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Title: A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis
Author: Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis" ***

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[Illustration: SCHWIND, _The Dream of the Prisoner_

See page 109 for analysis]

A General Introduction





Published, 1920, by

_Printed in the United States of America_



Few, especially in this country, realize that while Freudian themes have
rarely found a place on the programs of the American Psychological
Association, they have attracted great and growing attention and found
frequent elaboration by students of literature, history, biography,
sociology, morals and aesthetics, anthropology, education, and religion.
They have given the world a new conception of both infancy and
adolescence, and shed much new light upon characterology; given us a new
and clearer view of sleep, dreams, reveries, and revealed hitherto
unknown mental mechanisms common to normal and pathological states and
processes, showing that the law of causation extends to the most
incoherent acts and even verbigerations in insanity; gone far to clear
up the _terra incognita_ of hysteria; taught us to recognize morbid
symptoms, often neurotic and psychotic in their germ; revealed the
operations of the primitive mind so overlaid and repressed that we had
almost lost sight of them; fashioned and used the key of symbolism to
unlock many mysticisms of the past; and in addition to all this,
affected thousands of cures, established a new prophylaxis, and
suggested new tests for character, disposition, and ability, in all
combining the practical and theoretic to a degree salutary as it is

These twenty-eight lectures to laymen are elementary and almost
conversational. Freud sets forth with a frankness almost startling the
difficulties and limitations of psychoanalysis, and also describes its
main methods and results as only a master and originator of a new school
of thought can do. These discourses are at the same time simple and
almost confidential, and they trace and sum up the results of thirty
years of devoted and painstaking research. While they are not at all
controversial, we incidentally see in a clearer light the distinctions
between the master and some of his distinguished pupils. A text like
this is the most opportune and will naturally more or less supersede all
other introductions to the general subject of psychoanalysis. It
presents the author in a new light, as an effective and successful
popularizer, and is certain to be welcomed not only by the large and
growing number of students of psychoanalysis in this country but by the
yet larger number of those who wish to begin its study here and

The impartial student of Sigmund Freud need not agree with all his
conclusions, and indeed, like the present writer, may be unable to make
sex so all-dominating a factor in the psychic life of the past and
present as Freud deems it to be, to recognize the fact that he is the
most original and creative mind in psychology of our generation. Despite
the frightful handicap of the _odium sexicum_, far more formidable today
than the _odium theologicum_, involving as it has done for him lack of
academic recognition and even more or less social ostracism, his views
have attracted and inspired a brilliant group of minds not only in
psychiatry but in many other fields, who have altogether given the world
of culture more new and pregnant _appercus_ than those which have come
from any other source within the wide domain of humanism.

A former student and disciple of Wundt, who recognizes to the full his
inestimable services to our science, cannot avoid making certain
comparisons. Wundt has had for decades the prestige of a most
advantageous academic chair. He founded the first laboratory for
experimental psychology, which attracted many of the most gifted and
mature students from all lands. By his development of the doctrine of
apperception he took psychology forever beyond the old associationism
which had ceased to be fruitful. He also established the independence of
psychology from physiology, and by his encyclopedic and always thronged
lectures, to say nothing of his more or less esoteric seminary, he
materially advanced every branch of mental science and extended its
influence over the whole wide domain of folklore, mores, language, and
primitive religion. His best texts will long constitute a thesaurus
which every psychologist must know.

Again, like Freud, he inspired students who went beyond him (the
Wurzburgers and introspectionists) whose method and results he could not
follow. His limitations have grown more and more manifest. He has little
use for the unconscious or the abnormal, and for the most part he has
lived and wrought in a preevolutionary age and always and everywhere
underestimated the genetic standpoint. He never transcends the
conventional limits in dealing, as he so rarely does, with sex. Nor does
he contribute much likely to be of permanent value in any part of the
wide domain of affectivity. We cannot forbear to express the hope that
Freud will not repeat Wundt's error in making too abrupt a break with
his more advanced pupils like Adler or the Zurich group. It is rather
precisely just the topics that Wundt neglects that Freud makes his chief
corner-stones, viz., the unconscious, the abnormal, sex, and affectivity
generally, with many genetic, especially ontogenetic, but also
phylogenetic factors. The Wundtian influence has been great in the past,
while Freud has a great present and a yet greater future.

In one thing Freud agrees with the introspectionists, viz., in
deliberately neglecting the "physiological factor" and building on
purely psychological foundations, although for Freud psychology is
mainly unconscious, while for the introspectionists it is pure
consciousness. Neither he nor his disciples have yet recognized the aid
proffered them by students of the autonomic system or by the
distinctions between the epicritic and protopathic functions and organs
of the cerebrum, although these will doubtless come to have their due
place as we know more of the nature and processes of the unconscious

If psychologists of the normal have hitherto been too little disposed to
recognize the precious contributions to psychology made by the cruel
experiments of Nature in mental diseases, we think that the
psychoanalysts, who work predominantly in this field, have been somewhat
too ready to apply their findings to the operations of the normal mind;
but we are optomistic enough to believe that in the end both these
errors will vanish and that in the great synthesis of the future that
now seems to impend our science will be made vastly richer and deeper on
the theoretical side and also far more practical than it has ever been


Clark University,
April, 1920.



_The Psychology of Errors_


PREFACE    G. Stanley Hall                                             V


I. INTRODUCTION                                                        1

II. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ERRORS                                          10

III. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ERRORS--(_Continued_)                          23

IV. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ERRORS--(_Conclusion_)                          41


_The Dream_

V. DIFFICULTIES AND PRELIMINARY APPROACH                              63



VIII. DREAMS OF CHILDHOOD                                            101

IX. THE DREAM CENSOR                                                 110

X. SYMBOLISM IN THE DREAM                                            122

XI. THE DREAM-WORK                                                   141

XII. ANALYSES OF SAMPLE DREAMS                                       153


XIV. WISH FULFILLMENT                                                180

XV. DOUBTFUL POINTS AND CRITICISM                                    194


_General Theory of the Neuroses_

XVI. PSYCHOANALYSIS AND PSYCHIATRY                                   209

XVII. THE MEANING OF THE SYMPTOMS                                    221

XVIII. TRAUMATIC FIXATION--THE UNCONSCIOUS                           236

XIX. RESISTANCE AND SUPPRESSION                                      248

XX. THE SEXUAL LIFE OF MAN                                           262



XXIII. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SYMPTOMS                               311

XXIV. ORDINARY NERVOUSNESS                                           328

XXV. FEAR AND ANXIETY                                                340

XXVI. THE LIBIDO THEORY AND NARCISM                                  356

XXVII. TRANSFERENCE                                                  372

XXVIII. ANALYTICAL THERAPY                                           388

INDEX                                                                403





I do not know how familiar some of you may be, either from your reading
or from hearsay, with psychoanalysis. But, in keeping with the title of
these lectures--_A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis_--I am obliged
to proceed as though you knew nothing about this subject, and stood in
need of preliminary instruction.

To be sure, this much I may presume that you do know, namely, that
psychoanalysis is a method of treating nervous patients medically. And
just at this point I can give you an example to illustrate how the
procedure in this field is precisely the reverse of that which is the
rule in medicine. Usually when we introduce a patient to a medical
technique which is strange to him we minimize its difficulties and give
him confident promises concerning the result of the treatment. When,
however, we undertake psychoanalytic treatment with a neurotic patient
we proceed differently. We hold before him the difficulties of the
method, its length, the exertions and the sacrifices which it will cost
him; and, as to the result, we tell him that we make no definite
promises, that the result depends on his conduct, on his understanding,
on his adaptability, on his perseverance. We have, of course, excellent
motives for conduct which seems so perverse, and into which you will
perhaps gain insight at a later point in these lectures.

Do not be offended, therefore, if, for the present, I treat you as I
treat these neurotic patients. Frankly, I shall dissuade you from coming
to hear me a second time. With this intention I shall show what
imperfections are necessarily involved in the teaching of psychoanalysis
and what difficulties stand in the way of gaining a personal judgment. I
shall show you how the whole trend of your previous training and all
your accustomed mental habits must unavoidably have made you opponents
of psychoanalysis, and how much you must overcome in yourselves in
order to master this instinctive opposition. Of course I cannot predict
how much psychoanalytic understanding you will gain from my lectures,
but I can promise this, that by listening to them you will not learn how
to undertake a psychoanalytic treatment or how to carry one to
completion. Furthermore, should I find anyone among you who does not
feel satisfied with a cursory acquaintance with psychoanalysis, but who
would like to enter into a more enduring relationship with it, I shall
not only dissuade him, but I shall actually warn him against it. As
things now stand, a person would, by such a choice of profession, ruin
his every chance of success at a university, and if he goes out into the
world as a practicing physician, he will find himself in a society which
does not understand his aims, which regards him with suspicion and
hostility, and which turns loose upon him all the malicious spirits
which lurk within it.

However, there are always enough individuals who are interested in
anything which may be added to the sum total of knowledge, despite such
inconveniences. Should there be any of this type among you, and should
they ignore my dissuasion and return to the next of these lectures, they
will be welcome. But all of you have the right to know what these
difficulties of psychoanalysis are to which I have alluded.

First of all, we encounter the difficulties inherent in the teaching and
exposition of psychoanalysis. In your medical instruction you have been
accustomed to visual demonstration. You see the anatomical specimen, the
precipitate in the chemical reaction, the contraction of the muscle as
the result of the stimulation of its nerves. Later the patient is
presented to your senses; the symptoms of his malady, the products of
the pathological processes, in many cases even the cause of the disease
is shown in isolated state. In the surgical department you are made to
witness the steps by which one brings relief to the patient, and are
permitted to attempt to practice them. Even in psychiatry, the
demonstration affords you, by the patient's changed facial play, his
manner of speech and his behavior, a wealth of observations which leave
far-reaching impressions. Thus the medical teacher preponderantly plays
the role of a guide and instructor who accompanies you through a museum
in which you contract an immediate relationship to the exhibits, and in
which you believe yourself to have been convinced through your own
observation of the existence of the new things you see.

Unfortunately, everything is different in psychoanalysis. In
psychoanalysis nothing occurs but the interchange of words between the
patient and the physician. The patient talks, tells of his past
experiences and present impressions, complains, confesses his wishes and
emotions. The physician listens, tries to direct the thought processes
of the patient, reminds him of things, forces his attention into certain
channels, gives him explanations and observes the reactions of
understanding or denial which he calls forth in the patient. The
uneducated relatives of our patients--persons who are impressed only by
the visible and tangible, preferably by such procedure as one sees in
the moving picture theatres--never miss an opportunity of voicing their
scepticism as to how one can "do anything for the malady through mere
talk." Such thinking, of course, is as shortsighted as it is
inconsistent. For these are the very persons who know with such
certainty that the patients "merely imagine" their symptoms. Words were
originally magic, and the word retains much of its old magical power
even to-day. With words one man can make another blessed, or drive him
to despair; by words the teacher transfers his knowledge to the pupil;
by words the speaker sweeps his audience with him and determines its
judgments and decisions. Words call forth effects and are the universal
means of influencing human beings. Therefore let us not underestimate
the use of words in psychotherapy, and let us be satisfied if we may be
auditors of the words which are exchanged between the analyst and his

But even that is impossible. The conversation of which the
psychoanalytic treatment consists brooks no auditor, it cannot be
demonstrated. One can, of course, present a neurasthenic or hysteric to
the students in a psychiatric lecture. He tells of his complaints and
symptoms, but of nothing else. The communications which are necessary
for the analysis are made only under the conditions of a special
affective relationship to the physician; the patient would become dumb
as soon as he became aware of a single impartial witness. For these
communications concern the most intimate part of his psychic life,
everything which as a socially independent person he must conceal from
others; these communications deal with everything which, as a harmonious
personality, he will not admit even to himself.

