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«***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HIDDEN SYMBOLISM OF ALCHEMY AND THE OCCULT ARTS*** Hidden Symbolism of ALCHEMY and the OCCULT ARTS (Formerly ...»

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She enjoined him at the same time, in view of the presence of the girls, not to treat them to any of his spicy jests. The Hungarian agreed and appeared at the party. To the amazement of the lady, he proposed the following riddle: ‘'One can enter from in front, or from behind, only one has to stand up.’ Observing the despair of the lady, he, with a sly, innocent look, said, ‘But well then, what is it? Simply a trolley car.’ Next day the daughter of the house appeared before her schoolmates in the high school with the following:‘'Girls, I heard a great joke yesterday; one can go in from in front or behind, only one must be stiff.’ ” [A neat contribution, by the way, to the psychology of innocent girlhood.] The anecdote was related to T. by a man later known to him as a homosexual. T. had been with few Hungarians, but with these few, homosexuality had been, as it happened, a favorite subject of conversation.

In the above we find many highly suggestive elements. [031] The most suggestive is, however, the strawberries. T. had, as appeared during the process of the analysis, a couple of days before the dream read a French story where the expression (new to him) cueillir des fraises occurred. He went to a Frenchman for the explanation of this phrase and learned that it was a delicate way of speaking of the sexual act, because lovers like to go into the woods under the pretext of picking strawberries, and thus separate themselves from the rest of the company.

In whatever way the dream wish conceived its gratification, the valley (between the two hills!) through which the brook flowed furnishes a quite definite suggestion. Here also the above 30 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts mentioned “from behind” probably gets a meaning.

The circumstance that the dream has, as it were, two faces, with one that it openly exposes to view, implies that a distinction must be made between the manifest and the latent material. The openly exposed face is the manifest dream content (as the wording of the dream report represents the dream); what is concealed is the latent dream thoughts. For the most part a broad tissue of dream thoughts is condensed into a dream. A part of the dream thoughts (not all) belongs regularly to the titanic elements of our psyche.

The shaping of the dream out of the dream thoughts is called by Freud the dream work. Four principles direct it, Condensation, Displacement, Representability, and Secondary Elaboration.

[032] Condensation was just now mentioned. Many dream thoughts are condensed to relatively few, but therefore all the more significant, images. Every image (person, object, etc.) is wont to be “determined” by several dream thoughts. Hence we speak of multiple determination or “Overdetermination.” Displacement shows itself in the fact that the dream (evidently in the service of distortion) pushes forward the unreal and pushes aside the real; in short, rearranges the psychic values (interest) in such a way that the dream in comparison with its latent thoughts appears as it were displaced or “elsewhere centered.” As the dream is a perceptual representation it must put into perceptually comprehensible form everything that it wants to express, even that which is most abstract. The tendency to vividly perceptual or plastic expression that is characteristic of the dream, corresponds accordingly to the Representability.

To the Secondary Elaboration we have to credit the last polishing of the dream fabric. It looks after the logical connection in the pictorial material, which is created by the displacing dream work. “This function (i.e., the secondary elaboration) proceeds after the manner which the poet maliciously ascribes to the philosopher; with its shreds and patches it stops the gaps in the structure of the dream. The result of its effort is that the Section II. Dream And Myth Interpretation. 31 dream loses its appearance of absurdity and disconnectedness and approaches the standard of a comprehensible experience. [033] But the effort is not always crowned with complete success.” (Freud, “Traumdeutung,” p. 330.) The secondary elaboration can be compared also to the erection of a façade.

Of the entire dreamwork Freud says (“Traumdeutung,” p.

338) comprehensively that it is “not merely more careless, more incorrect, more easily forgotten or more fragmentary than waking thought; it is something qualitatively quite different and therefore not in the least comparable with it. It does not, in fact, think, reckon, or judge, but limits itself to remodeling. It may be exhaustively described if we keep in view the conditions which its productions have to satisfy. These productions, the dream, will have first of all to avoid the censor, and for this purpose the dream work resorts to displacement of psychic intensities even to the point of changing all psychic values; thoughts must be exclusively or predominantly given in the material of visual and auditory memory images, and from this grows that demand for representability which it answers with new displacements.

