Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams, Chapter 6F
F. EXAMPLES -- ARITHMETIC AND SPEECH IN DREAMS
Before I proceed to assign to its proper place the fourth of the factors which control the formation of dreams, I shall cite a few examples from my collection of dreams, partly for the purpose of illustrating the cooperation of the three factors with which we are already acquainted, and partly for the purpose of adducing evidence for certain unsupported assertions which have been made, or of bringing out what necessarily follows from them. It has, of course, been difficult in the foregoing account of the dream-work to demonstrate my conclusions by means of examples. Examples in support of isolated statements are convincing only when considered in the context of an interpretation of a dream as a whole; when they are wrested from their context, they lose their value; on the other hand, a dream-interpretation, even when it is by no means profound, soon becomes so extensive that it obscures the thread of the discussion which it is intended to illustrate. This technical consideration must be my excuse if I now proceed to mix together all sorts of things which have nothing in common except their reference to the text of the foregoing chapter.
We shall first consider a few examples of very peculiar or unusual methods of representation in dreams. A lady dreamed as follows: A servant-girl is standing on a ladder as though to clean the windows, and has with her a chimpanzee and a gorilla cat (later corrected, angora cat). She throws the animals on to the dreamer; the chimpanzee nestles up to her, and this is very disgusting. This dream has accomplished its purpose by a very simple means, namely, by taking a mere figure of speech literally, and representing it in accordance with the literal meaning of its words. 'Monkey', like the names of animals in general, is an opprobrious epithet, and the situation of the dream means merely 'to hurl invectives'. This same collection will soon furnish us with further examples of the employment of this simple artifice in the dream-work.
Another dream proceeds in a very similar manner: A woman with a child which has a conspicuously deformed cranium; the dreamer has heard that the child acquired this deformity owing to its position in its mother's womb. The doctor says that the cranium might be given a better shape by means of compression, but that this would injure the brain. She thinks that because it is a boy it won't suffer so much from deformity. This dream contains a plastic representation of the abstract concept 'childish impressions', with which the dreamer has become familiar in the course of the treatment.
In the following example the dream-work follows rather a different course. The dream contains a recollection of an excursion to the Hilmteich, near Graz: There is a terrible storm outside; a miserable hotel -- the water is dripping from the walls, and the beds are damp. (The latter part of the content was less directly expressed than I give it.) The dream signifies 'superfluous'. The abstract idea occurring in the dream-thoughts is first made equivocal by a certain abuse of language; it has perhaps been replaced by 'overflowing', or by 'fluid' and 'super-fluid (-fluous)', and has then been brought to representation by an accumulation of like impressions. Water within, water without, water in the beds in the form of dampness -- everything fluid and 'super' fluid. That for the purposes of dream-representation the spelling is much less considered than the sound of words ought not to surprise us when we remember that rhyme exercises a similar privilege.
The fact that language has at its disposal a great number of words which were originally used in a pictorial and concrete sense, but are at present used in a colourless and abstract fashion, has, in certain other cases, made it very easy for the dream to represent its thoughts. The dream has only to restore to these words their full significance, or to follow their change of meaning a little way back. For example, a man dreams that his friend, who is struggling to get out of a very tight place, calls upon him for help. The analysis shows that the tight place is a hole, and that the dreamer symbolically uses these very words to his friend: 'Be careful, or you'll get yourself into a hole.' Another dreamer climbs a mountain from which he obtains an extraordinarily extensive view. He identifies himself with his brother, who is editing a 'review' dealing with the Far East.
In a dream in Der Grüne Heinrich a spirited horse is plunging about in a field of the finest oats, every grain of which is really 'a sweet almond, a raisin and a new penny wrapped in red silk and tied with a bit of pig's bristle.' The poet (or the dreamer) immediately furnishes the meaning of this dream, for the horse felt himself pleasantly tickled, so that he exclaimed: 'The oats are pricking me' ('I feel my oats').
In the old Norse sagas (according to Henzen) prolific use is made in dreams of colloquialisms and witty expressions; one scarcely finds a dream without a double meaning or a play upon words.
It would be a special undertaking to collect such methods of representation and to arrange them in accordance with the principles upon which they are based. Some of the representations are almost witty. They give one the impression that one would have never guessed their meaning if the dreamer himself had not succeeded in explaining it.
1. A man dreams that he is asked for a name, which, however, he cannot recall. He himself explains that this means: 'I shouldn't dream of it.'