You cannot, therefore, "listen in" on a psychoanalytic treatment. You
can only hear of it. You will get to know psychoanalysis, in the
strictest sense of the word, only by hearsay. Such instruction even at
second hand, will place you in quite an unusual position for forming a
judgment. For it is obvious that everything depends on the faith you are
able to put in the instructor.

Imagine that you are not attending a psychiatric, but an historical
lecture, and that the lecturer is telling you about the life and martial
deeds of Alexander the Great. What would be your reasons for believing
in the authenticity of his statements? At first sight, the condition of
affairs seems even more unfavorable than in the case of psychoanalysis,
for the history professor was as little a participant in Alexander's
campaigns as you were; the psychoanalyst at least tells you of things in
connection with which he himself has played some role. But then the
question turns on this--what set of facts can the historian marshal in
support of his position? He can refer you to the accounts of ancient
authors, who were either contemporaries themselves, or who were at least
closer to the events in question; that is, he will refer you to the
books of Diodor, Plutarch, Arrian, etc. He can place before you pictures
of the preserved coins and statues of the king and can pass down your
rows a photograph of the Pompeiian mosaics of the battle of Issos. Yet,
strictly speaking, all these documents prove only that previous
generations already believed in Alexander's existence and in the reality
of his deeds, and your criticism might begin anew at this point. You
will then find that not everything recounted of Alexander is credible,
or capable of proof in detail; yet even then I cannot believe that you
will leave the lecture hall a disbeliever in the reality of Alexander
the Great. Your decision will be determined chiefly by two
considerations; firstly, that the lecturer has no conceivable motive for
presenting as truth something which he does not himself believe to be
true, and secondly, that all available histories present the events in
approximately the same manner. If you then proceed to the verification
of the older sources, you will consider the same data, the possible
motives of the writers and the consistency of the various parts of the
evidence. The result of the examination will surely be convincing in the
case of Alexander. It will probably turn out differently when applied
to individuals like Moses and Nimrod. But what doubts you might raise
against the credibility of the psychoanalytic reporter you will see
plainly enough upon a later occasion.

At this point you have a right to raise the question, "If there is no
such thing as objective verification of psychoanalysis, and no
possibility of demonstrating it, how can one possibly learn
psychoanalysis and convince himself of the truth of its claims?" The
fact is, the study is not easy and there are not many persons who have
learned psychoanalysis thoroughly; but nevertheless, there is a feasible
way. Psychoanalysis is learned, first of all, from a study of one's
self, through the study of one's own personality. This is not quite what
is ordinarily called self-observation, but, at a pinch, one can sum it
up thus. There is a whole series of very common and universally known
psychic phenomena, which, after some instruction in the technique of
psychoanalysis, one can make the subject matter of analysis in one's
self. By so doing one obtains the desired conviction of the reality of
the occurrences which psychoanalysis describes and of the correctness of
its fundamental conception. To be sure, there are definite limits
imposed on progress by this method. One gets much further if one allows
himself to be analyzed by a competent analyst, observes the effect of
the analysis on his own ego, and at the same time makes use of the
opportunity to become familiar with the finer details of the technique
of procedure. This excellent method is, of course, only practicable for
one person, never for an entire class.

There is a second difficulty in your relation to psychoanalysis for
which I cannot hold the science itself responsible, but for which I must
ask you to take the responsibility upon yourselves, ladies and
gentlemen, at least in so far as you have hitherto pursued medical
studies. Your previous training has given your mental activity a
definite bent which leads you far away from psychoanalysis. You have
been trained to reduce the functions of an organism and its disorders
anatomically, to explain them in terms of chemistry and physics and to
conceive them biologically, but no portion of your interest has been
directed to the psychic life, in which, after all, the activity of this
wonderfully complex organism culminates. For this reason psychological
thinking has remained strange to you and you have accustomed yourselves
to regard it with suspicion, to deny it the character of the scientific,
to leave it to the laymen, poets, natural philosophers and mystics. Such
a delimitation is surely harmful to your medical activity, for the
patient will, as is usual in all human relationships, confront you first
of all with his psychic facade; and I am afraid your penalty will be
this, that you will be forced to relinquish a portion of the therapeutic
influence to which you aspire, to those lay physicians, nature-cure
fakers and mystics whom you despise.

I am not overlooking the excuse, whose existence one must admit, for
this deficiency in your previous training. There is no philosophical
science of therapy which could be made practicable for your medical
purpose. Neither speculative philosophy nor descriptive psychology nor
that so-called experimental psychology which allies itself with the
physiology of the sense organs as it is taught in the schools, is in a
position to teach you anything useful concerning the relation between
the physical and the psychical or to put into your hand the key to the
understanding of a possible disorder of the psychic functions. Within
the field of medicine, psychiatry does, it is true, occupy itself with
the description of the observed psychic disorders and with their
grouping into clinical symptom-pictures; but in their better hours the
psychiatrists themselves doubt whether their purely descriptive account
deserves the name of a science. The symptoms which constitute these
clinical pictures are known neither in their origin, in their mechanism,
nor in their mutual relationship. There are either no discoverable
corresponding changes of the anatomical organ of the soul, or else the
changes are of such a nature as to yield no enlightenment. Such psychic
disturbances are open to therapeutic influence only when they can be
identified as secondary phenomena of an otherwise organic affection.

Here is the gap which psychoanalysis aims to fill. It prepares to give
psychiatry the omitted psychological foundation, it hopes to reveal the
common basis from which, as a starting point, constant correlation of
bodily and psychic disturbances becomes comprehensible. To this end, it
must divorce itself from every anatomical, chemical or physiological
supposition which is alien to it. It must work throughout with purely
psychological therapeutic concepts, and just for that reason I fear
that it will at first seem strange to you.

I will not make you, your previous training, or your mental bias share
the guilt of the next difficulty. With two of its assertions,
psychoanalysis offends the whole world and draws aversion upon itself.
One of these assertions offends an intellectual prejudice, the other an
aesthetic-moral one. Let us not think too lightly of these prejudices;
they are powerful things, remnants of useful, even necessary,
developments of mankind. They are retained through powerful affects, and
the battle against them is a hard one.

The first of these displeasing assertions of psychoanalysis is this,
that the psychic processes are in themselves unconscious, and that those
which are conscious are merely isolated acts and parts of the total
psychic life. Recollect that we are, on the contrary, accustomed to
identify the psychic with the conscious. Consciousness actually means
for us the distinguishing characteristic of the psychic life, and
psychology is the science of the content of consciousness. Indeed, so
obvious does this identification seem to us that we consider its
slightest contradiction obvious nonsense, and yet psychoanalysis cannot
avoid raising this contradiction; it cannot accept the identity of the
conscious with the psychic. Its definition of the psychic affirms that
they are processes of the nature of feeling, thinking, willing; and it
must assert that there is such a thing as unconscious thinking and
unconscious willing. But with this assertion psychoanalysis has
alienated, to start with, the sympathy of all friends of sober science,
and has laid itself open to the suspicion of being a fantastic mystery
study which would build in darkness and fish in murky waters. You,
however, ladies and gentlemen, naturally cannot as yet understand what
justification I have for stigmatizing as a prejudice so abstract a
phrase as this one, that "the psychic is consciousness." You cannot know
what evaluation can have led to the denial of the unconscious, if such a
thing really exists, and what advantage may have resulted from this
denial. It sounds like a mere argument over words whether one shall say
that the psychic coincides with the conscious or whether one shall
extend it beyond that, and yet I can assure you that by the acceptance
of unconscious processes you have paved the way for a decisively new
orientation in the world and in science.

Just as little can you guess how intimate a connection this initial
boldness of psychoanalysis has with the one which follows. The next
assertion which psychoanalysis proclaims as one of its discoveries,
affirms that those instinctive impulses which one can only call sexual
in the narrower as well as in the wider sense, play an uncommonly large
role in the causation of nervous and mental diseases, and that those
impulses are a causation which has never been adequately appreciated.
Nay, indeed, psychoanalysis claims that these same sexual impulses have
made contributions whose value cannot be overestimated to the highest
cultural, artistic and social achievements of the human mind.

According to my experience, the aversion to this conclusion of
psychoanalysis is the most significant source of the opposition which it
encounters. Would you like to know how we explain this fact? We believe
that civilization was forged by the driving force of vital necessity, at
the cost of instinct-satisfaction, and that the process is to a large
extent constantly repeated anew, since each individual who newly enters
the human community repeats the sacrifices of his instinct-satisfaction
for the sake of the common good. Among the instinctive forces thus
utilized, the sexual impulses play a significant role. They are thereby
sublimated, i.e., they are diverted from their sexual goals and directed
to ends socially higher and no longer sexual. But this result is
unstable. The sexual instincts are poorly tamed. Each individual who
wishes to ally himself with the achievements of civilization is exposed
to the danger of having his sexual instincts rebel against this
sublimation. Society can conceive of no more serious menace to its
civilization than would arise through the satisfying of the sexual
instincts by their redirection toward their original goals. Society,
therefore, does not relish being reminded of this ticklish spot in its
origin; it has no interest in having the strength of the sexual
instincts recognized and the meaning of the sexual life to the
individual clearly delineated. On the contrary, society has taken the
course of diverting attention from this whole field. This is the reason
why society will not tolerate the above-mentioned results of
psychoanalytic research, and would prefer to brand it as aesthetically
offensive and morally objectionable or dangerous. Since, however, one
cannot attack an ostensibly objective result of scientific inquiry with
such objections, the criticism must be translated to an intellectual
level if it is to be voiced. But it is a predisposition of human nature
to consider an unpleasant idea untrue, and then it is easy to find
arguments against it. Society thus brands what is unpleasant as untrue,
denying the conclusions of psychoanalysis with logical and pertinent
arguments. These arguments originate from affective sources, however,
and society holds to these prejudices against all attempts at

However, we may claim, ladies and gentlemen, that we have followed no
bias of any sort in making any of these contested statements. We merely
wished to state facts which we believe to have been discovered by
toilsome labor. And we now claim the right unconditionally to reject the
interference in scientific research of any such practical
considerations, even before we have investigated whether the
apprehension which these considerations are meant to instil are
justified or not.

These, therefore, are but a few of the difficulties which stand in the
way of your occupation with psychoanalysis. They are perhaps more than
enough for a beginning. If you can overcome their deterrent impression,
we shall continue.



