Chapter VI – The Wish in Dreams

The idea from the foreconscious which thus obtains an unmerited abundance of intensity may be left unchanged by the transference, or it may have forced upon it a modification from the content of the transferring idea. I trust the reader will pardon my fondness for comparisons from daily life, but I feel tempted to say that the relations existing for the repressed idea are similar to the situations existing in Austria for the American dentist, who is forbidden to practise unless he gets permission from a regular physician to use his name on the public signboard and thus cover the legal requirements. Moreover, just as it is naturally not the busiest physicians who form such alliances with dental practitioners, so in the psychic life only such foreconscious or conscious ideas are chosen to cover a repressed idea as have not themselves attracted much of the attention which is operative in the foreconscious. The unconscious entangles with its connections preferentially either those impressions and ideas of the foreconscious which have been left unnoticed as indifferent, or those that have soon been deprived of this attention through rejection. It is a familiar fact from the association studies confirmed by every experience, that ideas which have formed intimate connections in one direction assume an almost negative attitude to whole groups of new connections. I once tried from this principle to develop a theory for hysterical paralysis.

If we assume that the same need for the transference of the repressed ideas which we have learned to know from the analysis of the neuroses makes its influence felt in the dream as well, we can at once explain two riddles of the dream, viz. that every dream analysis shows an interweaving of a recent impression, and that this recent element is frequently of the most indifferent character. We may add what we have already learned elsewhere, that these recent and indifferent elements come so frequently into the dream content as a substitute for the most deep-lying of the dream thoughts, for the further reason that they have least to fear from the resisting censor. But while this freedom from censorship explains only the preference for trivial elements, the constant presence of recent elements points to the fact that there is a need for transference. Both groups of impressions satisfy the demand of the repression for material still free from associations, the indifferent ones because they have offered no inducement for extensive associations, and the recent ones because they have had insufficient time to form such associations.

We thus see that the day remnants, among which we may now include the indifferent impressions when they participate in the dream formation, not only borrow from the Unc. the motive power at the disposal of the repressed wish, but also offer to the unconscious something indispensable, namely, the attachment necessary to the transference. If we here attempted to penetrate more deeply into the psychic processes, we should first have to throw more light on the play of emotions between the foreconscious and the unconscious, to which, indeed, we are urged by the study of the psychoneuroses, whereas the dream itself offers no assistance in this respect.

Just one further remark about the day remnants. There is no doubt that they are the actual disturbers of sleep, and not the dream, which, on the contrary, strives to guard sleep. But we shall return to this point later.

We have so far discussed the dream-wish, we have traced it to the sphere of the Unc., and analyzed its relations to the day remnants, which in turn may be either wishes, psychic emotions of any other kind, or simply recent impressions. We have thus made room for any claims that may be made for the importance of conscious thought activity in dream formations in all its variations. Relying upon our thought series, it would not be at all impossible for us to explain even those extreme cases in which the dream as a continuer of the day work brings to a happy conclusion and unsolved problem possess an example, the analysis of which might reveal the infantile or repressed wish source furnishing such alliance and successful strengthening of the efforts of the foreconscious activity. But we have not come one step nearer a solution of the riddle: Why can the unconscious furnish the motive power for the wish-fulfillment only during sleep? The answer to this question must throw light on the psychic nature of wishes; and it will be given with the aid of the diagram of the psychic apparatus.

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