method the mind employs in dealing with the stimuli which are offered to it. The dream, according to Scherner, in the free activity of the phantasy, which has been released from the shackles imposed upon it during the day, strives to represent symbolically the nature of the organ from which the stimulus proceeds. Thus there exists a sort of dream-book, a guide to the interpretation of dreams, by means of which bodily sensations, the conditions of the organs, and states of stimulation, may be inferred from the dream-images. "Thus the image of a cat expressed extreme ill-temper; the image of pale, smooth pastry the nudity of the body. The human body as a whole is pictured by the phantasy of the dream as a house, and the individual organs of the body as parts of the house. In toothache-dreams a vaulted vestibule corresponds to the mouth, and a staircase to the descent from the pharynx to the oesophagus; in the headache-dream a ceiling covered with disgusting toad-like spiders is chosen to denote the upper part of the head." "Many different symbols are employed by our dreams for the same organ: thus the breathing lung finds its symbol in a roaring stove, filled with flames, the heart in empty boxes and baskets, and the bladder in round, bag-shaped or merely hollow objects. It is of particular significance that at the close of the dream the stimulating organ or its function is often represented without disguise and usually on the dreamer's own body. Thus the toothache-dream commonly ends by the dreamer drawing a tooth out of his mouth." It cannot be said that this theory of dream-interpretation has found much favour with other writers. It seems, above all, extravagant; and so Scherner's readers have hesitated to give it even the small amount of credit to which it is, in my opinion, entitled. As will be seen, it tends to a revival of dream-interpretation by means of symbolism, a method employed by the ancients; only the province from which the interpretation is to
be derived is restricted to the human body. The lack of a scientifically comprehensible technique of interpretation must seriously limit the applicability of Scherner's theory. Arbitrariness in the interpretation of dreams would appear to be by no means excluded, especially since in this case also a stimulus may be expressed in the dream-content by several representative symbols; thus even Scherner's follower Volkelt was unable to confirm the representation of the body as a house. Another objection is that here again the dream-activity is regarded as a useless and aimless activity of the mind, since, according to this theory, the mind is content with merely forming phantasies around the stimulus with which it is dealing, without even remotely attempting to abolish the stimulus.
Scherner's theory of the symbolization of bodily stimuli by the dream is seriously damaged by yet another objection. These bodily stimuli are present at all times, and it is generally assumed that the mind is more accessible to them during sleep than in the waking state. It is therefore impossible to understand why the mind does not dream continuously all night long, and why it does not dream every night about all the organs. If one attempts to evade this objection by positing the condition that special excitations must proceed from the eye, the ear, the teeth, the bowels,
etc., in order to arouse the dream-activity, one is confronted with the difficulty of proving that this increase of stimulation is objective; and proof is possible only in a very few cases. If the dream of flying is a symbolization of the upward and downward motion of the pulmonary lobes, either this dream, as has already been remarked by Strumpell, should be dreamt much oftener, or it should be possible to show that respiration is more active during this dream. Yet a third alternative is possible- and it is the most probable of all- namely, that now and again special motives are operative to direct the attention to the visceral sensations which are constantly present. But this would take us far beyond the scope of Scherner's theory.
The value of Scherner's and Volkelt's disquisitions resides in their calling our attention to a number of characteristics of the dream-content which are in need of explanation, and which seem to promise fresh discoveries. It is quite true that symbolizations of the bodily organs and functions do occur in dreams: for example, that water in a dream often signifies a desire to urinate, that the male genital organ may be represented by an upright staff, or a pillar, etc. With dreams which exhibit a very animated field of vision and brilliant colours, in contrast to the dimness of other dreams, the interpretation that they are "dreams due to visual stimulation" can hardly be dismissed, nor can we dispute the participation of illusionformation in dreams which contain noise and a medley of voices. A dream like that of Scherner's, that two rows of fair handsome boys stood facing one another on a bridge, attacking one another, and then resuming their positions, until finally the dreamer himself sat down on a bridge and drew a long tooth from his jaw; or a similar dream of Volkelt's, in which two rows of drawers played a part, and which again ended in the extraction of a tooth; dream-formations of this kind, of which both writers relate a great number, forbid our dismissing Scherner's theory as an idle invention without seeking the kernel of truth which may be contained in it. We are therefore confronted with the task of finding a different explanation of the supposed symbolization of the alleged dental stimulus.
