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Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams, Chapter 6I

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I. THE SECONDARY ELABORATION

We will at last turn our attention to the fourth of the factors participating in dream-formation.

If we continue our investigation of the dream-content on the lines already laid down -- that is, by examining the origin in the dream-thoughts of conspicuous occurrences -- we come upon elements that can be explained only by making an entirely new assumption. I have in mind cases where one manifests astonishment, anger, or resistance in a dream, and that, too, in respect of part of the dream-content itself. Most of these impulses of criticism in dreams are not directed against the dream-content, but prove to be part of the dream-material, taken over and fittingly applied, as I have already shown by suitable examples. There are, however, criticisms of this sort which are not so derived: their correlatives cannot be found in the dream-material. What, for instance, is meant by the criticism not infrequent in dreams: 'After all, it's only a dream'? This is a genuine criticism of the dream, such as I might make if I were awake. Not infrequently it is only the prelude to waking; even oftener it is preceded by a painful feeling, which subsides when the actuality of the dream-state has been affirmed. The thought: 'After all, it's only a dream' in the dream itself has the same intention as it has on the stage on the lips of Offenbach's Belle Hélène; it seeks to minimise what has just been experienced, and to secure indulgence for what is to follow. It serves to lull to sleep a certain mental agency which at the given moment has every occasion to rouse itself and forbid the continuation of the dream, or the scene. But it is more convenient to go on sleeping and to tolerate the dream, 'because, after all, it's only a dream'. I imagine that the disparaging criticism: 'After all, it's only a dream,' appears in the dream at the moment when the censorship, which is never quite asleep, feels that it has been surprised by the already admitted dream. It is too late to suppress the dream, and the agency therefore meets with this remark the anxiety or painful emotion which rises into the dream. It is an expression of the esprit d'escalier on the part of the psychic censorship.

In this example we have incontestable proof that everything which the dream contains does not come from the dream-thoughts, but that a psychic function, which cannot be differentiated from our waking thoughts, may make contributions to the dream-content. The question arises, does this occur only in exceptional cases, or does the psychic agency which is otherwise active only as the censorship play a constant part in dream-formation?

One must decide unhesitatingly for the latter view. It is indisputable that the censoring agency, whose influence we have so far recognised only in the restrictions of and omissions in the dream-content, is likewise responsible for interpolations in and amplifications of this content. Often these interpolations are readily recognised; they are introduced with hesitation, prefaced by an 'as if'; they have no special vitality, of their own, and are constantly inserted at points where they may serve to connect two portions of the dream-content or create a continuity between two sections of the dream. They manifest less ability to adhere in the memory than do the genuine products of the dream-material; if the dream is forgotten, they are forgotten first, and I strongly suspect that our frequent complaint that although we have dreamed so much we have forgotten most of the dream, and have remembered only fragments, is explained by the immediate falling away of just these cementing thoughts. In a complete analysis these interpolations are often betrayed by the fact that no material is to be found for them in the dream-thoughts. But after careful examination I must describe this case as the less usual one; in most cases the interpolated thoughts can be traced to material in the dream-thoughts which can claim a place in the dream neither by its own merits nor by way of over-determination. Only in the most extreme cases does the psychic function in dream-formation which we are now considering rise to original creation; whenever possible it makes use of anything appropriate that it can find in the dream-material.

What distinguishes this part of the dream-work, and also betrays it, is its tendency. This function proceeds in a manner which the poet maliciously attributes to the philosopher: with its rags and tatters it stops up the breaches in the structure of the dream. The result of its efforts is that the dream loses the appearance of absurdity and incoherence, and approaches the pattern of an intelligible experience. But the effort is not always crowned with complete success. Thus, dreams occur which may, upon superficial examination, seem faultlessly logical and correct; they start from a possible situation, continue it by means of consistent changes, and bring it -- although this is rare -- to a not unnatural conclusion. These dreams have been subjected to the most searching elaboration by a psychic function similar to our waking thought; they seem to have a meaning, but this meaning is very far removed from the real meaning of the dream. If we analyse them, we are convinced that the secondary elaboration has handled the material with the greatest freedom, and has retained as little as possible of its proper relations. These are the dreams which have, so to speak, already been once interpreted before we subject them to waking interpretation. In other dreams this tendentious elaboration has succeeded only up to a point; up to this point consistency seems to prevail, but then the dream becomes nonsensical or confused; but perhaps before it concludes it may once more rise to a semblance of rationality. In yet other dreams the elaboration has failed completely; we find ourselves helpless, confronted with a senseless mass of fragmentary contents.

