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  • 8/13/2019 Maurice Nicoll - Dream Psychology


    Published by the Joint Committee of Henry Frowdeand Hodder

  • 8/13/2019 Maurice Nicoll - Dream Psychology






  • 8/13/2019 Maurice Nicoll - Dream Psychology




  • 8/13/2019 Maurice Nicoll - Dream Psychology


    PREFACEThe dream is so common an experience that it isnot surprising that the analytical spirit of thepresent age seeks to understand it. The genius ofHughlings Jackson, which has now begun to inspireEnglish neurologists, foresaw that the dream wasthe key of approach to many problems of psychiatry.In this country, in the early part of last century,many observers, such as Dr. John Abercrombie and,later, Dr. W. B. Carpenter, realized that the under-standing of dreams was closely linked with theinvestigation of mind. Frances Power Cobbe, inher article on Unconscious Cerebration in Mac-millan's Magazine (November 1870), pointed outthe myth-making tendency in dreams and gaveexamples which suggest that she was approachingthe theory of compensation in the psyche. Thedevelopment of theories of cerebral localisation,however, overwhelmed these tentative psychicalinvestigations, and psychiatrists and neurologistsbecame absorbed in anatomical considerations.To-day the position is altering slowly, and purelyanatomical research is falling into its proper per-

    spective. From the anatomical, through the physio-

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    vi PREFACElogical, the spirit of enquiry has come again tothe psychological. A vast field of psychologicalmedicine has opened out in which there are alreadyenough keenly conflicting opinions to show thatthere is intense vitality in this new region.

    Within the last few years the Ziirich school ofanalytical psychology under Dr. Jung has partedcompany with the Viennese school under ProfessorEreud, the pioneer of dream analysis. The outlookof the Swiss school differed so fundamentally fromthat of the Austrian school that disunion wasinevitable.

    In England and America many people are familiarwith the Freudian teachiugs. I shall feel justifiedin produciag this book if it enables its readers toregard the dream, in some degree, from Dr. Jung'sstandpoint, and I desire to place on record herethe debt that I owe personally to Dr. Jung.In the following pages I have attempted to pre-

    sent, as simply as possible, a view of dreams thatis not purely deterministic. Interpretation mustnecessarily be a personal matter, and therefore Icannot claim that all the views expressed in thisbook would be supported by the Swiss school.

    Maurice Nicoll.

    114 a Hasuiy Stbeet,London, W.

    March 1917.

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    The Problem op the NEtTBOTio . 7CHAPTER III

    Mental Backgeotjnd . . . .12CHAPTER IV

    Dbeams akd Cartoons .... 23CHAPTER V

    Interpretation ..... 34CHAPTER VI

    Compensation 55

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    CHAPTER VIIIUndeiucompensation .... 64

    CHAPTER IXFantasy and Rumoue . . . , 68

    CHAPTER XThe Unconsciotts Motive and Interest '. 75

    CHAPTER XIThe Control of Interest . . . 103

    CHAPTER XIIThe Growth of Interest . . .119CHAPTER XIII

    Complexes 131

    CHAPTER XIVExtroversion 138

  • 8/13/2019 Maurice Nicoll - Dream Psychology


  • 8/13/2019 Maurice Nicoll - Dream Psychology


  • 8/13/2019 Maurice Nicoll - Dream Psychology



    The dream arises somewhere out of the psyche,and appears as a highly complex and often brilliantand very dramatic structure, which no one in hiswaking senses could imagine to himself, save after avery laborious and prolonged effort. It would bea somewhat exhausting undertaking to guaranteeto supply dreams to a man who dreamt every night.But the tale of the dream is spun spontaneously andwithout effort. The spontaneity and ^effortlessnesspoint to the existence of a workshop wherein thetissue of the dream is woven. This part of thepsyche is called the unconscious mind. Withoutmuch discussion it is possible to understand thatthe dream is a very intimate product of the humanpsyche, and that the questions that surround itdemand, for their answer, a very intimate kindof investigation. The nature of these problemsis not a material one, and therefore not easy tounderstand. They cannot be looked at through


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    2 BEEAM PSYCHOLOGYa microscope. They are problems of marginaland unconscious psychology. They are concernedwith the attempt to push out into those shad-owy realms that surround consciousness, iu whicha kind of thought and feeling life exists but dimlyapparent to the busy man. He may experiencetheir influence in the personal and natural up-heavals that they bring about, but he remainsunconscious that they are really connected with him,and continues to look at life as it is represented bythe dispositions of interest in consciousness.The attempt to widen consciousness, to make

    accessible to it stimuli which hitherto it has ignored,is traceable in many fields other than medicapsychology. These attempts are the first gropingsafter the interpretation of an inward, slowly growingimpulse. So far some of its results in music, art,and literature, as well as in medicine, have beensufficiently odd. But the impulse remains un-affected by criticism.

    Outside medicine there is discernible an increasingtendency to look for the explanation of familiar andrecurrent experiences as much iq. the human psycheitself as in the material situation. A man may beunable to perform some tasksuch as the giving upof cigarette smokingand attribute the failure tosome objective, difficulty. But it is possible thatthe explanation may be found in some inner com-pulsion or hindrance which lies in the man's psycheitself. The problem then becomes an interior one.This shifting of the focus of blame from without to

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    THE PSYCHE 3the inner scene brings with it a new consciousness ofresponsibility. As of old, it finds that the solutionof suffering and difficulty does not simply lie in theamelioration of physical things, but in the under-standing of those forces which exist in every being,and upon which the ultimately decisive factor inpersonality rests, as a boat upon the sea. A neuroticpatient may attribute his condition to the house helives in, or to the climate, or to the food he eats,and think that if only these factors could be amehor-ated, he would be healthy. But until he realizesthat he carries the roots of his malady in his ownpsyche, until a new understanding of his malady anda new consciousness of responsibility shine in him,he will continue a neurotic and may ring the changesupon housej climate, and food to the end of his lifein vain.

    It is this lack of realization in the patient thatbecomes the problem of the physician. The neces-sities of the human psyche, the internal strains thatare set up by a wrong use of life, the damming backof energy owing to false attitudes, with its conse-quent deflection into abnormal channels, becomequestions that demand his closest attention. Forevery neurotic patient is an individual in whosedevelopment something has gone wrong in a par-ticular way, and it is the duty of the sincere physicianto find out how and when the mischief arose andwhy it still persists. There is no fixed rule. Itwould be a mistake to handle a man like WilliamBlake in the same way as a man like John Stuart

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    4 DEEAM PSYCHOLOGYMill. That seems evident. Their problems, asneurotics, would have differed. Thus every patienthas his special and peculiar problem. But the realproblem is never found wholly in consciousness.Although it is a very common view that the

    human psyche consists of static memory anddynamic consciousnessa layer of consciousness,as it were, superimposed upon a mechanism ofmemory^there are some familiar experiences thatmight well deepen and widen such a conception,and put the background of mind under suspicion.Parents may protect a little child with the utmostcare from the tales of foolish nursemaids and fromfairy-stories with tactless pictures, and therebyexpect that no terror will creep into the child's mind,nor nightmares. And they find that they do notsucceed. The goblins of the night spring out ofthe sleeping senses themselves, as apparitions olderthan the waking mind, as haunters older than thehaunted. They lie in the psyche itself. They are,as Lamb has called them, transcripts, types, whosearchetypes are in us, and eternal. And he asks howelse should the recital of that which we know in awaking sense to be false, come to affect us at aU ?This question of the appeal that things make is ofpeculiar importance. How, when we have notheory of mental background, can we possiblyapproach the question of appeal? A great manythings which are nonsense when viewed through,reason, make a powerful appeal. The appeal and itspower is not found to bear any relation to its com-

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    THE PSYCHE 5prehension by reason, unless a negative one. Theappeal is not rational. Fairy-stories grip the mind,but what they grip lies beyond consciousness. Wecannot explain, by simply studying what lies inconsciousness, why fairy-stories should exist at all.Why should we be interested in a frog that turnsinto a prince ? It is the same way with dreams. Aman experiences a dream that affects him strongly.He reconstructs it and retains it. The reconstruc-tive impulse may be so strong that he takes it to hisfriends, although he knows perfectly weU they willbe uninterested. And the dream probably seemsthe purest nonsense. He dreamed that his housewas on fire, or that he forged a cheque, or paintedthe finest picture in the world. Or he dreamed hewas changed into a frog.There is an anticipatory side that must be glanced

    at in this question of appeal. What common ob-servation has detected is summed up in the sayingthat coming events cast their shadows before them.That is putting the matter objectively. The sayingcan be put in another way i that which is about tobecome conscious influences the direction of interestin consciousness. It attracts and deflects it like anapproaching magnet. What is at first only vaguelyconnected with it makes an appeal ; then the moreclosely related ; until at last the appeal is replacedby the realization. You can see these early de-flections preceding most of the typical developmentsof life, long before the individual is aware of theirmeaning. But this is a subjective way of looking at

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    6 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYexperiences as if they were movements or displace-ments occurring within, from the realm of the un-conscious through the marginal into consciousness.It is only in this way that the anticipatory orprophetic element in dreams^historically the earhestto be recognizedis to be understood.At the present moment there are several schools

    of psychology concerned in the study of unconsciousactivities, and the analysis of dreams, and thetheories of their bearing on the individual are con-flicting. But it is possible to detect a basis ofgeneral agreement. The dream is regarded -asmaterial of the first importance in the investigationof the factors responsible for unusual states of mind,and all schools look at it as a typical product of theunconscious regions of the human psyche.