We begin with an investigation, not with hypotheses. To this end we
choose certain phenomena which are very frequent, very familiar and very
little heeded, and which have nothing to do with the pathological,
inasmuch as they can be observed in every normal person. I refer to the
errors which an individual commits--as for example, errors of speech in
which he wishes to say something and uses the wrong word; or those which
happen to him in writing, and which he may or may not notice; or the
case of misreading, in which one reads in the print or writing something
different from what is actually there. A similar phenomenon occurs in
those cases of mishearing what is said to one, where there is no
question of an organic disturbance of the auditory function. Another
series of such occurrences is based on forgetfulness--but on a
forgetfulness which is not permanent, but temporary, as for instance
when one cannot think of a name which one knows and always recognizes;
or when one forgets to carry out a project at the proper time but which
one remembers again later, and therefore has only forgotten for a
certain interval. In a third class this characteristic of transience is
lacking, as for example in mislaying things so that they cannot be found
again, or in the analogous case of losing things. Here we are dealing
with a kind of forgetfulness to which one reacts differently from the
other cases, a forgetfulness at which one is surprised and annoyed,
instead of considering it comprehensible. Allied with these phenomena is
that of erroneous ideas--in which the element of transience is again
prominent, inasmuch as for a while one believes something which, before
and after that time, one knows to be untrue--and a number of similar
phenomena of different designations.

These are all occurrences whose inner connection is expressed in the
use of the same prefix of designation.[1] They are almost all
unimportant, generally temporary and without much significance in the
life of the individual. It is only rarely that one of them, such as the
phenomenon of losing things, attains to a certain practical importance.
For that reason also they do not attract much attention, they arouse
only weak affects.

It is, therefore, to these phenomena that I would now direct your
attention. But you will object, with annoyance: "There are so many
sublime riddles in the external world, just as there are in the narrower
world of the psychic life, and so many wonders in the field of psychic
disturbances which demand and deserve elucidation, that it really seems
frivolous to waste labor and interest on such trifles. If you can
explain to us how an individual with sound eyes and ears can, in broad
daylight, see and hear things that do not exist, or why another
individual suddenly believes himself persecuted by those whom up to that
time he loved best, or defend, with the most ingenious arguments,
delusions which must seem nonsense to any child, then we will be willing
to consider psychoanalysis seriously. But if psychoanalysis can do
nothing better than to occupy us with the question of why a speaker used
the wrong word, or why a housekeeper mislaid her keys, or such trifles,
then we know something better to do with our time and interest."

My reply is: "Patience, ladies and gentlemen. I think your criticism is
not on the right track. It is true that psychoanalysis cannot boast that
it has never occupied itself with trifles. On the contrary, the objects
of its observations are generally those simple occurrences which the
other sciences have thrown aside as much too insignificant, the waste
products of the phenomenal world. But are you not confounding, in your
criticism, the sublimity of the problems with the conspicuousness of
their manifestations? Are there not very important things which under
certain circumstances, and at certain times, can betray themselves only
by very faint signs? I could easily cite a great many instances of this
kind. From what vague signs, for instance, do the young gentlemen of
this audience conclude that they have won the favor of a lady? Do you
await an explicit declaration, an ardent embrace, or does not a glance,
scarcely perceptible to others, a fleeting gesture, the prolonging of a
hand-shake by one second, suffice? And if you are a criminal lawyer, and
engaged in the investigation of a murder, do you actually expect the
murderer to leave his photograph and address on the scene of the crime,
or would you, of necessity, content yourself with fainter and less
certain traces of that individual? Therefore, let us not undervalue
small signs; perhaps by means of them we will succeed in getting on the
track of greater things. I agree with you that the larger problems of
the world and of science have the first claim on our interest. But it is
generally of little avail to form the definite resolution to devote
oneself to the investigation of this or that problem. Often one does not
know in which direction to take the next step. In scientific research it
is more fruitful to attempt what happens to be before one at the moment
and for whose investigation there is a discoverable method. If one does
that thoroughly without prejudice or predisposition, one may, with good
fortune, and by virtue of the connection which links each thing to every
other (hence also the small to the great) discover even from such modest
research a point of approach to the study of the big problems."

Thus would I answer, in order to secure your attention for the
consideration of these apparently insignificant errors made by normal
people. At this point, we will question a stranger to psychoanalysis and
ask him how he explains these occurrences.

His first answer is sure to be, "Oh, they are not worth an explanation;
they are merely slight accidents." What does he mean by this? Does he
mean to assert that there are any occurrences so insignificant that they
fall out of the causal sequence of things, or that they might just as
well be something different from what they are? If any one thus denies
the determination of natural phenomena at one such point, he has
vitiated the entire scientific viewpoint. One can then point out to him
how much more consistent is the religious point of view, when it
explicitly asserts that "No sparrow falls from the roof without God's
special wish." I imagine our friend will not be willing to follow his
first answer to its logical conclusion; he will interrupt and say that
if he were to study these things he would probably find an explanation
for them. He will say that this is a case of slight functional
disturbance, of an inaccurate psychic act whose causal factors can be
outlined. A man who otherwise speaks correctly may make a slip of the
tongue--when he is slightly ill or fatigued; when he is excited; when
his attention is concentrated on something else. It is easy to prove
these statements. Slips of the tongue do really occur with special
frequency when one is tired, when one has a headache or when one is
indisposed. Forgetting proper names is a very frequent occurrence under
these circumstances. Many persons even recognize the imminence of an
indisposition by the inability to recall proper names. Often also one
mixes up words or objects during excitement, one picks up the wrong
things; and the forgetting of projects, as well as the doing of any
number of other unintentional acts, becomes conspicuous when one is
distracted; in other words, when one's attention is concentrated on
other things. A familiar instance of such distraction is the professor
in _Fliegende Blätter_, who takes the wrong hat because he is thinking
of the problems which he wishes to treat in his next book. Each of us
knows from experience some examples of how one can forget projects which
one has planned and promises which one has made, because an experience
has intervened which has preoccupied one deeply.

This seems both comprehensible and irrefutable. It is perhaps not very
interesting, not as we expected it to be. But let us consider this
explanation of errors. The conditions which have been cited as necessary
for the occurrence of these phenomena are not all identical. Illness and
disorders of circulation afford a physiological basis. Excitement,
fatigue and distraction are conditions of a different sort, which one
could designate as psycho-physiological. About these latter it is easy
to theorize. Fatigue, as well as distraction, and perhaps also general
excitement, cause a scattering of the attention which can result in the
act in progress not receiving sufficient attention. This act can then be
more easily interrupted than usual, and may be inexactly carried out. A
slight illness, or a change in the distribution of blood in the central
organ of the nervous system, can have the same effect, inasmuch as it
influences the determining factor, the distribution of attention, in a
similar way. In all cases, therefore, it is a question of the effects of
a distraction of the attention, caused either by organic or psychic

But this does not seem to yield much of interest for our psychoanalytic
investigation. We might even feel tempted to give up the subject. To be
sure, when we look more closely we find that not everything squares
with this attention theory of psychological errors, or that at any rate
not everything can be directly deduced from it. We find that such errors
and such forgetting occur even when people are not fatigued, distracted
or excited, but are in every way in their normal state; unless, in
consequence of these errors, one were to attribute to them an excitement
which they themselves do not acknowledge. Nor is the mechanism so simple
that the success of an act is assured by an intensification of the
attention bestowed upon it, and endangered by its diminution. There are
many acts which one performs in a purely automatic way and with very
little attention, but which are yet carried out quite successfully. The
pedestrian who scarcely knows where he is going, nevertheless keeps to
the right road and stops at his destination without having gone astray.
At least, this is the rule. The practiced pianist touches the right keys
without thinking of them. He may, of course, also make an occasional
mistake, but if automatic playing increased the likelihood of errors, it
would be just the virtuoso whose playing has, through practice, become
most automatic, who would be the most exposed to this danger. Yet we
see, on the contrary, that many acts are most successfully carried out
when they are not the objects of particularly concentrated attention,
and that the mistakes occur just at the point where one is most anxious
to be accurate--where a distraction of the necessary attention is
therefore surely least permissible. One could then say that this is the
effect of the "excitement," but we do not understand why the excitement
does not intensify the concentration of attention on the goal that is so
much desired. If in an important speech or discussion anyone says the
opposite of what he means, then that can hardly be explained according
to the psycho-physiological or the attention theories.

There are also many other small phenomena accompanying these errors,
which are not understood and which have not been rendered comprehensible
to us by these explanations. For instance, when one has temporarily
forgotten a name, one is annoyed, one is determined to recall it and is
unable to give up the attempt. Why is it that despite his annoyance the
individual cannot succeed, as he wishes, in directing his attention to
the word which is "on the tip of his tongue," and which he instantly
recognizes when it is pronounced to him? Or, to take another example,
there are cases in which the errors multiply, link themselves together,
substitute for each other. The first time one forgets an appointment;
the next time, after having made a special resolution not to forget it,
one discovers that one has made a mistake in the day or hour. Or one
tries by devious means to remember a forgotten word, and in the course
of so doing loses track of a second name which would have been of use in
finding the first. If one then pursues this second name, a third gets
lost, and so on. It is notorious that the same thing can happen in the
case of misprints, which are of course to be considered as errors of the
typesetter. A stubborn error of this sort is said to have crept into a
Social-Democratic paper, where, in the account of a certain festivity
was printed, "Among those present was His Highness, the Clown Prince."
The next day a correction was attempted. The paper apologized and said,
"The sentence should, of course, have read 'The Clown Prince.'" One
likes to attribute these occurrences to the printer's devil, to the
goblin of the typesetting machine, and the like--figurative expressions
which at least go beyond a psycho-physiological theory of the misprint.

I do not know if you are acquainted with the fact that one can provoke
slips of the tongue, can call them forth by suggestion, as it were. An
anecdote will serve to illustrate this. Once when a novice on the stage
was entrusted with the important role in _The Maid of Orleans_ of
announcing to the King, "Connétable sheathes his sword," the star played
the joke of repeating to the frightened beginner during the rehearsal,
instead of the text, the following, "Comfortable sends back his
steed,"[2] and he attained his end. In the performance the unfortunate
actor actually made his début with this distorted announcement; even
after he had been amply warned against so doing, or perhaps just for
that reason.

These little characteristics of errors are not exactly illuminated by
the theory of diverted attention. But that does not necessarily prove
the whole theory wrong. There is perhaps something missing, a complement
by the addition of which the theory would be made completely
satisfactory. But many of the errors themselves can be regarded from
another aspect.

Let us select slips of the tongue, as best suited to our purposes. We
might equally well choose slips of the pen or of reading. But at this
point, we must make clear to ourselves the fact that so far we have
inquired only as to when and under what conditions one's tongue slips,
and have received an answer on this point only. One can, however, direct
one's interest elsewhere and ask why one makes just this particular slip
and no other; one can consider what the slip results in. You must
realize that as long as one does not answer this question--does not
explain the effect produced by the slip--the phenomenon in its
psychological aspect remains an accident, even if its physiological
explanation has been found. When it happens that I commit a slip of the
tongue, I could obviously make any one of an infinite number of slips,
and in place of the one right word say any one of a thousand others,
make innumerable distortions of the right word. Now, is there anything
which forces upon me in a specific instance just this one special slip
out of all those which are possible, or does that remain accidental and
arbitrary, and can nothing rational be found in answer to this question?

