Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/464

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446
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

the scheme took the form of a reflex apparatus, which enabled it promptly to discharge through the motor tracts any sensible stimulus reaching it from without. But this simple function was disturbed by the wants of life, which likewise furnish the impulse for the further development of the apparatus. The wants of life first manifested themselves to it in the form of the great physical needs. The excitement aroused by the inner want seeks an outlet in motility, which may be designated as "inner changes" or as an "expression of the emotions." The hungry child cries or fidgets helplessly, but its situation remains unchanged; for the excitation proceeding from an inner want requires, not a momentary outbreak, but a force working continuously. A change can occur only if in some way a feeling of gratification is experienced—which in the case of the child must be through outside help—in order to remove the inner excitement. An essential constituent of this experience is the appearance of a certain perception (of food in our example), the memory picture of which thereafter remains associated with the memory trace of the excitation of want.

Thanks to the established connection, there results at the next appearance of this want a psychic feeling which revives the memory picture of the former perception, and thus recalls the former perception itself, i.e. it actually re-establishes the situation of the first gratification. We call such a feeling a wish; the reappearance of the perception constitutes the wishfulfilment, and the full revival of the perception by the want excitement constitutes the shortest road to the wish-fulfilment. We may assume a primitive condition of the psychic apparatus in which this road is really followed, i.e. where the wishing merges into an hallucination. This first psychic activity therefore aims at an identity of perception, i.e. it aims at a repetition of that perception which is connected with the fulfilment of the want.

This primitive mental activity must have been modified by bitter practical experience into a more expedient secondary activity. The establishment of the identity perception on the short regressive road within the apparatus does not in another respect carry with it the result which inevitably follows the revival of the same perception from without. The