All these considerations are justified, and force us to look more closely into the role of the wish-fulfilment in dreams, and the significance of the waking thoughts continued in sleep.
It is precisely the wish-fulfilment that has already caused us to divide all dreams into two groups. We have found dreams which were plainly wish-fulfilments; and others in which the wish- fulfilment was unrecognizable and was often concealed by every available means. In this latter class of dreams we recognized the influence of the dream-censorship. The undisguised wish-dreams were found chiefly in children; short, frank wish-dreams seemed (I purposely emphasize this word) to occur also in adults.
We may now ask whence in each case does the wish that is realized in the dream originate? But to what opposition or to what diversity do we relate this whence? I think to the opposition between conscious daily life and an unconscious psychic activity which is able to make itself perceptible only at night. I thus, find a threefold possibility for the origin of a wish. Firstly, it may have been excited during the day, and owing to external circumstances may have remained unsatisfied; there is thus left for the night an acknowledged and unsatisfied wish. Secondly, it may have emerged during the day, only to be rejected; there is thus left for the night an unsatisfied but suppressed wish. Thirdly, it may have no relation to daily life, but may belong to those wishes which awake only at night out of the suppressed material in us. If we turn to our scheme of the psychic apparatus, we can localize a wish of the first order in the system Pcs. We may assume that a wish of the second order has been forced back from the Pcs system into the Ucs system, where alone, if anywhere, can it maintain itself; as for the wish- impulse of the third order, we believe that it is wholly incapable of leaving the Ucs system. Now, have the wishes arising from these different sources the same value for the dream, the same power to incite a dream?
On surveying the dreams at our disposal with a view to answering this question, we are at once moved to add as a fourth source of the dream-wish the actual wish-impetus which arises during the night (for example, the stimulus of thirst, and sexual desire). It then seems to us probable that the source of the dream-wish does not affect its capacity to incite a dream. I have in mind the dream of the child who continued the voyage that had been interrupted during the day, and the other children's dreams cited in the same chapter; they are explained by an unfulfilled but unsuppressed wish of the daytime. That wishes suppressed during the day assert themselves in dreams is shown by a great many examples. I will mention a very simple dream of this kind. A rather sarcastic lady, whose younger friend has become engaged to be married, is asked in the daytime by her acquaintances whether she knows her friend's fiance, and what she thinks of him. She replies with unqualified praise, imposing silence on her own judgment, although she would have liked to tell the truth, namely, that he is a commonplace fellow- one meets such by the dozen (Dutzendmensch). The following night she dreams that the same question is put to her, and that she replies with the formula: "In case of subsequent orders, it will suffice to mention the reference number." Finally, as the result of numerous analyses, we learn that the wish in all dreams that have been subject to distortion has its origin in the unconscious, and could not become perceptible by day. At first sight, then, it seems that in respect of dream-formation all wishes are of equal value and equal power.
I cannot prove here that this is not really the true state of affairs, but I am strongly inclined to assume a stricter determination of the dream-wish. Children's dreams leave us in no doubt that a wish unfulfilled during the day may instigate a dream. But we must not forget that this is, after all, the wish of a child; that it is a wish-impulse of the strength peculiar to childhood. I very much doubt whether a wish unfulfilled in the daytime would suffice to create a dream in an adult. It would rather seem that, as we learn to control our instinctual life by intellection, we more and more renounce as unprofitable the formation or retention of such intense wishes as are natural to childhood. In this, indeed, there may be individual variations; some retain the infantile type of the psychic processes longer than others; just as we find such differences in the gradual decline of the originally vivid visual imagination. In general, however, I am of the opinion that unfulfilled wishes of the day are insufficient to produce a dream in adults. I will readily admit that the wish-impulses originating in consciousness contribute to the instigation of dreams, but they probably do no more. The dream would not occur if the preconscious wish were not reinforced from another source.
That source is the unconscious. I believe that the conscious wish becomes effective in exciting a dream only when it succeeds in arousing a similar unconscious wish which reinforces it. From the indications obtained in the psychoanalysis of the neuroses, I believe that these unconscious wishes are always active and ready to express themselves whenever they find an opportunity of allying themselves with an impulse from consciousness, and transferring their own greater intensity to the lesser intensity of the latter. * It must, therefore, seem that the conscious wish alone has been realized in the dream; but a slight peculiarity in the form of the dream will put us on the track of the powerful ally from the unconscious. These ever-active and, as it were, immortal wishes of our unconscious recall the legendary Titans who, from time immemorial, have been buried under the mountains which were once hurled upon them by the victorious gods, and even now quiver from time to time at the convulsions of their mighty limbs. These wishes, existing in repression, are themselves of infantile origin, as we learn from the psychological investigation of the neuroses. Let me, therefore, set aside the view previously expressed, that it matters little whence the dream-wish originates, and replace it by another, namely: the wish manifested in the dream must be an infantile wish. In the adult it originates in the Ucs, while in the child, in whom no division and censorship exist as yet between the Pcs and Ucs, or in whom these are only in process of formation, it is an unfulfilled and unrepressed wish from the waking state. I am aware that this conception cannot be generally demonstrated, but I maintain that it can often be demonstrated even where one would not have suspected it, and that it cannot be generally refuted. -
* They share this character of indestructibility with all other psychic acts that are really unconscious- that is, with psychic acts belonging solely to the system Ucs. These paths are opened once and for all; they never fall into disease; they conduct the excitation process to discharge as often as they are charged again with unconscious excitation. To speak metaphorically, they suffer no other form of annihilation than did the shades of the lower regions in the Odyssey, who awoke to new life the moment they drank blood. The processes depending on the preconscious system are destructible in quite another sense. The psychotherapy of the neuroses is based on this difference.
In dream-formation, the wish-impulses which are left over from the conscious waking life are, therefore, to be relegated to the background. I cannot admit that they play any part except that attributed to the material of actual sensations during sleep in relation to the dream-content. If I now take into account those other psychic instigations left over from the waking life of the day, which are not wishes, I shall merely be adhering to the course mapped out for me by this line of thought. We may succeed in provisionally disposing of the energetic cathexis of our waking thoughts by deciding to go to sleep. He is a good sleeper who can do this; Napoleon I is reputed to have been a model of this kind. But we do not always succeed in doing it, or in doing it completely. Unsolved problems, harassing cares, overwhelming impressions, continue the activity of our thought even during sleep, maintaining psychic processes in the system which we have termed the preconscious. The thought-impulses continued into sleep may be divided into the following groups:
1. Those which have not been completed during the day, owing to some accidental cause.
2. Those which have been left uncompleted because our mental powers have failed us, i.e., unsolved problems.
3. Those which have been turned back and suppressed during the day. This is reinforced by a powerful fourth group:
4. Those which have been excited in our Ucs during the day by the workings of the Pcs; and finally we may add a fifth, consisting of:
5. The indifferent impressions of the day, which have therefore been left unsettled.
We need not underrate the psychic intensities introduced into sleep by these residues of the day's waking life, especially those emanating from the group of the unsolved issues. It is certain that these excitations continue to strive for expression during the night, and we may assume with equal certainty that the state of sleep renders impossible the usual continuance of the process of excitation in the preconscious and its termination in becoming conscious. In so far as we can become conscious of our mental processes in the ordinary way, even during the night, to that extent we are simply not asleep. I cannot say what change is produced in the Pcs system by the state of sleep, * but there is no doubt that the psychological characteristics of sleep are to be sought mainly in the cathectic changes occurring just in this system, which dominates, moreover, the approach to motility, paralysed during sleep. On the other hand, I have found nothing in the psychology of dreams to warrant the assumption that sleep produces any but secondary changes in the conditions of the Ucs system. Hence, for the nocturnal excitations in the Pcs there remains no other path than that taken by the wish-excitations from the Ucs; they must seek reinforcement from the Ucs, and follow the detours of the unconscious excitations. But what is the relation of the preconscious day-residues to the dream? There is no doubt that they penetrate abundantly into the dream; that they utilize the dream-content to obtrude themselves upon consciousness even during the night; indeed, they sometimes even dominate the dream-content, and impel it to continue the work of the day; it is also certain that the day-residues may just as well have any other character as that of wishes. But it is highly instructive, and for the theory of wish-fulfilment of quite decisive importance, to see what conditions they must comply with in order to be received into the dream.
* I have endeavoured to penetrate farther into the relations of the sleeping state and the conditions of hallucination in my essay, "Metapsychological Supplement to the Theory of Dreams," Collected Papers, IV, p. 137.
Let us pick out one of the dreams cited above, e.g., the dream in which my friend Otto seems to show the symptoms of Basedow's disease (chapter V., D). Otto's appearance gave me some concern during the day, and this worry, like everything else relating to him, greatly affected me. I may assume that this concern followed me into sleep. I was probably bent on finding out what was the matter with him. During the night my concern found expression in the dream which I have recorded. Not only was its content senseless, but it failed to show any wish-fulfilment. But I began to search for the source of this incongruous expression of the solicitude felt during the day, and analysis revealed a connection. I identified my friend Otto with a certain Baron L and myself with a Professor R. There was only one explanation of my being impelled to select just this substitute for the day- thought. I must always have been ready in the Ucs to identify myself with Professor R, as this meant the realization of one of the immortal infantile wishes, viz., the wish to become great. Repulsive ideas respecting my friend, ideas that would certainly have been repudiated in a waking state, took advantage of the opportunity to creep into the dream; but the worry of the day had likewise found some sort of expression by means of a substitute in the dream-content. The day-thought, which was in itself not a wish, but on the contrary a worry, had in some way to find a connection with some infantile wish, now unconscious and suppressed, which then allowed it- duly dressed up- to arise for consciousness. The more domineering the worry the more forced could be the connection to be established; between the content of the wish and that of the worry there need be no connection, nor was there one in our example.
It would perhaps be appropriate, in dealing with this problem, to inquire how a dream behaves when material is offered to it in the dream-thoughts which flatly opposes a wish-fulfilment; such as justified worries, painful reflections and distressing realizations. The many possible results may be classified as follows: (a) The dream-work succeeds in replacing all painful ideas by contrary ideas. and suppressing the painful affect belonging to them. This, then, results in a pure and simple satisfaction-dream, a palpable wish-fulfilment, concerning which there is nothing more to be said. (b) The painful ideas find their way into the manifest dream-content, more or less modified, but nevertheless quite recognizable. This is the case which raises doughts about the wish-theory of dreams, and thus calls for further investigation. Such dreams with a painful content may either be indifferent in feeling, or they may convey the whole painful affect, which the ideas contained in them seem to justify, or they may even lead to the development of anxiety to the point of waking.
Analysis then shows that even these painful dreams are wish- fulfilments. An unconscious and repressed wish, whose fulfilment could only be felt as painful by the dreamer's ego, has seized the opportunity offered by the continued cathexis of painful day- residues, has lent them its support, and has thus made them capable of being dreamed. But whereas in case (a) the unconscious wish coincided with the conscious one, in case (b) the discord between the unconscious and the conscious- the repressed material and the ego- is revealed, and the situation in the fairy-tale, of the three wishes which the fairy offers to the married couple, is realized (see p. 534 below). The gratification in respect of the fulfilment of the repressed wish may prove to be so great that it balances the painful affects adhering to the day-residues; the dream is then indifferent in its affective tone, although it is on the one hand the fulfilment of a wish, and on the other the fulfilment of a fear. Or it may happen that the sleeper's ego plays an even more extensive part in the dream-formation, that it reacts with violent resentment to the accomplished satisfaction of the repressed wish, and even goes so far as to make an end of the dream by means of anxiety. It is thus not difficult to recognize that dreams of pain and anxiety are, in accordance with our theory, just as much wish-fulfilments as are the straightforward dreams of gratification.
Painful dreams may also be punishment dreams. It must be admitted that the recognition of these dreams adds something that is, in a certain sense, new to the theory of dreams. What is fulfilled by them is once more an unconscious wish- the wish for the punishment of the dreamer for a repressed, prohibited wish- impulse. To this extent, these dreams comply with the requirement here laid down: that the motive-power behind the dream-formation must be furnished by a wish belonging to the unconscious. But a finer psychological dissection allows us to recognize the difference between this and the other wish-dreams. In the dreams of group (b) the unconscious dream-forming wish belonged to the repressed material. In the punishment-dreams it is likewise an unconscious wish, but one which we must attribute not to the repressed material but to the ego.
Punishment-dreams point, therefore, to the possibility of a still more extensive participation of the ego in dream-formation. The mechanism of dream-formation becomes indeed in every way more transparent if in place of the antithesis conscious and unconscious, we put the antithesis: ego and repressed. This, however, cannot be done without taking into account what happens in the psychoneuroses, and for this reason it has not been done in this book. Here I need only remark that the occurrence of punishment-dreams is not generally subject to the presence of painful day-residues. They originate, indeed, most readily if the contrary is true, if the thoughts which are day-residues are of a gratifying nature, but express illicit gratifications. Of these thoughts nothing, then, finds its way into the manifest dream except their contrary, just as was the case in the dreams of group (a). Thus it would be the essential characteristic of punishment-dreams that in them it is not the unconscious wish from the repressed material (from the system Ucs) that is responsible for dream-formation but the punitive wish reacting against it, a wish pertaining to the ego, even though it is unconscious (i.e., preconscious). *
* Here one may consider the idea of the super-ego which was later recognized by psycho-analysis.
I will elucidate some of the foregoing observations by means of a dream of my own, and above all I will try to show how the dream- work deals with a day-residue involving painful expectation:
Indistinct beginning. I tell my wife I have some news for her, something very special. She becomes frightened, and does not wish to hear it. I assure her that on the contrary it is something which will please her greatly, and I begin to tell her that our son's Officers' Corps has sent a sum of money (5,000 k.?)... something about honourable mention... distribution... at the same time I have gone with her into a sitting room, like a store-room, in order to fetch something from it. Suddenly I see my son appear; he is not in uniform but rather in a tight-fitting sports suit (like a seal?) with a small cap. He climbs on to a basket which stands to one side near a chest, in order to put something on this chest. I address him; no answer. It seems to me that his face or forehead is bandaged, he arranges something in his mouth, pushing something into it. Also his hair shows a glint of grey. I reflect: Can he be so exhausted? And has he false teeth? Before I can address him again I awake without anxiety, but with palpitations. My clock points to 2.30 a.m.
