The Interpretation of Dreams II
BY JAMES HOLLIS, PHD
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Please re-enter recipient e-mail address es. Adamic shamelessness, the somewhat later almost intoxicating effect of getting undressed, The Emporer's New Clothes SE 4, , "the imposter is the dream and the Emporer is the dreamer himself".
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One of my patients has a conscious memory of a scene in his eighth year, when at bedtime he wanted to dance into the next room where his little sister slept, dressed in his nightshirt, but was prevented by his nurse pb. Note that the emotional content, or lack thereof, is the key to whether we take the manifest image to be less, or more, displaced. Freud anticipates at this point rebellious feelings in "all my readers and any others who have experienced similar dreams":.
They may also be wishes of the past which have been abandoned, overlaid and repressed, and to which we have to attribute some kind of continued existence only because of their emergence in a dream. They are not dead in our sense of the word but only like the shades of the Odyssey, which awoke to some sort of life as soon as they had tasted blood.
The Interpretation Of Dreams Summary
SE 4, [pb. B: Regression re memories "eager for revival," pb. Immediately following this powerful and disturbing phrase Freud refers back to the mother's dream of the death of her year-old daughter reported p.
Hostile feelings toward brothers and sisters must be far more frequent in childhood than the unseeing eye of the adult observer can perceive. SE 4, The following 20 pages summarize Freud's views on intra-family tensions, including his prototypical discussions of Oedipus and Hamlet. Freud quotes more fully pb. Each manifest dream element is shown by interpretation to be a condensed, metaphorical expression of several unconscious dream thoughts.
Freud assumes that by condensing several meanings into one image the dream-work is able to overcome censorship, as if several physical force vectors were added. If the dream thought were directly or clearly represented, it would arouse resistence, even in the sleep-weakened ego. Each displaced link is too weak to arouse censorship, but when several of these are condensed into the same image they are strong enough to find expression in the dream.
Metaphor : Metonymy :: Condensation : Displacement. In order to be expressed in a dream, unconscious thoughts must be represented as sensory images. These are primarily visual. A dream-thought is unusable as long as it is expressed in an abstract form; but when once it has been transformed into pictorial language, contrasts and identifications of the kind which the dream-work requires, and which it creates if they are not already present, can be established more easily than before between the new form of expression and the remainder of the material underlying the dream.
Interpretation of Dreams and the Brain
This is so because in every language concrete terms, in consequence of the history of their development, are richer in associations than conceptual ones p. The only plausibly universal dream-symbols are those linked to inevitable human expreiences: birth, hunger, sexual arousal, rage. Other symbols, such as stair-cases, may be widely shared among those who have grown up in cultures where, e.
Perhaps the best documented of Freud's childhood personality traits, on the evidence of The Interpretation of Dreams , was his jealous rivalry with early perceived competitors for his parents' love. The richly over-determined character of this material is illustrated in his interpretation of his "Non Vixet" dream Freud, , pp. This dream has been explicated by Grinstein , pp. Of Freud's stance towards the ghostly images in the dream, Grinstein suggests:. The delight which Freud felt in the dream at being able to control the revenants and make them disappear appears to indicate his anxiety that these figures might indeed come back and punish him for his aggressive thoughts p.
It should be recalled that the Freud of the middle '90s was an explicitly epigenetic theorist. This is nowhere more clear than in the Fliess letters for [cf. He is here, it seems to me, developing a cognitive-maturational theory which underlies his subsequent clinical work Freud, [Dora], [RatMan] , and which remains important in his later metapsychological papers Freud, a, b, Freud's later excitement about tracing his patient "E"'s critical childhood events back to the first 24 months of life shows that the "abandonment" of the seduction theory three years previously had not lessoned his interest in the anamnesis Davis, More importantly, the material concerning "E.