I do not wish to deny to this fourth dream-forming power, which will soon become familiar to us -- it is in reality the only one of the four dream-creating factors which is familiar to us in other connections -- I do not wish to deny to this fourth factor the faculty of creatively making new contributions to our dreams. But its influence is certainly exerted, like that of the other factors, mainly in the preference and selection of psychic material already formed in the dream-thoughts. Now there is a case where it is to a great extent spared the work of building, as it were, a facade to the dream by the fact that such a structure, only waiting to be used, already exists in the material of the dream-thoughts. I am accustomed to describe the element of the dream-thoughts which I have in mind as 'fantasy'; I shall perhaps avoid misunderstanding if I at once point to the daydream as an analogy in waking life.[1] The part played by this element in our psychic life has not yet been fully recognised and revealed by psychiatrists; though M. Benedikt has, it seems to me, made a highly promising beginning. Yet the significance of the daydream has not escaped the unerring insight of the poets; we are all familiar with the description of the daydreams of one of his subordinate characters which Alphonse Daudet has given us in his Nabab. The study of the psychoneuroses discloses the astonishing fact that these fantasies or daydreams are the immediate predecessors of symptoms of hysteria -- at least, of a great many of them; for hysterical symptoms are dependent not upon actual memories, but upon the fantasies built up on a basis of memories. The frequent occurrence of conscious day-fantasies brings these formations to our ken; but while some of these fantasies are conscious, there is a superabundance of unconscious fantasies, which must perforce remain unconscious on account of their content and their origin in repressed material. A more thorough examination of the character of these day-fantasies shows with what good reason the same name has been given to these formations as to the products of nocturnal thought -- dreams. They have essential features in common with nocturnal dreams; indeed, the investigation of daydreams might really have afforded the shortest and best approach to the understanding of nocturnal dreams.

Like dreams, they are wish-fulfilments; like dreams, they are largely based upon the impressions of childish experiences; like dreams, they obtain a certain indulgence from the censorship in respect of their creations. If we trace their formation, we becomes aware how the wish-motive which has been operative in their production has taken the material of which they are built, mixed it together, rearranged it, and fitted it together into a new whole. They bear very much the same relation to the childish memories to which they refer as many of the baroque palaces of Rome bear to the ancient ruins, whose hewn stones and columns have furnished the material for the structures built in the modern style.

In the 'secondary elaboration' of the dream-content which we have ascribed to our fourth dream-forming factor, we find once more the very same activity which is allowed to manifest itself, uninhibited by other influences, in the creation of daydreams. We may say, without further preliminaries, that this fourth factor of ours seeks to construct something like a daydream from the material which offers itself. But where such a daydream has already been constructed in the context of the dream-thoughts, this factor of the dream-work will prefer to take possession of it, and contrive that it gets into the dream-content. There are dreams that consist merely of the repetition of a day-fantasy, which has perhaps remained unconscious -- as, for instance, the boy's dream that he is riding in a war-chariot with the heroes of the Trojan war. In my 'Autodidasker' dream the second part of the dream at least is the faithful repetition of a day-fantasy -- harmless in itself -- of my dealings with Professor N. The fact that the exciting fantasy forms only a part of the dream, or that only a part of it finds its way into the dream-content, is due to the complexity of the conditions which the dream must satisfy at its genesis. On the whole, the fantasy is treated like any other component of the latent material: but it is often still recognisable as a whole in the dream. In my dreams there are often parts which are brought into prominence by their producing a different impression from that produced by the other parts. They seem to me to be in a state of flux, to be more coherent and at the same time more transient than other portions of the same dream. I know that these are unconscious fantasies which find their way into the context of the dream, but I have never yet succeeded in registering such a fantasy. For the rest, these fantasies, like all the other component parts of the dream-thoughts, are jumbled together, condensed, superimposed, and so on; but we find all the transitional stages, from the case in which they may constitute the dream-contrary or at least the dream-facade, unaltered, to the most contrary case, in which they are represented in the dream-content by only one of their elements, or by a remote allusion to such an element. The fate of the fantasies in the dream-thoughts is obviously determined by the advantages they can offer as against the claims of the censorship and the pressure of condensation.