To give a full analysis is once more impossible. I shall therefore confine myself to emphasizing some decisive points. Painful expectations of the day had given occasion for this dream; once again there had been no news for over a week from my son, who was fighting at the Front. It is easy to see that in the dream-content the conviction that he has been killed or wounded finds expression. At the beginning of the dream one can observe an energetic effort to replace the painful thoughts by their contrary. I have to impart something very pleasing, something about sending money, honourable mention, and distribution. (The sum of money originates in a gratifying incident of my medical practice; it is therefore trying to lead the dream away altogether from its theme.) But this effort fails. The boy's mother has a presentiment of something terrible and does not wish to listen. The disguises are too thin; the reference to the material to be suppressed shows through everywhere. If my son is killed, then his comrades will send back his property; I shall have to distribute whatever he has left among his sisters, brothers and other people. Honourable mention is frequently awarded to an officer after he has died the "hero's death." The dream thus strives to give direct expression to what it at first wished to deny, whilst at the same time the wish-fulfilling tendency reveals itself by distortion. (The change of locality in the dream is no doubt to be understood as threshold symbolism, in line with Silberer's view.) We have indeed no idea what lends it the requisite motive-power. But my son does not appear as failing (on the field of battle) but climbing.- He was, in fact, a daring mountaineer.- He is not in uniform, but in a sports suit; that is, the place of the fatality now dreaded has been taken by an accident which happened to him at one time when he was ski- running, when he fell and fractured his thigh. But the nature of his costume, which makes him look like a seal, recalls immediately a younger person, our comical little grandson; the grey hair recalls his father, our son-in-law, who has had a bad time in the War. What does this signify? But let us leave this: the locality, a pantry, the chest, from which he wants to take something (in the dream, to put something on it), are unmistakable allusions to an accident of my own, brought upon myself when I was between two and three years of age. I climbed on a foot-stool in the pantry, in order to get something nice which was on a chest or table. The footstool tumbled over and its edge struck me behind the lower jaw. I might very well have knocked all my teeth out. At this point, an admonition presents itself: it serves you right- like a hostile impulse against the valiant warrior. A profounder analysis enables me to detect the hidden impulse, which would be able to find satisfaction in the dreaded mishap to my son. It is the envy of youth which the elderly man believes that he has thoroughly stifled in actual life. There is no mistaking the fact that it was the very intensity of the painful apprehension lest such a misfortune should really happen that searched out for its alleviation such a repressed wish-fulfilment.
I can now clearly define what the unconscious wish means for the dream. I will admit that there is a whole class of dreams in which the incitement originates mainly or even exclusively from the residues of the day; and returning to the dream about my friend Otto, I believe that even my desire to become at last a professor extraordinarius would have allowed me to sleep in peace that night, had not the day's concern for my friend's health continued active. But this worry alone would not have produced a dream; the motive-power needed by the dream had to be contributed by a wish, and it was the business of my concern to find such a wish for itself, as the motive power of the dream. To put it figuratively, it is quite possible that a day-thought plays the part of the entrepreneur in the dream; but the entrepreneur, who, as we say, has the idea, and feels impelled to realize it, can do nothing without capital; he needs a capitalist who will defray the expense, and this capitalist, who contributes the psychic expenditure for the dream, is invariably and indisputably, whatever the nature of the waking thoughts, a wish from the unconscious.
In other cases the capitalist himself is the entrepreneur; this, indeed, seems to be the more usual case. An unconscious wish is excited by the day's work, and this now creates the dream. And the dream-processes provide a parallel for all the other possibilities of the economic relationship here used as an illustration. Thus the entrepreneur may himself contribute a little of the capital, or several entrepreneurs may seek the aid of the same capitalist, or several capitalists may jointly supply the capital required by the entrepreneurs. Thus there are dreams sustained by more than one dream-wish, and many similar variations, which may be readily imagined, and which are of no further interest to us. What is still lacking to our discussion of the dream-wish we shall only be able to complete later on.
The tertium comparationis in the analogies here employed, the quantitative element of which an allotted amount is placed at the free disposal of the dream, admits of a still closer application to the elucidation of the dream-structure. As shown in chapter VI., B., we can recognize in most dreams a centre supplied with a special sensory intensity. This is, as a rule, the direct representation of the wish-fulfilment; for, if we reverse the displacements of the dream-work, we find that the psychic intensity of the elements in the dream-thoughts is replaced by the sensory intensity of the elements in the dream-content. The elements in the neighbourhood of the wish-fulfilment have often nothing to do with its meaning, but prove to be the offshoots of painful thoughts which are opposed to the wish. But owing to their connection with the central element, often artificially established, they secure so large a share of its intensity as to become capable of representation. Thus, the representative energy of the wish-fulfilment diffuses itself over a certain sphere of association, within which all elements are raised to representation, including even those that are in themselves without resources. In dreams containing several dynamic wishes we can easily separate and delimit the spheres of the individual wish-fulfilments, and we shall find that the gaps in the dream are often of the nature of boundary-zones.
Although the foregoing remarks have restricted the significance of the day-residues for the dream, they are none the less deserving of some further attention. For they must be a necessary ingredient in dream-formation, inasmuch as experience reveals the surprising fact that every dream shows in its content a connection with a recent waking impression, often of the most indifferent kind. So far we have failed to understand the necessity for this addition to the dream-mixture (chapter V., A.). This necessity becomes apparent only when we bear in mind the part played by the unconscious wish, and seek further information in the psychology of the neuroses. We shall then learn that an unconscious idea, as such, is quite incapable of entering into the preconscious, and that it can exert an influence there only by establishing touch with a harmless idea already belonging to the preconscious, to which it transfers its intensity, and by which it allows itself to be screened. This is the fact of transference, which furnishes the explanation of so many surprising occurrences in the psychic life of neurotics. The transference may leave the idea from the preconscious unaltered, though the latter will thus acquire an unmerited intensity, or it may force upon this some modification derived from the content of the transferred idea. I trust the reader will pardon my fondness for comparisons with daily life, but I feel tempted to say that the situation for the repressed idea is like that of the American dentist in Austria, who may not carry on his practice unless he can get a duly installed doctor of medicine to serve him as a signboard and legal "cover." Further, just as it is not exactly the busiest physicians who form such alliances with dental practitioners, so in the psychic life the choice as regards covers for repressed ideas does not fall upon such preconscious or conscious ideas as have themselves attracted enough of the attention active in the preconscious. The unconscious prefers to entangle with its connections either those impressions and ideas of the preconscious which have remained unnoticed as being indifferent or those which have immediately had attention withdrawn from them again (by rejection). it is a well-known proposition of the theory of associations, confirmed by all experience, that ideas which have formed a very intimate connection in one direction assume a negative type of attitude towards whole groups of new connections. I have even attempted at one time to base a theory of hysterical paralysis on this principle.
