Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/43

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LITERATURE OF THE DREAM

of the luminous chaos. This is also the root of the great fondness of the dream for the most complex animal figures, the multiplicity of forms readily following the form of the subjective light pictures."

The subjective sensory stimuli as a source of the dream have the obvious advantage that unlike the objective stimuli they are independent of external accidents. They are, so to speak, at the disposal of the explanation as often as it needs them. They are, however, in so far inferior to the objective sensory stimuli that the rôle of dream inciter, which observation and experiment have proven for the latter, can be verified in their case only with difficulty or not at all. The main proof for the dream-inciting power of subjective sensory excitements is offered by the so-called hypnogogic hallucinations, which have been described by John Müller as "phantastic visual manifestations." They are those very vivid and changeable pictures which occur regularly in many people during the period of falling asleep, and which may remain for awhile even after the eyes have been opened. Maury,48 who was considerably troubled by them, subjected them to a thorough study, and maintained that they are related to or rather identical with dream pictures—this has already been asserted by John Müller. Maury states that a certain psychic passivity is necessary for their origin; it requires a relaxation of the tension of attention (p. 59). But in any ordinary disposition a hypnogogic hallucination may be produced by merging for a second into such lethargy, after which one perhaps awakens until this oft-repeated process terminates in sleep. According to Maury, if one awakens shortly thereafter, it is often possible to demonstrate the same pictures in the dream which one has perceived as hypnogogic hallucinations before falling asleep (p. 134). Thus it once happened to Maury with a group of pictures of grotesque figures, with distorted features and strange headdresses, which obtruded themselves upon him with incredible importunity during the period of falling asleep, and which he recalled having dreamed upon awakening. On another occasion, while suffering from hunger, because he kept himself on a rather strict diet, he saw hypnogogically a plate and a hand armed with a fork taking some food from the plate. In his dream he found himself at a table abundantly supplied with