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    It is customary to think that functional nervousdisease is something unusual, and that is because itis associated in people's minds with palsies andconvulsive seizures and other dramatic forms. Butthat is only a small part of the picture. It is oneextreme ; and the other extreme is illustrated bythose quiet, undramatic disorders known as neuras-thenia, or psychasthenia, or nervous exhaustion.Between these two extremes we find an immensenumber of people who, while not incapacitated,are distinct variations from the normal. They donot call themselves neurotic, and quite rightly so,because it has become almost a term of abuse.People think that if no cause can be found in thebody to account for a man's illness, then he is play-ing some elaborate trick. They call him a neurotic.But if a keen and hard-working young surgeongradually begins to have an unreasonable fear of

    sharp instruments, if the idea grows in his mindthat he might do something sUly, or worse, with a


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    8 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYknife, what are we to think of his malady ? He iscertainly *a neurotic. He suffers from a psycho-neurosis.* Prom the physical point of view hemay be perfectly sound. And yet he is tormentedby these strange ideas to an extent which is diffi-cult for the outsider to realize.Now if we regard his neurosis with a shade ofcontempt, we are guilty of a singular lack of insight.For his neurosis clearly comes between him and hisambition. He does not desire his neurosis. Thereis nothing pleasing about it. One cannot imaginethat Kjng James willingly endured his tormentswhen he had to knight one of his subjects with thenaked sword. His feeling that he might stick itinto the kneeling figure was not a pleasure to him,for he had to close his eyes and have his handguided. And i we say that these ideas are silly,that they are absurd, grotesq^ue, fantastic, can wefor a moment suppose that we are helping thepatient ? He knows that they are siUy^fortunately^but yet he cannot escape from them. Howeverimpressively we teU him that the whole businessis pure imagination, and however large our feemay be for this advice, we do not cure him. He

    It was recognized in Charcot's time that neurotic symptomshave their origin in the psyche, and Janet showed that all thesymptoms that occurinhysteriacanbereproduced by suggestion.Therefore all neuroses^that is, physical disabilities that arisefrom causes in the psycheare p

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    THE PROBLEM OF THE NEUROTIC 9merely gives up seeking any help and fights asilent battle.Now when a man has an eruption on his bodywe do not necessarily seek for the cause in the

    eruption itself. We go beyond the rash and seekfor the cause in the blood-stream, or elsewhere inphysical background. If a man has an eruptionof grotesque ideas in consciousness, then we mightconsider that the causes are not to be found inconsciousness but in mental background. It is notonly abstract theory. The attitude of the neurotichimself supports it.When a neurotic patient sits down and relatesas exactly as he can what is the matter with him,he experiences a difficulty. The difficulty variesin proportion to the definition of the neurosisin the physical field. It may be totally unde-finable in physical terms. Or it may be easilydefinable in physical terms, but, when described,demands various additions that are non-physical.He may say that he fears to cross open spaces

    and that rather than walk across a square he wUlgo round its margins. He may say he is un-worthy to associate with his fellow-men ; or, thathe has an idea that he carries infection about withhim which will cause the death of other people.He may describe some ritual of elaborate wash-ing and disinfection ; or of some ceremonial bowingand gestures which he is compelled to carry out inorder to relieve his mind of some intolerable tension.But whatever form the neurosis may take, after

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    10 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYdescribing it, he shows a tendency to proceedfurther.The tendency produces the impression that there

    is always something left unsaid, although thepatient may have nothing clearly conscious in hismind at the time. When a man has pneumonia, orcancer, or a broken leg, whatever he says is final.It is as full a statement of the case as he can give.There is no impression of something being keptback, or something shadowy that seeks expressionfor which no words can be found. But what theneurotic says of his neurosis is never final, nor doesit produce that impression. It sounds like an in-troduction to something.To what is it an introduction ? It is possible toignore the sense of the unfinished, and straightway

    begin to prescribe and advise. But if this course isnot followed, and an attempt is made to explore thesituation and find out why the impression of some-thing unfinished is left in the mind, it leads in-evitably to a personal encounter. This cannot beotherwise, for there is only one path left open, andthat is the non-physical or mental. Every physicianknows the sharp dividing line between questionsthat deal with the body and those that deal with themind. It is easy enough to ask how long pain haslasted or when it is worst. But immediately thequestion impKcates personality, a tension arisessuddenly. The physician feels it before he puts thequestion. Some bracing of self precedes it. It iseasier sometimes not to ask it. It is less exhausting.

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    THE PROBLEM OF THE NEUROTIC 11If you proceed with the case, you find yourself askingquestions that have nothing to do with the etiologyof recognized organic disease. You find that youare beginning to gaze into the personality of theneurotic, though you may have no clear idea ofwhat you are looking for. If this course is persistedin, a check is soon reached. The patient gives nofurther information. To your questions he beginsto give contradictory answers, and the closer he ispressed, the more unsatisfactory are his replies. Itseems impossible to proceed any further. How else,save through the conscious mind of the patient, canhis personality be probed 1 At first sight it wouldseem that an unpenetrable barrier has been met.And yet the sense of something unfinished remains ;the sense that there is something still there, but outof reach^in the background of the mind.

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    There is a method of looking at personality adoptedinstinctively by all people. The story-teller, thetalker, the speaker, the witness^anybody, in fact,who dominates the moment^is regarded by themost innocent spectator from two absolutely distinctpoints of view. What he says, and what he re-members and adds as time passes, form one train ofinterest. But the way he speaks forms anotherand quite independent train of interest. Thewitness is quite conscious of what he says, but heis only partly conscious, or unconscious, of theway he says it. The practical value of this lies inthe fact that although people know that he may beunconscious, and readily accept the idea, yet hisunconscious gestures and mannerisms are regardedas being of as much importance as the stream ofwords issuing from his mouth. It is not perhapstoo much to say that often they are regarded as offar greater importance.What bearing has this on mental background ?It means that there is a natural tendency for


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    MENTAL BACKGROUND 13people to look behind the conscious levels andconscious processes for the whole understanding ofa man's actions. The eye instinctively focussesitseK as much on mental background as on mentalforeground, and in looking at mental backgroundit sees some kind of activity at work that eithercorroborates, or gives a denial to, the processesoccurring on mental foreground. How does thisactivity reveal itself ? It reveals itself in a greatnumber of small ways in a language that is difficultto describe and yet unmistakable in its meaning.It is a curious minute language of gestures, hesita-tions, attitudes, and changes in colour, voice, tone,and expression. It is a language that shines throughspeech itself. It is read by the kind of words used,by the emphasis, by the reiterations or avoidanceSiIt is a language that speaks in many other ways,some of which escape the power of words. Itspeculiarity is that it is understood by all humanbeings, and apparently to a greater or less extentby animals. The more finished a statesman ordiplomatist or man of the world is, the less easilycan the language be read. It is not the language ofconscious gesture. It is the language of unconsciousgesture. Perhaps it is the channel most used informing opinions of other people, and particularly isit the source of first impressions. Now this lan-guage, unconscious to the speaker, is read by thelistener unconsciously. Later on, by careful think-ing, some of its symbolism may be brought intoconsciousness, examined, and given an explanation,

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    14 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYbut that is not a common experiment, because itseems unnecessary. I have used the term syTn-bolism in describing this language. In this con-nection a symbol can be defined as latent meaning.Its meaning is latent only in relationship to theintellect, because it appeals immediately to generalintelligence. It is understood apart from the in-tellect. When the intellect is brought to bear on it,it requires to be unpicked and spread out. It isthus condensed as well as latent meaning.The language of unconscious gesture is a languageof condensed and latent meaning. But though con-densed and latent, its effect is very powerful. Letus take an example as an illustration. A man iscalled upon to propose somebody's health at apublic dinner, He makes a very adulatory speech,and then lifts his glass. His gesture is only partial.He raises his glass slowly, a little way off the table,and announces the toast. His action at once sug-gests a meaning. In spite of his words his en-thusiasm is reluctant. The action at once fashesthis meaning into every one present. That meaniagis grasped long before any conscious reasoning comesinto play. It may be designed 5 that is alwaysa possibility. But it may be quite unconscious.The man may clumsily upset his glass at themoment the toast oome ; the action produces asense of awkwardness. Something has occurredthat contradicts the outward spirit of the proceed-ings. It arouses a kind of suspicion. Or, to quotean actual occurrence, after an extremely friendly

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    MENTAL BACKGROUND 15speech the man raised an empty glass instead of aglass of wine. He discovered his mistake andapologized. Now the mistake and the apology leftbehind them a curious flavour. The man's actionsbelied his words. That is a common phrase, but itsums up the position accurately. All these gesturesare symbolisms. They are eloquent in themselves,but they convey meaning that is latent and con-densed, or to use a better term, they contain un-focussed meaning. If they are brought up into fullconscious examination they are capable of inter-pretation.