If we assume that the same need of transference on the part of the repressed ideas, of which we have become aware through the analysis of the neurosis, makes itself felt in dreams also, we can at once explain two of the problems of the dream: namely, that every dream-analysis reveals an interweaving of a recent impression, and that this recent element is often of the most indifferent character. We may add what we have already learned elsewhere, that the reason why these recent and indifferent elements so frequently find their way into the dream-content as substitutes for the very oldest elements of the dream-thoughts is that they have the least to fear from the resisting censorship. But while this freedom from censorship explains only the preference shown to the trivial elements, the constant presence of recent elements points to the necessity for transference. Both groups of impressions satisfy the demand of the repressed ideas for material still free from associations, the indifferent ones because they have offered no occasion for extensive associations, and the recent ones because they have not had sufficient time to form such associations.
We thus see that the day-residues, among which we may now include the indifferent impressions, not only borrow something from the Ucs when they secure a share in dream-formation- namely, the motive-power at the disposal of the repressed wish- but they also offer to the unconscious something that is indispensable to it, namely, the points of attachment necessary for transference. If we wished to penetrate more deeply into the psychic processes, we should have to throw a clearer light on the play of excitations between the preconscious and the unconscious, and indeed the study of the psychoneuroses would impel us to do so; but dreams, as it happens, give us no help in this respect.
Just one further remark as to the day-residues. There is no doubt that it is really these that disturb our sleep, and not our dreams which, on the contrary, strive to guard our sleep. But we shall return to this point later.
So far we have discussed the dream-wish; we have traced it back to the sphere of the Ucs, and have analysed its relation to the day-residues, which, in their turn, may be either wishes, or psychic impulses of any other kind, or simply recent impressions. We have thus found room for the claims that can be made for the dream-forming significance of our waking mental activity in all its multifariousness. It might even prove possible to explain, on the basis of our train of thought, those extreme cases in which the dream, continuing the work of the day, brings to a happy issue an unsolved problem of waking life. We merely lack a suitable example to analyse, in order to uncover the infantile or repressed source of wishes, the tapping of which has so successfully reinforced the efforts of the preconscious activity. But we are not a step nearer to answering the question: Why is it that the unconscious can furnish in sleep nothing more than the motive-power for a wish-fulfilment? The answer to this question must elucidate the psychic nature of the state of wishing: and it will be given with the aid of the notion of the psychic apparatus.
We do not doubt that this apparatus, too, has only arrived at its present perfection by a long process of evolution. Let us attempt to restore it as it existed in an earlier stage of capacity. From postulates to be confirmed in other ways, we know that at first the apparatus strove to keep itself as free from stimulation as possible, and therefore, in its early structure, adopted the arrangement of a reflex apparatus, which enabled it promptly to discharge by the motor paths any sensory excitation reaching it from without. But this simple function was disturbed by the exigencies of life, to which the apparatus owes the impetus toward further development. The exigencies of life first confronted it in the form of the great physical needs. The excitation aroused by the inner need seeks an outlet in motility, which we may describe as internal change or expression of the emotions. The hungry child cries or struggles helplessly. But its situation remains unchanged; for the excitation proceeding from the inner need has not the character of a momentary impact, but of a continuing pressure. A change can occur only if, in some way (in the case of the child by external assistance), there is an experience of satisfaction, which puts an end to the internal excitation. An essential constituent of this experience is the appearance of a certain percept (of food in our example), the memory-image of which is henceforth associated with the memory- trace of the excitation arising from the need. Thanks to the established connection, there results, at the next occurrence of this need, a psychic impulse which seeks to revive the memory- image of the former percept, and to re-evoke the former percept itself; that is, it actually seeks to re-establish the situation of the first satisfaction. Such an impulse is what we call a wish; the reappearance of the perception constitutes the wish- fulfilment, and the full cathexis of the perception, by the excitation springing from the need, constitutes the shortest path to the wish-fulfilment. We may assume a primitive state of the psychic apparatus in which this path is actually followed, i.e., in which the wish ends in hallucination. This first psychic activity therefore aims at an identity of perception: that is, at a repetition of that perception which is connected with the satisfaction of the need.
This primitive mental activity must have been modified by bitter practical experience into a secondary and more appropriate activity. The establishment of identity of perception by the short regressive path within the apparatus does not produce the same result in another respect as follows upon cathexis of the same perception coming from without. The satisfaction does not occur, and the need continues. In order to make the internal cathexis equivalent to the external one, the former would have to be continuously sustained, just as actually happens in the hallucinatory psychoses and in hunger-phantasies, which exhaust their performance in maintaining their hold on the object desired. In order to attain to more appropriate use of the psychic energy, it becomes necessary to suspend the full regression, so that it does not proceed beyond the memory-image, and thence can seek other paths, leading ultimately to the production of the desired identity from the side of the outer world. * This inhibition, as well as the subsequent deflection of the excitation, becomes the task of a second system, which controls voluntary motility, i.e., a system whose activity first leads on to the use of motility for purposes remembered in advance. But all this complicated mental activity, which works its way from the memory-image to the production of identity of perception via the outer world, merely represents a roundabout way to wish-fulfilment made necessary by experience. *(2) Thinking is indeed nothing but a substitute for the hallucinatory wish; and if the dream is called a wish-fulfilment, this becomes something self-evident, since nothing but a wish can impel our psychic apparatus to activity. The dream, which fulfils its wishes by following the short regressive path, has thereby simply preserved for us a specimen of the primary method of operation of the psychic apparatus, which has been abandoned as inappropriate. What once prevailed in the waking state, when our psychic life was still young and inefficient, seems to have been banished into our nocturnal life; just as we still find in the nursery those discarded primitive weapons of adult humanity, the bow and arrow. Dreaming is a fragment of the superseded psychic life of the child. In the psychoses, those modes of operation of the psychic apparatus which are normally suppressed in the waking state reassert themselves, and thereupon betray their inability to satisfy our demands in the outer world. *(3)
* In other words: the introduction of a test of reality is recognized as necessary.
*(2) Le Lorrain justly extols the wish-fulfilments of dreams: "Sans fatigue serieuse, sans etre oblige de recourir a cette lutte opiniatre et longue qui use et corrode les jouissances poursuivies." [Without serious fatigue, without being obliged to have recourse to that long and stubborn struggle which exhausts and wears away pleasures sought.]
*(3) I have further elaborated this train of thought elsewhere, where I have distinguished the two principles involved as the pleasure-principle and the reality-principle. Formulations regarding the Two Principles in Mental Functioning, in Collected Papers, Vol. iv. p. 13.
The unconscious wish-impulses evidently strive to assert themselves even during the day, and the fact of transference, as well as the psychoses, tells us that they endeavour to force their way through the preconscious system to consciousness and the command of motility. Thus, in the censorship between Ucs and Pcs, which the dream forces us to assume, we must recognize and respect the guardian of our psychic health. But is it not carelessness on the part of this guardian to diminish his vigilance at night, and to allow the suppressed impulses of the Ucs to achieve expression, thus again making possible the process of hallucinatory regression? I think not, for when the critical guardian goes to rest- and we have proof that his slumber is not profound- he takes care to close the gate to motility. No matter what impulses from the usually inhibited Ucs may bustle about the stage, there is no need to interfere with them; they remain harmless, because they are not in a position to set in motion the motor apparatus which alone can operate to produce any change in the outer world. Sleep guarantees the security of the fortress which has to be guarded. The state of affairs is less harmless when a displacement of energies is produced, not by the decline at night in the energy put forth by the critical censorship, but by the pathological enfeeblement of the latter, or the pathological reinforcement of the unconscious excitations, and this while the preconscious is cathected and the gates of motility are open. The guardian is then overpowered; the unconscious excitations subdue the Pcs, and from the Pcs they dominate our speech and action, or they enforce hallucinatory regressions, thus directing an apparatus not designed for them by virtue of the attraction exerted by perceptions on the distribution of our psychic energy. We call this condition psychosis.