Two authors, Meringer and Mayer (a philologist and a psychiatrist) did
indeed in 1895 make the attempt to approach the problem of slips of the
tongue from this side. They collected examples and first treated them
from a purely descriptive standpoint. That, of course, does not yet
furnish any explanation, but may open the way to one. They
differentiated the distortions which the intended phrase suffered
through the slip, into: interchanges of positions of words, interchanges
of parts of words, perseverations, compoundings and substitutions. I
will give you examples of these authors' main categories. It is a case
of interchange of the first sort if someone says "the Milo of Venus"
instead of "the Venus of Milo." An example of the second type of
interchange, "I had a blush of rood to the head" instead of "rush of
blood"; a perseveration would be the familiar misplaced toast, "I ask
you to join me in hiccoughing the health of our chief."[3] These three
forms of slips are not very frequent. You will find those cases much
more frequent in which the slip results from a drawing together or
compounding of syllables; for example, a gentleman on the street
addresses a lady with the words, "If you will allow me, madame, I should
be very glad to _inscort_ you."[4] In the compounded word there is
obviously besides the word "escort," also the word "insult" (and
parenthetically we may remark that the young man will not find much
favor with the lady). As an example of the substitution, Meringer and
Mayer cite the following: "A man says, 'I put the specimens in the
letterbox,' instead of 'in the hot-bed,' and the like."[5]

The explanation which the two authors attempt to formulate on the basis
of this collection of examples is peculiarly inadequate. They hold that
the sounds and syllables of words have different values, and that the
production and perception of more highly valued syllables can interfere
with those of lower values. They obviously base this conclusion on the
cases of fore-sounding and perseveration which are not at all frequent;
in other cases of slips of the tongue the question of such sound
priorities, if any exist, does not enter at all. The most frequent cases
of slips of the tongue are those in which instead of a certain word one
says another which resembles it; and one may consider this resemblance
sufficient explanation. For example, a professor says in his initial
lecture, "I am not _inclined_ to evaluate the merits of my
predecessor."[6] Or another professor says, "In the case of the female
genital, despite many _temptations_ ... I mean many attempts ...

The most common, and also the most conspicuous form of slips of the
tongue, however, is that of saying the exact opposite of what one meant
to say. In such cases, one goes far afield from the problem of sound
relations and resemblance effects, and can cite, instead of these, the
fact that opposites have an obviously close relationship to each other,
and have particularly close relations in the psychology of association.
There are historical examples of this sort. A president of our House of
Representatives once opened the assembly with the words, "Gentlemen, I
declare a quorum present, and herewith declare the assembly _closed_."

Similar, in its trickiness, to the relation of opposites is the effect
of any other facile association which may under certain circumstances
arise most inopportunely. Thus, for instance, there is the story which
relates that on the occasion of a festivity in honor of the marriage of
a child of H. Helmholtz with a child of the well-known discoverer and
captain of industry, W. Siemon, the famous physiologist Dubois-Reymond
was asked to speak. He concluded his undoubtedly sparkling toast with
the words, "Success to the new firm--Siemens and--Halski!" That, of
course, was the name of the well-known old firm. The association of the
two names must have been about as easy for a native of Berlin as "Weber
and Fields" to an American.

Thus we must add to the sound relations and word resemblances the
influence of word associations. But that is not all. In a series of
cases, an explanation of the observed slip is unsuccessful unless we
take into account what phrase had been said or even thought previously.
This again makes it a case of perseveration of the sort stressed by
Meringer, but of a longer duration. I must admit, I am on the whole of
the impression that we are further than ever from an explanation of
slips of the tongue!

However, I hope I am not wrong when I say that during the above
investigation of these examples of slips of the tongue, we have all
obtained a new impression on which it will be of value to dwell. We
sought the general conditions under which slips of the tongue occur, and
then the influences which determine the kind of distortion resulting
from the slip, but we have in no way yet considered the effect of the
slip of the tongue in itself, without regard to its origin. And if we
should decide to do so we must finally have the courage to assert, "In
some of the examples cited, the product of the slip also makes sense."
What do we mean by "it makes sense"? It means, I think, that the product
of the slip has itself a right to be considered as a valid psychic act
which also has its purpose, as a manifestation having content and
meaning. Hitherto we have always spoken of errors, but now it seems as
if sometimes the error itself were quite a normal act, except that it
has thrust itself into the place of some other expected or intended act.

In isolated cases this valid meaning seems obvious and unmistakable.
When the president with his opening words closes the session of the
House of Representatives, instead of opening it, we are inclined to
consider this error meaningful by reason of our knowledge of the
circumstances under which the slip occurred. He expects no good of the
assembly, and would be glad if he could terminate it immediately. The
pointing out of this meaning, the interpretation of this error, gives us
no difficulty. Or a lady, pretending to admire, says to another, "I am
sure you must have messed up this charming hat yourself."[8] No
scientific quibbles in the world can keep us from discovering in this
slip the idea "this hat is a mess." Or a lady who is known for her
energetic disposition, relates, "My husband asked the doctor to what
diet he should keep. But the doctor said he didn't need any diet, he
should eat and drink whatever _I_ want." This slip of tongue is quite an
unmistakable expression of a consistent purpose.

Ladies and gentlemen, if it should turn out that not only a few cases of
slips of the tongue and of errors in general, but the larger part of
them, have a meaning, then this meaning of errors of which we have
hitherto made no mention, will unavoidably become of the greatest
interest to us and will, with justice, force all other points of view
into the background. We could then ignore all physiological and
psycho-physiological conditions and devote ourselves to the purely
psychological investigations of the sense, that is, the meaning, the
purpose of these errors. To this end therefore we will not fail,
shortly, to study a more extensive compilation of material.

But before we undertake this task, I should like to invite you to follow
another line of thought with me. It has repeatedly happened that a poet
has made use of slips of the tongue or some other error as a means of
poetic presentation. This fact in itself must prove to us that he
considers the error, the slip of the tongue for instance, as meaningful;
for he creates it on purpose, and it is not a case of the poet
committing an accidental slip of the pen and then letting his pen-slip
stand as a tongue-slip of his character. He wants to make something
clear to us by this slip of the tongue, and we may examine what it is,
whether he wishes to indicate by this that the person in question is
distracted or fatigued. Of course, we do not wish to exaggerate the
importance of the fact that the poet did make use of a slip to express
his meaning. It could nevertheless really be a psychic accident, or
meaningful only in very rare cases, and the poet would still retain the
right to infuse it with meaning through his setting. As to their poetic
use, however, it would not be surprising if we should glean more
information concerning slips of the tongue from the poet than from the
philologist or the psychiatrist.

Such an example of a slip of the tongue occurs in _Wallenstein_
(_Piccolomini_, Act 1, Scene 5). In the previous scene, Max Piccolomini
has most passionately sided with the Herzog, and dilated ardently on the
blessings of peace which disclosed themselves to him during the trip on
which he accompanied Wallenstein's daughter to the camp. He leaves his
father and the courtier, Questenberg, plunged in deepest consternation.
And then the fifth scene continues:


    Alas! Alas! and stands it so?
    What friend! and do we let him go away
    In this delusion--let him go away?
    Not call him back immediately, not open
    His eyes upon the spot?


    (_Recovering himself out of a deep study_)

    He has now opened mine,
    And I see more than pleases me.


    What is it?


    A curse on this journey!


    But why so? What is it?


    Come, come along, friend! I must follow up
    The ominous track immediately. Mine eyes
    Are opened now, and I must use them. Come!

    (_Draws Q. on with him._)


    What now? Where go you then?


    (_Hastily._) To _her_ herself




    (_Interrupting him and correcting himself._)

    To the duke. Come, let us go--.

Octavio meant to say, "To him, to the lord," but his tongue slips and
through his words "_to her_" he betrays to us, at least, the fact that
he had quite clearly recognized the influence which makes the young war
hero dream of peace.

A still more impressive example was found by O. Rank in Shakespeare. It
occurs in the _Merchant of Venice_, in the famous scene in which the
fortunate suitor makes his choice among the three caskets; and perhaps I
can do no better than to read to you here Rank's short account of the

"A slip of the tongue which occurs in Shakespeare's _Merchant of
Venice_, Act III, Scene II, is exceedingly delicate in its poetic
motivation and technically brilliant in its handling. Like the slip in
_Wallenstein_ quoted by Freud (_Psychopathology of Everyday Life_, 2d
ed., p. 48), it shows that the poets well know the meaning of these
errors and assume their comprehensibility to the audience. Portia, who
by her father's wish has been bound to the choice of a husband by lot,
has so far escaped all her unfavored suitors through the fortunes of
chance. Since she has finally found in Bassanio the suitor to whom she
is attached, she fears that he, too, will choose the wrong casket. She
would like to tell him that even in that event he may rest assured of
her love, but is prevented from so doing by her oath. In this inner
conflict the poet makes her say to the welcome suitor:


    I pray you tarry; pause a day or two,
    Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong
    I lose your company; therefore, forbear a while:
    There's something tells me, (but it is not love)
    I would not lose you: * * *
    * * * I could teach you
    How to choose right, but then I am forsworn,
    So will I never be: so may you miss me;
    But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin
    That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes.
    They have o'erlook'd me, and divided me;
    One half of me is yours, the other half _yours_,
    _Mine own_, I would say: but if mine, then yours,
    And so all yours.

Just that, therefore, which she meant merely to indicate faintly to him
or really to conceal from him entirely, namely that even before the
choice of the lot she was his and loved him, this the poet--with
admirable psychological delicacy of feeling--makes apparent by her slip;
and is able, by this artistic device, to quiet the unbearable
uncertainty of the lover, as well as the equal suspense of the audience
as to the issue of the choice."

Notice, at the end, how subtly Portia reconciles the two declarations
which are contained in the slip, how she resolves the contradiction
between them and finally still manages to keep her promise:

    "* * * but if mine, then yours,
     And so all yours."

Another thinker, alien to the field of medicine, accidentally disclosed
the meaning of errors by an observation which has anticipated our
attempts at explanation. You all know the clever satires of Lichtenberg
(1742-1749), of which Goethe said, "Where he jokes, there lurks a
problem concealed." Not infrequently the joke also brings to light the
solution of the problem. Lichtenberg mentions in his jokes and satiric
comments the remark that he always read "Agamemnon" for "angenommen,"[9]
so intently had he read Homer. Herein is really contained the whole
theory of misreadings.

At the next session we will see whether we can agree with the poets in
their conception of the meaning of psychological errors.



At the last session we conceived the idea of considering the error, not
in its relation to the intended act which it distorted, but by itself
alone, and we received the impression that in isolated instances it
seems to betray a meaning of its own. We declared that if this fact
could be established on a larger scale, then the meaning of the error
itself would soon come to interest us more than an investigation of the
circumstances under which the error occurs.

Let us agree once more on what we understand by the "meaning" of a
psychic process. A psychic process is nothing more than the purpose
which it serves and the position which it holds in a psychic sequence.
We can also substitute the word "purpose" or "intention" for "meaning"
in most of our investigations. Was it then only a deceptive appearance
or a poetic exaggeration of the importance of an error which made us
believe that we recognized a purpose in it?

Let us adhere faithfully to the illustrative example of slips of the
tongue and let us examine a larger number of such observations. We then
find whole categories of cases in which the intention, the meaning of
the slip itself, is clearly manifest. This is the case above all in
those examples in which one says the opposite of what one intended. The
president said, in his opening address, "I declare the meeting closed."
His intention is certainly not ambiguous. The meaning and purpose of his
slip is that he wants to terminate the meeting. One might point the
conclusion with the remark "he said so himself." We have only taken him
at his word. Do not interrupt me at this point by remarking that this is
not possible, that we know he did not want to terminate the meeting but
to open it, and that he himself, whom we have just recognized as the
best judge of his intention, will affirm that he meant to open it. In so
doing you forget that we have agreed to consider the error entirely by
itself. Its relation to the intention which it distorts is to be
discussed later. Otherwise you convict yourself of an error in logic by
which you smoothly conjure away the problem under discussion; or "beg
the question," as it is called in English.