Freud's ambivalent emotions concerning both Jacob's death and E. Freud's dream of being billed for hospital expenses someone has incurred in in his birthplace Freud, , SE 5, is the fourth of six "Absurd Dreams" presented. These dreams form a set with strongly overlapping associations see Grinstein, Freud himself draws attention to the most striking similarity among the dreams, the fact that they deal "by chance, as it may seem at first sight" with deceased fathers of the dreamer p.
Freud suggests that he will be offering "two or three" such dreams, and when he reaches the fourth example he notes, "Here is another dream about a dead father" p. Like other topical collections of dreams presented by Freud, these examples of absurdity constitute a set of related wishes and ambivalent unconscious thoughts; in this case having to do with filial relations, paternal death, and railway travel. The first of the dreams is that of a male patient whose father has died six years earlier, in which the dreamer sees his father lying in bed gravely injured following a train accident and is aware of the absurdity of this since the father is in fact already dead.
The second dream, which Freud suggests is "almost exactly similar" , p. Freud sees an indistinct picture of someone standing on chairs addressing the Reichstag, states that he remembered in the dream "how like Garibaldi [Jacob] had looked on his death-bed, and felt glad that that promise had come true" p.
The third dream is really a reference to a fragment of the "Count Thun" dream Freud has discussed previously, in which a cab driver protests that he cannot drive Freud along a railway line p. Freud's associations at this point focus on his own train travels and his frustrated plans to go to Italy, and he suggests that the "purpose" of the dream's introduction of an absurdity about train travel is to allude-via a pun on " Vorfahren " "drive up" and "ancestry" -to the value of progeny.
A dream is made absurd, then, if a judgment that something 'is absurd' is among the dream-thoughts-that is to say, if any one of the dreamer's unconscious trains of thought has criticism or ridicule as its motive. Absurdity is accordingly one of the methods by which the dream-work represents a contradiction-alongside such other methods as the reversal in the dream-content of some material relation in the dream-thoughts [p. Absurdity in a dream, however, is not to be translated by a simple 'no'; it is intended to reproduce the mood of the dream-thoughts, which combines derision or laughter with the contradiction.
It is only with such an aim in view that the dream-work produces anything ridiculous.
The Interpretation of Dreams
Here once again it is giving a manifest form to a portion of the latent content. The fourth dream is then presented with the prefatory comment linking it to the theme of dead fathers. Freud seems to express in this dream both his ambivalent emotions following Jacob's death and repressed material from his early Freiberg years see Schur, , pp.
I received a communication from the town council of my birthplace concerning the fees due for someone's maintenance in the hospital in the year , which had been necessitated by an attack he had had in my house. I was amused by this since, in the first place, I was not yet alive in and, in the second place, my father, to whom it might have related, was already dead. I went to him in the next room, where he was lying in his bed, and told him about it. To my surprise, he recollected that in he had once got drunk and had had to be locked up or detained.
Freud, , SE 5, Freud offers here a dream in which a ghost speaks, a type of dream he cites repeatedly. Indeed, the famous "Irma" dream seems to have been chosen by Freud as a less-satisfactory substitute for this suppressed and subsequently lost dream, requiring him to spread his argument among several dream-interpretations see Masson, , pp. The manifest content of the dream-Freud's legal respnsibility for something that occurred in the House of Freud before his birth, his consultation with his father about it, the surprise of learning that his father had a vice.
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To this dream of being billed for something his father did before he was born, and recognizing the absurdity of that as he dreamt it, Freud curiously associates the number five, that being the difference obscured by his suspicion it might really be four years between and Freud was neurotically preoccupied with death during these years, as most biographers have noted, and he was haunted by the belief that he would die by the age of The significance of these interlocked death fears and wishes underlies many of Freud's dreams during this period, and these in turn form the basic data of The Interpretation of Dreams.
Freud returns to the dream's number-play a few pages later in discussing "intellectual activity in dreams" and draws attention to the dream's pseudo-syllogistic character:. I asked: 'Did you get married soon after that? All of this was clothed in the form of a set of logical conclusions. My father had married in , immediately after his attack; I, of course, was the eldest of the family and had been born in ; Q.