In my choice of examples for dream-interpretation I have, as far as possible, avoided those dreams in which unconscious fantasies play a considerable part, because the introduction of this psychic element would have necessitated an extensive discussion of the psychology of unconscious thought. But even in this connection I cannot entirely avoid the 'fantasy', because it often finds its way into the dream complete, and still more often perceptibly glimmers through it. I might mention yet one more dream, which seems to be composed of two distinct and opposed fantasies, overlapping here and there, of which the first is superficial, while the second becomes, as it were, the interpretation of the first.[2]

The dream -- it is the only one of which I possess no careful notes -- is roughly to this effect: The dreamer -- a young unmarried man -- is sitting in his favourite inn, which is seen correctly; several persons come to fetch him, among them someone who wants to arrest him. He says to his table companions, 'I will pay later, I am coming back.' But they cry, smiling scornfully: 'We know all about that; that's what everybody says.' One guest calls after him: 'There goes another one.' He is then led to a small place where he finds a woman with a child in her arms. One of his escorts says: 'This is Herr Müller.' A commissioner or some other official is running through a bundle of tickets or papers, repeating Müller, Müller, Müller. At last the commissioner asks him a question, which he answers with a 'Yes.' He then takes a look at the woman, and notices that she has grown a large beard.

The two component parts are here easily separable. What is superficial is the fantasy of being arrested; this seems to be newly created by the dream-work. But behind it the fantasy of marriage is visible, and this material, on the other hand, has been slightly modified by the dream-work, and the features which may be common to the two fantasies appear with special distinctness, as in Galton's composite photographs. The promise of the young man, who is at present a bachelor, to return to his place at his accustomed table -- the scepticism of his drinking companions, made wise by their many experiences -- their calling after him: 'There goes (marries) another one' -- are all features easily susceptible of the other interpretation, as is the affirmative answer given to the official. Running through a bundle of papers and repeating the same name corresponds to a subordinate but easily recognised feature of the marriage ceremony -- the reading aloud of the congratulatory telegrams which have arrived at irregular intervals, and which, of course, are all addressed to the same name. In the personal appearance of the bride in this dream the marriage fantasy has even got the better of the arrest fantasy which screens it. The fact that this bride finally wears a beard I can explain from information received -- I had no opportunity of making an analysis. The dreamer had, on the previous day, been crossing the street with a friend who was just as hostile to marriage as himself, and had called his friend's attention to a beautiful brunette who was coming towards them. The friend had remarked: 'Yes, if only these women wouldn't get beards as they grow older, like their fathers.'

Of course, even in this dream there is no lack of elements with which the dream-distortion has done deep work. Thus, the speech, 'I will pay later', may have reference to the behaviour feared on the part of the father-in-law in the matter of a dowry. Obviously all sorts of misgivings are preventing the dreamer from surrendering himself with pleasure to the fantasy of marriage. One of these misgivings -- that with marriage he might lose his freedom -- has embodied itself in the transformation of a scene of arrest.

If we once more return to the thesis that the dream-work prefers to make use of a ready-made fantasy, instead of first creating one from the material of the dream-thoughts, we shall perhaps be able to solve one of the most interesting problems of the dream. I have related the dream of Maury, who is struck on the back of the neck by a small board, and wakes after a long dream -- a complete romance of the period of the French Revolution. Since the dream is produced in a coherent form, and completely fits the explanation of the waking stimulus, of whose occurrence the sleeper could have had no foreboding, only one assumption seems possible, namely, that the whole richly elaborated dream must have been composed and dreamed in the short interval of time between the falling of the board on Maury's cervical vertebrae and the waking induced by the blow. We should not venture to ascribe such rapidity to the mental operations of the waking state, so that we have to admit that the dream-work has the privilege of a remarkable acceleration of its issue.