2. A female patient relates a dream in which all the persons concerned were singularly large. 'That means,' she adds, 'that it must deal with an episode of my early childhood, for at that time all grown-up people naturally seemed to me immensely large.' She herself did not appear in the dream.
The transposition into childhood is expressed differently in other dreams -- by the translation of time into space. One sees persons and scenes as though at a great distance, at the end of a long road, or as though one were looking at them through the wrong end of a pair of opera-glasses.
3. A man who in waking life shows an inclination to employ abstract and indefinite expressions, but who otherwise has his wits about him, dreams, in a certain connection, that he reaches a railway station just as a train is coming in. But then the platform moves towards the train, which stands still; an absurd inversion of the real state of affairs. This detail, again, is nothing more than an indication to the effect that something else in the dream must be inverted. The analysis of the same dream leads to recollections of picture-books in which men were represented standing on their heads and walking on their hands.
4. The same dreamer, on another occasion, relates a short dream which almost recalls the technique of a rebus. His uncle gives him a kiss in an automobile. He immediately adds the interpretation, which would never have occurred to me: it means auto-erotism. In the waking state this might have been said in jest.
5. At a New Year's Eve dinner the host, the patriarch of the family, ushered in the New Year with a speech. One of his sons-in-law, a lawyer, was not inclined to take the old man seriously, especially when in the course of his speech he expressed himself as follows: 'When I open the ledger for the Old Year and glance at its pages I see everything on the asset side and nothing, thank the Lord, on the side of liability; all you children have been a great asset, none of you a liability.' On hearing this the young lawyer thought of X, his wife's brother, who was a cheat and a liar, and whom he had recently extricated from the entanglements of the law. That night, in a dream, he saw the New Year's celebration once more, and heard the speech, or rather saw it. Instead of speaking, the old man actually opened the ledger, and on the side marked 'assets' he saw his name amongst others, but on the other side, marked 'liability', there was the name of his brother-in-law, X. However, the word 'Liability' was changed into 'Lie-Ability', which he regarded as X.'s main characteristic.
6 A dreamer treats another person for a broken bone. The analysis shows that the fracture represents a broken marriage vow, etc.
7. In the dream-content the time of day often represents a certain period of the dreamer's childhood. Thus, for example, 5.15 a.m. means to one dreamer the age of five years and three months; when he was that age, a younger brother was born.
8. Another representation of age in a dream: A woman is walking with two little girls; there is a difference of fifteen months in their ages. The dreamer cannot think of any family of her acquaintance in which this is the case. She herself interprets it to mean that the two children represent her own person, and that the dream reminds her that the two traumatic events of her childhood were separated by this period of time (3½ and 4¾ years).
9. It is not astonishing that persons who are undergoing psychoanalytic treatment frequently dream of it, and are compelled to give expression in their dreams to all the thoughts and expectations aroused by it. The image chosen for the treatment is as a rule that of a journey, usually in a motorcar, this being a modern and complicated vehicle; in the reference to the speed of the car the patient's ironical humour is given free play. If the 'unconscious', as an element of waking thought, is to be represented in the dream, it is replaced, appropriately enough, by subterranean localities, which at other times, when there is no reference to analytic treatment, have represented the female body or the womb. Below in the dream very often refers to the genitals, and its opposite, above, to the face, mouth or breast. By wild beasts the dream-work usually symbolises passionate impulses; those of the dreamer, and also those of other persons of whom the dreamer is afraid; or thus, by means of a very slight displacement, the persons who experience these passions. From this it is not very far to the totemistic representation of the dreaded father by means of vicious animals, dogs, wild horses, etc. One might say that wild beasts serve to represent the libido, feared by the ego, and combated by repression. Even the neurosis itself, the sick person, is often separated from the dreamer and exhibited in the dream as an independent person.
One may go so far as to say that the dream-work makes use of all the means accessible to it for the visual representation of the dream-thoughts, whether these appear admissible or inadmissible to waking criticism, and thus exposes itself to the doubt as well as the derision of all those who have only hearsay knowledge of dream-interpretation, but have never themselves practised it. Stekel's book, Die Sprache des Traumes, is especially rich in such examples, but I avoid citing illustrations from this work as the author's lack of critical judgment and his arbitrary technique would make even the unprejudiced observer feel doubtful.
10. From an essay by V. Tausk (Kleider und Farben im Dienste der Traumdarstellung, in Interna. Zeitschr. für Ps.A. ii, 1914):
(a) A. dreams that he sees his former governess wearing a dress of black lustre, which fits closely over her buttocks. -- That means he declares this woman to be lustful.