    Interpretation is the handling of symbolism bythe intellect. It is here that dififerences arise, be-cause every man interprets with some biaswhichmay be momentary or permanentin one directionor another. A friend will interpret the wineglasssymbolisms in a different manner from an enemy.A believer in the future of humanity will interpretthe signs of the timeswhich are symbolisms withprospective meaningin a happier light than abeliever in ancient tradition, who sees the goldenage in the past. Now these disparities are funda-mental, and are encountered whenever symbolismis under discussion. Focussed meaning covers acertain area which is reality. A bottle of ink or alamp or a jackal are things with a certain clear circleof focussed meaning within which no argumentoccurs. But the expression of a face, the con-figuration of the stars, a poem or a dream are thingsthat contain no clear circle of focussed meaning.

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    16 DEEAM PSYCHOLOGYTheir meaning is blurred or unfocussed. They arecapable of various interpretations, and thereforetend to belong to symbolisms rather than to realities.Naturally, if realities^that is, things with focussedmeaningare interrogated far enough, they lose theirdefinition and pass into symbols. If you pass outof the clear circle of focussed meaning, you pass intosymbolism. The reverse process^the passage fromlatent and blurred to clear and focussed meaninghas been the main trend of mental developmentrecently and has made' modern science and themachine age possible.In this way it becomes possible to recognize in

    some degree the relativity of symbolism, and therecognition is important because it has become apreoccupation of some people to attempt to drawa sharp line of division between symbols and realities.And at the same time it is possible to see how in-terpretation, or the process of focussing in conscious-ness some of the meaning latent in symbolism, isinfluenced by personal considerations. No one, forexample, supposes that a Jew looks on the symbolof the Cross in the same way as a Christian ; or thatin approaching symbolism in general he will ever seeeye to eye with the man who is not a Jew.

    DifEerences in mental background must degrade orrefine the interpretation. A man who is lacking insome typical human experience will never interpretin quite the same way as a man who is richer by it.Now we have so far considered mental backgroundin two aspects. In one, it seems responsible for a

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    MENTAL BACKGROUND 17certain language which we have called the languageof unconscious gesture. This is a language ofsymbolism. In the other, it is responsible fordifferences in the interpretation of these symbolisms,and symbolisms in general. What bearing has allthis upon dreams and the study of the neurotic ?

    It bears upon the problem of the neurotic directly,because the neurosis is a creation of the mind, likethe dream. It is something which arises spon-taneously, without apparent organic causes. Aman may suffer from morbid fear ; this is a kind ofemotional neurosis. His fear fastens on this or onthat, beyond his control. Or he may have a strangedominant impulse to do something grotesque thatis quite out of the tenor of his normal life ; this is akind of ideational neurosis. It is some uncontrolledforce in himself fastening on a bad or primitive idea.Or he may have some loss of function, a palsy, or aloss of sensation, or an inability to act or think orfeel, that is beyond remedy by conscious control.This is a kind of functional neurosis ; it cripplesefficiency. One can say that the neurosis alwayscripples efficiency, and efficiency is not to bemeasured in terms of action alone. It must includethe power of thought and feeling and instinct. limay mean nothing but a loss of the power of enjoy-ment. But this is a loss of efficiency as much as aparalysis affecting a leg or arm, or a cramp affectingthe hand.A man cannot sit down and manufacture aneurosis for himself straight away by taking thought.


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    18 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYHe cannot produce a functional paralysis by thinkingof it. The neurosis shapes itself. It reveals itselfas something beyond the region of conscious activity.Its growth is undetected and its appearance, likethe dream, may be one of dramatic suddenness. Orit may distract attention gradually, with a ceirtainsubtlety, vanishing for considerable periods, andthen reappearing with fuller insistence, in the sameway as some dreams gradually shape themselves,night after night, in a certain direction. It dis-tracts attention as something coming in upon theconscious field from without, something puzzlingand unthought-of . From what region does it come ?It must come out of mental background.The neurosis, then, can be regarded as a creation

    of mental background. This does not mean thatmental foreground, or consciousness, has nothing todo with its formation. We have seen that mentalbackground can be looked on as being responsiblefor the minute language of unconscious gesturewhich may contradict the processes occurring infull consciousness. The operations of mental back-ground are afEected by the operations of mentalforeground. If, then, the neurosis is a creation ofmental background, it does not follow that what isoccurring in mental foreground' never has anythingto do with its production. Mental foreground, bycausing mental background to react in certain ways,might theoretically be wholly responsible for thecreation of the neurosis. But the responsibilitywould not be a direct one.

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    MENTAL BACKGROUND 19The matter can be put into simple allegory.

    If a stern master quite unwittingly starves a ser-vant, and, by reason of his wretched state, theservant commits an act of violence and robbery, howdo we look on the master ? As with the neurotic,one feels in his presence a sense of bafflement. Whois responsible ? The act of violence, Kke the neu-rosis, has a complex origin, and one does not knowwhere to put the blame. It is a triangular problem.The problem of the neurotic is also triangular, andit can be compared to the problem of the master, theservant, and the act of violence. At one angle isthe fact of the neurosisa functional paralysis ofthe legs, let us say^and this can be likened to theact of violence. There is, at another angle, thestatement of the case, the patient's history andexplanations as given by himself, and this is thepoint of view of the uncomprehending master. Atthe third angle is the statement of the servant, andthis wiU not coincide with the master's account. Itwill contain much that the master was unconsciousof, and incapable of realizing.What is comparable to the statement of theservant in the problem of the neurotic ? When thephysician Ustens to the account of the patient'sillness, he has, like everyone else, two points of view.What the patient says forms one train of evidence.The manner in which it is said forms another. Inother words, the language of unconscious gesturegives him certain clues that the conscious estimateof the patient does not give. The patient says, for

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    20 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYexample, that he is by nature cahn, good-tempered,and broad-minded. Certain hasty gestures, facialcontractions, movements of the eyes, and phrasescontradict this statement. The patient is un-conscious of them. Now all this can be comparedto the statement of the servant who, owing to hismaster's ignorance, had been starved and finallydriven to an act of violence. It lies outside theconscious^the master'sestimate. It belongs, sofar as the patient is concerned, to the unconscious.But it does not belong to the unconscious in a staticor negative sense, but in a dynamic and positivesense. It is an independent activity of which thepatient is unaware. It is unconscious activity.The language of unconscious gesture is not the only

    indication of this activity. The man who takes up apencil in a fit of abstraction, and finds some timelater that he has drawn a curious pattern, whichseems meaningless, is influenced by it. It is only astep from this to automatic writing in which theactivities of the unconscious are led out in a definitedirection, or through a particularcerebralmechanism.The post-hypnotic states afford illustrations of howa suggestion, planted under conditions that are notthose of normal consciousness, affects the trend ofinterest in a manner that is somewhat comparableto the compulsion neurosis and also some of thevagaries of memory. A person while under hypnosisis given the suggestion that five minutes after hewakes up he will sneeze. He is roused, and fiveminutes laterthe pecuUar accuracy with which

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    MENTAL BACKGROUND 21the lapse of time is calculated does not belong toconscious estimation^his face is contorted and hesneezes. He may not always sneeze ; the initialcontortion may only show itself, in which casecompulsion is replaced by tendency. Now no onecan make himself sneeze without some external andsuitable stimulus, and a suggestion to that effect,given under normal circumstances, has no result.The sudden appearance of the impulse to sneezewhich arises, so far as the patient is concerned,apparently spontaneouslyand, as the physicianknows, without organic cause^is comparable to thesudden appearance in consciousness of the imperativeidea, or of forgotten events. The movements ofmemory constantly suggest the influence of activitiesbeyond consciousness, and the control of memory,like the control of the act of sneezing, does notbelong wholly to the conscious mind.But the particular product that demands some

    theory of unconscious activity for its explanationand the one that concerns us here, is the dream ; forit is by the study of this typical form of unconsciouselaboration that certain problems of the neuroticbecome apparent.