In other cases in which the speaker has not said the exact opposite of
what he intended, the slip may nevertheless express an antithetical
meaning. "I am not _inclined_ to appreciate the merits of my
predecessor." "_Inclined_" is not the opposite of "_in a position to_,"
but it is an open betrayal of intent in sharpest contradiction to the
attempt to cope gracefully with the situation which the speaker is
supposed to meet.

In still other cases the slip simply adds a second meaning to the one
intended. The sentence then sounds like a contradiction, an
abbreviation, a condensation of several sentences. Thus the lady of
energetic disposition, "He may eat and drink whatever _I_ please." The
real meaning of this abbreviation is as though the lady had said, "He
may eat and drink whatever he pleases. But what does it matter what _he_
pleases! It is _I_ who do the pleasing." Slips of the tongue often give
the impression of such an abbreviation. For example, the anatomy
professor, after his lecture on the human nostril, asks whether the
class has thoroughly understood, and after a unanimous answer in the
affirmative, goes on to say: "I can hardly believe that is so, since the
people who understand the human nostril can, even in a city of millions,
be counted on _one finger_--I mean, on the fingers of one hand." The
abbreviated sentence here also has its meaning: it expresses the idea
that there is only one person who thoroughly understands the subject.

In contrast to these groups of cases are those in which the error does
not itself express its meaning, in which the slip of the tongue does not
in itself convey anything intelligible; cases, therefore, which are in
sharpest opposition to our expectations. If anyone, through a slip of
the tongue, distorts a proper name, or puts together an unusual
combination of syllables, then this very common occurrence seems already
to have decided in the negative the question of whether all errors
contain a meaning. Yet closer inspection of these examples discloses the
fact that an understanding of such a distortion is easily possible,
indeed, that the difference between these unintelligible cases and the
previous comprehensible ones is not so very great.

A man who was asked how his horse was, answered, "Oh, it may _stake_--it
may take another month." When asked what he really meant to say, he
explained that he had been thinking that it was a _sorry_ business and
the coming together of "_take_" and "_sorry_" gave rise to "_stake_."
(Meringer and Mayer.)

Another man was telling of some incidents to which he had objected, and
went on, "and then certain facts were _re-filed_." Upon being
questioned, he explained that he meant to stigmatize these facts as
"_filthy_." "_Revealed_" and "_filthy_" together produced the peculiar
"_re-filled_." (Meringer and Mayer.)

You will recall the case of the young man who wished to "_inscort_" an
unknown lady. We took the liberty of resolving this word construction
into the two words "_escort_" and "_insult_," and felt convinced of this
interpretation without demanding proof of it. You see from these
examples that even slips can be explained through the concurrence, the
interference, of two speeches of different intentions. The difference
arises only from the fact that in the one type of slip the intended
speech completely crowds out the other, as happens in those slips where
the opposite is said, while in the other type the intended speech must
rest content with so distorting or modifying the other as to result in
mixtures which seem more or less intelligible in themselves.

We believe that we have now grasped the secret of a large number of
slips of the tongue. If we keep this explanation in mind we will be able
to understand still other hitherto mysterious groups. In the case of the
distortion of names, for instance, we cannot assume that it is always an
instance of competition between two similar, yet different names. Still,
the second intention is not difficult to guess. The distorting of names
occurs frequently enough not as a slip of the tongue, but as an attempt
to give the name an ill-sounding or debasing character. It is a familiar
device or trick of insult, which persons of culture early learned to do
without, though they do not give it up readily. They often clothe it in
the form of a joke, though, to be sure, the joke is of a very low order.
Just to cite a gross and ugly example of such a distortion of a name, I
mention the fact that the name of the President of the French Republic,
_Poincaré_, has been at times, lately, transformed into
"_Schweinskarré_." It is therefore easy to assume that there is also
such an intention to insult in the case of other slips of the tongue
which result in the distortion of a name. In consequence of our
adherence to this conception, similar explanations force themselves upon
us, in the case of slips of the tongue whose effect is comical or
absurd. "I call upon you to _hiccough_ the health of our chief."[10]
Here the solemn atmosphere is unexpectedly disturbed by the introduction
of a word that awakens an unpleasant image; and from the prototype of
certain expressions of insult and offense we cannot but suppose that
there is an intention striving for expression which is in sharp contrast
to the ostensible respect, and which could be expressed about as
follows, "You needn't believe this. I'm not really in earnest. I don't
give a whoop for the fellow--etc." A similar trick which passes for a
slip of the tongue is that which transforms a harmless word into one
which is indecent and obscene.[11]

We know that many persons have this tendency of intentionally making
harmless words obscene for the sake of a certain lascivious pleasure it
gives them. It passes as wit, and we always have to ask about a person
of whom we hear such a thing, whether he intended it as a joke or
whether it occurred as a slip of the tongue.

Well, here we have solved the riddle of errors with relatively little
trouble! They are not accidents, but valid psychic acts. They have their
meaning; they arise through the collaboration--or better, the mutual
interference--of two different intentions. I can well understand that at
this point you want to swamp me with a deluge of questions and doubts to
be answered and resolved before we can rejoice over this first result of
our labors. I truly do not wish to push you to premature conclusions.
Let us dispassionately weigh each thing in turn, one after the other.

What would you like to say? Whether I think this explanation is valid
for all cases of slips of the tongue or only for a certain number?
Whether one can extend this same conception to all the many other
errors--to mis-reading, slips of the pen, forgetting, picking up the
wrong object, mislaying things, etc? In the face of the psychic nature
of errors, what meaning is left to the factors of fatigue, excitement,
absent-mindedness and distraction of attention? Moreover, it is easy to
see that of the two competing meanings in an error, one is always
public, but the other not always. But what does one do in order to guess
the latter? And when one believes one has guessed it, how does one go
about proving that it is not merely a probable meaning, but that it is
the only correct meaning? Is there anything else you wish to ask? If
not, then I will continue. I would remind you of the fact that we really
are not much concerned with the errors themselves, but we wanted only to
learn something of value to psychoanalysis from their study. Therefore,
I put the question: What are these purposes or tendencies which can thus
interfere with others, and what relation is there between the
interfering tendencies and those interfered with? Thus our labor really
begins anew, after the explanation of the problem.

Now, is this the explanation of all tongue slips? I am very much
inclined to think so and for this reason, that as often as one
investigates a case of a slip of the tongue, it reduces itself to this
type of explanation. But on the other hand, one cannot prove that a slip
of the tongue cannot occur without this mechanism. It may be so; for our
purposes it is a matter of theoretical indifference, since the
conclusions which we wish to draw by way of an introduction to
psychoanalysis remain untouched, even if only a minority of the cases of
tongue slips come within our conception, which is surely not the case. I
shall anticipate the next question, of whether or not we may extend to
other types of errors what we have gleaned from slips of the tongue, and
answer it in the affirmative. You will convince yourselves of that
conclusion when we turn our attention to the investigation of examples
of pen slips, picking up wrong objects, etc. I would advise you,
however, for technical reasons, to postpone this task until we shall
have investigated the tongue slip itself more thoroughly.

The question of what meaning those factors which have been placed in the
foreground by some authors,--namely, the factors of circulatory
disturbances, fatigue, excitement, absent-mindedness, the theory of the
distraction of attention--the question of what meaning those factors can
now have for us if we accept the above described psychic mechanism of
tongue slips, deserves a more detailed answer. You will note that we do
not deny these factors. In fact, it is not very often that
psychoanalysis denies anything which is asserted on the other side. As a
rule psychoanalysis merely adds something to such assertions and
occasionally it does happen that what had hitherto been overlooked, and
was newly added by psychoanalysis, is just the essential thing. The
influence on the occurrence of tongue slips of such physiological
predispositions as result from slight illness, circulatory disturbances
and conditions of fatigue, should be acknowledged without more ado.
Daily personal experience can convince you of that. But how little is
explained by such an admission! Above all, they are not necessary
conditions of the errors. Slips of the tongue are just as possible when
one is in perfect health and normal condition. Bodily factors,
therefore, have only the value of acting by way of facilitation and
encouragement to the peculiar psychic mechanism of a slip of the tongue.

To illustrate this relationship, I once used a simile which I will now
repeat because I know of no better one as substitute. Let us suppose
that some dark night I go past a lonely spot and am there assaulted by a
rascal who takes my watch and purse; and then, since I did not see the
face of the robber clearly, I make my complaint at the nearest police
station in the following words: "Loneliness and darkness have just
robbed me of my valuables." The police commissioner could then say to
me: "You seem to hold an unjustifiably extreme mechanistic conception.
Let us rather state the case as follows: Under cover of darkness, and
favored by the loneliness, an unknown robber seized your valuables. The
essential task in your case seems to me to be to discover the robber.
Perhaps we can then take his booty from him again."

Such psycho-physiological moments as excitement, absent-mindedness and
distracted attention, are obviously of small assistance to us for the
purpose of explanation. They are mere phrases, screens behind which we
will not be deterred from looking. The question is rather what in such
cases has caused the excitement, the particular diversion of attention.
The influence of syllable sounds, word resemblances and the customary
associations which words arouse should also be recognized as having
significance. They facilitate the tongue slip by pointing the path which
it can take. But if I have a path before me, does that fact as a matter
of course determine that I will follow it? After all, I must have a
stimulus to make me decide for it, and, in addition, a force which
carries me forward on this path. These sound and word relationships
therefore serve also only to facilitate the tongue slip, just as the
bodily dispositions facilitate them; they cannot give the explanation
for the word itself. Just consider, for example, the fact that in an
enormously large number of cases, my lecturing is not disturbed by the
fact that the words which I use recall others by their sound
resemblance, that they are intimately associated with their opposites,
or arouse common associations. We might add here the observation of the
philosopher Wundt, that slips of the tongue occur when, in consequence
of bodily fatigue, the tendency to association gains the upper hand over
the intended speech. This would sound very plausible if it were not
contradicted by experiences which proved that from one series of cases
of tongue-slips bodily stimuli were absent, and from another, the
association stimuli were absent.

However, your next question is one of particular interest to me, namely:
in what way can one establish the existence of the two mutually
antagonistic tendencies? You probably do not suspect how significant
this question is. It is true, is it not, that one of the two tendencies,
the tendency which suffers the interference, is always unmistakable? The
person who commits the error is aware of it and acknowledges it. It is
the other tendency, what we call the interfering tendency, which causes
doubt and hesitation. Now we have already learned, and you have surely
not forgotten, that these tendencies are, in a series of cases, equally
plain. That is indicated by the effect of the slip, if only we have the
courage to let this effect be valid in itself. The president who said
the opposite of what he meant to say made it clear that he wanted to
open the meeting, but equally clear that he would also have liked to
terminate it. Here the meaning is so plain that there is nothing left to
be interpreted. But the other cases in which the interfering tendency
merely distorts the original, without bringing itself to full
expression--how can one guess the interfering meaning from the

By a very sure and simple method, in the first series of cases, namely,
by the same method by which one establishes the existence of the
meaning interfered with. The latter is immediately supplied by the
speaker, who instantly adds the originally intended expression. "It may
_stake_--no, it may _take_ another month." Now we likewise ask him to
express the interfering meaning; we ask him: "Now, why did you first say
_stake_?" He answers, "I meant to say--'This is a _sorry_ business.'"
And in the other case of the tongue slip--_re-filed_--the subject also
affirms that he meant to say "It is a _fil-thy_ business," but then
moderated his expression and turned it into something else. Thus the
discovery of the interfering meaning was here as successful as the
discovery of the one interfered with. Nor did I unintentionally select
as examples cases which were neither related nor explained by me or by a
supporter of my theories. Yet a certain investigation was necessary in
both cases in order to obtain the solution. One had to ask the speaker
why he made this slip, what he had to say about it. Otherwise he might
perhaps have passed it by without seeking to explain it. When
questioned, however, he furnished the explanation by means of the first
thing that came to his mind. And now you see, ladies and gentlemen, that
this slight investigation and its consequence are already a
psychoanalysis, and the prototype of every psychoanalytic investigation
which we shall conduct more extensively at a later time.