Throughout our consideration of the theory of the somatic sources of dreams, I have refrained from urging the argument which arises from our analyses of dreams. If, by a procedure which has not been followed by other writers in their investigation of dreams, we can prove that the dream possesses intrinsic value as psychic action, that a wish supplies the motive of its formation, and that the experiences of the previous day furnish the most obvious material of its content, any other theory of dreams which neglects such an important method of investigation- and accordingly
makes the dream appear a useless and enigmatical psychic reaction to somatic stimuli- may be dismissed without special criticism. For in this case there would have to be- and this is highly improbable- two entirely different kinds of dreams, of which only one kind has come under our observation, while the other kind alone has been observed by the earlier investigators. It only remains now to find a place in our theory of dreams for the facts on which the current doctrine of somatic dream-stimuli is based.
We have already taken the first step in this direction in advancing the thesis that the dream-work is under a compulsion to elaborate into a unified whole all the dream-stimuli which are simultaneously present (chapter V., A, above). We have seen that when two or more experiences capable of making an impression on the mind have been left over from the previous day, the wishes that result from them are united into one dream; similarly, that the impressions possessing psychic value and the indifferent experiences of the previous day unite in the dream-material, provided that connecting ideas between the two can be established. Thus the dream appears to be a reaction to everything which is simultaneously present as actual in the sleeping mind. As far as we have hitherto analysed the dreammaterial, we have discovered it to be a collection of psychic remnants and memory-traces, which we were obliged to credit (on account of the preference shown for recent and for infantile material) with a character of psychological actuality, though the nature of this actuality was not at the time determinable. We shall now have little difficulty in predicting what will happen when to these actualities of the memory fresh material in the form of sensations is added during sleep. These stimuli, again, are of importance to the dream because they are actual; they are united with the other psychic actualities to provide the material for dreamformation. To express it in other words, the stimuli which occur during sleep are elaborated into a wish-fulfilment, of which the other components are the psychic remnants of daily experience with which we are already familiar. This combination, however, is not inevitable; we have seen that more than one kind of behaviour toward the physical stimuli received during sleep is possible. Where this combination is effected, a conceptual material for the dream-content has been found which will represent both kinds of dream-sources, the somatic as well as the psychic.
The nature of the dream is not altered when somatic material is added to the psychic dream-sources; it still remains a wish fulfilment, no matter how its expression is determined by the actual material available.
I should like to find room here for a number of peculiarities which are able to modify the significance of external stimuli for the dream. I imagine that a co-operation of individual, physiological and accidental factors, which depend on the circumstances of the moment, determines how one will behave in individual cases of more intensive objective stimulation during sleep; habitual or accidental profundity of sleep, in conjunction with the intensity of the stimulus, will in one case make it possible so to suppress the stimulus that it will not disturb the sleeper, while in another case it will force the sleeper to wake, or will assist the attempt to subdue the stimulus by weaving it into the texture of the dream. In accordance with the multiplicity of these constellations, external objective stimuli will be expressed more rarely or more frequently in the case of one person than in that of another. In my own case. since I am an excellent sleeper, and obstinately refuse to allow myself to be disturbed during sleep on any pretext whatever, this intrusion of external causes of excitation into my dreams is very rare, whereas psychic motives apparently cause me to dream very easily. Indeed, I have noted only a single dream in which an objective, painful source of stimulation is demonstrable, and it will be highly instructive to see what effect the external stimulus had in this particular dream.
I am riding a gray horse, at first timidly and awkwardly, as though I were merely carried along. Then I meet a colleague, P, also on horseback, and dressed in rough frieze; he is sitting erect in the saddle; he calls my attention to something (probably to the fact that I have a very bad seat). Now I begin to feel more and more at ease on the back of my highly intelligent horse; I sit more comfortably, and I find that I am quite at home up here. My saddle is a sort of pad, which completely fills the space between the neck and the rump of the horse. I ride between two vans, and just manage to clear them. After riding up the street for some distance, I turn round and wish to dismount, at first in front of a little open chapel which is built facing on to the street. Then I do really dismount in front of a chapel which stands near the first one; the hotel is in the same street; I might let the horse go there by itself, but I prefer to lead it thither. It seems as though I should be ashamed to arrive there on horseback. In front of the hotel there stands a page-boy, who shows me a note of mine which has been found, and ridicules me on account of it. On the note is written, doubly underlined, "Eat nothing," and then a second sentence (indistinct): something like "Do not work"; at the same time a hazy idea that I am in a strange city, in which I do not work.
