Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/426

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408
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

from among the concealed thoughts as its object. The authorities err only in considering the modifications of the dream while it is being recalled and put in words as arbitrary and insoluble; and hence, as likely to mislead us in the interpretation of the dream. We over-estimate the determination of the psychic. There is nothing arbitrary in this field. It can quite generally be shown that a second train of thought immediately undertakes the determination of the elements which have been left undetermined by the first. I wish, e.g., to think quite voluntarily of a number. This, however, is impossible. The number that occurs to me is definitely and necessarily determined by thoughts within me which may be far from my momentary intention.[1] Just as far from arbitrary are the modifications which the dream experiences through the revision of the waking state. They remain in associative connection with the content, the place of which they take, and serve to show us the way to this content, which may itself be the substitute for another.

In the analysis of dreams with patients I am accustomed to institute the following proof of this assertion, which has never proved unsuccessful. If the report of a dream appears to me at first difficult to understand, I request the dreamer to repeat it. This he rarely does in the same words. The passages wherein the expression is changed have become known to me as the weak points of the dream's disguise, which are of the same service to me as the embroidered mark on Siegfried's raiment was to Hagen. The analysis may start from these points. The narrator has been admonished by my announcement that I mean to take special pains to solve the dream, and immediately, under the impulse of resistance, he protects the weak points of the dream's disguise, replacing the treacherous expressions by remoter ones. He thus calls my attention to the expressions he has dropped. From the efforts made to guard against the solution of the dream, I can also draw conclusions as to the care with which the dream's raiment was woven.

The authors are, however, less justified in giving so much importance to the doubt which our judgment encounters in

  1. See the Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 4th ed., 1912. (English translation in preparation.)