We now find ourselves in the most favourable position for continuing the construction of our psychological scaffolding, which we left after inserting the two systems, Ucs and Pcs. However, we still have reason to give further consideration to the wish as the sole psychic motive-power in the dream. We have accepted the explanation that the reason why the dream is in every case a wish-fulfilment is that it is a function of the system Ucs, which knows no other aim than wish-fulfilment, and which has at its disposal no forces other than the wish-impulses. Now if we want to continue for a single moment longer to maintain our right to develop such far-reaching psychological speculations from the facts of dream-interpretation, we are in duty bound to show that they insert the dream into a context which can also embrace other psychic structures. If there exists a system of the Ucs- or something sufficiently analogous for the purposes of our discussion- the dream cannot be its sole manifestation; every dream may be a wish-fulfilment, but there must be other forms of abnormal wish-fulfilment as well as dreams. And in fact the theory of all psychoneurotic symptoms culminates in the one proposition that they, too, must be conceived as wish-fulfilments of the unconscious. * Our explanation makes the dream only the first member of a series of the greatest importance for the psychiatrist, the understanding of which means the solution of the purely psychological part of the psychiatric problem. *(2) But in other members of this group of wish-fulfilments- for example, in the hysterical symptoms- I know of one essential characteristic which I have so far failed to find in the dream. Thus, from the investigations often alluded to in this treatise, I know that the formation of an hysterical symptom needs a junction of both the currents of our psychic life. The symptom is not merely the expression of a realized unconscious wish; the latter must be joined by another wish from the preconscious, which is fulfilled by the same symptom; so that the symptom is at least doubly determined, once by each of the conflicting systems. Just as in dreams, there is no limit to further over- determination. The determination which does not derive from the Ucs is, as far as I can see, invariably a thought-stream of reaction against the unconscious wish; for example, a self- punishment. Hence I can say, quite generally, that an hysterical symptom originates only where two contrary wish-fulfilments, having their source in different psychic systems, are able to meet in a single expression. *(3) Examples would help us but little here, as nothing but a complete unveiling of the complications in question can carry conviction. I will therefore content myself with the bare assertion, and will cite one example, not because it proves anything, but simply as an illustration. The hysterical vomiting of a female patient proved, on the one hand, to be the fulfilment of an unconscious phantasy from the years of puberty- namely, the wish that she might be continually pregnant, and have a multitude of children; and this was subsequently supplemented by the wish that she might have them by as many fathers as possible. Against this immoderate wish there arose a powerful defensive reaction. But as by the vomiting the patient might have spoilt her figure and her beauty, so that she would no longer find favour in any man's eyes, the symptom was also in keeping with the punitive trend of thought, and so, being admissible on both sides, it was allowed to become a reality. This is the same way of acceding to a wish-fulfilment as the queen of the Parthians was pleased to adopt in the case of the triumvir Crassus. Believing that he had undertaken his campaign out of greed for gold, she caused molten gold to be poured into the throat of the corpse. "Here thou hast what thou hast longed for!"
* Expressed more exactly: One portion of the symptom corresponds to the unconscious wish-fulfilment, while the other corresponds to the reaction-formation opposed to it.
*(2) Hughlings Jackson has expressed himself as follows: "Find out all about dreams, and you will have found out all about insanity."
*(3) Cf. my latest formulation (in Zeitschrift fur Sexual- wissenschaft, Bd. I) of the origin of hysterical symptoms in the treatise on "Hysterical Phantasies and their Relation to Bisexuality," Collected Papers, II, p. 51. This forms chapter X of Selected Papers on Hysteria, p. 115 above.
Of the dream we know as yet only that it expresses a wish- fulfilment of the unconscious; and apparently the dominant preconscious system permits this fulfilment when it has compelled the wish to undergo certain distortions. We are, moreover, not in fact in a position to demonstrate regularly the presence of a train of thought opposed to the dream-wish, which is realized in the dream as well as its antagonist. Only now and then have we found in dream-analyses signs of reaction-products as, for instance, my affection for my friend R in the dream of my uncle (chapter IV.). But the contribution from the preconscious which is missing here may be found in another place. The dream can provide expression for a wish from the Ucs by means of all sorts of distortions, once the dominant system has withdrawn itself into the wish to sleep, and has realized this wish by producing the changes of cathexis within the psychic apparatus which are within its power; thereupon holding on to the wish in question for the whole duration of sleep. *
* This idea has been borrowed from the theory of sleep of Liebault, who revived hypnotic research in modern times (Du Sommeil provoque, etc., Paris ).
Now this persistent wish to sleep on the part of the preconscious has a quite general facilitating effect on the formation of dreams. Let us recall the dream of the father who, by the gleam of light from the death-chamber, was led to conclude that his child's body might have caught fire. We have shown that one of the psychic forces decisive in causing the father to draw this conclusion in the dream instead of allowing himself to be awakened by the gleam of light was the wish to prolong the life of the child seen in the dream by one moment. Other wishes originating in the repressed have probably escaped us, for we are unable to analyse this dream. But as a second source of motive- power in this dream we may add the father's desire to sleep, for, like the life of the child, the father's sleep is prolonged for a moment by the dream. The underlying motive is: "Let the dream go on, or I must wake up." As in this dream, so in all others, the wish to sleep lends its support to the unconscious wish. In chapter III. we cited dreams which were manifestly dreams of convenience. But in truth all dreams may claim this designation. The efficacy of the wish to go on sleeping is most easily recognized in the awakening dreams, which so elaborate the external sensory stimulus that it becomes compatible with the continuance of sleep; they weave it into a dream in order to rob it of any claims it might make as a reminder of the outer world. But this wish to go on sleeping must also play its part in permitting all other dreams, which can only act as disturbers of the state of sleep from within. "Don't worry; sleep on; it's only a dream," is in many cases the suggestion of the Pcs to consciousness when the dream gets too bad; and this describes in a quite general way the attitude of our dominant psychic activity towards dreaming, even though the thought remains unuttered. I must draw the conclusion that throughout the whole of our sleep we are just as certain that we are dreaming as we are certain that we are sleeping. It is imperative to disregard the objection that our consciousness is never directed to the latter knowledge, and that it is directed to the former knowledge only on special occasions, when the censorship feels, as it were, taken by surprise. On the contrary, there are persons in whom the retention at night of the knowledge that they are sleeping and dreaming becomes quite manifest, and who are thus apparently endowed with the conscious faculty of guiding their dream-life. Such a dreamer, for example, is dissatisfied with the turn taken by a dream; he breaks it off without waking, and begins it afresh, in order to continue it along different lines, just like a popular author who, upon request, gives a happier ending to his play. Or on another occasion, when the dream places him in a sexually exciting situation, he thinks in his sleep: "I don't want to continue this dream and exhaust myself by an emission; I would rather save it for a real situation."