It will not at once be apparent that this dream originated under the influence, or rather under the compulsion, of a pain stimulus. The day before, however, I had suffered from boils, which made every movement a torture, and at last a boil had grown to the size of an apple at the root of the scrotum, and had caused me the most intolerable pains at every step; a feverish lassitude, lack of appetite, and the hard work which I had nevertheless done during the day, had conspired with the pain to upset me. I was not altogether in a condition to discharge my duties as a physician, but in view of the nature and the location of the malady, it was possible to imagine something else for which I was most of all unfit, namely riding. Now it is this very activity of riding into which I am plunged by the dream; it is the most energetic denial of the pain which imagination could conceive. As a matter of fact, I cannot ride; I do not dream of doing so; I never sat on a horse but once- and then without a saddle- and I did not like it. But in this dream I ride as though I had no boil on the perineum; or rather, I ride, just because I want to have none. To judge from the description, my saddle is the poultice which has enabled me to fall asleep. Probably, being thus comforted, I did not feel anything of my pain during the first few hours of my sleep. Then the painful sensations made themselves felt, and tried to wake me; whereupon the dream
came and said to me, soothingly: "Go on sleeping, you are not going to wake! You have no boil, for you are riding on horseback, and with a boil just there no one could ride!" And the dream was successful; the pain was stifled, and I went on sleeping.
But the dream was not satisfied with "suggesting away" the boil by tenaciously holding fast to an idea incompatible with the malady (thus behaving like the hallucinatory insanity of a mother who has lost her child, or of a merchant who has lost his fortune). In addition, the details of the sensation denied and of the image used to suppress it serve the dream also as a means to connect other material actually present in the mind with the situation in the dream, and to give this material representation. I am riding on a gray horse- the colour of the horse exactly corresponds with the pepper-and-salt suit in which I last saw my colleague P in the country. I have been warned that highly seasoned food is the cause of
boils, and in any case it is preferable as an aetiological explanation to sugar, which might be thought of in connection with furunculosis. My friend P likes to ride the high horse with me ever since he took my place in the treatment of a female patient, in whose case I had performed great feats (Kuntstucke: in the dream I sit the horse at first sideways, like a trick-rider, Kunstreiter), but who really, like the horse in the story of the Sunday equestrian, led me wherever she wished. Thus the horse comes to be a symbolic representation of a lady patient (in the dream it is highly intelligent). I feel quite at home refers to the position which I occupied in the patient's household until I was replaced by my colleague P. "I thought you were safe in the saddle up there," one of my few wellwishers among the eminent physicians of the city recently said to me, with reference to the same household. And it was a feat to practise psychotherapy for eight to ten hours a day, while suffering such pain, but I know that I cannot continue my peculiarly strenuous work for any length of time without perfect physical health, and the dream is full of dismal allusions to the situation which would result if my illness continued (the note, such as neurasthenics carry and show to their doctors): Do not work, do not eat. On further interpretation I see that the dream activity has succeeded in finding its way from the wish-situation of riding to some
very early childish quarrels which must have occurred between myself and a nephew, who is a year older than I, and is now living in England. It has also taken up elements from my journeys in Italy: the street in the dream is built up out of impressions of Verona and Siena. A still deeper interpretation leads to sexual dream-thoughts, and I recall what the dream allusions to that beautiful country were supposed to mean in the dream of a female patient who had never been to Italy (to Italy, German: gen Italien = Genitalien = genitals); at the same time there are references to the house in which I preceded my friend P as physician, and to the place where the boil is located.
In another dream, I was similarly successful in warding off a threatened disturbance of my sleep; this time the threat came from a sensory stimulus. It was only chance, however, that enabled me to discover the connection between the dream and the accidental dream- stimulus, and in this way to understand the dream. One midsummer morning in a Tyrolese mountain resort I woke with the knowledge that I had dreamed: The Pope is dead. I was not able to interpret this short, non-visual dream. I could remember only one possible basis of the dream, namely, that shortly before this the newspapers had reported that His Holiness was slightly indisposed. But in the course of the morning my wife asked me: "Did you hear the dreadful tolling of the church bells this morning?" I had no idea that I had heard it, but now I understood my dream. It was the reaction of my need for sleep to the noise by which the pious Tyroleans were trying to wake me. I avenged myself on them by the conclusion which formed the content of my dream, and continued to sleep, without any further interest in the tolling of the bells. Among the dreams mentioned in the previous chapters there are several which might serve as examples of the elaboration of so called nervestimuli. The dream of drinking in long draughts is such an example; here the somatic stimulus seems to be the sole source of the dream, and the wish arising from the sensation- thirst- the only motive for dreaming. We find much the same thing in other simple dreams, where the somatic stimulus is able of itself to generate a wish. The dream of the sick woman who throws the cooling apparatus from her cheek at night is an instance of an unusual manner of reacting to a pain-stimulus with a wish fulfilment; it seems as though the patient had temporarily succeeded in making herself analgesic, and accompanied this by ascribing her pains to a stranger.