Now, am I unduly suspicious if I suspect that at the same moment in
which psychoanalysis emerges before you, your resistance to
psychoanalysis also raises its head? Are you not anxious to raise the
objection that the information given by the subject we questioned, and
who committed the slip, is not proof sufficient? He naturally has the
desire, you say, to meet the challenge, to explain the slip, and hence
he says the first thing he can think of if it seems relevant. But that,
you say, is no proof that this is really the way the slip happened. It
might be so, but it might just as well be otherwise, you say. Something
else might have occurred to him which might have fitted the case just as
well and better.

It is remarkable how little respect, at bottom, you have for a psychic
fact! Imagine that someone has decided to undertake the chemical
analysis of a certain substance, and has secured a sample of the
substance, of a certain weight--so and so many milligrams. From this
weighed sample certain definite conclusions can be drawn. Do you think
it would ever occur to a chemist to discredit these conclusions by the
argument that the isolated substance might have had some other weight?
Everyone yields to the fact that it was just this weight and no other,
and confidently builds his further conclusions upon that fact. But when
you are confronted by the psychic fact that the subject, when
questioned, had a certain idea, you will not accept that as valid, but
say some other idea might just as easily have occurred to him! The
trouble is that you believe in the illusion of psychic freedom and will
not give it up. I regret that on this point I find myself in complete
opposition to your views.

Now you will relinquish this point only to take up your resistance at
another place. You will continue, "We understand that it is the peculiar
technique of psychoanalysis that the solution of its problems is
discovered by the analyzed subject himself. Let us take another example,
that in which the speaker calls upon the assembly 'to _hiccough_ the
health of their chief.' The interfering idea in this case, you say, is
the insult. It is that which is the antagonist of the expression of
conferring an honor. But that is mere interpretation on your part, based
on observations extraneous to the slip. If in this case you question the
originator of the slip, he will not affirm that he intended an insult,
on the contrary, he will deny it energetically. Why do you not give up
your unverifiable interpretation in the face of this plain objection?"

Yes, this time you struck a hard problem. I can imagine the unknown
speaker. He is probably an assistant to the guest of honor, perhaps
already a minor official, a young man with the brightest prospects. I
will press him as to whether he did not after all feel conscious of
something which may have worked in opposition to the demand that he do
honor to the chief. What a fine success I'll have! He becomes impatient
and suddenly bursts out on me, "Look here, you'd better stop this
cross-examination, or I'll get unpleasant. Why, you'll spoil my whole
career with your suspicions. I simply said '_auf_-gestossen' instead of
'_an_-gestossen,' because I'd already said '_auf_' twice in the same
sentence. It's the thing that Meringer calls a perservation, and there's
no other meaning that you can twist out of it. Do you understand me?
That's all." H'm, this is a surprising reaction, a really energetic
denial. I see that there is nothing more to be obtained from the young
man, but I also remark to myself that he betrays a strong personal
interest in having his slip mean nothing. Perhaps you, too, agree that
it is not right for him immediately to become so rude over a purely
theoretical investigation, but, you will conclude, he really must know
what he did and did not mean to say.

Really? Perhaps that's open to question nevertheless.

But now you think you have me. "So that is your technique," I hear you
say. "When the person who has committed a slip gives an explanation
which fits your theory, then you declare him the final authority on the
subject. 'He says so himself!' But if what he says does not fit into
your scheme, then you suddenly assert that what he says does not count,
that one need not believe him."

Yet that is certainly true. I can give you a similar case in which the
procedure is apparently just as monstrous. When a defendant confesses to
a deed, the judge believes his confession. But if he denies it, the
judge does not believe him. Were it otherwise, there would be no way to
administer the law, and despite occasional miscarriages you must
acknowledge the value of this system.

Well, are you then the judge, and is the person who committed the slip a
defendant before you? Is a slip of the tongue a crime?

Perhaps we need not even decline this comparison. But just see to what
far-reaching differences we have come by penetrating somewhat into the
seemingly harmless problems of the psychology of errors, differences
which at this stage we do not at all know how to reconcile. I offer you
a preliminary compromise on the basis of the analogy of the judge and
the defendant. You will grant me that the meaning of an error admits of
no doubt when the subject under analysis acknowledges it himself. I in
turn will admit that a direct proof for the suspected meaning cannot be
obtained if the subject denies us the information; and, of course, that
is also the case when the subject is not present to give us the
information. We are, then, as in the case of the legal procedure,
dependent on circumstances which make a decision at one time seem more,
and at another time, less probable to us. At law, one has to declare a
defendant guilty on circumstantial evidence for practical reasons. We
see no such necessity; but neither are we forced to forego the use of
these circumstances. It would be a mistake to believe that a science
consists of nothing but conclusively proved theorems, and any such
demand would be unjust. Only a person with a mania for authority, a
person who must replace his religious catechism with some other, even
though it be scientific, would make such a demand. Science has but few
apodeictic precepts in its catechism; it consists chiefly of assertions
which it has developed to certain degrees of probability. It is actually
a symptom of scientific thinking if one is content with these
approximations of certainty and is able to carry on constructive work
despite the lack of the final confirmation.

But where do we get the facts for our interpretations, the circumstances
for our proof, when the further remarks of the subject under analysis do
not themselves elucidate the meaning of the error? From many sources.
First of all, from the analogy with phenomena extraneous to the
psychology of errors; as, for example, when we assert that the
distortion of a name as a slip of the tongue has the same insulting
significance as an intentional name distortion. We get them also from
the psychic situation in which the error occurred, from our knowledge of
the character of the person who committed the error, from the
impressions which that person received before making the error, and to
which he may possibly have reacted with this error. As a rule, what
happens is that we find the meaning of the error according to general
principles. It is then only a conjecture, a suggestion as to what the
meaning may be, and we then obtain our proof from examination of the
psychic situation. Sometimes, too, it happens that we have to wait for
subsequent developments, which have announced themselves, as it were,
through the error, in order to find our conjecture verified.

I cannot easily give you proof of this if I have to limit myself to the
field of tongue slips, although even here there are a few good examples.
The young man who wished to "_inscort_" the lady is certainly shy; the
lady whose husband may eat and drink whatever _she_ wants I know to be
one of those energetic women who know how to rule in the home. Or take
the following case: At a general meeting of the Concordia Club, a young
member delivers a vehement speech in opposition, in the course of which
he addresses the officers of the society as: "Fellow committee
lenders." We will conjecture that some conflicting idea militated in him
against his opposition, an idea which was in some way based on a
connection with money lending. As a matter of fact, we learn from our
informant that the speaker was in constant money difficulties, and had
attempted to raise a loan. As a conflicting idea, therefore, we may
safely interpolate the idea, "Be more moderate in your opposition, these
are the same people who are to grant you the loan."

But I can give you a wide selection of such circumstantial proof if I
delve into the wide field of other kinds of error.

If anyone forgets an otherwise familiar proper name, or has difficulty
in retaining it in his memory despite all efforts, then the conclusion
lies close at hand, that he has something against the bearer of this
name and does not like to think of him. Consider in this connection the
following revelation of the psychic situation in which this error

"A Mr. Y. fell in love, without reciprocation, with a lady who soon
after married a Mr. X. In spite of the fact that Mr. Y. has known Mr. X.
a long time, and even has business relations with him, he forgets his
name over and over again, so that he found it necessary on several
occasions to ask other people the man's name when he wanted to write to
Mr. X."[12]

Mr. Y. obviously does not want to have his fortunate rival in mind under
any condition. "Let him never be thought of."

Another example: A lady makes inquiries at her doctor's concerning a
mutual acquaintance, but speaks of her by her maiden name. She has
forgotten her married name. She admits that she was much displeased by
the marriage, and could not stand this friend's husband.[13]

Later we shall have much to say in other relations about the matter of
forgetting names. At present we are predominantly interested in the
psychic situation in which the lapse of memory occurs.

The forgetting of projects can quite commonly be traced to an
antagonistic current which does not wish to carry out the project. We
psychoanalysts are not alone in holding this view, but this is the
general conception to which all persons subscribe the daily affairs, and
which they first deny in theory. The patron who makes apologies to his
protegé, saying that he has forgotten his requests, has not squared
himself with his protegé. The protegé immediately thinks: "There's
nothing to that; he did promise but he really doesn't want to do it."
Hence, daily life also proscribes forgetting, in certain connections,
and the difference between the popular and the psychoanalytic conception
of these errors appears to be removed. Imagine a housekeeper who
receives her guest with the words: "What, you come to-day? Why, I had
totally forgotten that I had invited you for to-day"; or the young man
who might tell his sweetheart that he had forgotten to keep the
rendezvous which they planned. He is sure not to admit it, it were
better for him to invent the most improbable excuses on the spur of the
moment, hindrances which prevented him from coming at that time, and
which made it impossible for him to communicate the situation to her. We
all know that in military matters the excuse of having forgotten
something is useless, that it protects one from no punishment; and we
must consider this attitude justified. Here we suddenly find everyone
agreed that a certain error is significant, and everyone agrees what its
meaning is. Why are they not consistent enough to extend this insight to
the other errors, and fully to acknowledge them? Of course, there is
also an answer to this.

If the meaning of this forgetting of projects leaves room for so little
doubt among laymen, you will be less surprised to find that poets make
use of these errors in the same sense. Those of you who have seen or
read Shaw's _Caesar and Cleopatra_ will recall that Caesar, when
departing in the last scene, is pursued by the idea that there was
something more he intended to do, but that he had forgotten it. Finally
he discovers what it is: to take leave of Cleopatra. This small device
of the author is meant to ascribe to the great Caesar a superiority
which he did not possess, and to which he did not at all aspire. You can
learn from historical sources that Caesar had Cleopatra follow him to
Rome, and that she was staying there with her little Caesarion when
Caesar was murdered, whereupon she fled the city.

The cases of forgetting projects are as a rule so clear that they are of
little use for our purpose, i.e., discovering in the psychic situation
circumstantial evidence of the meaning of the error. Let us, therefore,
turn to a particularly ambiguous and untransparent error, that of losing
and mislaying objects. That we ourselves should have a purpose in losing
an object, an accident frequently so painful, will certainly seem
incredible to you. But there are many instances similar to the
following: A young man loses the pencil which he had liked very much.
The day before he had received a letter from his brother-in-law, which
concluded with the words, "For the present I have neither the
inclination nor the time to be a party to your frivolity and your
idleness."[14] It so happened that the pencil had been a present from
this brother-in-law. Without this coincidence we could not, of course,
assert that the loss involved any intention to get rid of the gift.
Similar cases are numerous. Persons lose objects when they have fallen
out with the donors, and no longer wish to be reminded of them. Or
again, objects may be lost if one no longer likes the things themselves,
and wants to supply oneself with a pretext for substituting other and
better things in their stead. Letting a thing fall and break naturally
shows the same intention toward that object. Can one consider it
accidental when a school child just before his birthday loses, ruins or
breaks his belongings, for example his school bag or his watch?

