Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/33

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15
LITERATURE OF THE DREAM

dependence in any individual case. It thus happened that in the statistical treatment of her own and her friend's dreams, Miss Whiton Calkins12 found 11 per cent. of the entire number that showed no relation to the waking state. Hildebrandt was certainly correct in his assertion that all our dream pictures could be genetically explained if we devoted enough time and material to the tracing of their origin. To be sure, he calls this "a most tedious and thankless job." For it would at most lead us to ferret out all kinds of quite worthless psychic material from the most remote corners of the memory chamber, and to bring to light some very indifferent moments from the remote past which were perhaps buried the next hour after their appearance." I must, however, express my regret that this discerning author refrained from following the road whose beginning looked so unpromising; it would have led him directly to the centre of the dream problem.

The behaviour of the memory in dreams is surely most significant for every theory of memory in general. It teaches us that "nothing which we have once psychically possessed is ever entirely lost" (Scholz59); or as Delbœuf puts it, "que toute impression même la plus insignifiante, laisse une trace inaltérable, indéfiniment susceptible de reparaître au jour," a conclusion to which we are urged by so many of the other pathological manifestations of the psychic life. Let us now bear in mind this extraordinary capability of the memory in the dream, in order to perceive vividly the contradictions which must be advanced in certain dream theories to be mentioned later, when they endeavour to explain the absurdities and incoherence of dreams through a partial forgetting of what we have known during the day.

One might even think of reducing the phenomenon of dreaming to that of memory, and of regarding the dream as the manifestation of an activity of reproduction which does not rest even at night, and which is an end in itself. Views like those expressed by Pilcz51 would corroborate this, according to which intimate relations are demonstrable between the time of dreaming and the contents of the dream from the fact that the impressions reproduced by the dream in sound sleep belong to the remotest past while those reproduced towards morning are of recent origin. But such a conception is rendered