To this conclusion, which rapidly became popular, more recent authors (Le Lorrain, Egger, and others) have opposed emphatic objections; some of them doubt the correctness of Maury's record of the dream, some seek to show that the rapidity of our mental operations in waking life is by no means inferior to that which we can, without reservation, ascribe to the mental operations in dreams. The discussion raises fundamental questions, which I do not think are at all near solution. But I must confess that Egger's objections, for example, to Maury's dream of the guillotine, do not impress me as convincing. I would suggest the following explanation of this dream: Is it so very improbable that Maury's dream may have represented a fantasy which had been preserved for years in his memory, in a completed state, and which was awakened -- I should like to say, alluded to -- at the moment when he became aware of the waking stimulus? The whole difficulty of composing so long a story, with all its details, in the exceedingly short space of time which is here at the dreamer's disposal then disappears; the story was already composed. If the board had struck Maury's neck when he was awake, there would perhaps have been time for the thought: 'Why, that's just like being guillotined.' But as he is struck by the board while asleep, the dream-work quickly utilises the incoming stimulus for the construction of a wish-fulfilment, as if it thought (this is to be taken quite figuratively): 'Here is a good opportunity to realise the wish-fantasy which I formed at such and such a time while I was reading.' It seems to me undeniable that this dream-romance is just such a one as a young man is wont to construct under the influence of exciting impressions. Who has not been fascinated -- above all, a Frenchman and a student of the history of civilisation -- by descriptions of the Reign of Terror, in which the aristocracy, men and women, the flower of the nation, showed that it was possible to die with a light heart, and preserved their ready wit and the refinement of their manners up to the moment of the last fateful summons? How tempting to fancy oneself in the midst of all this, as one of these young men who take leave of their ladies with a kiss of the hand, and fearlessly ascend the scaffold! Or perhaps ambition was the ruling motive of the fantasy -- the ambition to put oneself in the place of one of those powerful personalities who, by their sheer force of intellect and their fiery eloquence, ruled the city in which the heart of mankind was then beating so convulsively; who were impelled by their convictions to send thousands of human beings to their death, and were paving the way for the transformation of Europe; who, in the meantime, were not sure of their own heads, and might one day lay them under the knife of the guillotine, perhaps in the role of a Girondist or the hero Danton? The detail preserved in the memory of the dream, 'accompanied by an enormous crowd', seems to show that Maury's fantasy was an ambitious one of just this character.

But the fantasy prepared so long ago need not be experienced again in sleep; it is enough that it should be, so to speak, 'touched off'. What I mean is this: If a few notes are struck, and someone says, as in Don Juan: 'That is from Figaro's Wedding by Mozart', memories suddenly surge up within me, none of which I can recall to consciousness a moment later. The phrase serves as a point of irruption from which a complete whole is simultaneously put into a condition of stimulation. It may well be the same in unconscious thinking. Through the waking stimulus the psychic station is excited which gives access to the whole guillotine fantasy. This fantasy, however, is not run through in sleep, but only in the memory of the awakened sleeper. Upon waking, the sleeper remembers in detail the fantasy which was transferred as a whole into the dream. At the same time, he has no means of assuring himself that he is really remembering something which was dreamed. The same explanation -- namely, that one is dealing with finished fantasies which have been evoked as wholes by the waking stimulus -- may be applied to other dreams which are adapted to the waking stimulus -- for example, to Napoleon's dream of a battle before the explosion of a bomb. Among the dreams collected by Justine Tobowolska in her dissertation on the apparent duration of time in dreams,[3] I think the most corroborative is that related by Macario (1857) as having been dreamed by a playwright, Casimir Bonjour. Bonjour intended one evening to witness the first performance of one of his own plays, but he was so tired that he dozed off in his chair behind the scenes just as the curtain was rising. In his sleep he went through all the five acts of his play, and observed all the various signs of emotion which were manifested by the audience during each individual scene. At the close of the performance, to his great satisfaction, he heard his name called out amidst the most lively manifestations of applause. Suddenly he woke. He could hardly believe either his eyes or his ears; the performance had not gone beyond the first lines of the first scene; he could not have been asleep for more than two minutes. As for the dream, the running through the five acts of the play and the observing the attitude of the public towards each individual scene need not, we may venture to assert, have been something new, produced while the dreamer was asleep; it may have been a repetition of an already completed work of the fantasy. Tobowolska and other authors have emphasised a common characteristic of dreams that show an accelerated flow of ideas: namely, that they seem to be especially coherent, and not at all like other dreams, and that the dreamer's memory of them is summary rather than detailed. But these are precisely the characteristics which would necessarily be exhibited by ready-made fantasies touched off by the dream-work -- a conclusion which is not, of course, drawn by these authors. I do not mean to assert that all dreams due to a waking stimulus admit of this explanation, or that the problem of the accelerated flux of ideas in dreams is entirely disposed of in this manner.