The Marquis Hervey (Vaschide) declared that he had gained such power over his dreams that he could accelerate their course at will, and turn them in any direction he wished. It seems that in him the wish to sleep had accorded a place to another, a preconscious wish, the wish to observe his dreams and to derive pleasure from them. Sleep is just as compatible with such a wish- resolve as it is with some proviso as a condition of waking up (wet-nurse's sleep), We know, too, that in all persons an interest in dreams greatly increases the number of dreams remembered after waking.
Concerning other observations as to the guidance of dreams, Ferenczi states: "The dream takes the thought that happens to occupy our psychic life at the moment, and elaborates it from all sides. It lets any given dream-picture drop when there is a danger that the wish-fulfilment will miscarry, and attempts a new kind of solution, until it finally succeeds in creating a wish- fulfilment that satisfies in one compromise both instances of the psychic life."
I must assume that the sensory surface of consciousness which is turned to the preconscious is rendered far more unexcitable by sleep than the surface turned toward the P-system. The giving up of interest in the nocturnal thought-process is, of course, an appropriate procedure. Nothing is to happen in thought; the preconscious wants to sleep. But once the dream becomes perception, it is capable of exciting consciousness through the qualities now gained. The sensory excitation performs what is in fact its function; namely, it directs a part of the cathectic energy available in the Pcs to the exciting cause in the form of attention. We must therefore admit that the dream always has a waking effect- that is, it calls into activity part of the quiescent energy of the Pcs. Under the influence of this energy, it now undergoes the process which we have described as secondary elaboration with a view to coherence and comprehensibility. This means that the dream is treated by this energy like any other perception-content; it is subjected to the same anticipatory ideas as far, at least, as the material allows. As far as this third part of the dream-process has any direction, this is once more progressive.
To avoid misunderstanding, it will not be amiss to say a few words as to the temporal characteristics of these dream- processes. In a very interesting discussion, evidently suggested by Maury's puzzling guillotine dream, Goblot tries to demonstrate that a dream takes up no other time than the transition period between sleeping and waking. The process of waking up requires time; during this time the dream occurs. It is supposed that the final picture of the dream is so vivid that it forces the dreamer to wake; in reality it is so vivid only because when it appears the dreamer is already very near waking. "Un reve, c'est un reveil qui commence." *
* A dream is the beginning of wakening.
It has already been pointed out by Dugas that Goblot, in order to generalize his theory, was forced to ignore a great many facts. There are also dreams from which we do not awaken; for example, many dreams in which we dream that we dream. From our knowledge of the dream-work, we can by no means admit that it extends only over the period of waking. On the contrary, we must consider it probable that the first part of the dream-work is already begun during the day, when we are still under the domination of the preconscious. The second phase of the dream-work, viz., the alteration by the censorship, the attraction exercised by unconscious scenes, and the penetration to perception, continues probably all through the night, and accordingly we may always be correct when we report a feeling that we have been dreaming all night, even although we cannot say what we have dreamed. I do not however, think that it is necessary to assume that up to the time of becoming conscious the dream-processes really follow the temporal sequence which we have described; viz., that there is first the transferred dream-wish, then the process of distortion due to the censorship, and then the change of direction to regression, etc. We were obliged to construct such a sequence for the sake of description; in reality, however, it is probably rather a question of simultaneously trying this path and that, and of the excitation fluctuating to and fro, until finally, because it has attained the most apposite concentration, one particular grouping remains in the field. Certain personal experiences even incline me to believe that the dream-work often requires more than one day and one night to produce its result, in which case the extraordinary art manifested in the construction of the dream is shorn of its miraculous character. In my opinion, even the regard for the comprehensibility of the dream as a perceptual event may exert its influence before the dream attracts consciousness to itself. From this point, however, the process is accelerated, since the dream is henceforth subjected to the same treatment as any other perception. It is like fire works, which require hours for their preparation and then flare up in a moment.
Through the dream-work, the dream-process now either gains sufficient intensity to attract consciousness to itself and to arouse the preconscious (quite independently of the time or profundity of sleep), or its intensity is insufficient, and it must wait in readiness until attion, becoming more alert immediately before waking, meets it half-way. Most dreams seem to operate with relatively slight psychic intensities, for they wait for the process of waking. This, then, explains the fact that as a rule we perceive something dreamed if we are suddenly roused from a deep sleep. Here, as well as in spontaneous waking, our first glance lights upon the perception-content created by the dream-work, while the next falls on that provided by the outer world.
But of greater theoretical interest are those dreams which are capable of waking us in the midst of our sleep. We may bear in mind the purposefulness which can be demonstrated in all other cases, and ask ourselves why the dream, that is, the unconscious wish, is granted the power to disturb our sleep, i.e., the fulfilment of the preconscious wish. The explanation is probably to be found in certain relations of energy which we do not yet understand. If we did so, we should probably find that the freedom given to the dream and the expenditure upon it of a certain detached attention represent a saving of energy as against the alternative case of the unconscious having to be held in check at night just as it is during the day. As experience shows, dreaming, even if it interrupts our sleep several times a night, still remains compatible with sleep. We wake up for a moment, and immediately fall asleep again. It is like driving off a fly in our sleep; we awake ad hoc. When we fall asleep again we have removed the cause of disturbance. The familiar examples of the sleep of wet-nurses, etc., show that the fulfilment of the wish to sleep is quite compatible with the maintenance of a certain amount of attention in a given direction.
But we must here take note of an objection which is based on a greater knowledge of the unconscious processes. We have ourselves described the unconscious wishes as always active, whilst nevertheless asserting that in the daytime they are not strong enough to make themselves perceptible. But when the state of sleep supervenes, and the unconscious wish has shown its power to form a dream, and with it to awaken the preconscious, why does this power lapse after cognizance has been taken of the dream? Would it not seem more probable that the dream should continually renew itself, like the disturbing fly which, when driven away, takes pleasure in returning again and again? What justification have we for our assertion that the dream removes the disturbance to sleep?
It is quite true that the unconscious wishes are always active. They represent paths which are always practicable, whenever a quantum of excitation makes use of them. It is indeed an outstanding peculiarity of the unconscious processes that they are indestructible. Nothing can be brought to an end in the unconscious; nothing is past or forgotten. This is impressed upon us emphatically in the study of the neuroses, and especially of hysteria. The unconscious path of thought which leads to the discharge through an attack is forthwith passable again when there is a sufficient accumulation of excitation. The mortification suffered thirty years ago operates, after having gained access to the unconscious sources of affect, during all these thirty years as though it were a recent experience. Whenever its memory is touched, it revives, and shows itself to be cathected with excitation which procures a motor discharge for itself in an attack. It is precisely here that psychotherapy must intervene, its task being to ensure that the unconscious processes are settled and forgotten. Indeed, the fading of memories and the weak affect of impressions which are no longer recent, which we are apt to take as self-evident, and to explain as a primary effect of time on our psychic memory-residues, are in reality secondary changes brought about by laborious work. It is the preconscious that accomplishes this work; and the only course which psychotherapy can pursue is to bring the Ucs under the dominion of the Pcs.