    Of what value is the dream when the problem ofthe neurotic is under consideration ?

    The value of the dream lies in the fact that it is atypical product related to that angle or aspect of theproblem of the neurotic which has been compared tothe statement of the servant. So far we have seenthat the language of unconscious gesture can be

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    22 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYregarded as parallel to the servant's case in theproblem of the master, servant, and the act ofviolence. This angle^the angle__Ql_]inooTiRciQusactivity^in the neurotic's problem cannot be' ap-proached directly. If the comparison is extended,let us suppose the servant were dumb and alsoilliterate. In that case he could give his evidence bygestures, and if he were something of an artist, hemight draw pictures as well to make his case clearer.Now these pictures would correspond to the dreamsthat are thrown up on the screen of perceptionduring sleep. The fact that these pictures were atfirst sight meaningless, or only vaguely suggestive,would not necessarily detract anything from theirvalue. A hasty observer might throw them asideafter the first glance. But that would arise out ofa disinclination to take the trouble to find out ifthe illiterate artist were not drawing after a specialfashion of his own.

    Moreover, if some complicated statement had tobe shown pictorially, the artist might be driven toemploy a complicated method which would requirea great deal of patient elucidation. In other words,he might have to draw a complicated cartoon, theinterpretation of which might be a matter of greatdifficulty. The dream, then, may contain valuablematerial, and like the servant's cartoon, it may havebehind it a definite motive.

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    To record an event by drawing the idea of it in yourmind is simple so long as the idea is simple. If theidea is that the king of Assyria smote a certain city,you have only to draw the city, and the king smitingit. But if the idea is that monarchical governmentis bad because it brings to an abnormal focus certainnecessary human passions that otherwise would re-main diffuse and harmless, how wiU you draw it ?Simple ideographs are useless ;, but there is a methodthat is used for depicting such ideas. It is themethod of the cartoon, whereby form and thoughtfind a plane of contact. The political cartoon ofthe week has some points in common with thedream. It is a product which is more or lessmeaningless save to a man who knows somethingof the political situation. It is a pictorial sym-bolism whose elements require a kind of inter-pretation, and it does not conform to the pattern ofreality entirely. It drops continually into symbols,and where it drops is at the point where meaningescapes the power of simple direct portrayal. It is


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    24 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYa mingling of focussed and unfooussed meaning, andby this mingling, according to the skill of the car-toonist, a significance results that requires a lengthyexplanation. It covers a wide area of thought. Itcontains a condensation of meaning, and we havealready seen that the language of unconsciousgesture is a language of symboliBms that containmeaning in a latent and condensed form.The idea concerning monarchical government

    could be rendered by this method. A king, with aburning glass focussed on Europe and the sun over-head with the name of his nation written across it,might, for example, form the main symbols of thecartoon. But what is apparent is that an immensenumber of ways offer themselves to the cartoonistwhen he seeks to portray abstract ideas. He is notgoverned by the laws of the ordinary artist. Hisonly limitation is the necessity of remaining reason-ably comprehensible.This limitation does not operate in the case of un-

    conscious activity, for even coherence is not typicalin the dream. Some conditions certainly favourcoherence. Times of great mental stress or moralconflict are frequently accompanied by vivid dream-ing and in a general way it might be said that vivid-ness and coherence in dreams go hand in hand. Butthis coherence is not relative to intelligibility, butis rather a coherence in the sequence of events,which are related to one another by a kind of natural-ness. But when they are reviewed in the morningthey present a clear, well-knit picture whiohj unlike

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    DEEAMS AND CARTOONS 25a cartoon, is unintelligible. It may profoundlyintrigue the fancy, but how is it possible to handle it ?

    If the analogy between the cartoon and the dreamis pursued, a possibility of handling the dream issuggested by a consideration of the way in which acartoon is approached. The cartoon is the result ofcircumstances affecting national life. To under-stand it, these circumstances must be known. Nowif it be said that dreams result from certain circum-stances affecting individual life, a prejudice must beexamined first before the larger issue of these cir-cumstances can be freely undertaken. For somepeople will say that the circumstances are wellknown, and that they consist in physical dis-turbances. A late supper, it may be contended,constitutes the circumstantial cause of much dream-ing, and that is as far as one need look for the wholetheory and explanation of dreams. The late-supperschool^that is, the school of physical causationdoes not, however, furnish a wholly satisfactoryargument. There is no doubt that late suppers andother disturbances of physical equilibrium provokedreaming ; but if you were to say that they con-stitute the explanation of dreaming you might aswell see in that recent shower of rain the wholeexplanation of that green tinge that now covers thedesert plain. It is simply an example of a commonconfusion in thinking. Either the activities thatunderlie dreams are intensified by certain physicaldisharmonies, or the awareness of dreaming is in-creased by some lowering of threshold value ; but

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    26 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYthe physical disharmonies do not, in themselves,explain the dream. They aot^ sensitizers. Thedeveloping solution that flows over^aT^Eotographioplate is not the explanation of the areas of light andshade that appear on the white surface. It merelyreveals what was already there, and what wasalready there depends on circumstances uncon-nected with the developer.-From what kind of circumstances, then, dodreams arise 1 In looking at a political cartoon, it

    is possible to imagine a great number of threads ofinterest, national, social, and personal, convergingon to it and determining its symbolism. Nowthough the dream is infinitely more complicatedthan the cartoon, it has in the same way behind itssymbolism a great number of converging threads ofinterest. This is very easily proved. The incidentsof most dreams cover certain episodes, places, andpeople that are quite familiar. These elements,brought together in an apparently haphazard wayin the dream, represent different threads of interest.Each one is, so to speak, a gateway that opensinto a long avenue of recollections, feelings, andthoughts.You dream that an acquaintance is sitting in

    your study wearing a khaki uniform. The acquaint-ance, your study, and the khaki uniform at onceform three separate threads of interest. The dreambrings these threads together for some reason. Adream, therefore, might be regarded as a patch-work pattern of interest. The formation of the

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    DEEAMS AND CARTOONS 27pattern differs from the dispositions of interest inconsciousness ; the acquaintance may never havebeen in your house ; he may never have worn auniform. Yet the dream, according to its peculiartendency, disposes these objects of interest in thisnew formation. It produces a new, and unthought-of, pattern, and this is a fact that people recognizeinstinctively when they say, in the presence of theunexpected or extraordinary event, that no onewould have ever dreamed it possible.The dream, then, seems to arise out of individual

    interests, in that its component parts are people,events, and places that are familiar, but its methodof combining these parts is distinctive and full ofsurprises. Looked at from this surface, it is a pro-cess that handles the individual's interests in anunexpected manner. Now what is unexpectedapproximates to what is not thought of, or notconscious. Therefore the dream is not only a pro-duct of unconscious activity in the sense that it iswoven by something beyond conscious effort, butit is also a presentation of interests in a form thathitherto was unexpected and unthought-of : andso unconscious to the individual. This point re-quires to be made plain, and for this purpose I willcite some dream examples.

    1. I was staying in a large hotel on the coast.The hotel is one that I had often seen from theoutside, but I have never lived there or even beeninside. I was rather perplexed to find that it wasreally a cathedral that had been adapted to accom-

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    28 DEEAM PSYCHOLOGYmodate guests, and was chilly and uncomfortable.The manager was a priest with an ascetic face, andhe carried a bell. The bell was the dinner-bellbelonging to my old home. He rang the bell atintervals, and then pointed to a tablet on the wall.Some Latin inscription was on it which remindedme of an incident of my early school-days - whenthe headmaster flung a book at me because I used,in translating gome passage, the term ' arable landinstead of something more poetical. Then I noticedthe priest had become rather like the headmaster.He took me by the arm and spoke earnestly to meand pointed to the tablet again. I saw now threeshining objects on it, like stars. These mergedinto one.In the dream it will be seen how an entirely un-

    expected and unthought-of pattern of interests isproduced. The new pattern is a presentation ofinterests in a form that was unthought-of, or un-conscious to the individual ; and it was woven byan activity of whose processes and machinery thedreamer was unconscious. It is worth while look-ing more closely at the dream. I have said that adream seems to arise out of individual interestsand that its component parts are familiar. Thisapplies to the larger part of the majority of dreams.But there are sometimes curious and unfamiliarcombinations, such as the three shining objects inthe above example, and these link up with familiarinterests only with difficulty. Like the new wordsthat so often crop up in dreams, they constitute a

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    DREAMS AND CARTOONS 29kind of ideational neoplasm. Sometimes they arebeyond solution. At other timesas in this case^there are certain hints surrounding them, thatset up a train of interest, and so establish somemental relationships.Now this dream, although so many interests seemconfused and compressed in it, maintains out-wardly a sort of coherence which we may compareto the outer form of the cartoon. And like thecartoon it has a certain neatness in its manner ofsymbolism. A bell in the hands of the priest isnot unnatural. The dream adds to its significanceby making it the dinner-bell belonging to thedreamer's old home.By means of the tablet on the wall with its sug-gestion of a Latin inscription, a channel of interestis opened up reaching to schooldays, and this isthen reinforced by a likeness to the headmasterbecoming visible in the priest's face. There is alsoa kind of theme, based on contrasts, running throughit. This is indicated at the opening by the fusionof the hotel with the cathedral. It is again suggestedby the fact that the priest carries a dinner-bell.The hotel and the dinner-bell form natural associa-tions, on one side, while the cathedral and thepriest are related on the other side. The Latininscription is associated by the dreamer with acertain failure to rise to an occasion in the past, afailure to translate a passage in sufficiently poeticallanguage. This inscription is afterwards replacedby three shining stars, a symbolism that need not

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    30 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYbe discussed here, and they are pointed out by thepriest-schoolmaster in an earnest manner.