(b) C. in a dream sees a girl on the road to X, bathed in a white light and wearing a white blouse.
The dreamer began an affair with a Miss White on this road.
11. In an analysis which I carried out in the French language I had to interpret a dream in which I appeared as an elephant. I naturally had to ask why I was thus represented. 'Vous me trompez', answered the dreamer (Trompe = trunk).
The dream-work often succeeds in representing very refractory material, such as proper names, by means of the forced exploitation of very remote relation. In one of my dreams old Brücke has set me a task. I make a preparation, and pick something out of it which looks like crumpled tinfoil. (I shall return to this dream later). The corresponding association, which is not easy to find, is stanniol, and now I know that I have in mind the name of the author Stannius, which appeared on the title-page of a treatise on the nervous system of fishes, which in my youth I regarded with reverence. The first scientific problem which my teacher set me did actually relate to the nervous system of a fish -- the Ammocoetes. Obviously, this name could not be utilised in the picture-puzzle.
Here I must not fail to include a dream with a curious content, which is worth noting also as the dream of a child, and which is readily explained by analysis. A lady tells me. 'I can remember that when I was a child I repeatedly dreamed that God wore a conical paper hat on His head. They often used to make me wear such a hat at table, so that I shouldn't be able to look at the plates of the other children and see how much they had received of any particular dish. Since I had heard that God was omniscient, the dream signified that I knew everything in spite of the hat which I was made to wear.'
What the dream-work consists in, and its unceremonious handling of its material, the dream-thoughts, may be shown in an instructive manner by the numbers and calculations which occur in dreams. Superstition, by the way, regards numbers as having a special significance in dreams. I shall therefore give a few examples of this kind from my collection.
1. From the dream of a lady, shortly before the end of her treatment:
She wants to pay for something or other; her daughter takes 3 florins 65 kreuzer from her purse; but the mother says: 'What are you doing? It costs only 21 kreuzer.' This fragment of the dream was intelligible without further explanation owing to my knowledge of the dreamer's circumstances. The lady was a foreigner, who had placed her daughter at school in Vienna, and was able to continue my treatment as long as her daughter remained in the city. In three weeks the daughter's scholastic year would end, and the treatment would then stop. On the day before the dream the principal of the school had asked her whether she could not decide to leave the child at school for another year. She had then obviously reflected that in this case she would be able to continue the treatment for another year. Now, this is what the dream refers to, for a year is equal to 365 days; the three weeks remaining before the end of the scholastic year, and of the treatment, are equivalent to 21 days (though not to so many hours of treatment). The numerals, which in the dream-thoughts refer to periods of time, are given money values in the dream, and simultaneously a deeper meaning finds expression -- for 'time is money'. 365 kreuzer, of course, are 3 florins 65 kreuzer. The smallness of the sums which appear in the dream is a self-evident wish-fulfilment; the wish has reduced both the cost of the treatment and the year's school fees.
2. In another dream the numerals are involved in even more complex relations. A young lady, who has been married for some years, learns that an acquaintance of hers, of about the same age, Elise L., has just become engaged. Thereupon she dreams: She is sitting in the theatre with her husband, and one side of the stalls is quite empty. Her husband tells her that Elise L. and her fiance had also wished to come to the theatre, but that they only could have obtained poor seats; three for 1 florin 50 kreuzer, and of course they could not take those. She thinks they didn't lose much, either.
What is the origin of the 1 florin 50 kreuzer? A really indifferent incident of the previous day. The dreamer's sister-in-law had received 150 florins as a present from her husband, and hastened to get rid of them by buying some jewelery. Let us note that 150 florins is 100 times 1 florin 50 kreuzer. But whence the 3 in connection with the seats in the theatre? There is only one association for this, namely, that the fiance is three months younger than herself. When we have ascertained the significance of the fact that one side of the stalls is empty we have the solution of the dream. This feature is an undisguised allusion to a little incident which had given her husband a good excuse for teasing her. She had decided to go to the theatre that week; she had been careful to obtain tickets a few days beforehand, and had had to pay the advance booking-fee. When they got to the theatre they found that one side of the house was almost empty; so that she certainly need not have been in such a hurry.