My dream of the three Parcae is obviously a hunger-dream, but it has contrived to shift the need for food right back to the child's longing for its mother's breast, and to use a harmless desire as a mask for a more serious one that cannot venture to express itself so openly. In the dream of Count Thun we were able to see by what paths an accidental physical need was brought into relation with the strongest, but also the most rigorously repressed impulses of the psychic life. And when, as in the case reported by Garnier, the First Consul incorporates the sound of an exploding infernal machine into a dream of battle before it causes him to wake, the true purpose for which alone psychic activity concerns itself with sensations during sleep is revealed with unusual clarity. A young lawyer, who is full of his first great bankruptcy case, and falls asleep in the afternoon, behaves just as the great Napoleon did. He dreams of a certain G. Reich in Hussiatyn, whose acquaintance he has made in connection with the bankruptcy case, but Hussiatyn (German: husten, to cough) forces itself upon his attention still further; he is obliged to wake, only to hear his wife- who is suffering from bronchial catarrh- violently coughing.
Let us compare the dream of Napoleon I- who, incidentally, was an excellent sleeper- with that of the sleepy student, who was awakened by his landlady with the reminder that he had to go to the hospital, and who thereupon dreamt himself into a bed in the hospital, and then slept on, the underlying reasoning being as follows: If I am already in the hospital, I needn't get up to go there. This is obviously a convenience-dream; the sleeper frankly admits to himself his motive in dreaming; but he thereby reveals one of the secrets of dreaming in general. In a certain sense, all dreams are convenience-dreams; they serve the purpose of continuing to sleep instead of waking. The dream is the guardian of sleep, not its disturber. In another place we shall have occasion to justify this conception in respect to the psychic factors that make for waking; but we can already demonstrate its applicability to the objective external stimuli. Either the mind does not concern itself at all with the causes of sensations during sleep, if it is able to carry this attitude through as against the intensity of the stimuli, and their significance, of which it is well aware; or it employs the dream to deny these stimuli; or, thirdly, if it is obliged to recognize the stimuli, it seeks that interpretation of them which will
represent the actual sensation as a component of a desired situation which is compatible with sleep. The actual sensation is woven into the dream in order to deprive it of its reality. Napoleon is permitted to go on sleeping; it is only a dream-memory of the thunder of the guns at Arcole which is trying to disturb him. -
The wish to sleep, to which the conscious ego has adjusted itself, and which (together with the dream-censorship and the "secondary elaboration" to be mentioned later) represents the ego's contribution to the dream, must thus always be taken into account as a motive of dream-formation, and every successful dream is a fulfilment of this wish. The relation of this general, constantly present, and unvarying sleep-wish to the other wishes of which now one and now another is fulfilled by the dreamcontent, will be the subject of later consideration. In the wish to sleep we have discovered a motive capable of supplying the deficiency in the theory of Strumpell and Wundt, and of explaining the perversity and
capriciousness of the interpretation of the external stimulus. The correct interpretation, of which the sleeping mind is perfectly capable, would involve active interest, and would require the sleeper to wake; hence, of those interpretations which are possible at all, only such are admitted as are acceptable to the dictatorial censorship of the sleep-wish. The logic of dream situations would run, for example: "It is the nightingale, and not the lark." For if it is the lark, love's night is at an end. From among the interpretations of the stimulus which are thus admissible, that one is selected which can secure the best connection with the wish- impulses that are lying in wait in the mind. Thus everything is definitely determined, and nothing is left to caprice. The misinterpretation is not an illusion, but- if you will- an excuse. Here again, as in substitution by displacement in the service of the dream-censorship, we have an act of deflection of the normal psychic procedure.