Greater intensities must apparently be attained here, than are at its disposal in dream thoughts at night, and this purpose is served by the extreme condensation which affects the elements of the dream thoughts. There is little regard for the logical relations of the thought material; they find finally an indirect representation in formal peculiarities of dreams. The affects of dream thoughts suffer slighter changes than their image content. They are [034] usually repressed. Where they are retained they are detached from images and grouped according to their similarity.” Briefly to express the nature of the dream, Stekel gives in one place (“Sprache des Traumes,” p. 107) this concise characterization: “The dream is a play of images in the service of the affects.” A nearly exact formula for the dream has been contributed by Freud and Rank, “On the foundation and with the help of 32 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts repressed infantile sexual material, the dream regularly represents as fulfilled actual wishes and usually also erotic wishes in disguised and symbolically veiled form.” (Jb.; ps. F., p. 519, and Trdtg., p. 117.) In this formula the wish fulfillment, following Freud's view, is preponderant, yet it would appear to me that it is given too exclusive a rôle in the (chiefly affective) background of the dream. An important point is the infantile in the dream, in which connection we must mention the Regression.





Regression is a kind of psychic retrogression that takes place in manifold ways in the dream (and related psychic events).

The dream reaches back towards infantile memories and wishes.

[Sometimes this is already recognizable in the manifest dream content. Usually, however, it is first disclosed by psychoanalysis.

Strongly repressed, and therefore difficult of access, is this infantile sexual material. On the infantile forms of sexuality, see Freud, “Three Contributions to Sexual Theory.”] It reaches back also from the complicated and completed to a more [035] primitive function, from

Abstract

thought to perceptual images, from practical activity to hallucinatory wish fulfillment. [The latter with especial significance in the convenience dreams. We fall asleep, for instance, when thirsty, then instead of reaching for the glass of water, we dream of the drink.] The dreamer thus approaches his own childhood, as he does likewise the childhood of the human race, by reaching back for the more primitive perceptual mode of thought. [On the second kind of regression the Zurich psychiatrist, C. G. Jung, has made extraordinary interesting revelations. His writings will further occupy our attention later.] Nietzsche writes (“Menschliches, Allzumenschliches”), “In sleep and in dreams we pass through the entire curriculum of primitive mankind.... I mean as even to-day we think in dreams, mankind thought in waking life through many thousand years;

the first cause that struck his spirit in order to explain anything that needed explanation satisfied him and passed as truth. In Section II. Dream And Myth Interpretation. 33 dreams this piece of ancient humanity works on in us, for it is the germ from which the higher reason developed and in every man still develops. The dream takes us back into remote conditions of human culture and puts in our hand the means of understanding it better. The dream thought is now so easy because, during the enormous duration of the evolution of mankind we have been so well trained in just this form of cheap, phantastic explanation by the first agreeable fancy. In that respect the dream is a [036] means of recovery for the brain, which by day has to satisfy the strenuous demands of thought required by the higher culture.” (Works, Vol. II, pp. 27 ff.) If we remember that the explanation of nature and the philosophizing of unschooled humanity is consummated in the form of myths, we can deduce from the preceding an analogy between myth making and dreaming. This analogy is much further developed by psychoanalysis. Freud blazes a path with the following words: “The research into these concepts of folk psychology [myths, sagas, fairy stories] is at present not by any means concluded, but it is apparent everywhere from myths, for instance, that they correspond to the displaced residues of wish phantasies of entire nations, the dreams of ages of young humanity.” (Samml. kl. Lehr. II, p. 205.) It will be shown later that fairy stories and myths can actually be subjected to the same psychologic interpretation as dreams, that for the most part they rest on the same psychological motives (suppressed wishes, that are common to all men) and that they show a similar structure to that of dreams.