There are, therefore, two possible issues for any single unconscious excitation-process. Either it is left to itself, in which case it ultimately breaks through somewhere and secures, on this one occasion, a discharge for its excitation into motility, or it succumbs to the influence of the preconscious, and through this its excitation becomes bound instead of being discharged. It is the latter case that occurs in the dream-process. The cathexis from the Pcs which goes to meet the dream once this has attained to perception, because it has been drawn thither by the excitation of consciousness, binds the unconscious excitation of the dream and renders it harmless as a disturber of sleep. When the dreamer wakes up for a moment, he has really chased away the fly that threatened to disturb his sleep. We may now begin to suspect that it is really more expedient and economical to give way to the unconscious wish, to leave clear its path to regression so that and it may form a dream, and then to bind and dispose of this dream by means of a small outlay of preconscious work, than to hold the unconscious in check throughout the whole period of sleep. It was, indeed, to be expected that the dream, even if originally it was not a purposeful process, would have seized upon some definite function in the play of forces of the psychic life. We now see what this function is. The dream has taken over the task of bringing the excitation of the Ucs, which had been left free, back under the domination of the preconscious; it thus discharges the excitation of the Ucs, acts as a safety-valve for the latter, and at the same time, by a slight outlay of waking activity, secures the sleep of the preconscious. Thus, like the other psychic formations of its group, the dream offers itself as a compromise, serving both systems simultaneously, by fulfilling the wishes of both, in so far as they are mutually compatible. A glance at Robert's "elimination theory" will show that we must agree with this author on his main point, namely, the determination of the function of dreams, though we differ from him in our general presuppositions and in our estimation of the dream-process. * -
* Is this the only function which we can attribute to dreams? I know of no other. A. Maeder, to be sure, has endeavoured to claim for the dream yet other secondary functions. He started from the just observation that many dreams contain attempts to provide solutions of conflicts, which are afterwards actually carried through. They thus behave like preparatory practice for waking activities. He therefore drew a parallel between dreaming and the play of animals and children, which is to be conceived as a training of the inherited instincts, and a preparation for their later serious activity, thus setting up a fonction ludique for the dream. A little while before Maeder, Alfred Adler likewise emphasized the function of thinking ahead in the dream. (An analysis which I published in 1905 contained a dream which may be conceived as a resolution-dream, which was repeated night after night until it was realized.)
But an obvious reflection must show us that this secondary function of the dream has no claim to recognition within the framework of any dream-interpretation. Thinking ahead, making resolutions, sketching out attempted solutions which can then perhaps be realized in waking life- these and many more performances are functions of the unconscious and preconscious activities of the mind which continue as day-residues in the sleeping state, and can then combine with an unconscious wish to form a dream (chapter VII., C.). The function of thinking ahead in the dream is thus rather a function of preconscious waking thought, the result of which may be disclosed to us by the analysis of dreams or other phenomena. After the dream has so long been fused with its manifest content, one must now guard against confusing it with the latent dream-thoughts.
The above qualification- in so far as the two wishes are mutually compatible- contains a suggestion that there may be cases in which the function of the dream fails. The dream-process is, to begin with, admitted as a wish-fulfilment of the unconscious, but if this attempted wish-fulfilment disturbs the preconscious so profoundly that the latter can no longer maintain its state of rest, the dream has broken the compromise, and has failed to perform the second part of its task. It is then at once broken off, and replaced by complete awakening. But even here it is not really the fault of the dream if, though at other times the guardian, it has now to appear as the disturber of sleep, nor need this prejudice us against its averred purposive character. This is not the only instance in the organism in which a contrivance that is usually to the purpose becomes inappropriate and disturbing so soon as something is altered in the conditions which engender it; the disturbance, then, at all events serves the new purpose of indicating the change, and of bringing into play against it the means of adjustment of the organism. Here, of course, I am thinking of the anxiety-dream, and lest it should seem that I try to evade this witness against the theory of wish- fulfilment whenever I encounter it, I will at least give some indications as to the explanation of the anxiety-dream.
That a psychic process which develops anxiety may still be a wish- fulfilment has long ceased to imply any contradiction for us. We may explain this occurrence by the fact that the wish belongs to one system (the Ucs), whereas the other system (the Pcs) has rejected and suppressed it. * The subjection of the Ucs by the Pcs is not thoroughgoing even in perfect psychic health; the extent of this suppression indicates the degree of our psychic normality. Neurotic symptoms indicate to us that the two systems are in mutual conflict; the symptoms are the result of a compromise in this conflict, and they temporarily put an end to it. On the one hand, they afford the Ucs a way out for the discharge of its excitation- they serve it as a kind of sally- gate- while, on the other hand, they give the Pcs the possibility of dominating the Ucs in some degree. It is instructive to consider, for example, the significance of a hysterical phobia, or of agoraphobia. A neurotic is said to be incapable of crossing the street alone, and this we should rightly call a symptom. Let someone now remove this symptom by constraining him to this action which he deems himself incapable of performing. The result will be an attack of anxiety, just as an attack of anxiety in the street has often been the exciting cause of the establishment of an agoraphobia. We thus learn that the symptom has been constituted in order to prevent the anxiety from breaking out. The phobia is thrown up before the anxiety like a frontier fortress.
* General Introduction to Psycho-Analysis, p. 534 below.
We cannot enlarge further on this subject unless we examine the role of the affects in these processes, which can only be done here imperfectly. We will therefore affirm the proposition that the principal reason why the suppression of the Ucs becomes necessary is that, if the movement of ideas in the Ucs were allowed to run its course, it would develop an affect which originally had the character of pleasure, but which, since the process of repression, bears the character of pain. The aim, as well as the result, of the suppression is to prevent the development of this pain. The suppression extends to the idea- content of the Ucs, because the liberation of pain might emanate from this idea-content. We here take as our basis a quite definite assumption as to the nature of the development of affect. This is regarded as a motor or secretory function, the key to the innervation of which is to be found in the ideas of the Ucs. Through the domination of the Pcs these ideas are as it were strangled, that is, inhibited from sending out the impulse that would develop the affect. The danger which arises, if cathexis by the Pcs ceases, thus consists in the fact that the unconscious excitations would liberate an affect that- in consequence of the repression that has previously occurred- could only be felt as pain or anxiety.
This danger is released if the dream-process is allowed to have its own way. The conditions for its realization are that repressions shall have occurred, and that the suppressed wish- impulses can become sufficiently strong. They, therefore, fall entirely outside the psychological framework of dream-formation. Were it not for the fact that our theme is connected by just one factor with the theme of the development of anxiety, namely, by the setting free of the Ucs during sleep, I could refrain from the discussion of the anxiety-dream altogether, and thus avoid all the obscurities involved in it.
The theory of the anxiety-dream belongs, as I have already repeatedly stated, to the psychology of the neuroses. I might further add that anxiety in dreams is an anxiety-problem and not a dream-problem. Having once exhibited the point of contact of the psychology of the neuroses with the theme of the dream- process, we have nothing further to do with it. There is only one thing left which I can do. Since I have asserted that neurotic anxiety has its origin in sexual sources, I can subject anxiety- dreams to analysis in order to demonstrate the sexual material in their dream-thoughts.
For good reasons, I refrain from citing any of the examples so abundantly placed at my disposal by neurotic patients, and prefer to give some anxiety-dreams of children.