If the external nerve-stimuli and the inner bodily stimuli are sufficiently intense to compel psychic attention, they represent- that is, if they result in dreaming at all, and not in waking- a fixed point for dream-formation, a nucleus in the dream-material, for which an appropriate wishfulfilment is sought, just as (see above) mediating ideas between two psychical dream-stimuli are sought. To this extent it is true of a number of dreams that the somatic element dictates the dream-content. In this extreme case even a wish that is not actually present may be aroused for the purpose of dream-formation. But the dream cannot do otherwise than represent a wish in some situation as fulfilled; it is, as it were, confronted with the task of discovering what wish can be represented as fulfilled by the given sensation. Even if this given material is of a painful or disagreeable character, yet it is not unserviceable for the purposes of dream-formation. The psychic life has at its disposal even wishes whose fulfilment evokes displeasure, which seems a contradiction, but becomes perfectly intelligible if we take into account the presence of two sorts of psychic instance and the censorship that subsists between them.
In the psychic life there exist, as we have seen, repressed wishes, which belong to the first system, and to whose fulfilment the second system is opposed. We do not mean this in a historic sense- that such wishes have once existed and have subsequently been destroyed. The doctrine of repression, which we need in the study of psychoneuroses, asserts that such repressed wishes still exist, but simultaneously with an inhibition which weighs them down. Language has hit upon the truth when it speaks of the suppression (sub-pression, or pushing under) of such impulses. The psychic mechanism which enables such suppressed wishes to force their way to realization is retained in being and in working order. But if it happens that such a suppressed wish is fulfilled, the vanquished inhibition of the second system (which is capable of consciousness) is then expressed as discomfort. And, in order to conclude this argument: If sensations of a disagreeable character which originate from somatic sources are present during sleep, this constellation is utilized by the dream activity to procure the fulfilment- with more or less maintenance of the censorship- of an otherwise suppressed wish.
This state of affairs makes possible a certain number of anxiety dreams, while others of these dream-formations which are unfavourable to the wish-theory exhibit a different mechanism. For the anxiety in dreams may of course be of a psychoneurotic character, originating in psychosexual excitation, in which case, the anxiety corresponds to repressed libido. Then this anxiety, like the whole anxiety-dream, has the significance of a neurotic symptom, and we stand at the dividing-line where the wish- fulfilling tendency of dreams is frustrated. But in other anxiety- dreams the feeling of anxiety comes from somatic sources (as in the case of persons suffering from pulmonary or cardiac trouble, with occasional difficulty in breathing), and then it is used to help such strongly suppressed wishes to attain fulfilment in a dream, the dreaming of which from psychic motives would have resulted in the same release of anxiety. It is not difficult to reconcile these two apparently contradictory cases. When two psychic formations, an affective inclination and a conceptual content, are intimately connected, either one being actually present will evoke the other, even in a dream; now the anxiety of somatic origin evokes the suppressed conceptual content, now it is the released conceptual content,
accompanied by sexual excitement, which causes the release of anxiety. In the one case, it may be said that a somatically determined affect is psychically interpreted; in the other case, all is of psychic origin, but the content which has been suppressed is easily replaced by a somatic interpretation which fits the anxiety. The difficulties which lie in the way of understanding all this have little to do with dreams; they are due to the fact that in discussing these points we are touching upon the problems of the development of anxiety and of repression.
The general aggregate of bodily sensation must undoubtedly be included among the dominant dream-stimuli of internal bodily origin. Not that it is capable of supplying the dream-content; but it forces the dream-thoughts to make a choice from the material destined to serve the purpose of representation in the dream- content, inasmuch as it brings within easy reach that part of the material which is adapted to its own character, and holds the rest at a distance. Moreover, this general feeling, which survives from the preceding day, is of course connected with the psychic residues that are significant for the dream. Moreover, this feeling itself may be either maintained or overcome in the dream, so that it may, if it is painful, veer round into its opposite.
If the somatic sources of excitation during sleep- that is, the sensations of sleep- are not of unusual intensity, the part which they play in dreamformation
is, in my judgment, similar to that of those impressions of the day which are still recent, but of no great significance. I mean that they are utilized for the dream formation if they are of such a kind that they can be united with the conceptual content of the psychic dream-source, but not otherwise. They are treated as a cheap ever-ready material, which can be used whenever it is needed, and not as valuable material which itself prescribes the manner in which it must be utilized. I might suggest the analogy of a connoisseur giving an artist a rare stone, a piece of onyx, for example, in order that it may be fashioned into a work of art. Here the size of the stone, its colour, and its markings help to decide what head or
what scene shall be represented; while if he is dealing with a uniform and abundant material such as marble or sandstone, the artist is guided only by the idea which takes shape in his mind. Only in this way, it seems to me, can we explain the fact that the dreamcontent furnished by physical stimuli of somatic origin which are not unusually accentuated does not make its appearance in all dreams and every night. -
Perhaps an example which takes us back to the interpretation of dreams will best illustrate my meaning. One day I was trying to understand the significance of the sensation of being inhibited, of not being able to move from the spot, of not being able to get something done, etc., which occurs so frequently in dreams, and is so closely allied to anxiety. That night I had the following dream: I am very incompletely dressed, and I go from a flat on the ground- floor up a flight of stairs to an upper story. In doing this I jump up three stairs at a time, and I am glad to find that I can mount the stairs so quickly. Suddenly I notice that a servant-maid is coming down the stairs- that is, towards me. I am ashamed, and try to hurry away, and now comes this feeling of being inhibited; I am glued to the stairs, and cannot move from the spot.