    In the dream, which I have given in the wordsof the dreamer, there are certain parts which makethe dream and certain parts which belong to thedream as after-thoughts, or associations, and thewhole constitutes the record as turned out bythe memory. It is only natural, from what we haveseen, that fringes of association should be addedto the actual material of the dream, since thematerial is made up of individual interests andthese ramify endlessly. But if an attempt is madeto investigate the above dream more closely, amethod now reveals itself. It is the method ofassociation, which obtains in the cartoon, and notonly forms the symbolism but is the key to theinterpretation of the symbolism as well. Eachelement in the dream represents, as we have seen,a gateway leading into an avenue of interest. Ifthe gateways be traversed by asking the dreamerto discuss, in the most candid manner, each inci-dent and figure of his dream, then new significancesbegin to take shape. As an example I will givesome observations made by the dreamer on twoseparate elements in the above dream i

    (a) The bell ; It does not ring now. I thinkit is cracked or lost. Its sound used to vibratethrough the small house and I was never glad tohear it, as meals were more in the nature of a dutythan a pleasure to me owing to family quarrels. . , .The symbol of the bell, therefore, is a gateway

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    DEEAMS AND CARTOONS 31that leads up an avenue of unpleasant associa-tions. It is also something more. It is connected,not with pleasure, but with duty. Now thissymbol is in the hand of the priest with the asceticface.

    (6) The priest : His face reminded me at firstof Cardinal Newman. I had been reading Tolstoi'sconversion (motive of dream), and thinking ofNewman, and wondering who was the better man.... I would not have liked to know either ofthem. . . . Tolstoi's home must have been un-comfortable in later years . . . (this forms a linkwith the bell and family quarrels at meals). Con-version, if it means making everyone uncomfortable,including yourself, seems to me a thing to avoid,. . . yet I know it is inevitable for some. My oldheadmaster was not ascetic-looking ... he wasdown on me because I was idle, and I feared him.. . . When I used that phrase ' arable land ' (con-nection with main motive^land capable of freshcultivation) he raved and ended by saying I coulddo better if I tried. I remember that sentence verywell, and the look of reproval, but I don't think Igrasped (compare earnest manner of priest) mypoetical lapse at all. It was a bit out of Virgil . . .I have forgotten all my Latin. ... The symbolof the priest thus taps a considerable volume ofthought, of which I have given a synopsis. Itbrings out the question of conversion^that is, acomplete change in one's attitude towards lifeand behind this a suggestion of individual in-

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    32 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYadequacy. It is not my intention to elaborate onthe dream, but to use it only as an example of amethod of approach, whereby a wider significanceis given to the symbolism. The bearing of dreamson the individual will be considered more intimatelyin a later part of the book.Another example may be cited here in order to

    show the affinities that exist between the cartoonand the dream

    2. I was in the presence of the Kiag. He wasabout to confer some decoration on me. He pinnedon my breast a medal which was either the V.C.or the D.S.O., but I noticed that the medal hadupon it the word ' whip ' upside-down.

    In this example the scene is exactly comparableto the atmosphere of a cartoon, and could be drawnas it stands. An important function is delineated,but an element of grotesqueness is introduced.Some associations given by the dreamer were asfollows

    (a) Whip : I had thrashed a native camp-follower the day before for a self-inflicted injury.The native struck himself with his brass feeding-bowl on the head and drew blood. ... I haveno idea why the word should have been on themedal.

    (6) The King ; The presentation of the the King is the highest honour one can obtain.It is to the outward similarity between themethod of presentation of the dream and the car-toon that attention is drawn. A cartoon that had

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    DREAMS AND CARTOONS 33as its object some shade of irony, some reflectionon an otherwise excellent character, might assumea form that corresponded with this dream, the wordwhich appeared reversed on the medal giving theclue to the nature of the irony intended.

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    In the dream, as in the cartoon, you survey a pic-ture whose elements do not lie in the same plane offocus. It is drawn, as it were, in three dimensions,and the meaning of some of its features does notlie on the surface, but in the background. One ofthe methods by which you get into the background,and gain the proper perspective, is the method ofassociation. The farther back the true perspectivelies, the more condensed and latent is the meaningin the symbol that lies on the surface. The mean-ing of a symbol may lie, like a sunken vessel, withonly the point of its mast at the surface and its bulkin the deep ; or it may lie close under the surface,like a tangle of seaweed. .The intellect, which can only deal with meaningon one plane at a time, has as its task the adjust-ment of all these elements, lying in so many dififerentplanes, and the welding together of them into areasonably comprehensible form on one plane offocus. This is the task of interpretation, for it isthe interpretation of the dream, and not the dream


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    INTERPRETATION 35itself, that is valuable. But when the symbolismof dreams is studied, a great difference from thesymbolism of cartoons is encountered. The diEEer-ence makes the interpretation of the dream a verymuch more difficult task than the interpretation ofthe cartoon. For the sources of the dream lie verymuch deeper, and its symbolism is not always drawnfrom the passing fashion of the age, but from thefoundations of the human mind. Thus, in thedream, symbolisms are sometimes found that linkup with what is most archaic in human history.To find parallels to them the pages of human devel-opment must be turned back, and the fantasies ofthe primitive mind examined. By reason of thissome have thought that the study of unconsciousactivity, from the symbolism of dream, is onlyregressive in trend, and implicates the spirit of thepast alone. It is not only in dreams that sym-bolisms of an archaic nature are found, but also inthe neuroses. These intrusions of the primitivepast into consciousness occur beyond dispute. Butit is possible to take up the view that the activitiesof the unconscious, while constantly revealingelementary and primitive forms, do not necessarilypoint to a theory that sees in them nothing buttendencies that have been overcome and suppressedin the history of human development and have noprospective value.

    It is necessary to look at one aspect of commonspeech in order to find a parallel to the apparentlyfantastic imagery that the dream sometimes shows.

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    36 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYDreams are said to be nonsensical. Does not thesame criticism apply to slang, if slang 'is takenliterally, or if it be drawn ? Slang is full of imagery.The medium in which the unconscious works indreams is essentially a profound one, and we haveseen how in drawing an idea, symbolism becomesmore and more necessary as the idea becomes morecomplex. Now the following fragment has beenconstructed from a paragraph out of a novel, theidea being that it is an account of certain imagesseen : I saw a man, convulsed with laughter,lying on the floor. Somebody was tickling him.He seemed to die. I found myself taking a kick athim. He was quite dead. Then the scene changed.I was in a large theatre in the wings, about to goon the stage. I had no part and could not thinkwhat I had to say. Some people were at a card-table near by and I joined in. I picked out a card.It was the king of hearts and the others drew lowercards. They began to play and left me out. Thisis something like a chaotic dream. A number offleeting, half-constructed scenes are grouped togetherin rapid succession. Now this is merely a recordof the imagery contained in a conversation, fullof American slang, in a novel. Sir, he's tickledto death and that's a fact. I'm the only one tomake a kick. I kind of reckoned on being allowedto play a walking-on part in this drama, but I looklike being cut out in the new shuffle. It is in-evitable that a great deal of scenery and incidentshould be used if the slang of ordinary speech is to

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    INTERPRETATION 37be recorded in graphic form. The result is a sym-boUsm, but it is not always a very deep symbolism.The tendency that exists for common speech toexpress meaning in the form of concrete illustra-tion rather than in the abstract is similar to thetendency of the unconscious to clothe its activitiesin graphic form. In the former, the result is alanguage of imagery ; this is seen particularly inproverbs. Suppose the meaning it is desired toexpress is that it is better to make sure of onething than to be uncertain of two. It is an ideathat finds expression in numberless proverbs amongstmost nations. It is the idea behind the sayingthat a bird, in the hand is worth two in the bush(English) ; or that a thousand cranes in the airare not worth one sparrow in the fist (Arabic) ; orthat he who hunts two hares leaves one and losesthe other (Japanese). There are many other forms,but the meaning remains central, and is extractedfrom the symbolism by the intellect. Proverbs ofthis concrete type are capable of graphic represen-tation. A man might say that he dreamt he sawa lot of birds in the sky and that he had one in hishand. The dream would not be in any way un-usual. If he had never heard of any proverbs thatresembled it, he would mention it merely as some-thing absurd and fantastic, particularly if he rarelydreamt. He would not see in it a resemblance tothat activity in the human mind that is prone tocast human experience into allegory or symbolismor myth.

