Page:Freud - Wit and its relation to the unconscious.djvu/89
himself independent as a fighting force or establish himself, as it were. One cannot remain one minute in doubt but that this advice is not pure nonsense, but witty nonsense and an excellent joke. By what means does the nonsense become a witticism?
We need not meditate very long. From the discussions of the authors in the Introduction we can guess that sense lurks in such witty nonsense, and that this sense in nonsense transforms nonsense into wit. In our example the sense is easily found. The officer who gives the artilleryman, Ike, the nonsensical advice pretends to be stupid in order to show Ike how stupidly he is acting. He imitates Ike as if to say, “I will now give you some advice which is exactly as stupid as you are.” He enters into Ike’s stupidity and makes him conscious of it by making it the basis of a proposition which must meet with Ike’s wishes, for if Ike owned a cannon and took up the art of warfare on his own account, of what advantage would his intelligence and ambition be to him? How would he take care of the cannon and acquaint himself with its mechanism in order to meet the competition of other possessors of cannon?
I am breaking off the analysis of this example to show the same sense in nonsense in a shorter and