Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/440

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422
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

(b) Regression.

Now that we have guarded against objection, or at least indicated where our weapons for defence rest, we need no longer delay entering upon the psychological investigations for which we have so long prepared. Let us bring together the main results of our investigations up to this point. The dream is a momentous psychic act; its motive power is at all times to fulfil a wish; its indiscernibleness as a wish and its many peculiarities and absurdities are due to the influence of the psychic censor to which it has been subjected during its formation. Apart from the pressure to withdraw itself from this censor, the following have played a part in its formation: a strong tendency to the condensation of psychic material, a consideration for dramatisation into mental pictures, and (though not regularly) a consideration for a rational and intelligible exterior in the dream structure. From every one of these propositions the road leads further to psychological postulates and assumptions. Thus the reciprocal relation of the wish motives and the four conditions, as well as the relations of these conditions to one another will have to be investigated; and the dream will have to be brought into association with the psychic life.

At the beginning of this chapter we cited a dream in order to remind us of the riddles that are still unsolved. The interpretation of this dream of the burning child afforded us no difficulties, although it was not perfectly given in our present sense. We asked ourselves why it was necessary, after all, that the father should dream instead of awakening, and we recognised the wish to represent the child as living as the single motive of the dream. That there was still another wish playing a part in this connection, we shall be able to show after later discussions. For the present, therefore, we may say that for the sake of the wish-fulfilment the mental process of sleep was transformed into a dream.

If the wish realisation is made retrogressive, only one quality still remains which separates the two forms of psychic occurrences from each other. The dream thought might have read: "I see a glimmer coming from the room in which the corpse reposes. Perhaps a candle has been upset, and the child