Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/302

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284
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

as a central point. Thus, for example, in the dream about the botanical monograph the central point of the dream content is apparently the element "botanical"; in the dream thoughts we are concerned with the complications and conflicts which result from services rendered among colleagues which put them under obligations to one another, subsequently with the reproach that I am in the habit of sacrificing too much to my hobbies, and the element "botanical" would in no case find a place in this nucleus of the dream thoughts if it were not loosely connected with it by an antithesis, for botany was never among my favourite studies. In the Sappho dream of my patient the ascending and descending, being upstairs and down, is made the central point; the dream, however, is concerned with the danger of sexual relations with persons of low degree, so that only one of the elements of the dream thoughts seems to have been taken over into the dream content, albeit with unseemly elaboration. Similarly in the dream about June bugs, whose subject is the relation of sexuality to cruelty, the factor of cruelty has indeed reappeared but in a different connection and without the mention of the sexual, that is to say, it has been torn from its context and transformed into something strange. Again, in the dream about my uncle, the blond beard, which seems to be its central point, appears to have no rational connection with the wishes for greatness which we have recognised as the nucleus of the dream thoughts. It is only to be expected if such dreams give a displaced impression. In complete contrast to these examples, the dream of Irma's injection shows that individual elements can claim the same place in the formation of dreams which they occupy in the dream thoughts. The recognition of these new and entirely variable relations between the dream thoughts and the dream content is at first likely to excite our astonishment. If we find in a psychic process of normal life that an idea has been culled from among a number of others, and has acquired particular vividness in our consciousness, we are in the habit of regarding this result as a proof that the victorious idea is endowed with a peculiarly high degree of psychic value—a certain degree of interest. We now discover that this value of the individual elements in the dream thoughts is not preserved in the formation of the