And here we are forced to consider the relation of this secondary elaboration of the dream-content to the other factors of the dream-work. May not the procedure perhaps be as follows? The dream-forming factors, the efforts at condensation, the necessity of evading the censorship, and the regard for representability by the psychic means of the dream first of all create from the dream-material a provisional dream-content, which is subsequently modified until it satisfies as far as possible the exactions of a secondary agency. -- No, this is hardly probable. We must rather assume that the requirements of this agency constitute from the very first one of the conditions which the dream must satisfy, and that this condition, as well as the conditions of condensation, the opposing censorship, and representability, simultaneously influence, in an inductive and selective manner, the whole mass of material in the dream-thoughts. But of the four conditions necessary for dream-formation, the last recognised is that whose exactions appear to be least binding upon the dream. The following consideration makes it seem very probable that this psychic function, which undertakes the so-called secondary elaboration of the dream-content, is identical with the work of our waking thought: Our waking (preconscious) thought behaves towards any given perceptual material precisely as the function in question behaves towards the dream-content. It is natural to our waking thought to create order in such material, to construct relations, and to subject it to the requirements of an intelligible coherence. Indeed, we go rather too far in this respect; the tricks of conjurers befool us by taking advantage of this intellectual habit of ours. In the effort to combine in an intelligible manner the sensory impressions which present themselves we often commit the most curious mistakes, and even distort the truth of the material before us. The proofs of this fact are so familiar that we need not give them further consideration here. We overlook errors which make nonsense of a printed page because we imagine the proper words. The editor of a widely read French journal is said to have made a bet that he could print the words 'from in front' or 'from behind' in every sentence of a long article without any of his readers noticing it. He won his bet. Years ago I came across a comical example of false association in a newspaper. After the session of the French Chamber in which Dupuy quelled the panic, caused by the explosion of a bomb thrown by an anarchist, with the courageous words, 'La séance continue', the visitors in the gallery were asked to testify as to their impressions of the outrage. Among them were two provincials. One of these said that immediately after the end of a speech he had heard a detonation, but that he had thought that it was the parliamentary custom to fire a shot whenever a speaker had finished. The other, who had apparently already listened to several speakers, had got hold of the same idea, but with this variation, that he supposed the shooting to be a sign of appreciation following a specially successful speech.

Thus, the psychic agency which approaches the dream-content with the demand that it must be intelligible, which subjects it to a first interpretation, and in doing so leads to the complete misunderstanding of it, is none other than our normal thought. In our interpretation the rule will be, in every case, to disregard the apparent coherence of the dream as being of suspicious origin and, whether the elements are confused or clear, to follow the same regressive path to the dream-material.

At the same time, we note those factors upon which the above-mentioned (p. 211) scale of quality in dreams -- from confusion to clearness -- is essentially dependent. Those parts of the dream seem to us clear in which the secondary elaboration has been able to accomplish something; those seem confused where the powers of this performance have failed. Since the confused parts of the dream are often likewise those which are less vividly presented, we may conclude that the secondary dream-work is responsible also for a contribution to the plastic intensity of the individual dream-structures.

If I seek an object of comparison for the definitive formation of the dream, as it manifests itself with the assistance of normal thinking, I can think of none better than those mysterious inscriptions with which Die Fliegende Blätter has so long amused its readers. In a certain sentence which, for the sake of contrast, is in dialect, and whose significance is as scurrilous as possible, the reader is led to expect a Latin inscription. For this purpose the letters of the words are taken out of their syllabic groupings, and are rearranged. Here and there a genuine Latin word results; at other points, on the assumption that letters have been obliterated by weathering, or omitted, we allow ourselves to be deluded about the significance of certain isolated and meaningless letters. If we do not wish to be fooled we must give up looking for an inscription, must take the letters as they stand, and combine them, disregarding their arrangement, into words of our mother tongue.

The secondary elaboration is that factor of the dream-work which has been observed by most of the writers on dreams, and whose importance has been duly appreciated. Havelock Ellis gives an amusing allegorical description of its performances: 'As a matter of fact, we might even imagine the sleeping consciousness as saying to itself: ''Here comes our master, Waking Consciousness, who attaches such mighty importance to reason and logic and so forth. Quick! gather things up, put them in order -- any order will do -- before he enters to take possession.'' '[4]

The identity of this mode of operation with that of waking thought is very clearly stated by Delacroix in his Sur la structure logique du rêve (p. 526): 'Cette fonction d'interpretation n'est pas particuliëre au rêve; c'est le même travail de coordination logique que nous faisons sur nos sensations pendant la veille.'