Analysis: The situation of the dream is taken from an every-day reality. In a house in Vienna I have two apartments, which are connected only by the main staircase. My consultation-rooms and my study are on the raised ground-floor, and my living-rooms are on the first floor. Late at night, when I have finished my work downstairs, I go upstairs to my bedroom. On the evening before the dream I had actually gone this short distance with my garments in disarray- that is, I had taken off my collar, tie and cuffs; but in the dream this had changed into a more advanced, but, as usual, indefinite degree of undress. It is a habit of mine to run up two or three steps at a time; moreover, there was a wish-fulfilment recognized even in the dream, for the ease with which I run upstairs reassures me as to the condition of my heart. Further, the manner in which I run upstairs is an effective contrast to the sensation of being inhibited, which occurs in the second half of the dream. It shows me- what needed no proof- that dreams have no difficulty in representing motor actions fully and completely carried out; think, for example, of flying in dreams!
But the stairs up which I go are not those of my own house; at first I do not recognize them; only the person coming towards me informs me of their whereabouts. This woman is the maid of an old lady whom I visit twice daily in order to give her hypodermic injections; the stairs, too, are precisely similar to those which I have to climb twice a day in this old lady's house.
How do these stairs and this woman get into my dream? The shame of not being fully dressed is undoubtedly of a sexual character; the servant of whom I dream is older than I, surly, and by no means attractive. These questions remind me of the following incident: When I pay my morning visit at this house I am usually seized with a desire to clear my throat; the sputum falls on the stairs. There is no spittoon on either of the two floors, and I consider that the stairs should be kept clean not at my expense, but rather by the provision of a spittoon. The housekeeper, another elderly, curmudgeonly person, but, as I willingly admit, a woman of cleanly instincts, takes a different view of the matter. She lies in wait for me, to see whether I shall take the liberty referred to, and, if she sees that I do, I can distinctly hear her growl. For days thereafter, when we meet she refuses to greet me with the customary signs of respect. On the day before the dream the housekeeper's attitude was reinforced by that of the maid. I had just furnished my usual hurried visit to the patient when the servant confronted me in the ante-room, observing: "You might as well have wiped your shoes today, doctor, before you came into the room. The red carpet is all dirty again from your feet." This is the only
justification for the appearance of the stairs and the maid in my dream.
Between my leaping upstairs and my spitting on the stairs there is an intimate connection. Pharyngitis and cardiac troubles are both supposed to be punishments for the vice of smoking, on account of which vice my own housekeeper does not credit me with excessive tidiness, so that my reputation suffers in both the houses which my dream fuses into one.
I must postpone the further interpretation of this dream until I can indicate the origin of the typical dream of being incompletely clothed. In the meantime, as a provisional deduction from the dream just related, I note that the dream-sensation of inhibited movement is always aroused at a point where a certain connection requires it. A peculiar condition of my motor system during sleep cannot be responsible for this dream-content, since a moment earlier I found myself, as though in confirmation of this fact, skipping lightly up the stairs.
D. Typical Dreams
Generally speaking, we are not in a position to interpret another person's dream if he is unwilling to furnish us with the unconscious thoughts which lie behind the dream-content, and for this reason the practical applicability of our method of dream- interpretation is often seriously restricted. But there are dreams which exhibit a complete contrast to the individual's customary liberty to endow his dream-world with a special individuality, thereby making it inaccessible to an alien understanding: there are a number of dreams which almost every one has dreamed in the same manner, and of which we are accustomed to assume that they have the same significance in the case of every dreamer. A peculiar
interest attaches to these typical dreams, because, no matter who dreams them, they presumably all derive from the same sources, so that they would seem to be particularly fitted to provide us with information as to the sources of dreams.
