Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/210

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

which is inferred from our dream analyses. If we have succeeded in proving, by a procedure which other authors have not applied in their investigation of dreams, that the dream as a psychic action possesses value peculiar to itself, that a wish supplies the motive for its formation, and that the experiences of the previous day furnish the immediate material for its content, any other theory of dreams neglecting such an important method of investigation, and accordingly causing the dream to appear a useless and problematic psychic reaction to somatic stimuli, is dismissible without any particular comment. Otherwise there must be—which is highly improbable—two entirely different kinds of dreams, of which only one has come under our observation, while only the other has been observed by the earlier connoisseurs of the dream. It still remains to provide a place for the facts which are used to support the prevailing theory of somatic dream-stimuli, within our own theory of dreams.

We have already taken the first step in this direction in setting up the thesis that the dream activity is under a compulsion to elaborate all the dream stimuli which are simultaneously present into a unified whole (p. 151). We have seen that when two or more experiences capable of making an impression have been left over from the previous day, the wishes which result from them are united into one dream; similarly, that an impression possessing psychic value and the indifferent experiences of the previous day are united in the dream material, provided there are available connecting ideas between the two. Thus the dream appears to be a reaction to everything which is simultaneously present as actual in the sleeping mind. As far as we have hitherto analysed the dream material, we have discovered it to be a collection of psychic remnants and memory traces, which we were obliged to credit (on account of the preference shown for recent and infantile material) with a character of actuality, though the nature of this was not at the time determinable. Now it will not be difficult to foretell what will happen when new material in the form of sensations is added to these actualities of memory. These stimuli likewise derive importance for the dream because they are actual; they are united with the other psychic actualities in order to make up the material for