He who has frequently experienced the annoyance of not being able to
find something which he has himself put away, will also be unwilling to
believe there was any intent behind the loss. And yet the examples are
not at all rare in which the attendant circumstances of the mislaying
point to a tendency temporarily or permanently to get rid of the object.
Perhaps the most beautiful example of this sort is the following: A
young man tells me: "A few years ago a misunderstanding arose in my
married life. I felt my wife was too cool and even though I willingly
acknowledged her excellent qualities, we lived without any tenderness
between us. One day she brought me a book which she had thought might
interest me. I thanked her for this attention, promised to read the
book, put it in a handy place, and couldn't find it again. Several
months passed thus, during which I occasionally remembered this mislaid
book and tried in vain to find it. About half a year later my beloved
mother, who lived at a distance from us, fell ill. My wife left the
house in order to nurse her mother-in-law. The condition of the patient
became serious, and gave my wife an opportunity of showing her best
side. One evening I came home filled with enthusiasm and gratitude
toward my wife. I approached my writing desk, opened a certain drawer
with no definite intention but as if with somnambulistic certainty, and
the first thing I found is the book so long mislaid."

With the cessation of the motive, the inability to find the mislaid
object also came to an end.

Ladies and gentlemen, I could increase this collection of examples
indefinitely. But I do not wish to do so here. In my _Psychopathology of
Everyday Life_ (first published in 1901), you will find only too many
instances for the study of errors.[15]

All these examples demonstrate the same thing repeatedly: namely, they
make it seem probable that errors have a meaning, and show how one may
guess or establish that meaning from the attendant circumstances. I
limit myself to-day because we have confined ourselves to the purpose of
profiting in the preparation for psychoanalysis from the study of these
phenomena. I must, however, still go into two additional groups of
observations, into the accumulated and combined errors and into the
confirmation of our interpretations by means of subsequent developments.

The accumulated and combined errors are surely the fine flower of their
species. If we were interested only in proving that errors may have a
meaning, we would limit ourselves to the accumulated and combined errors
in the first place, for here the meaning is unmistakable, even to the
dullest intelligence, and can force conviction upon the most critical
judgment. The accumulation of manifestations betrays a stubbornness such
as could never come about by accident, but which fits closely the idea
of design. Finally, the interchange of certain kinds of error with each
other shows us what is the important and essential element of the error,
not its form or the means of which it avails itself, but the purpose
which it serves and which is to be achieved by the most various paths.
Thus I will give you a case of repeated forgetting. Jones recounts that
he once allowed a letter to lie on his writing desk several days for
reasons quite unknown. Finally he made up his mind to mail it; but it
was returned from the dead letter office, for he had forgotten to
address it. After he had addressed it he took it to the post office, but
this time without a stamp. At this point he finally had to admit to
himself his aversion against sending the letter at all.

In another case a mistake is combined with mislaying an object. A lady
is traveling to Rome with her brother-in-law, a famous artist. The
visitor is much fêted by the Germans living in Rome, and receives as a
gift, among other things, a gold medal of ancient origin. The lady is
vexed by the fact that her brother-in-law does not sufficiently
appreciate the beautiful object. After she leaves her sister and reaches
her home, she discovers when unpacking that she has brought with
her--how, she does not know--the medal. She immediately informs her
brother-in-law of this fact by letter, and gives him notice that she
will send the medal back to Rome the next day. But on the following day,
the medal has been so cleverly mislaid that it can neither be found nor
sent, and at this point it begins to dawn upon the lady that her
"absent-mindedness" means, namely, that she wants to keep the object for

I have already given you an example of a combination of forgetfulness
and error in which someone first forgot a rendezvous and then, with the
firm intention of not forgetting it a second time, appeared at the wrong
hour. A quite analogous case was told me from his own experience, by a
friend who pursues literary interests in addition to his scientific
ones. He said: "A few years ago I accepted the election to the board of
a certain literary society, because I hoped that the society could at
some time be of use to me in helping obtain the production of my drama,
and, despite my lack of interest, I took part in the meetings every
Friday. A few months ago I received the assurance of a production in the
theatre in F., and since that time it happens regularly that I forget
the meetings of that society. When I read your article on these things,
I was ashamed of my forgetfulness, reproached myself with the meanness
of staying away now that I no longer need these people and determined to
be sure not to forget next Friday. I kept reminding myself of this
resolution until I carried it out and stood before the door of the
meeting room. To my astonishment, it was closed, the meeting was already
over; for I had mistaken the day. It was already Saturday."

It would be tempting enough to collect similar observations, but I will
go no further; I will let you glance instead upon those cases in which
our interpretation has to wait for its proof upon future developments.

The chief condition of these cases is conceivably that the existing
psychic situation is unknown to us or inaccessible to our inquiries. At
that time our interpretation has only the value of a conjecture to which
we ourselves do not wish to grant too much weight. Later, however,
something happens which shows us how justified was our interpretation
even at that time. I was once the guest of a young married couple and
heard the young wife laughingly tell of a recent experience, of how on
the day after her return from her honeymoon she had hunted up her
unmarried sister again in order to go shopping with her, as in former
times, while her husband went to his business. Suddenly she noticed a
gentleman on the other side of the street, and she nudged her sister,
saying, "Why look, there goes Mr. K." She had forgotten that this
gentleman was her husband of some weeks' standing. I shuddered at this
tale but did not dare to draw the inference. The little anecdote did not
occur to me again until a year later, after this marriage had come to a
most unhappy end.

A. Maeder tells of a lady who, the day before her wedding, forgot to try
on her wedding dress and to the despair of the dressmaker only
remembered it later in the evening. He adds in connection with this
forgetfulness the fact that she divorced her husband soon after. I know
a lady now divorced from her husband, who, in managing her fortune,
frequently signed documents with her maiden name, and this many years
before she really resumed it. I know of other women who lost their
wedding rings on their honeymoon and also know that the course of the
marriage gave a meaning to this accident. And now one more striking
example with a better termination. It is said that the marriage of a
famous German chemist did not take place because he forgot the hour of
the wedding, and instead of going to the church went to the laboratory.
He was wise enough to rest satisfied with this one attempt, and died
unmarried at a ripe old age.

Perhaps the idea has also come to you that in these cases mistakes have
taken the place of the _Omina_ or omens of the ancients. Some of the
_Omina_ really were nothing more than mistakes; for example, when a
person stumbled or fell down. Others, to be sure, bore the
characteristics of objective occurrences rather than that of subjective
acts. But you would not believe how difficult it sometimes is to decide
in a specific instance whether the act belongs to the one or the other
group. It so frequently knows how to masquerade as a passive experience.

Everyone of us who can look back over a longer or shorter life
experience will probably say that he might have spared himself many
disappointments and painful surprises if he had found the courage and
decision to interpret as omens the little mistakes which he made in his
intercourse with people, and to consider them as indications of the
intentions which were still being kept secret. As a rule, one does not
dare do this. One would feel as though he were again becoming
superstitious via a detour through science. But not all omens come true,
and you will understand from our theories that they need not all come



We may certainly put it down as the conclusion of our labors up to this
point that errors have a meaning, and we may make this conclusion the
basis of our further investigations. Let me stress the fact once more
that we do not assert--and for our purposes need not assert--that every
single mistake which occurs is meaningful, although I consider that
probable. It will suffice us if we prove the presence of such a meaning
with relative frequency in the various forms of errors. These various
forms, by the way, behave differently in this respect. In the cases of
tongue slips, pen slips, etc., the occurrences may take place on a
purely physiological basis. In the group based on forgetfulness
(forgetting names or projects, mislaying objects, etc.) I cannot believe
in such a basis. There does very probably exist a type of case in which
the loss of objects should be recognized as unintentional. Of the
mistakes which occur in daily life, only a certain portion can in any
way be brought within our conception. You must keep this limitation in
mind when we start henceforth from the assumption that mistakes are
psychic acts and arise through the mutual interference of two

Herein we have the first result of psychoanalysis. Psychology hitherto
knew nothing of the occurrence of such interferences and the possibility
that they might have such manifestations as a consequence. We have
widened the province of the world of psychic phenomena quite
considerably, and have brought into the province of psychology phenomena
which formerly were not attributed to it.

Let us tarry a moment longer over the assertion that errors are psychic
acts. Does such an assertion contain more than the former declaration
that they have a meaning? I do not believe so. On the contrary, it is
rather more indefinite and open to greater misunderstanding. Everything
which can be observed about the psychic life will on occasion be
designated as a psychic phenomenon. But it will depend on whether the
specific psychic manifestations resulted directly from bodily, organic,
material influences, in which case their investigation will not fall
within the province of psychology, or whether it was more immediately
the result of other psychic occurrences back of which, somewhere, the
series of organic influences then begins. We have the latter condition
of affairs before us when we designate a phenomenon as a psychic
manifestation, and for that reason it is more expedient to put our
assertion in this form: the phenomena are meaningful; they have a
meaning. By "meaning" we understand significance, purpose, tendency and
position in a sequence of psychic relations.

There are a number of other occurrences which are very closely related
to errors, but which this particular name no longer fits. We call them
_accidental and symptomatic_ acts. They also have the appearance of
being unmotivated, the appearance of insignificance and unimportance,
but in addition, and more plainly, of superfluity. They are
differentiated from errors by the absence of another intention with
which they collide and by which they are disturbed. On the other side
they pass over without a definite boundary line into the gestures and
movements which we count among expressions of the emotions. Among these
accidental acts belong all those apparently playful, apparently
purposeless performances in connection with our clothing, parts of our
body, objects within reach, as well as the omission of such
performances, and the melodies which we hum to ourselves. I venture the
assertion that all these phenomena are meaningful and capable of
interpretation in the same way as are the errors, that they are small
manifestations of other more important psychic processes, valid psychic
acts. But I do not intend to linger over this new enlargement of the
province of psychic phenomena, but rather to return to the topic of
errors, in the consideration of which the important psychoanalytic
inquiries can be worked out with far greater clarity.

The most interesting questions which we formulated while considering
errors, and which we have not yet answered, are, I presume, the
following: We said that the errors are the result of the mutual
interference of two different intentions, of which the one can be called
the intention interfered with, and the other the interfering intention.
The intentions interfered with give rise to no further questions, but
concerning the others we want to know, firstly, what kind of intentions
are these which arise as disturbers of others, and secondly, in what
proportions are the interfering related to the interfered?

Will you permit me again to take the slip of the tongue as
representative of the whole species and allow me to answer the second
question before the first?

The interfering intention in the tongue slip may stand in a significant
relation to the intention interfered with, and then the former contains
a contradiction of the latter, correcting or supplementing it. Or, to
take a less intelligible and more interesting case, the interfering
intention has nothing to do with the intention interfered with.