With quite special expectations, therefore, we shall proceed to test our technique of dream-interpretation on these typical dreams, and only with extreme reluctance shall we admit that precisely in respect of this material our method is not fully verified. In the interpretation of typical dreamswe as a rule fail to obtain those associations from the dreamer which in other cases have led us to comprehension of the dream, or else these associations are confused and inadequate, so that they do not help us to solve our problem. Why this is the case, and how we can remedy this defect in our technique, are points which will be discussed in a later chapter. The reader will then understand why I can deal with only a few of the group of typical dreams in this chapter, and why I have postponed the discussion of the others.
(a) THE EMBARRASSMENT-DREAM OF NAKEDNESS
In a dream in which one is naked or scantily clad in the presence of strangers, it sometimes happens that one is not in the least ashamed of one's condition. But the dream of nakedness demands our attention only when shame and embarrassment are felt in it, when one wishes to escape or to hide, and when one feels the strange inhibition of being unable to stir from the spot, and of being utterly powerless to alter the painful situation. It is only in this connection that the dream is typical; otherwise the nucleus of its content may be involved in all sorts of other connections, or may be replaced by individual amplifications. The essential point is that one has a painful feeling of shame, and is anxious to hide one's nakedness, usually by means of locomotion, but is absolutely unable to do so. I believe that the great majority of my readers will at some time have found themselves in this situation in a dream.
The nature and manner of the exposure is usually rather vague. The dreamer will say, perhaps, "I was in my chemise," but this is rarely a clear image; in most cases the lack of clothing is so indeterminate that it is described in narrating the dream by an alternative: "I was in my chemise or my petticoat." As a rule the deficiency in clothing is not serious enough to justify the feeling of shame attached to it. For a man who has served in the army, nakedness is often replaced by a manner of dressing that is contrary to regulations. "I was in the street without my sabre, and I saw some officers approaching," or "I had no collar," or "I was wearing checked civilian trousers," etc.
The persons before whom one is ashamed are almost always strangers, whose faces remain indeterminate. It never happens, in the typical dream, that one is reproved or even noticed on account of the lack of clothing which causes one such embarrassment. On the contrary, the people in the dream appear to be quite indifferent; or, as I was able to note in one particularly vivid dream, they have stiff and solemn expressions. This gives us food for thought.
The dreamer's embarrassment and the spectator's indifference constitute a contradition such as often occurs in dreams. It would be more in keeping with the dreamer's feelings if the strangers were to look at him in astonishment, or were to laugh at him, or be outraged. I think, however, that this obnoxious feature has been displaced by wish-fulfilment, while the embarrassment is for some reason retained, so that the two components are not in agreement. We have an interesting proof that the dream which is partially distorted by wish-fulfilment has not been properly understood; for it has been made the basis of a fairy-tale familiar to us all in Andersen's version of The Emperor's New Clothes, and it
has more recently received poetical treatment by Fulda in The Talisman. In Andersen's fairy-tale we are told of two impostors who weave a costly garment for the Emperor, which shall, however, be visible only to the good and true. The Emperor goes forth clad to this invisible garment, and since the imaginary fabric serves as a sort of touchstone, the people are frightened into behaving as though they did not notice the Emperor's nakedness.
But this is really the situation in our dream. It is not very venturesome to assume that the unintelligible dream-content has provided an incentive to invent a state of undress which gives meaning to the situation present in the memory. This situation is thereby robbed of its original meaning, and made to serve alien ends. But we shall see that such a misunderstanding of the dream- content often occurs through the conscious activity of a second psychic system, and is to be recognized as a factor of the final form of the dream; and further, that in the development of obsessions and
phobias similar misunderstandings- still, of course, within the same psychic personality- play a decisive part. It is even possible to specify whence the material for the fresh interpretation of the dream is taken. The impostor is the dream, the Emperor is the dreamer himself, and the moralizing tendency betrays a hazy knowledge of the fact that there is a question, in the latent dream-content, of forbidden wishes, victims of repression. The connection in which such dreams appear during my analysis of neurotics proves beyond a doubt that a memory of the dreamer's earliest childhood
lies at the foundation of the dream. Only in our childhood was there a time when we were seen by our relatives, as well as by strange nurses, servants and visitors, in a state of insufficient clothing, and at that time we were not ashamed of our nakedness. In the case of many rather older children it may be observed that being undressed has an exciting effect upon them, instead of making them feel ashamed. They laugh, leap about, slap or thump their own bodies; the mother, or whoever is present, scolds them, saying: "Fie, that is shameful- you mustn't do that!"