Freud points out that of course each step of this "logical" conclusion can in fact be explained by latent dream thoughts. Five years is not long, either for "E. Five years was not enough for Freud to finish his medical studies, and he had to reassure himself that, "Even though you won't believe it because I've taken my time, I shall get through; I shall bring my medical training to a conclusion" , The other train of latent thought Freud ascribes to his dream's play with birth dates concerns enrollment at university when, Freud recalls, one had to give one's father's first name and, "we students assumed that the Hofrat drew conclusions from the first name of the father which could not always be drawn from that of the student himself" p.
Such conclusions of course included ethnicity and the possible fame of the father, and Freud acknowledges that he has speculated how much better his academic career would have gone had he been the son of someone like Meynert. Two of the paternal figures on whom Freud has vented a great deal of his Oedipal ambivalence, Josef Breuer and Theodor Meynert, are strongly associated to the dream, and through them a network of links is constructed to themes of "father"-"son" responsibility and criticism in matters of intoxication, courtship, and professional advancement.
The very silliness of pursuing so many conclusions from sums and differences of dates is also a determinant of the dream. Freud's mention of this is brief and back-handed: he consoles himself that although his speculations about the retention and later neurotic expression of traumatic influences from the very earliest period of a child's life seem absurd and are even parodied by patients to whom he has mentioned them , they are really correct p.
To which Schur asks, "But who used formulas of this kind? Wilhelm Fliess, of course, whose biorhythmic speculations are thereby questioned even as Freud defends his own psychosexual ones. The attack that Freud imagines is, he reports at the end of his discussion of the dream, that.
My discovery of the unexpected part played by their father in the earliest sexual impulses of female [ sic ] patients might well be expected to meet with a similar [critical] reception , p. Hence the dream points to criticism of both Wilhelm Fliess and Jacob Freud, the flawed intimate friend and the flawed paternal model. Freud's discussion of the billing dream also alludes to a major piece of his own family's drama: Jacob's marriage to "Rebecca" in The dream affirms a marriage for Jacob in , and assigns Freud's own birth to the year after "the year n question.
Like all the female figures in Freud's infancy, Rebecca's significance for him remains obscure. He apparently never named her in his correspondence and used the name on only one, highly significant occasion, when he announced to Fliess on September 21, that he no longer believed the seduction theory and suddenly recalled a Yiddish saying:. After summarizing Freud's network of associations connecting this dream to Jacob's apparent marriage to the mysterious "Rebekka" and to the son's worry about his own death, Schur quoted Freud's puzzling use of this Yiddish anecdote to illustrate his feelings about having abandoned the seduction theory and asked:.
Why just this joke at this time? Why a joke in which Freud identifies himself with a disgraced woman? And a joke, the punch-line of which contains the name of this mysterious second wife of his father? Schur, , p. A plausible answer to these related questions is that Freud puzzled in early childhood about where he fit into his complex and probably quite troubled family-Jacob was barely able to put food on the table some years, travelled a great deal when Freud was an infant, and apparently left Freiberg in disgrace in Freud may have imagined himself somehow the outgrowth of this mysterious and guilty union between his father and Rebecca.
As a child he seems to have sought enlightenment concerning this and other mysteries in the Bible stories, where Rebecca appears as the Caananite bride of Isaac, unjustly accused of fornication and destined to beget Jacob. His self-analysis had confronted Freud again with these infantile emotions.
That the mature Freud remained haunted by these questions helps to explain why his theorizing in the aftermath of the seduction theory focussed on early childhood dynamics. Note the sexual progression of the dream from 1 self-castration with the help of a woman , to 2 confrontation with powerful symbols of female sexual structures, to 3 fearful challenges to the potentials of his own physical progeny, i. The "crossing" pb. I [Secondary Revision] on "threshold symbolism" cf.