I shall now substitute the dream-thoughts for the dream: 'It surely was nonsense to marry so early; there was no need for my being in such a hurry. From Elise L.'s example I see that I should have got a husband just the same -- and one a hundred times better -- if I had only waited (antithesis to the haste of her sister-in-laws), I could have bought three such men for the money (the dowry)!' -- Our attention is drawn to the fact that the numerals in this dream have changed their meanings and their relations to a much greater extent than in the one previously considered. The transforming and distorting activity of the dream has in this case been greater -- a fact which we interpret as meaning that these dream-thoughts had to overcome an unusual degree of endo-psychic resistance before they attained to representation. And we must not overlook the fact that the dream contains an absurd element, namely, that two persons are expected to take three seats. It will throw some light on the question of the interpretation of absurdity in dreams if I remark that this absurd detail of the dream-content is intended to represent the most strongly emphasised of the dream-thoughts: 'It was nonsense to marry so early.' The figure 3, which occurs in a quite subordinate relation between the two persons compared (three months' difference in their ages), has thus been adroitly utilised to produce the idea of nonsense required by the dream. The reduction of the actual 150 florins to 1 florin 50 kreuzer corresponds to the dreamer's disparagement of her husband in her suppressed thoughts.
3. Another example displays the arithmetical powers of dreams, which have brought them into such disrepute. A man dreams: He is sitting in the B.s' house (the B.s are a family with which he was formerly acquainted), and he says: 'It was nonsense that you didn't give me Amy for my wife.' Thereupon, he asks the girl: 'How old are you?' Answer: 'I was born in 1882.' 'Ah, then you are 28 years old.'
Since the dream was dreamed in the year 1898, this is obviously bad arithmetic, and the inability of the dreamer to calculate may, if it cannot be otherwise explained, be likened to that of a general paralytic. My patient was one of those men who cannot help thinking about every woman they see. The patient who for some months came next after him in my consulting-room was a young lady; he met this lady after he had constantly asked about her, and he was very anxious to make a good impression on her. This was the lady whose age he estimated at 28. So much for explaining the result of his apparent calculation. But 1882 was the year in which he had married. He had been unable to refrain from entering into conversation with the two other women whom he met at my house -- the two by no means youthful maids who alternately opened the door to him -- and as he did not find them very responsive, he had told himself that they probably regarded him as elderly and 'serious'.
Bearing in mind these examples, and others of a similar nature (to follow), we may say: The dream-work does not calculate at all, whether correctly or incorrectly; it only strings together, in the form of a sum, numerals which occur in the dream-thoughts, and which may serve as allusions to material which is insusceptible of representation. It thus deals with figures, as material for expressing its intentions, just as it deals with all other concepts, and with names and speeches which are only verbal images.
For the dream-work cannot compose a new speech. No matter how many speeches and answers, which may in themselves be sensible or absurd, may occur in dreams, analysis always shows us that the dream has merely taken from the dream-thoughts fragments of speeches which have really been delivered or heard, and has dealt with them in the most arbitrary fashion. It has not only torn them from their context and mutilated them, accepting one fragment and rejecting another, but it has often fitted them together in a novel manner, so that the speech which seems coherent in dream is dissolved by analysis into three or four components. In this new application of the words the dream has often ignored the meaning which they had in the dream-thoughts, and has drawn an entirely new meaning from them. Upon closer inspection he more distinct and compact ingredients of the dream-speech may be distinguished from others, which serve as connectives, and have probably been supplied, just as we supply omitted letters and syllables in reading. The dream-speech thus has the structure of breccia, in which the larger pieces of various material are held together by a solidified cohesive medium.
Strictly speaking, of course, this description is correct only for those dream-speeches which have something of the sensory character of a speech, and are described as 'speeches'. The others, which have not, as it were, been perceived as heard or spoken (which have no accompanying acoustic or motor emphasis in the dream) are simply thoughts, such as occur in our waking life, and find their way unchanged into many of our dreams. Our reading, too, seems to provide an abundant and not easily traceable source for the indifferent speech-material of dreams. But anything that is at all conspicuous as a speech in a dream can be referred to actual speeches which have been made or heard by the dreamer.
We have already found examples of the derivation of such dream-speeches in the analyses of dreams which have been cited for other purposes. Thus, in the 'innocent market-dream' (pp. 86-7) where the speech: That is no longer to be had serves to identify me with the butcher, while a fragment of the other speech: I don't know that, I don't take that, precisely fulfils the task of rendering the dream innocent. On the previous day the dreamer, replying to some unreasonable demand on the part of her cook, had waved her aside with the words: I don't know that, behave yourself properly, and she afterwards took into the dream the first, indifferent sounding part of the speech in order to allude to the latter part, which fitted well into the fantasy underlying the dream, but which might also have betrayed it.