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    38 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYTurning aside for the moment from the symbolism

    of proverbs, there is another form of symbolismthat accompanies imagination. The imaginativeman sees relationships and correspondences whichare hidden from others. Now the imagination dealsin metaphor. An imaginative bit of prose or verseis full of metaphor and allusion. This is a kind ofsymbolism, in that, while the reality is circum-scribed by a wealth of approximations, in itseH itremains out of the picture. The focal point ofmeaning is never visible as a primary experience tothe spectator, but it becomes visible as a secondaryexperience through the spectator's own mind. Inother words, he interprets, and this perhaps is thebeginning of art. If the intellect were the onlyquality of the human mind, the whole of symbolismwould not exist. Imagery, allusion, metaphor,allegory, myth, rhythm, music, fantasy and poetry,would be impossible. Literature would containfocussed meaning only. Painting would be photo-graphy. But such a speculation is idle, for theintellect rests on that part of the human psychethat contains the activities responsible for thosequalities, is fed by it, and out of it weaves itsspecial pattern.We become accustomed to our fantasies, but we donot become accustomed to our dreams. For in ourdreams we do things more strange and unexpectedthan anything we do in fantasy. And while fantasyseems intimate and closely linked with our lives, thedream comes as if it were from a remote and un-

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    INTERPRETATION 39known region. But just as there are fantasies thatassume familiar forms, so are there dreams whichare shared by many people. The dream of missinga train, the dream of flying, the dream of beingnaked, or the dream of losing a tooth are not peculiarindividual products, but seem to be common tohumanity. It is on this fact that the popular dream-book is founded in which a dream of a particular,type must always have the same meaning. Forexample, six people may dream that they are flying.This may mean, according to a dream-book, thathappiness is in store for them, quite apart from theirvarious conditions of life. Now the idea that thesame dream must always mean the same thing isexactly comparable to the idea that the same actionmust always mean the same thing. But if sixpeople get into aeroplanes and fly, the meaning oftheir actions may be entirely different. One may belearning to fly, one may be flying for a wager, onefor pleasure, one for curiosity, one to overcome hisfear, and one to carry a message.

    In the old views about dreams, it was recognizedthat their values were symbolical and that theyrequired some kind of interpretation. The inter-pretations that were given were teleological ; thatis, they were regarded as products with a purposiveand prospective aim. They were prophetic. Butin seeking to put a definite value on their sym-bolism the help of the dreamer was not invoked, sothat interpretation became a matter of ingenuity.When Daniel interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream,

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    40 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYhe did not question the king about any of itssymbols, but evolved the interpretation wholly outof his own mind. Now there is an evident dangerin this kind of method. For two men may dreamof a horse, and one may connect the symbol withmoney he has lost and the other may connectit with a present he is going to give his wife.The symbol then has a totally different value foreach dreamer, owing to the associations connectedwith it.Broadly speaking, associations may lead in two

    directions. There are reductive associations, which,like a chemical analysis, reduce the symbol ioto itselementary parts. This is the Freudian method ofapproach. On the other hand, there are con-structive associations, which shape and develop thesymbol to fit in with the immediate life of thedreamer, and so bring it on to the level of con-temporary experience as a living thing. Thismethod is used by the Zurich school, under Dr.Jung.The following two dreams, coming from the same

    source, will illustrate the two methods. I was ina cave. A long narrow passage through the rockled iato the sea. I struggled through, and foundmyself in the surf, battling for life. I got to a boatand was helped into it by F. W.The next dream is less definite, but its symbolism

    is round the same theme. I was in a ship on abroad river. On deck was a baby, naked, curled upin a curious way, apparently asleep, with its knees

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    INTERPEETATION 41bent up and arms pressed tightly to the side, withbent elbows. Some one threw it into the water.Then I saw a big ship with a great rent in her side.Someone said, ' Oh, that often happens. It can berepaired easily.' There was some wild manoeuvringabout the water, ships flying round in circles, andthen I awoke.The symbolism of both these dreams is round the

    idea of birth. A purely reductive analysis, whichwas applied in the first example, led to an anatomicalsignificance of the symbolism in which even therudder lines of the boat found a place. The presenceof F. W. was not quite accounted for. The associa-tions round F. W. were to the effect that he hadoffered the patient a post, which the latter was notwilling to take.Now F. W. may be left out of the dream alto-gether as a superfluity, and the birth symbolismalone examined. This was at first done, and theassociations pursued a fixed path along the patient'sknowledge of the birth process, down to the earliestmemories in this connection. This occupied a con-siderable time. The patient revived his childhoodspeculations on birth and the myths he had beentold ; he revealed his present-day reflections on thesubject. In the second example the figure of theUttle baby curled up, and apparently asleep, at oncebrought associations dealing with the business ofbirth. The dream is more hilarious than the firstone ; but it deals with the same object. What,then, do these dreams signify ? It is possible to

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    42 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYsay that the unconscious of these patients findsitself preoccupied with primitive wishes connectedwith the mother, and to make the patients under-stand this thoroughly ; but what application havethese products of unconscious activity to thedreamer's life ? He may say that he never permitshimself to think of subjects so elementary as birth,and then one may point out that it is a repressionof a normal preoccupation of the mind, and that itexpresses itself in the unconscious, and so finds asecret satisfaction. By making the patient focushis whole attention on one or another symbol wemay force out of him memories and thoughts, alldealing with the subject of birth, dragged out fromthe marginal shadows of his mind, until at lengththe reductive analysis comes to an end in the purelyanatomical. The process is rather like picking allthe scarlet threads out of a Turkish carpet so as tounderstand the reason of its existence. And whatis gained ?What is gained is a certain insight into self that

    to a certain type of objectiveor extrovertmind,which possesses little self-knowledge, is alwaysuseful. In the case of the subjective mind we haveusually only confirmed what was known already.

    If these two dreams be handled from the teleo-logical point of view, as products with a prospectivebearing upon the patient's life, the motive of theunconscious becomes more comprehensible. In thefirst dream F. W. and birth are brought togetherby the unconscious. F. W. is a person who had

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    INTERPRETATION 43ofiered the patient a post. The patient at the timewas in difficulties, but refused P. W.'s offer. Theunconscious brings together these two interests inthe dreamthe idea of a new post and a new birth.It approximates that which the dreamer did notapproximate in waking life. It forms a new patternof interests. How is the idea of new birth, of aperson being born again, a metaphor common inspeech, to be put in pictorial form ? A cartoonist,withheld by conventional considerations, wouldscarcely portray such an idea in obstetrical sym-bols. But the unconscious has no such limitations.In the above cases the symbolism is of some

    interest. The association of water with birth findsmany parallels in mythology. This is natural, forithe sources of mythology and the sources of the'dream are similar.

