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 dreamthoughts 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 dreamthoughts. 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. -
* I long ago learned that the fulfilment of such wishes only called for a little courage, and I then became a zealous pilgrim to Rome. -
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. -
* The writer in whose works I found this passage was probably Jean Paul Richter. -
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. -
* In the first edition of this book I gave here the name "Hasdrubal," an amazing error, which I explained in my Psycho pathology of Everyday Life. -
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 Jewish descent of the Marshal is somewhat doubtful. -
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. * -
* In the original this paragraph contains many plays on the word
Hetz (hurry, chase, scurry, game, etc.).- TR. -
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 market-woman. 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!" -
* Fensterln is the custom, now falling into disuse, found in rural districts of the German Schwarzwald, of lovers who woo their sweethearts at their bedroom windows, to which they ascend by means of a ladder, enjoying such intimacy that the relation practically amounts to a trial marriage. The reputation of the young woman never suffers on account of Fensterln, unless she becomes intimate with too many suitors.- TR. -
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 long-forgotten experiences of my childhood appear together as dream-sources.
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 *(2) (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.
* Both the affects pertaining to these childish scenes- astonishment and resignation to the inevitable- appeared in a dream of slightly earlier date, which first reminded me of this incident of my childhood.
*(2) I do not bring in the plagiostomi arbitrarily; they recall a painful incident of disgrace before the same teacher.
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. -
* Popo = "backside," in German nursery language. -
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 waiting- room; 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 following dream:
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. -
* This repetition has crept into the text of the dream, apparently through absent-mindedness, and I have left it because analysis shows that it has a meaning. -
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, *(2) and Isabelita, no llores, que se marchitan las flores. *(3) 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. -
* This is an error and not a slip, for I learned later that the Emmersdorf in Wachau is not identical with the refuge of the revolutionist Fischof, a place of the same name.
*(2) Roses, tulips, and carnations, flowers all will wither.
*(3) Do not cry, little Isabella because your flowers have faded.
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. *(2) 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. -
* Not in Germinal, but in La Terre- a mistake of which I became aware only in the analysis. Here I would call attention to the identity of letters in Huflattich and Flatus.
*(2) An unsolicited biographer, Dr. F. Wittels, reproaches me for having omitted the name of Jehovah from the above motto. The English medal contains the name of the Deity, in Hebrew letters, on the background of a cloud, and placed in such a manner that one may equally well regard it as part of the picture or as part of the inscription.
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). -
* Frauenzimmer, German, Zimmer-room, is appended to Frauen-woman, in order to imply a slight contempt.- TR. -
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. *(2)
* Another interpretation: He is one-eyed like Odin, the father of the gods- Odin's consolation. The consolation in the childish scene: I will buy him a new bed.
*(2) Here is some more material for interpretation: Holding the urine-glass recalls the story of a peasant (illiterate) at the optician's, who tried on now one pair of spectacles, now another, but was still unable to read.- (Peasant-catcher- girl-catcher in the preceding portion of the dream.)- The peasants' treatment of the feeble-minded father in Zola's La Terre.- The tragic atonement, that in his last days my father soiled his bed like a child; hence, I am his nurse in the dream.- "Thinking and experiencing are here, as it were, identical"; this recalls a highly revolutionary closet drama by Oscar Panizza, in which God, the Father, is ignominiously treated as a palsied greybeard. With Him will and deed are one, and in the book he has to be restrained by His archangel, a sort of Ganymede, from scolding and swearing, because His curses would immediately be fulfilled.- Making plans is a reproach against my father, dating from a later period in the development of the critical faculty, much as the whole rebellious content of the dream, which commits lese majeste and scorns authority, may be traced to a revolt against my father. The sovereign is called the father of his country (Landesvater), and the father is the first and oldest, and for the child the only authority, from whose absolutism the other social authorities have evolved in the course of the history of human civilization (in so far as mother-right does not necessitate a qualification of this doctrine).- The words which occurred to me in the dream, "thinking and experiencing are the same thing," refer to the explanation of hysterical symptoms with which the male urinal (glass) is also associated.- I need not explain the principle of Gschnas to a Viennese; it consists in constructing objects of rare and costly appearance out of trivial, and preferably comical and worthless material- for example, making suits of armour out of kitchen utensils, wisps of straw and Salzstangeln (long rolls), as our artists are fond of doing at their jolly parties. I had learned that hysterical subjects do the same thing; besides what really happens to them, they unconsciously conceive for themselves horrible or extravagantly fantastic incidents, which they build up out of the most harmless and commonplace material of actual experience. The symptoms attach themselves primarily to these phantasies, not to the memory of real events, whether serious or trivial. This explanation had helped me to overcome many difficulties, and afforded me much pleasure. I was able to allude to it by means of the dream-element "male urine-glass," because I had been told that at the last Gschnas evening a poison-chalice of Lucretia Borgia's had been exhibited, the chief constituent of which had consisted of a glass urinal for men, such as is used in hospitals.
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. * -
*The stratification of the meanings of dreams is one of the most delicate but also one of the most fruitful problems of dream interpretation. Whoever forgets the possibility of such stratification is likely to go astray and to make untenable assertions concerning the nature of dreams. But hitherto this subject has been only too imperfectly investigated. So far, a fairly orderly stratification of symbols in dreams due to urinary stimulus has been subjected to a thorough evaluation only by Otto Rank.
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 nerve-stimulus 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."
* I would advise everyone to read the exact and detailed records (collected in two volumes) of the dreams experimentally produced by Mourly Vold in order to convince himself how little the conditions of the experiments help to explain the content of the individual dream, and how little such experiments help us towards an understanding of the problems of dreams.
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 illusion-formation 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 dream-formation. 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 painstimulus. 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 nerve-stimuli. 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 two sources from which I know of this dream do not entirely agree as to its content. -
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 wish-fulfilment 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 dreamactivity 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 psycho-sexual 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 dream-formation 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. * -
* Rank has shown, in a number of studies, that certain awakening dreams provoked by organic stimuli (dreams of urination and ejaculation) are especially calculated to demonstrate the conflict between the need for sleep and the demands of the organic need, as well as the influence of the latter on the dreamcontent. -
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.
On to Chapter 5, Section D
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