Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/424

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406
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

seems particularly unfitted to retain the dream, and which may have omitted precisely the most important part of the dream content. For, when we pay attention to our dreams, we often find cause to complain that we have dreamed much more than we remember; that, unfortunately, we know nothing more than this one fragment, and that even this seems to us peculiarly uncertain. On the other hand, everything assures us that our memory reproduces the dream not only fragmentarily but also delusively and falsely. Just as on the one hand we may doubt whether the material dreamt was really as disconnected and confused as we remember it, so on the other hand may we doubt whether a dream was as connected as we relate it; whether in the attempt at reproduction we have not filled in the gaps existing or caused by forgetfulness with new material arbitrarily chosen; whether we have not embellished, rounded off, and prepared the dream so that all judgment as to its real content becomes impossible. Indeed, one author (Spitta64) has expressed his belief that all that is orderly and connected is really first put into the dream during our attempt to recall it. Thus we are in danger of having wrested from our hands the very subject whose value we have undertaken to determine.

In our dream interpretations we have thus far ignored these warnings. Indeed, the demand for interpretation was, on the contrary, found to be no less perceptible in the smallest, most insignificant, and most uncertain ingredients of the dream content than in those containing the distinct and definite parts. In the dream of Irma's injection we read, "I quickly called in Dr. M.," and we assumed that even this small addendum would not have gotten into the dream if it had not had a special derivation. Thus we reached the history of that unfortunate patient to whose bed I "quickly" called in the older colleague. In the apparently absurd dream which treated the difference between 51 and 56 as quantité négligé, the number 51 was repeatedly mentioned. Instead of finding this self-evident or indifferent, we inferred from it a second train of thought in the latent content of the dream which led to the number 51. By following up this clue we came to the fears which placed 51 years as a limit of life, this being in most marked contrast to a dominant train of thought