    Dr. Jung has compared the reductive method toan analysis of the bricks and mortar that composea cathedral in order to account for the reason of itsexistence. We might add another illustration. Atheory of painting might be evolved based on thechemicals lying on each canvas. Thus you mightsay that, on analysis, pictures contain lead,chromium, iron, copper, and cobalt. You mightthen group the pictures in a gallery according tothe amount of one or other that they contain, andthus seek to explain their differences. Dreamshandled by this reductive method lead to the con-clusion that they have certain basic and unvaryingelements, just as pictures have certain basic pig-

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    U DEEAM PSYCHOLOGYments. Dreams often contain objects such as sticks,lamp-posts, church-spires, masts, pillars, tall-hats,trees, lamps, pipes, funnels, umbrellas, candle-sticks, naUs, guns, and pillar-boxes. Now, all theseobjects have a quality in common. They are longerthan they are broad. We might therefore say thatall these objects when they occur in dreams havea similar significance. We could say that theirsignificance was phallic. This theory would thencorrespond to the views of that school of psychologywhich has grown up round the teachings of Freud.The analysis of a dream according to this methodwill always lead in the same direction. Like thechemical analysis of a picture, it will invariablydiscover certain ingredients.By the constructive method of association, theopportunities of interpretation are greatly increased.Through it one escapes as it were from a confinedspace into a region of wide issues. The disad-vantages consist in the fact that interpretationsbecome more speculative. They can always beadapted, in some degree, to satisfy the dreamer orthe interpreter. That is inevitable. The same maybe said of the ordinary method of interpretingpictures in a gallery. The advantages of the re-ductive method consist in the fact that, within itsnarrow limits, it gives a definite and absolutely finalresult. If you say that a picture of the dawn con-sists of ten grains of chromium and thirty grains oflead, then that is quite definite and final. And ifyou say that a dream of two top-hats consists of two

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    INTEEPRETATION 45phallic symbols, then that is also definite and final.You come, so to speak, to a dead end. You areoperating on one level of values and you have onlyone point of view. In the case of the pictures, whileit is quite true that they could not have been paintedwithout pigments, you can only see art as an ar-rangement of chemicals. And however seriouslypeople may argue with you, you have only to pointto the picture and ask them whether they deny thatthis patch is chromium or that patch lead. If theystill argue, you can say that they refuse to see yourpoint of view because of some inner resistance. Butif you say this, you must remember that they havean equal right to say that you cannot see theirporut of view because of some inner resistance.

    Let us consider for a moment the dream of thetwo top-hats. The first part of the dream ran asfollows ; I was returning from the country to thetown and had an idea that I had been wasting mytime. The streets were dark and there was a lightrain falling. I had two top-hats and was endeavour-ing to protect them from the rain. These two top-hats gave me great trouble. I could only keep oneat a time out of the rain, and if I put one under mycoat the other became wet, and when I put the wetone under, it became ruffed up. The idea crossedmy mind that it was absurd to bring back two top-hats from the country, and I wondered what onearth I was doing with top-hats at all, Now, thefirst associations made by the dreamer to the top-hats were (1) going to church on Sundays, (2) his

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    46 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYprofessional work. We might, then, from the con-structive point of view, say that one top-hat stoodfor all that is contained in the idea of going tochurch on Sunday in the dreamer's mind. Thedreamer said that he went to church to please certainpeople, and that his professional work had causedhim to take a view of life which did not quite coincidewith orthodox teachings. He found difficulty inreconciling what he thought were his duties to hisrelations and his personal desire for honesty. Atthe time of the dream he was about to return fromthe country, where he had been having a prolongedholiday, to resume his work. How, from the con-structive point of view, can we apply this dreamto the dreamer ? Let us examine the second partof the dream ; I walked on wondering what Ishould do, and then thought I'd better take a Tubetrain so as to protect my hats. I turned a corner ofthe street and came upon an open space where I meta beggar. He was a very cheerful and robust-looking beggar, and he wore a cap. He did not askme for anything, but I offered him sixpence, which hetook with a smile and went on. I continued mysearch for a Tube, juggling with my hats and feelingvery annoyed that I had given the beggar sixpence,because I realized that it was unnecessary.In reflecting upon this part of the dream, the

    dreamer remarked that the beggar was in a betterposition than he himself was, because he wore a cap.Now we might take the two top-hats as symbols oftwo contradictory and possibly artificial sides of the

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    INTERPRETATION 47dreamer's life, which handicap him. His discomfortis contrasted with the freedom of the beggar. Thebeggar on the high-road is independent and pre-sumably ready for all weathers. The dreamer findshimself unprepared for even a light rain and con-fused by reason of the burden of having two top-hats^that is, probably, two unadjusted sides tohis life. I think I have said enough to indicatethat this dream handled along these constructivelines gives promise of an interpretation of greaterpractical value to the dreamer than an analysisby the reductive method which would reduce thewhole dream to the sexual level. But it would bea mistake to think that dreams are innocent ofsexuality.At the beginning of the war a great many people

    dreamed that enemy troops were in the back garden,or down the street, and in the house, or knockingat the door for admittance. They dreamed thatenemy aircraft were overhead, about to drop ex-plosives on them. Many of these dreams werenightmarish. Often they were so vivid that peoplewere troubled by them and half expected to seetheir immediate fulfilment. It will be of interest,perhaps, to examine some of these dreams andthrough them approach the subject of symbolismand interpretation with which the rest of thisvolume is concerned.I wiU give two examples out of those I collectedat the time.

    1. I was walking down the street where our

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    48 BEEAM PSYCHOLOGYhouse is, when suddenly some soldiers wearinghelmets came round a corner. They stopped me,and one of them grasped my arm. I woke in terror.2. I dreamed I heard a noise and got up to lookout of the window. I saw soldiers in the garden.The moonlight shone on their hehnets. They wereall round the house. I tried to call out for myhusband, but he was fast asleep, and I was so help-less with terror that I could not make any sound.These examples are taken from different sources.

    The first is the dream of a girl of seventeen. Thesecond is the dream of a married woman.In these dreams the theme is similar. A sudden,

    unexpected, and alarming situation develops. Inthe first dream a young girl walks down a familiarstreet and suddenly encounters the unfamiliar. Ingeneral that seems to have been the main featureof many of these early war dreams. Enemy troopssuddenly invade familiar domestic scenes^thehouse, the street, the garden. Two interests, totallyopposite, are fused together by the unconscious.The resulting products might, to some, seem to con-tain wish-fuMments, thinly disguised and sexual innature. That would be the Freudian view. Butother interpretations may be permissible.

    Let us suppose that the fear of invasion had beenacutely conscious to the recipients of these dreams,which, in point of fact, was not the case. How fardoes this explain their dreams ? If that were thecase, then these two dreams would roughly repre-sent what was a constant preoccupation of the

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    INTERPRETATION 49waking mind. They would merely be after-images,presented in sleep, of thoughts that continuouslytraversed consciousness during the day. One wouldthen say that this was perhaps quite natural ; thatif you think constantly of a thing it is natural thatit should repeat itself in sleep. But is this a factof experience,?

    It is not a fact of experience. Dreams do not,characteristically, deal with the thoughts of theday in the same way as these thoughts have run.There are always marked differences. It often usesthe incidents of the day for its symbolism, like thecartoonist, and this has given rise to the belief thatdreams are simply confused recollections. But inthese cases, the thoughts of the day did not concernthe fear of invasion. In the second case, thedreamer seemed, on the contrary, indifferent tosuch a possibility. She had strong views about thewar at the time, and these views were negative.The war had nothing to do with her or her husband.Let those who want to fight, fight. She had otherthings to do. In the case of the young girl, thisextreme attitude was not apparent. The war, toher, was rather stimulating. It created excitementand bustle, and a certain new enjoyment. Itopened up possibilities.Now enemy troops may, of course, be takenliterally, and a literal meaning be put on thesedreams, in which case they may appear rather use-less and purposeless. For the situations that theydepicted did not come to pass. As symbols they


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    50 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYmust have a common kind of meaning. Theyrepresent danger. In the broadest sense, theymust stand for a menacing factor. Now if you takepeople of any age, from early childhood up tosenescence, it will be admitted that there is alwaysto be found some menacing factor in their lives.For a child must learn certain lessons of self-controland behaviour from its nurse ; a boy must go toschool ; a girl must grow up and get married ; aman must earn his living ; an old man must relin-quish desire, and begin to adjust the past whichbegins to emerge from the unconscious. There is,in other words, a typical menace for a typical age,and each of these menaces demands an adaptation.A boy going to school comes up against his fellowcreatures for the first time without the support ofhis mother. Life assumes a menacing aspect untOthe adaptation is made. Then life shows itself asanother and a new menace. This seems to be theplan behind individual development.When a national disaster like war arises, every-one is implicated in the general menace, and every-one has, in addition to the new public menace, whatwe may call his own private and personal menace.Both menaces demand adaptations. The two maynaturally link up. To a young girl of seventeenthere is a latent menace that is typical^the menaceof sex and its consequences. This is her privateand personal menace, and of it she may remainonly vaguely aware. It lies concealed as yet inthe background, but a great deal of her interest and

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    INTERPRETATION 51consequent action is indirectly connected with it.It deflects interest, as we have seen when discuss-ing the question of latent appeal, like an approach-ing magnet. In dreams and reveries it may assumea definite form that is anticipatory to the eventualattitude in consciousness. When, therefore, a girlof this age dreams that a menacing factor confrontsher suddenly, round a corner of the familiar path,we may see in it something that is connected verydeeply with inner problems. The foreign soldierwho grasped her arm may be a symbol of life in acertain aspect. The reason why such a dreamshould come to her is to be sought for in mentalbackground, where the immediate future is ger-minating. It is not to be sought for in the wayin which she regards the war only. That has alesser significance. The larger significance is thatshe is on the threshold of life, about to confrontsomething unknown. These are dangers in somedegree comparable to the dangers that a soldierconfronts in a strange land. The excitement of thewar opened up new possibilities of quicker develop-ment. A critical moment might arise at any time.The dream shows such a moment arising. It there-fore may be prospective in kind. It is a fore-shadowing, and not a wish-fulfilment.