Here is one of many examples which all lead to the same conclusion:
A large courtyard in which dead bodies are being burned. The dreamer says, 'I'm going, I can't stand the sight of it.' (Not a distinct speech.) Then he meets two butcher boys and asks, 'Well, did it taste good?' And one of them answers, 'No, it wasn't good.' As though it had been human flesh.
The innocent occasion of this dream is as follows: After taking supper with his wife, the dreamer pays a visit to his worthy but by no means appetising neighbour. The hospitable old lady is just sitting down to her own supper, and presses him (among men a composite, sexually significant word is used jocosely in the place of this word) to taste it. He declines, saying that he has no appetite. She replies: 'Go on with you, you can manage it all right', or something of the kind. The dreamer is thus forced to taste and praise what is offered him. 'But that's good!' When he is alone again with his wife, he complains of his neighbour's importunity, and of the quality of the food which he has tasted. 'I can't stand the sight of it', a phrase that in the dream, too, does not emerge as an actual speech, is a thought relating to the physical charms of the lady who invites him, which may be translated by the statement that he has no desire to look at her.
The analysis of another dream -- which I will cite at this stage for the sake of a very distinct speech, which constitutes its nucleus, but which will be explained only when we come to evaluate the affects in dreams -- is more instructive. I dream very vividly: I have gone to Brücke's laboratory at night, and on hearing a gentle knocking at the door, I open it to (the deceased) Professor Fleischl, who enters in the company of several strangers, and after saying a few words sits down at his table. Then follows a second dream: My friend Fl. has come to Vienna, unobtrusively, in July; I meet him in the street, in conversation with my (deceased) friend P., and I go with them somewhere, and they sit down facing each other as though at a small table, while I sit facing them at the narrow end of the table. Fl. speaks of his sister, and says: 'In three-quarters of an hour she was dead,' and then something like 'That is the threshold.' As P. does not understand him, Fl. turns to me, and asks me how much I have told P. of his affairs. At this, overcome by strange emotions, I try to tell Fl. that P. (cannot possibly know anything, of course, because he) is not alive. But noticing the mistake myself, I say: 'Non vixit.' Then I look searchingly at P., and under my gaze he becomes pale and blurred, and his eyes turn a sickly blue and at last he dissolves. I rejoice greatly at this; I now understand that Ernst Fleischl, too, is only an apparition, a revenant, and I find that it is quite possible that such a person should exist only so long as one wishes him to, and that he can be made to disappear by the wish of another person.
This very pretty dream unites so many of the enigmatical characteristics of the dream-content -- the criticism made in the dream itself, inasmuch as I myself notice my mistake in saying Non vixit instead of Non vivit, the unconstrained intercourse with deceased persons, whom the dream itself declares to be dead, the absurdity of my conclusion, and the intense satisfaction which it gives me -- that 'I would give my life' to expound the complete solution of the problem. But in reality I am incapable of doing what I do in the dream, i.e. of sacrificing such intimate friends to my ambition. And if I attempted to disguise the facts, the true meaning of the dream, with which I am perfectly familiar, would be spoiled. I must therefore be content to select a few of the elements of the dream for interpretation, some here, and some at a later stage.
The scene in which I annihilate P. with a glance forms the centre of the dream. His eyes become strange and weirdly blue, and then he dissolves. This scene is an unmistakable imitation of a scene that was actually experienced. I was a demonstrator at the Physiological Institute; I was on duty in the morning, and Brücke learned that on several occasions I had been unpunctual in my attendance at the students' laboratory. One morning, therefore, he arrived at the hour of opening, and waited for me. What he said to me was brief and to the point; but it was not what he said that mattered. What overwhelmed me was the terrible gaze of his blue eyes, before which I melted away -- as P. does in the dream, for P. has exchanged roles with me, much to my relief. Anyone who remembers the eyes of the great master, which were wonderfully beautiful even in his old age, and has ever seen him angered, will readily imagine the emotions of the young transgressor on that occasion.
But for a long while I was unable to account for the Non vixit with which I pass sentence in the dream. Finally, I remembered that the reason why these two words were so distinct in the dream was not because they were heard or spoken, but because they were seen. Then I knew at once where they came from. On the pedestal of the statue of the Emperor Joseph in the Vienna Hofburg are inscribed the following beautiful words:
Saluti patriae vixit
non diu sed totus.
