Page:Freud - Wit and its relation to the unconscious.djvu/282

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the direct expression by a form of indirect expression, and then I utter it in the form of an allusion. But the allusion that comes into existence in this manner having been formed under my continuous control is never witty, no matter how useful it may be. On the other hand, the witty allusion appears without my having been able to follow up these preparatory stages in my mind. I do not wish to attribute too much value to this procedure, it is scarcely decisive, but it does agree well with our assumption that in wit-formation a stream of thought is dropped for a moment and suddenly emerges from the unconscious as a witticism.

Witticisms also evince a peculiar behavior along the lines of association of ideas. Frequently they are not at the disposal of our memory when we look for them; on the other hand, they often appear unsolicited and at places in our train of thought where we cannot understand their presence. Again, these are only minor qualities, but none the less they point to their unconscious origin.

Let us now collect the properties of wit whose formation can be referred to the unconscious. Above all there is the peculiar brevity of wit which, though not an indispensable, is a marked and distinctive characteristic feature. When