    I have said enough to outline how it is possibleto understand the symbol of the enemy troops inthe first case. Superficially, if necessary, one cansee in the dream some more literal application, butbeneath it it is possible to see another motive that

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    52 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYclothes itself in the symbols that it borrows fromthe crucial position of the nation, and applies tothe inner personal situation. The dream toucheson a relationship between her position and thenation's position. It sees in them somethingidentical and applies the factors of reality as symbolsof her life.

    If we turn to the second dream, a most significantfeature is the lack of correspondence between itand the conscious attitude of the dreamer. Shethought that she was uninterested in the war. Itconcerned neither her nor her husband. How faris such an attitude true or possible when individualsare plunged into the cataracts of life ? To be in-different, and to assume an attitude of indifference,are two distinct things. The assumption of a par-ticular attitude means that other attitudes arepossible and that one is chosen. The others areexcluded. Now when most of the incidents ofdaily life, when indeed nine-tenths of the incomingstimuli of the senses, are connected with war, tokeep the conscious mind busied with other thingsmust denote an effort of strain, avoidance, and sup-pression. In such cases the activities of theunconscious and marginal mind are interesting towatch, for in sleep the checks that operate in wakinghours have not the same values. Marginal materialmay become central. In her case there may havebeen a reason for this attitude of avoidance, con-nected with her husband. Let us examine thedream in this light. It shows her in a familiar

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    INTERPRETATION 53domestic scene suddenly confronted by those forcesthat she would seek to ignore and leave to othersfor their solution. Her own garden is fiUed withenemy troops. In the situation she instinctivelyturns to her husband for help. He is asleep andshe has lost the power of calling him to her help.She was very much attached to her husband andhe occupied a large part of her interest. The dreamshows a reversal of the dispositions of interest ascontrolled by her in consciousness. That whichshe chose to ignore is present in bulk. That whichshe clings to^her interest in her husband^is cutoff from her. He is asleep and she cannot call him.This reversal of the balance of interest must meansomething. The emotion that accompanies it isone of helpless terror. Now what relation can wefind between her, the enemy troops, and the hus-band 1 We can find an immediate one in the factthat the war might take her husband away onactive service. The marginal recognition of thispossibility, therefore, may have been at the bottomof her conscious attitude towards the war. It wasan attitude that thrust away something full ofterror. It was an artificial compromise. Thedream might contain, and probably does contain, thissignificance, in which case the enemy troopssymbolize the fact of war, and, in a large sense,inexorable destiny. She is made to look at it, faceto face.But it is possible to glance at deeper issues ia

    the dream. It is evident that an attitude of arti-

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    54 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYficial suppression of certain aspects of lifeof any-thing that intrudes between the ideal and its attain-mentmeans a false outlook, for it is necessary toassimilate and not to suppress. To shelter behindsomeone in order to continue the artificial state,and to summon that person immediately any com-bination of events threatens to break the spell^toexpect the fact to be soothingly shaped into thecherished ideal^is but to live a life that is merelya lie. The dispositions of interest in such a person'sconsciousness are like selected articles in a shopwiodow.A brief recapitulation may be given here. Inthe girl's dream, the significance that was outlinedwas a preparatory one. It was suggested that thesymbolism might be looked on as foreshadowingthe dreamer's passage from girlhood to womanhood.She leaves her home, and life in the form of astrange man suddenly comes on her while she isnear the old and familiar scenes and grasps her arm.She awakes in terror. The second dream was givena corrective or compensatory significance in thesense that it was a reaction to a strain set up bythe woman's deliberate conscious attitude, bothtoward the war and toward anything in life thatthreatened her.

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    It is possible to look on some dreams as if they werecompensatory. A man who experiences some dis-location of affairs that renders him despairing mayfind comfort in his dreams. What is lacking inreahty, or what is lacking in waking consciousness,may find expression in dreaming consciousness. Itmay also find expression in the man's fantasies.For example, the Arctic explorers, in the midst oftheir hardships, when the deprivation of food wasgreat, noticed that they had fantasies of, anddreamed of, certain articles of food, particularlycarbohydrates. Now, carbohydrates^tarts, cakes,pastry.and soon^were lacking as factsof experience.This can be looked upon as a compensatory effect.The poor peasant-girl who day-dreams of the

    prince who is to take her away to his castle, is alsogiving expression to something which is lacking inreality. The prince, and the cakes and pastry,would thus seem to be called into existence undersimilar circumstances. They are compensatory toreality. If we glance for a moment at the mutable


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    56 DREAM PSYCHOLOGYinfluences that surround people's lives, it is evidentthat compensatory factors are continually at work.Social considerations demand the deliberate use ofthese factors, such as in the paying of compliments,or when we seek to comfort people even though weknow that what we say is hardly true. One distortsreality slightly, with a definite object, aU throughthe business of life, on the side of the compensatoryfactors. It is thought natural that a man shouldslightly exaggerate his income, his social status, hisabilities, and so on. The persistence with which aman or wdman will cling to these slight distortionsof reality might suggest that they are in some wayessential to them. When a man describes what hehas done in his career, his description is practicallyalways coloured. The best side is emphasized.What was poor and mean is deliberately com-pensated by an extension of what was praiseworthy.This form of lying is not looked upon very seriously,just as the day-dreams of the peasant-girl aretolerated, because the total effect of this kind ofcompensation works contrary to the mood ofdespair. There is a powerful machinery in us thatis constantly engaged in this work of compensation.But the extent of its working has a limit, beyondwhich disaster is courted.

    This machinery we can call the fantasy-buildingsystem, because all these slight distortions of realityare fantasies. Fantasy, then, in this sense has thedefinite value of compensation.What connection has the fantasy-building system

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    COMPENSATION 57with the dream ? K we find that the dream issimply the fantasy-buUding system at work, thennight-dreams and day-dreams must have a similarvalue. And if we say that a fantasy that com-pensates a deficiency in reality is the same as thefulfilment of a wish, then we might expect thedream to contain always a wish-fulfilment (Freud).But it may be asked why a compensatory fantasyshould be the same as a wish-fulfilment. If a mangoes to sleep in the middle of a swamp, with thunderand lightning overhead and a demon-chorus ofjackals around him, and dreams that he is in hiswife's arms at home, are we to look on this as a wish-fulfilment or as a compensatory effect ? It may besaid that the one is contained in the other. Whichis the greater ? If we take the view of wish-fulfil-ment, we give to the dream a narrow significance.We can say it is the fulfilment of a sexual wish. Ifwe take the compensatory view, we can say that thedream in its primary aspect comes to counteract thedistress of physical conditions, and permit an adjust-ment during sleep which is necessary to keep thebalance of life ; and that the wish-fulfilment is asecondary aspect.The period when fantasy is most active is during

    childhood. In what way is this compensatory ? Itis possible to say that it is wish-fulfilment andnothing more. But it is also possible to say that itis wish-fulfilment, in a narrow sense ; and protective,in a wider sense. For the fantasy-building systemsurrounds the growing child like a dense cloud on

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    58 DEEAM PSYCHOLOGYwhose outer margins fall the shocks of reality. Asthe chUd grows the thickness of this cloud diminishes.We might add here that the more sensitive an in-dividual is, the more he requires compensatoryfantasies if he is to exist in reality. Tough mindsdo not require this compensation in the same degree.The main difference between the two views can be

    expressed briefly. The wish-fulfilment theory ofFreud sees in the fantasy (and in the dream) thegratification of a wish that is not to be fulfilled inreality. The compensatory theory sees in thefantasy an attempt to provide that which is lackingin reality, and it is protective in meaning. That istaking a teleological view. Thus, a woman whosehusband is reported to be missing at the front, andwho, in spite of all facts of the case pointing to hisdeath, constructs an elaborate theory that he isalive, can be regarded from two points of view. Herfantasy can be looked upon as the fulfilment of awish, and this from the Freudian standpoint would,I suppose, spring from a sexual source. Or we cansay that her fantasy is the outcome of a com-pensatory system in her psyche whose object isprotective. It protects her, perhaps, from insanity.But a larger view still may be taken of fantasy.

    In the unattractive peasant-girl's fantasy of thepriiice we can see, besides effects which are com-pensatory to her deplorable surroundings, an impulsethat is valuable to her. As a result of the beautifulpictu