J. Sully is of the same opinion; and so is Tobowolska: 'Sur ces successions incohèrentes d'hallucinations, l'esprit s'efforce de faire le même travail de coordination logique qu'il fait pendant la veille sur les sensations. Il relie entre elles par un lien imaginaire toutes ces images dècousues et bouche les ècarts trop grands qui se trouvaient entre elles' (p. 93).

Some authors maintain that this ordering and interpreting activity begins even in the dream and is continued in the waking state. Thus Paulhan (p. 547): 'Cependant j'ai souvent pensè qu'il pouvait y avoir une certain dèformation, ou plutôt reformation du rêve dans le souvenir . . . La tendence systématisante de l'imagination pourrait fort bien achever après le réveil ce qu'elle a ébauché pendant le sommeil. De la sorte, la rapidité réelle de la pensée serait augmentée en apparence par les perfectionnements dûs à l'imagination éveillée.'

Leroy and Tobowolska (p. 592): 'Dans le rêve, au contraire, I'interprétation et la coordination se font non seulement à l'aide des données du rêve, mais encore à l'aide de celles de la veille . . .'

It was therefore inevitable that this one recognised factor of dream-formation should be over-estimated, so that the whole process of creating the dream was attributed to it. This creative work was supposed to be accomplished at the moment of waking, as was assumed by Goblot, and with deeper conviction by Foucault, who attributed to waking thought the faculty of creating the dream out of the thoughts which emerged in sleep.

In respect to this conception Leroy and Tobowolska express themselves as follows: 'On a cru pouvoir placer le rêve au moment du reveil et ils ont attribué à la pensée de la veille la fonction de construire le rêve avec les images présentes dans la pensée du sommeil.'

To this estimate of the secondary elaboration I will add the one fresh contribution to the dream-work which has been indicated by the sensitive observations of H. Silberer. Silberer has caught the transformation of thoughts into images in flagranti, by forcing himself to accomplish intellectual work while in a state of fatigue and somnolence. The elaborated thought vanished, and in its place there appeared a vision which proved to be a substitute for -- usually abstract -- thoughts. In these experiments it so happened that the emerging image, which may be regarded as a dream-element, represented something other than the thoughts which were waiting for elaboration: namely, the exhaustion itself, the difficulty or distress involved in this work; that is, the subjective state and the manner of functioning of the person exerting himself rather than the object of his exertions. Silberer called this case, which in him occurred quite often, the 'functional phenomenon', in contradistinction to the 'material phenomenon' which he expected.

For example: one afternoon I am lying, extremely sleepy, on my sofa, but I nevertheless force myself to consider a philosophical problem. I endeavour to compare the views of Kant and Schopenhauer concerning time. Owing to my somnolence I do not succeed in holding on to both trains of thought, which would have been necessary for the purposes of comparison. After several vain efforts, I once more exert all my will-power to formulate for myself the Kantian deduction in order to apply it to Schopenhauer's statement of the problem. Thereupon, I directed my attention to the latter, but when I tried to return to Kant, I found that he had again escaped me, and I tried in vain to fetch him back. And now this fruitless endeavour to rediscover the Kantian documents mislaid somewhere in my head suddenly presented itself, my eyes being closed, as in a dream-image, in the form of a visible, plastic symbol: I demand information of a grumpy secretary, who, bent over a desk, does not allow my urgency to disturb him; half straightening himself, he gives me a look of angry refusal.[5]

Other examples, which relate to the fluctuation between sleep and waking:

Example 2 -- Conditions: Morning, while awaking. While to a certain extent asleep (crepuscular state), thinking over a previous dream, in a way repeating and finishing it, I feel myself drawing nearer to the waking state, yet I wish to remain in the crepuscular state.

Scene: I am stepping with one foot over a stream, but I at once pull it back again and resolve to remain on this side.[6]

Example 6 -- Conditions the same as in Example 4 (he wishes to remain in bed a little longer without oversleeping). I wish to indulge in a little longer sleep.

Scene: I am saying goodbye to somebody, and I agree to meet him (or her) again before long.