Children often show a desire to display themselves; it is hardly possible to pass through a village in country districts without meeting a two-or three-year-old child who lifts up his or her blouse or frock before the traveller, possibly in his honour. One of my patients has retained in his conscious memory a scene from his eighth year, in which, after undressing for bed, he wanted to dance into his little sister's room in his shirt, but was prevented by the servant. In the history of the childhood of neurotics, exposure before children of the opposite sex plays a prominent part; in paranoia, the delusion of being observed while dressing and undressing may be directly traced to these experiences; and among those who have remained perverse, there is a class in whom the childish impulse is accentuated into a symptom: the class of exhibitionists.
This age of childhood, in which the sense of shame is unknown, seems a paradise when we look back upon it later, and paradise itself is nothing but the mass-phantasy of the childhood of the individual. This is why in paradise men are naked and unashamed, until the moment arrives when shame and fear awaken; expulsion follows, and sexual life and cultural development begin. Into this paradise dreams can take us back every night; we have already ventured the conjecture that the impressions of our earliest childhood (from the prehistoric period until about the end of the third year) crave reproduction for their own sake, perhaps without further reference to their content, so that their repetition is a wishfulfilment. Dreams of nakedness, then, are exhibition-dreams.
The nucleus of an exhibition-dream is furnished by one's own person, which is seen not as that of a child, but as it exists in the present, and by the idea of scanty clothing which emerges indistinctly, owing to the superimposition of so many later situations of being partially clothed, or out of consideration for the censorship; to these elements are added the persons in whose presence one is ashamed. I know of no example in which the actual spectators of these infantile exhibitions reappear in a dream; for a dream is hardly ever a simple recollection. Strangely enough, those persons who are the objects of our sexual interest in childhood are omitted from all reproductions, in dreams, in hysteria or in obsessional neurosis; paranoia alone restores the spectators, and is fanatically convinced of their presence, although they remain unseen. The substitute for these persons offered by the dream, the number of strangers who take no notice of the spectacle offered them, is precisely the counter- wish to that single intimately-known person for whom the exposure was intended. "A number of strangers," moreover, often occur in dreams in all sorts of other connections; as a counter-wish they always signify a secret. It will be seen that even that restitution of the old state of affairs that
occurs in paranoia complies with this counter-tendency. One is no longer alone; one is quite positively being watched; but the spectators are a number of strange, curiously indeterminate people.
Furthermore, repression finds a place in the exhibition-dream. For the disagreeable sensation of the dream is, of course, the reaction on the part of the second psychic instance to the fact that the exhibitionistic scene which has been condemned by the censorship has nevertheless succeeded in presenting itself. The only way to avoid this sensation would be to refrain from reviving the scene.
In a later chapter we shall deal once again with the feeling of inhibition. In our dreams it represents to perfection a conflict of the will, a denial. According to our unconscious purpose, the exhibition is to proceed; according to the demands of the censorship, it is to come to an end.
The relation of our typical dreams to fairy-tales and other fiction and poetry is neither sporadic nor accidental. Sometimes the penetrating insight of the poet has analytically recognized the process of transformation of which the poet is otherwise the instrument, and has followed it up in the reverse direction; that is to say, has traced a poem to a dream. A friend has called my attention to the following passage in G. Keller's Der Grune Heinrich: "I do not wish, dear Lee, that you should ever come to realize from experience the exquisite and piquant truth in the situation of Odysseus, when he appears, naked and covered with mud, before Nausicaa and her playmates! Would you like to know what it means? Let us for a moment consider the incident closely. If you are ever parted from your home, and from all that is dear to you, and wander about in a strange country; if you have seen much and experienced much; if you have cares and sorrows, and are, perhaps, utterly wretched and forlorn, you will some night inevitably dream that you are approaching your home; you will see it shining and glittering in the loveliest colours; lovely and gracious figures will come to meet you; and then you will suddenly discover that you are ragged, naked, and covered with dust. An indescribable feeling of shame and fear overcomes you; you try to cover yourself, to hide, and you wake up bathed in sweat. As long as humanity exists, this will be the dream of the care-laden, tempest-tossed man, and thus Homer has drawn this situation from the profoundest depths of the eternal nature of humanity."
What are the profoundest depths of the eternal nature of humanity, which the poet commonly hopes to awaken in his listeners, but these stirrings of the psychic life which are rooted in that age of childhood, which subsequently becomes prehistoric? Childish wishes, now suppressed and forbidden, break into the dream behind the unobjectionable and permissibly conscious wishes of the homeless man, and it is for this reason that the dream which is objectified in the legend of Nausicaa regularly develops into an anxiety-dream.