From this inscription I had taken what fitted one inimical train of thought in my dream-thoughts, and which was intended to mean: 'That fellow has nothing to say in the matter, he is not really alive.' And I now recalled that the dream was dreamed a few days after the unveiling of the memorial to Fleischl, in the cloisters of the University, upon which occasion I had once more seen the memorial to Brücke, and must have thought with regret (in the unconscious) how my gifted friend P., with all his devotion to science, had by his premature death forfeited his just claim to a memorial in these halls. So I set up this memorial to him in the dream; Josef is my friend P.'s baptismal name.
According to the rules of dream-interpretation, I should still not be justified in replacing non vivit, which I need, by non vixit, which is placed at my disposal by the recollection of the Kaiser Josef memorial. Some other element of the dream-thoughts must have contributed to make this possible. Something now calls my attention to the fact that in the dream scene two trains of thought relating to my friend P. meet, one hostile, the other affectionate -- the former on the surface, the latter covered up -- and both are given representation in the same words: non vixit. As my friend P. has deserved well of science, I erect a memorial to him; as he has been guilty of a malicious wish (expressed at the end of the dream), I annihilate him. I have here constructed a sentence with a special cadence, and in doing so I must have been influenced by some existing model. But where can I find a similar antithesis, a similar parallel between two opposite reactions to the same person, both of which can claim to be wholly justified, and which nevertheless do not attempt to affect one another? Only in one passage which, however, makes a profound impression upon the reader -- Brutus's speech of justification in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. 'As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him.' Have we not here the same verbal structure, and the same antithesis of thought, as in the dream-thoughts? So I am playing Brutus in my dream. If only I could find in my dream-thoughts another collateral connection to confirm this! I think it might be the following: 'My friend Fl. comes to Vienna in July.' This detail is not the case in reality. To my knowledge, my friend has never been in Vienna in July. But the month of July is named after Julius Caesar, and might therefore very well furnish the required allusion to the intermediate thought -- that I am playing the part of Brutus.
Strangely enough, I once did actually play the part of Brutus. When I was a boy of fourteen, I presented the scene between Brutus and Caesar in Schiller's poem to an audience of children: with the assistance of my nephew, who was a year older than I, and who had come to us from England -- and was thus a revenant -- for in him I recognise the playmate of my early childhood. Until the end of my third year we had been inseparable; we had loved each other and fought each other and, as I have already hinted, this childish relation has determined all my later feelings in my intercourse with persons of my own age. My nephew John has since then had many incarnations, which have revivified first one and then another aspect of a character that is ineradicably fixed in my unconscious memory. At times he must have treated me very badly, and I must have opposed my tyrant courageously, for in later years I was often told of a short speech in which I defended myself when my father -- his grandfather -- called me to account: 'Why did you hit John?' 'I hit him because he hit me.' It must be this childish scene which causes non vivit to become non vixit, for in the language of later childhood striking is known as wichsen (German: wichsen = to polish, to wax, i.e. to thrash); and the dream-work does not disdain to take advantage of such associations. My hostility towards my friend P., which has so little foundation in reality -- he was greatly my superior, and might therefore have been a new edition of my old playmate -- may certainly be traced to my complicated relations with John during our childhood. I shall, as I have said, return to this dream later on.
[Given by translator, as the author's example could not be translated.]
Reported by Brill in his Fundamental Conceptions of Psychoanalysis.
Analyses of other numerical dreams have been given by Jung, Marcinowski and others. Such dreams often involve very complicated arithmetical operations, which are none the less solved by the dreamer with astonishing confidence. Cf. also Ernest Jones, über unbewusste Zahlenbehandlung, Zentralb. für Psychoanalyse, 4, ii, 1912, p. 241). Neurosis behaves in the same fashion. I know a patient who -- involuntarily and unwillingly -- hears (hallucinates) songs or fragments of songs without being able to understand their significance for her psychic life. She is certainly not a paranoiac. Analysis shows that by exercising a certain licence she gave the text of these songs a false application. 'Oh, thou blissful one! Oh, thou happy one!' This is the first line of a Christmas carol, but by not continuing it to the word 'Christmastide', she turns it into a bridal song, etc. The same mechanism of distortion may operate, without hallucination, merely in association.
The inscription in fact reads: Saluti publicae vixit non diu sed totus. The motive of the mistake: patriae for publicae, has probably been correctly divined by Wittels.
As an example of over-determination: My excuse for coming late was that after working late into the night, in the morning I had to make the long journey from Kaiser-Josef-Strasse to Währinger Strasse.