I will now proceed to summarise this long disquisition on the dream-work. We were confronted by the question whether in dream-formation the psyche exerts all its faculties to their full extent, without inhibition, or only a fraction of them, which are restricted in their action. Our investigations lead us to reject such a statement of the problem as wholly inadequate in the circumstances. But if, in our answer, we are to remain on the ground upon which the question forces us, we must assent to two conceptions which are apparently opposed and mutually exclusive. The psychic activity in dream-formation resolves itself into two achievements: the production of the dream-thoughts and the transformation of these into the dream-content. The dream-thoughts are perfectly accurate, and are formed with all the psychic profusion of which we are capable; they belong to the thoughts which have not become conscious, from which our conscious thoughts also result by means of a certain transposition. There is doubtless much in them that is worth knowing, and also mysterious, but these problems have no particular relation to our dreams, and cannot claim to be treated under the head of dream-problems.[7] On the other hand we have the process which changes the unconscious thoughts into the dream-content, which is peculiar to the dream-life and characteristic of it. Now, this peculiar dream-work is much farther removed from the pattern of waking thought than has been supposed by even the most decided depreciators of the psychic activity in dream-formation. It is not so much that it is more negligent, more incorrect, more forgetful, more incomplete than waking thought; it is something altogether different, qualitatively, from waking thought, and cannot therefore be compared with it. It does not think, calculate, or judge at all, but limits itself to the work of transformation. It may be exhaustively described if we do not lose sight of the conditions which its product must satisfy. This product, the dream, has above all to be withdrawn from the censorship, and to this end the dream-work makes use of the displacement of psychic intensities, even to the transvaluation of all psychic values; thoughts must be exclusively or predominantly reproduced in the material of visual and acoustic memory-traces, and from this requirement there proceeds the regard of the dream-work for representability, which it satisfies by fresh displacements. Greater intensities have (probably) to be produced than are at the disposal of the night dream-thoughts, and this purpose is served by the extensive condensation to which the constituents of the dream-thoughts are subjected. Little attention is paid to the logical relations of the thought-material; they ultimately find a veiled representation in the formal peculiarities of the dream. The affects of the dream-thoughts undergo slighter alterations than their conceptual content. As a rule, they are suppressed; where they are preserved, they are freed from the concepts and combined in accordance with their similarity. Only one part of the dream-work -- the revision, variable in amount, which is effected by the partially awakened conscious thought -- is at all consistent with the conception which the writers on the subject have endeavoured to extend to the whole performance of dream-formation.

[1]Rêve, petit roman = daydream, story.

[2]I have analysed an excellent example of a dream of this kind, having its origin in the stratification of several fantasies, in the Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria (Collected Papers, vol. iii). I undervalued the significance of such fantasies for dream-formation as long as I was working principally on my own dreams, which were rarely based upon daydreams but most frequently upon discussions and mental conflicts. With other persons it is often much easier to prove the complete analogy between the nocturnal dream and the daydream. In hysterical patients an attack may often be replaced by a dream; it is then obvious that the daydream fantasy is the first step for both these psychic formations.

[3]Etude sur les illusions de temps dans les rêves du sommeil normal, 1900, p. 53.

[4]The World of Dreamstituting for the manifes

[5]dr am its meaning as

[6]fou d by interpretat

[7]on, many of them are guilty of another mistake, to which they adhere just as stubb rnly. They look for the essence of the dream in this latent content, and thereby overlook the distinction between latent dream-thoughts and the dream-work. The dream is fundamentally nothing more than a special form of our thinking, which is made possible by the conditions of the sleeping state. It is the dream-work which prostituting for the manifest dream its meaning as found by interpretation, many of them are guilty of another mistake, to which they adhere just as stubbornly. They look for the essence of the dream in this latent content, and thereby overlook the distinction between latent dream-thoughts and the dream-work. The dream is fundamentally nothing more than a special form of our thinking, which is made possible by the conditions of the sleeping state. It is the dream-work which produces this form, and it alone is the essence of dreaming -- the only explanation of its singularity. I say this in order to correct the reader's judgment of the notorious 'prospective tendency' of dreams. That the dream should concern itself with efforts to perform the tasks with which our psychic life is confronted is no more remarkable than that our conscious waking life should so concern itself, and I will only add that this work may be done also in the preconscious, a fact already familiar to us.


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