Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/70

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wonderful poetry, an excellent allegory, an incomparable humour, and a charming irony. It views the world under the guise of a peculiar idealisation, and often raises the effect of its manifestations into the most ingenious understanding of the essence lying at its basis. It represents for us earthly beauty in true heavenly radiance, the sublime in the highest majesty, the actually frightful in the most gruesome figure, and the ridiculous in the indescribably drastic comical; and at times we are so full of one of these impressions after awakening that we imagine that such a thing has never been offered to us by the real world."

One may ask, is it really the same object that the depreciating remarks and these inspired praises are meant for? Have the latter overlooked the stupid dreams and the former the thoughtful and ingenious dreams? And if both kinds do occur—that is, dreams that merit to be judged in this or that manner—does it not seem idle to seek the psychological character of the dream? would it not suffice to state that everything is possible in the dream, from the lowest depreciation of the psychic life to a raising of the same which is unusual in the waking state? As convenient as this solution would be it has this against it, that behind the efforts of all dream investigators, it seems to be presupposed that there is such a definable character of the dream, which is universally valid in its essential features and which must eliminate these contradictions.

It is unquestionable that the psychic capacities of the dream have found quicker and warmer recognition in that intellectual period which now lies behind us, when philosophy rather than exact natural science ruled intelligent minds. Utterances like those of Schubert, that the dream frees the mind from the power of outer nature, that it liberates the soul from the chains of the sensual, and similar opinions expressed by the younger Fichte,[1] and others, who represent the dream as a soaring up of the psychic life to a higher stage, hardly seem conceivable to us to-day; they are only repeated at present by mystics and devotees. With the advance of the scientific mode of thinking, a reaction took place in the estimation of the dream. It is really the medical authors who are most prone to underrate the psychic activity in the dream,

  1. Cf. Haffner32 and Spitta64.