Personally, I have had no real anxiety-dream for decades, but I do recall one from my seventh or eighth year which I subjected to interpretation some thirty years later. The dream was very vivid, and showed me my beloved mother, with a peculiarly calm, sleeping countenance, carried into the room and laid on the bed by two (or three) persons with birds' beaks. I awoke crying and screaming, and disturbed my parents' sleep. The peculiarly draped, excessively tall figures with beaks I had taken from the illustrations of Philippson's Bible; I believe they represented deities with the heads of sparrowhawks from an Egyptian tomb- relief. The analysis yielded, however, also the recollection of a house-porter's boy, who used to play with us children on a meadow in front of the house; I might add that his name was Philip. It seemed to me then that I first heard from this boy the vulgar word signifying sexual intercourse, which is replaced among educated persons by the Latin word coitus, but which the dream plainly enough indicates by the choice of the birds' heads. I must have guessed the sexual significance of the word from the look of my worldly-wise teacher. My mother's expression in the dream was copied from the countenance of my grandfather, whom I had seen a few days before his death snoring in a state of coma. The interpretation of the secondary elaboration in the dream must therefore have been that my mother was dying; the tomb-relief, too, agrees with this. I awoke with this anxiety, and could not calm myself until I had waked my parents. I remember that I suddenly became calm when I saw my mother; it was as though I had needed the assurance: then she was not dead. But this secondary interpretation of the dream had only taken place when the influence of the developed anxiety was already at work. I was not in a state of anxiety because I had dreamt that my mother was dying; I interpreted the dream in this manner in the preconscious elaboration because I was already under the domination of the anxiety. The latter, however, could be traced back, through the repression to a dark, plainly sexual craving, which had found appropriate expression in the visual content of the dream.
A man twenty-seven years of age, who had been seriously ill for a year, had repeatedly dreamed, between the ages of eleven and thirteen, dreams attended with great anxiety, to the effect that a man with a hatchet was running after him; he wanted to run away, but seemed to be paralysed, and could not move from the spot. This may be taken as a good and typical example of a very common anxiety-dream, free from any suspicion of a sexual meaning. In the analysis, the dreamer first thought of a story told him by his uncle (chronologically later than the dream), viz., that he was attacked at night in the street by a suspicious- looking individual; and he concluded from this association that he might have heard of a similar episode at the time of the dream. In association with the hatchet, he recalled that during this period of his life he once hurt his hand with a hatchet while chopping wood. This immediately reminded him of his relations with his younger brother, whom he used to maltreat and knock down. He recalled, in particular, one occasion when he hit his brother's head with his boot and made it bleed, and his mother said: "I'm afraid he will kill him one day." While he seemed to be thus held by the theme of violence, a memory from his ninth year suddenly emerged. His parents had come home late and had gone to bed, whilst he was pretending to be asleep. He soon heard panting, and other sounds that seemed to him mysterious, and he could also guess the position of his parents in bed. His further thoughts showed that he had established an analogy between this relation between his parents and his own relation to his younger brother. He subsumed what was happening between his parents under the notion of "an act of violence and a fight." The fact that he had frequently noticed blood in his mother's bed corroborated this conception.
That the sexual intercourse of adults appears strange and alarming to children who observe it, and arouses anxiety in them, is, I may say, a fact established by everyday experience. I have explained this anxiety on the ground that we have here a sexual excitation which is not mastered by the child's understanding, and which probably also encounters repulsion because their parents are involved, and is therefore transformed into anxiety. At a still earlier period of life the sexual impulse towards the parent of opposite sex does not yet suffer repression, but as we have seen (chapter V., D.) expresses itself freely.
For the night terrors with hallucinations (pavor nocturnus) so frequent in children I should without hesitation offer the same explanation. These, too, can only be due to misunderstood and rejected sexual impulses which, if recorded, would probably show a temporal periodicity, since an intensification of sexual libido may equally be produced by accidentally exciting impressions and by spontaneous periodic processes of development.
I have not the necessary observational material for the full demonstration of this explanation. * On the other hand, pediatrists seem to lack the point of view which alone makes intelligible the whole series of phenomena, both from the somatic and from the psychic side. To illustrate by a comical example how closely, if one is made blind by the blinkers of medical mythology, one may pass by the understanding of such cases, I will cite a case which I found in a thesis on pavor nocturnus (Debacker, 1881, p. 66).
* This material has since been provided in abundance by the literature of psycho-analysis.
A boy of thirteen, in delicate health, began to be anxious and dreamy; his sleep became uneasy, and once almost every week it was interrupted by an acute attack of anxiety with hallucinations. The memory of these dreams was always very distinct. Thus he was able to relate that the devil had shouted at him: "Now we have you, now we have you!" and then there was a smell of pitch and brimstone, and the fire burned his skin. From this dream he woke in terror; at first he could not cry out; then his voice came back to him, and he was distinctly heard to say: "No, no, not me; I haven't done anything," or: "Please, don't; I will never do it again!" At other times he said: "Albert has never done that!" Later he avoided undressing, "because the fire attacked him only when he was undressed." In the midst of these evil dreams, which were endangering his health, he was sent into the country, where he recovered in the course of eighteen months. At the age of fifteen he confessed one day: "Je n'osais pas l'avouer, mais j'eprouvais continuellement des picotements et des surexcitations aux parties; * a la fin, cela m'enervait tant que plusieurs fois j'ai pense me jeter par la fenetre du dortoir." *(2)
* The emphasis [on 'parties'] is my own, though the meaning is plain enough without it.
*(2) I did not dare admit it, but I continually felt tinglings and overexcitements of the parts; at the end, it wearied me so much that several times I thought to throw myself from the dormitory window.
It is, of course, not difficult to guess: 1. That the boy had practised masturbation in former years, that he had probably denied it, and was threatened with severe punishment for his bad habit (His confession: Je ne le ferai plus; * his denial: Albert n'a jamais fait ca.) *(2) 2. That, under the advancing pressure of puberty, the temptation to masturbate was re-awakened through the titillation of the genitals. 3. That now, however, there arose within him a struggle for repression, which suppressed the libido and transformed it into anxiety, and that this anxiety now gathered up the punishments with which he was originally threatened.
* I will not do it again.
*(2) Albert never did that.
Let us, on the other hand, see what conclusions were drawn by the author (p. 69):
"1. It is clear from this observation that the influence of puberty may produce in a boy of delicate health a condition of extreme weakness, and that this may lead to a very marked cerebral anaemia. *
* The italics ['very marked cerebral anaemia.'] are mine.
"2. This cerebral anaemia produces an alteration of character, demono-maniacal hallucinations, and very violent nocturnal, and perhaps also diurnal, states of anxiety.
"3. The demonomania and the self-reproaches of the boy can be traced to the influences of a religious education which had acted upon him as a child.
"4. All manifestations disappeared as a result of a lengthy sojourn in the country, bodily exercise, and the return of physical strength after the termination of puberty.
"5. Possibly an influence predisposing to the development of the boy's cerebral state may be attributed to heredity and to the father's former syphilis."
Then finally come the concluding remarks: "Nous avons fait entrer cette observation dans le cadre delires apyretiques d'inanition, car c'est a l'ischemie cerebrale que nous rattachons cet etat particulier." *
* We put this case in the file of apyretic delirias of inanition, for it is to cerebral anaemia that we attach this particular state.
On to Chapter 7, Section E
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