Chapter VI – The Wish in Dreams

That the dream should be nothing but a wish-fulfillment surely seemed strange to us all—and that not alone because of the contradictions offered by the anxiety dream.

After learning from the first analytical explanations that the dream conceals sense and psychic validity, we could hardly expect so simple a determination of this sense. According to the correct but concise definition of Aristotle, the dream is a continuation of thinking in sleep (in so far as one sleeps). Considering that during the day our thoughts produce such a diversity of psychic acts—judgments, conclusions, contradictions, expectations, intentions, &c.—why should our sleeping thoughts be forced to confine themselves to the production of wishes? Are there not, on the contrary, many dreams that present a different psychic act in dream form, e.g., a solicitude, and is not the very transparent father’s dream mentioned above of just such a nature? From the gleam of light falling into his eyes while asleep the father draws the solicitous conclusion that a candle has been upset and may have set fire to the corpse; he transforms this conclusion into a dream by investing it with a senseful situation enacted in the present tense. What part is played in this dream by the wish-fulfillment, and which are we to suspect—the predominance of the thought continued from, the waking state or of the thought incited by the new sensory impression?

All these considerations are just, and force us to enter more deeply into the part played by the wish-fulfillment in the dream, and into the significance of the waking thoughts continued in sleep.

It is in fact the wish-fulfillment that has already induced us to separate dreams into two groups. We have found some dreams that were plainly wish-fulfillments; and others in which wish-fulfillment could not be recognized, and was frequently concealed by every available means. In this latter class of dreams we recognized the influence of the dream censor. The undisguised wish dreams were chiefly found in children, yet fleeting open-hearted wish dreams seemed (I purposely emphasize this word) to occur also in adults.

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