Silberer, : "The 'functional' phenomenon, 'the representation of a state instead of an object,' was observed by Silberer principally in the two conditions of falling asleep and waking up. It is by no means inconceivable or improbable that this threshold symbolism might throw light upon some elements in the middle of the texture of dreams--in places, for instance, where there is a question of oscillation in the depth of sleep and of an inclination to break off the dream.
Among the dreams which have been told to me by other people, there is one which has special claims on our attention at this point [i. It was told me by a woman patient who had herself heard it in a lecture on dreams: its actual source is still unknown to me. Its content made an impression on the lady, however, and she proceeded to 're-dream' it, that is, to repeat some of its elements in a dream of her own, so that, by taking it over in this way, she might express her agreement with it on one particular point.
This is a marvelously revealing passage: Freud has argued in Chapter 6 [SE5 pp. What we have described Three kinds of regression are thus to be distinguished: a topographical regression, in the sense of the schematic picture of the psy-systems which we have explained above; b temporal regression, in so far as what is in question is a harking back to older psychical structures; and c formal regression, where primitive methods of expression and representation take the place of the usual ones.
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All these three kinds of regression are, however, one at bottom and occur together as a rule; for what is older in time is more primitive in form and in psychical topography lies nearer to the perceptual end. Behind this childhood of the individual we are promised a picture of a phylogenetic childhood--a picture of the development of the human race, of which the individual's development is in fact an abbreviated recapitulation influenced by the chance circumstances of life. SE7, Fascinating last pair of sentences on getting used to the dark of the ucs.
Freud again takes up again difficulties with the insistence on wish-fulfillment as involved in all dreams, divides dream into two groups depending on whether the w-f is open or disguised. The sources of the wish the dream atempts to fulfill are 1 left over day wishes unsatisfied for "external reasons," 2 repudiated day wishes, and 3 supressed [unconscious] wishes emerging only active at night.
The first of these is Pcs. Asking rhetorically whether these three classes of wish are equally important for dream-formation, Freud offers the generalization that "a conscious wish can only become a dream-instigator if it succeeds in awakening an unconscious wish with the same tenor and in obtaining reinforcement from it" pb. Such unconscious wishes are indestructible, and always on the alert for possible expression by allying themselves with [pre-] conscious impulses. These immortal unconscious wishes-Freud compares them to the Titans weighed down by the mountains hurled on them by the victorious gods of Greek mythology-are infatile in origin, hence the corollary proposition that "a wish which is represented in a dream must be an infantile one".
The daytime wish as entrepreneur receives the support of the "unconscious" one as "capitalist. His discussion includes a summary of his own jaw injury as a child, to which he has alluded via the one-eyed doctor mentioned in Ch. Freud's discussion on the following pages is of boys fighting and of the consequences of pubertal masturbation. Freud reiterates the relationship between contemporary and archaic wishes in dream-formation, using the concept of "cathexis" Besetzung. The unconscious is the true psychical reality; in its innermost nature it is as much unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is as incompletely represented by the data of consciousness as is the external world by the communications of our sense organs.
Consciousness is now "only a sense-organ for the perception of psychical qualities" resembling the Pcpt. And the value of dreams for giving us knowlege of the future? There is of course no question of that. It would be truer to say instead that they give us knowledge of the past. Nevertheless the ancient belief that dreams foretell the future is not wholly devoid of truth. This hallucinatory effect simultaneously evokes both a scotoma—a visual distortion that commonly accompanies migraines and seizures—as well as the heat and light of the sun, introducing a dichotomy between sun and moon, day and night that develops over the course of the episode.
The real Anna was often catatonic and unresponsive by day, but expressive and articulate by night. Scenic transitions are one of the hardest aspects of directing in This creates a sense of seamlessness that also comports with the logic of dreams, in which symbolic or psychologically significant elements become pivots around which the entire world of the dream turns. When combined with the Mettle plugins, Sensorium was able to build the edits of every episode directly within Adobe Premiere.
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