Chapter VIII – The Primary and Secondary Process – Regression

Let us recapitulate by saying that we call such a stream of thought a foreconscious one, that we believe it to be perfectly correct, and that it may just as well be a more neglected one or an interrupted and suppressed one. Let us also state frankly in what manner we conceive this presentation course. We believe that a certain sum of excitement, which we call occupation energy, is displaced from an end-presentation along the association paths selected by that end-presentation. A “neglected” stream of thought has received no such occupation, and from a “suppressed” or “rejected” one this occupation has been withdrawn; both have thus been left to their own emotions. The end-stream of thought stocked with energy is under certain conditions able to draw to itself the attention of consciousness, through which means it then receives a “surplus of energy.” We shall be obliged somewhat later to elucidate our assumption concerning the nature and activity of consciousness.

A train of thought thus incited in the Forec. may either disappear spontaneously or continue. The former issue we conceive as follows: It diffuses its energy through all the association paths emanating from it, and throws the entire chain of ideas into a state of excitement which, after lasting for a while, subsides through the transformation of the excitement requiring an outlet into dormant energy.1 If this first issue is brought about the process has no further significance for the dream formation. But other end-presentations are lurking in our foreconscious that originate from the sources of our unconscious and from the ever active wishes. These may take possession of the excitations in the circle of thought thus left to itself, establish a connection between it and the unconscious wish, and transfer to it the energy inherent in the unconscious wish. Henceforth the neglected or suppressed train of thought is in a position to maintain itself, although this reinforcement does not help it to gain access to consciousness. We may say that the hitherto foreconscious train of thought has been drawn into the unconscious.

Other constellations for the dream formation would result if the foreconscious train of thought had from the beginning been connected with the unconscious wish, and for that reason met with rejection by the dominating end-occupation; or if an unconscious wish were made active for other—possibly somatic—reasons and of its own accord sought a transference to the psychic remnants not occupied by the Forec. All three cases finally combine in one issue, so that there is established in the foreconscious a stream of thought which, having been abandoned by the foreconscious occupation, receives occupation from the unconscious wish.

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