Page:Psychology of the Unconscious (1916).djvu/89
psychology among children, we saw that phantastic thinking is a characteristic of antiquity, of the child, and of the lower races; but now we know also that our modern and adult man is given over in large part to this same phantastic thinking, which enters as soon as the directed thinking ceases. A lessening of the interest, a slight fatigue, is sufficient to put an end to the directed thinking, the exact psychological adaptation to the real world, and to replace it with phantasies. We digress from the theme and give way to our own trains of thought; if the slackening of the attention increases, then we lose by degrees the consciousness of the present, and the phantasy enters into possession of the field.
Here the important question obtrudes itself: How are phantasies created? From the poets we learn much about it; from science we learn little. The psychoanalytic method, presented to science by Freud, shed light upon this for the first time. It showed us that there are typical cycles. The stutterer imagines he is a great orator. The truth of this, Demosthenes, thanks to his energy, has proven. The poor man imagines himself to be a millionaire, the child an adult. The conquered fight out victorious battles with the conquerer; the unfit torments or delights himself with ambitious plans. We imagine that which we lack. The interesting question of the "why" of all this we must here leave unanswered, while we return to the historic problem: From what source do the phantasies draw their materials?28 We chose, as an example, a typical phantasy of puberty. A child in that stage before whom the whole frightening