Abraham (Traum und Mythus)1 has gone farther in developing the parallelism of dream and myth. For him the myth is the dream of a people and a dream is the myth of the individual. He says, e.g., “The dream is (according to Freud) a piece of superseded [037] infantile, mental life” and “the myth is a piece of superseded See Translations in the Nervous and Mental Disease Monograph Series for this and the other studies cited in this section.

34 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts infantile, mental life of a people”; also, “The dream then, is the myth of the individual.” Rank conceives the myths as images intermediate between collective dreams and collective poems.

“For as in the individual the dream or poem is destined to draw off unconscious emotions that are repressed in the course of the evolution of civilization, so in mythical or religious phantasies a whole people liberates itself for the maintenance of its psychic soundness from those primal impulses that are refractory to culture (titanic), while at the same time it creates, as it were, a collective symptom for taking up all repressed emotion.” (InzMot., p. 277. Cf. also Kunstl., p. 36.) A definite group of such repressed primal impulses is given a prominent place by psychoanalysis. I refer to the so-called Œdipus complex that plays an important rôle in the dream life as also in myth and apparently, also in creative poetry. The fables (sagas, dramas) of Œdipus, who slays his father and marries his mother are well known. According to the observations of psychoanalysis there is a bit of Œdipus in every one of us. [These Œdipus elements in us can—as I must observe after reading Imago, January, 1913—be called “titanic” in the narrower sense, following the lead of Lorenz. They contain the motive for the separation of the child from the parents.] The related conflicts, that in their entirety constitute the Œdipus complex (almost always unconscious, because actively repressed) arise in the [038] disturbance of the relation to the parents which every child goes through more or less in its first (and very early) sexual emotions.

“If king Œdipus can deeply affect modern mankind no less than the contemporary Greeks, the explanation can lie only in the fact that the effect of the Greek tragedy does not depend on the antithesis between fate and the human will, but in the peculiarity of the material in which this antithesis is developed. There must be a voice in our inner life which is ready to recognize the compelling power of fate in the case of Œdipus, while we reject as arbitrary the situations in the Ahnfrau or other destiny Section II. Dream And Myth Interpretation. 35 tragedies. And such an element is indeed contained in the history of king Œdipus. His fate touches us only because it might have been ours, because the oracle hung the same curse over us before our birth as over him. For us all, probably, it is ordained that we should direct our first sexual feelings towards our mothers, the first hate and wish for violence against our fathers. Our dreams convince us of that. King Œdipus, who has slain his father Laius and married his mother Jocasta, is only the wish-fulfillment of our childhood. But more fortunate than he, we have been able, unless we have become psychoneurotic, to dissociate our sexual feelings from our mothers and forget our jealousy of our fathers.

From the person in whom that childish wish has been fulfilled we recoil with the entire force of the repressions, that these wishes have since that time suffered in our inner soul. While the poet in his probing brings to light the guilt of Œdipus, he [039] calls to our attention our own inner life, in which that impulse, though repressed, is always present. The antithesis with which the chorus leaves us See, that is Œdipus, Who solved the great riddle and was peerless in power, Whose fortune the townspeople all extolled and envied.

See into what a terrible flood of mishap he has sunk.

This admonition hits us and our pride, we who have become in our own estimation, since the years of childhood, so wise and so mighty. Like Œdipus, we live in ignorance of the wishes that are so offensive to morality, which nature has forced upon us, and after their disclosure we should all like to turn away our gaze from the scenes of our childhood.” (Freud, Trdtg., p. 190 f.) Believing that I have by this time sufficiently prepared the reader who was unfamiliar with psychoanalysis for the psychoanalytic part of my investigation, I will dispense with further time-consuming explanations.

36 Hidden Symbolism of Alchemy and the Occult Arts

–  –  –

Psychoanalytic Interpretation Of The Parable.



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