Proofs for the first of the two relations we can find without trouble in
the examples which we already know and in others similar to those. In
almost all cases of tongue slips where one says the contrary of what he
intended, where the interfering intention expresses the antithesis of
the intention interfered with, the error is the presentation of the
conflict between two irreconcilable strivings. "I declare the meeting
opened, but would rather have it closed," is the meaning of the
president's slip. A political paper which has been accused of
corruptibility, defends itself in an article meant to reach a climax in
the words: "Our readers will testify that we have always interceded for
the good of all in the most _disinterested_ manner." But the editor who
had been entrusted with the composition of the defence, wrote, "in the
most _interested_ manner." That is, he thinks "To be sure, I have to
write this way, but I know better." A representative of the people who
urges that the Kaiser should be told the truth "_rückhaltlos_," hears an
inner voice which is frightened by his boldness, and which through a
slip changes the "_rückhaltlos_" into "_rückgratlos_."[17]

In the examples familiar to you, which give the impression of
contraction and abbreviation, it is a question of a correction, an
addition or continuation by which the second tendency manifests itself
together with the first. "Things were revealed, but better say it right
out, they were _filthy_, therefore, things were _refiled_."[18] "The
people who understand this topic can be counted on the _fingers of one
hand_, but no, there is really only _one_ who understands it; therefore,
counted _on one finger_." Or, "My husband may eat and drink whatever
_he_ wants. But you know very well that _I_ don't permit him to want
anything; therefore he may eat and drink whatever _I want_." In all
these cases, therefore, the slip arises from the content of the
intention itself, or is connected with it.

The other type of relationship between the two interfering intentions
seems strange. If the interfering intention has nothing to do with the
content of the one interfered with, where then does it come from and how
does it happen to make itself manifest as interference just at that
point? The observation which alone can furnish an answer here,
recognizes the fact that the interference originates in a thought
process which has just previously occupied the person in question and
which then has that after-effect, irrespective of whether it has already
found expression in speech or not. It is therefore really to be
designated as perseveration, but not necessarily as the perseveration of
spoken words. Here also there is no lack of an associative connection
between the interfering and the interfered with, yet it is not given in
the content, but artificially restored, often by means of forced
connecting links.

Here is a simple example of this, which I myself observed. In our
beautiful Dolomites, I meet two Viennese ladies who are gotten up as
tourists. I accompany them a short distance and we discuss the
pleasures, but also the difficulties of the tourist's mode of life. One
lady admits this way of spending the day entails much discomfort. "It is
true," she says, "that it is not at all pleasant, when one has tramped
all day in the sun, and waist and shirt are soaked through." At this
point in this sentence she suddenly has to overcome a slight hesitancy.
Then she continues: "But then, when one gets _nach Hose_, and can
change...."[19] We did not analyze this slip, but I am sure you can
easily understand it. The lady wanted to make the enumeration more
complete and to say, "Waist, shirt and drawers." From motives of
propriety, the mention of the drawers (Hose) was suppressed, but in the
next sentence of quite independent content the unuttered word came to
light as a distortion of the similar word, house (Hause).

Now we can turn at last to the long delayed main question, namely, what
kind of intentions are these which get themselves expressed in an
unusual way as interferences of others, intentions within whose great
variety we wish nevertheless to find what is common to them all! If we
examine a series of them to this end, we will soon find that they divide
themselves into three groups. In the first group belong the cases in
which the interfering tendency is known to the speaker, and which,
moreover, was felt by him before the slip. Thus, in the case of the slip
"_refilled_," the speaker not only admits that he agreed with the
judgment "_filthy_," on the incidents in question, but also that he had
the intention (which he later abandoned) of giving it verbal expression.
A second group is made up of those cases in which the interfering
tendency is immediately recognized by the subject as his own, but in
which he is ignorant of the fact that the interfering tendency was
active in him just before the slip. He therefore accepts our
interpretation, yet remains to a certain extent surprised by it.
Examples of this situation can perhaps more easily be found among errors
other than slips of the tongue. In a third group the interpretation of
the interfering intention is energetically denied by the speaker. He not
only denies that the interfering tendency was active in him before the
slip, but he wants to assert that it was at all times completely alien
to him. Will you recall the example of "hiccough," and the absolutely
impolite disavowal which I received at the hands of this speaker by my
disclosure of the interfering intention. You know that so far we have no
unity in our conception of these cases. I pay no attention to the
toastmaster's disavowal and hold fast to my interpretation; while you, I
am sure, are yet under the influence of his repudiation and are
considering whether one ought not to forego the interpretation of such
slips, and let them pass as purely physiological acts, incapable of
further analysis. I can imagine what it is that frightens you off. My
interpretation draws the conclusion that intentions of which he himself
knows nothing may manifest themselves in a speaker, and that I can
deduce them from the circumstances. You hesitate before so novel a
conclusion and one so full of consequences. I understand that, and
sympathize with you to that extent. But let us make one thing clear: if
you want consistently to carry through the conception of errors which
you have derived from so many examples, you must decide to accept the
above conclusion, even though it be unpleasant. If you cannot do so, you
must give up that understanding of errors which you have so recently

Let us tarry a while over the point which unites the three groups, which
is common to the three mechanisms of tongue slips. Fortunately, that is
unmistakable. In the first two groups the interfering tendency is
recognized by the speaker; in the first there is the additional fact
that it showed itself immediately before the slip. In both cases,
however, _it was suppressed. The speaker had made up his mind not to
convert the interfering tendency into speech and then the slip of the
tongue occurred; that is to say, the suppressed tendency obtains
expression against the speaker's will, in that it changes the expression
of the intention which he permits, mixes itself with it or actually puts
itself in its place._ This is, then, the mechanism of the tongue slip.

From my point of view, I can also best harmonize the processes of the
third group with the mechanism here described. I need only assume that
these three groups are differentiated by the different degrees of
effectiveness attending the suppression of an intention. In the first
group, the intention is present and makes itself perceptible before the
utterance of the speaker; not until then does it suffer the suppression
for which it indemnifies itself in the slip. In the second group the
suppression extends farther. The intention is no longer perceptible
before the subject speaks. It is remarkable that the interfering
intention is in no way deterred by this from taking part in the
causation of the slip. Through this fact, however, the explanation of
the procedure in the third group is simplified for us. I shall be so
bold as to assume that in the error a tendency can manifest itself which
has been suppressed for even a longer time, perhaps a very long time,
which does not become perceptible and which, therefore, cannot be
directly denied by the speaker. But leave the problem of the third
group; from the observation of the other cases, you most draw the
conclusion that _the suppression of the existing intention to say
something is the indispensable condition of the occurrence of a slip_.

We may now claim that we have made further progress in understanding
errors. We know not only that they are psychic acts, in which we can
recognize meaning and purpose, and that they arise through the mutual
interference of two different intentions, but, in addition, we know that
one of these intentions must have undergone a certain suppression in
order to be able to manifest itself through interference with the other.
The interfering intention must itself first be interfered with before it
can become interfering. Naturally, a complete explanation of the
phenomena which we call errors is not attained to by this. We
immediately see further questions arising, and suspect in general that
there will be more occasions for new questions as we progress further.
We might, for example, ask why the matter does not proceed much more
simply. If there is an existing purpose to suppress a certain tendency
instead of giving it expression, then this suppression should be so
successful that nothing at all of the latter comes to light; or it could
even fail, so that the suppressed tendency attains to full expression.
But errors are compromise formations. They mean some success and some
failure for each of the two purposes. The endangered intention is
neither completely suppressed nor does it, without regard to individual
cases, come through wholly intact. We can imagine that special
conditions must be existent for the occurrence of such interference or
compromise formations, but then we cannot even conjecture what sort they
may be. Nor do I believe that we can uncover these unknown circumstances
through further penetration into the study of errors. Rather will it be
necessary thoroughly to examine other obscure fields of psychic life.
Only the analogies which we there encounter can give us the courage to
draw those assumptions which are requisite to a more fundamental
elucidation of errors. And one thing more. Even working with small
signs, as we have constantly been in the habit of doing in this
province, brings its dangers with it. There is a mental disease,
combined paranoia, in which the utilization of such small signs is
practiced without restriction and I naturally would not wish to give it
as my opinion that these conclusions, built up on this basis, are
correct throughout. We can be protected from such dangers only by the
broad basis of our observations, by the repetition of similar
impressions from the most varied fields of psychic life.

We will therefore leave the analysis of errors here. But may I remind
you of one thing more: keep in mind, as a prototype, the manner in which
we have treated these phenomena. You can see from these examples what
the purposes of our psychology are. We do not wish merely to describe
the phenomena and to classify them, but to comprehend them as signs of a
play of forces in the psychic, as expressions of tendencies striving to
an end, tendencies which work together or against one another. We seek a
dynamic conception of psychic phenomena. The perceived phenomena must,
in our conception, give way to those strivings whose existence is only

Hence we will not go deeper into the problem of errors, but we can still
undertake an expedition through the length of this field, in which we
will reëncounter things familiar to us, and will come upon the tracks of
some that are new. In so doing we will keep to the division which we
made in the beginning of our study, of the three groups of tongue slips,
with the related forms of pen slips, misreadings, mishearings,
forgetfulness with its subdivisions according to the forgotten object
(proper names, foreign words, projects, impressions), and the other
faults of mistaking, mislaying and losing objects. Errors, in so far as
they come into our consideration, are grouped in part with
forgetfulness, in part with mistakes.

We have already spoken in such detail of tongue slips, and yet there are
still several points to be added. Linked with tongue slips are smaller
effective phenomena which are not entirely without interest. No one
likes to make a slip of the tongue; often one fails to hear his own
slip, though never that of another. Tongue slips are in a certain sense
infectious; it is not at all easy to discuss tongue slips without
falling into slips of the tongue oneself. The most trifling forms of
tongue slips are just the ones which have no particular illumination to
throw on the hidden psychic processes, but are nevertheless not
difficult to penetrate in their motivation. If, for example, anyone
pronounces a long vowel as a short, in consequence of an interference no
matter how motivated, he will for that reason soon after lengthen a
short vowel and commit a new slip in compensation for the earlier one.
The same thing occurs when one has pronounced a double vowel unclearly
and hastily; for example, an "eu" or an "oi" as "ei." The speaker tries
to correct it by changing a subsequent "ei" or "eu" to "oi." In this
conduct the determining factor seems to be a certain consideration for
the hearer, who is not to think that it is immaterial to the speaker how
he treats his mother tongue. The second, compensating distortion
actually has the purpose of making the hearer conscious of the first,
and of assuring him that it also did not escape the speaker. The most
frequent and most trifling cases of slips consist in the contractions
and foresoundings which show themselves in inconspicuous parts of
speech. One's tongue slips in a longer speech to such an extent that the
last word of the intended speech is said too soon. That gives the
impression of a certain impatience to be finished with the sentence and
gives proof in general of a certain resistance to communicating this
sentence or speech as a whole. Thus we come to borderline cases in which
the differences between the psychoanalytic and the common physiological
conception of tongue slips are blended. We assume that in these cases
there is a tendency which interferes with the intention of the speech.
But it can only announce that it is present, and not what its own
intention is. The interference which it occasions then follows some
sound influences or associative relationship, and may be considered as a
distraction of attention from the intended speech. But neither this
disturbance of attention nor the associative tendency which has been
activated, strikes the essence of the process. This hints, however, at
the existence of an intention which interferes with the purposed speech,
an intention whose nature cannot (as is possible in all the more
pronounced cases of tongue slips) this time be guessed from its effects.

Slips of the pen, to which I now turn, are in agreement with those of
the tongue to the extent that we need expect to gain no new points of
view from them. Perhaps we will be content with a small gleaning. Those
very common little slips of the pen--contractions, anticipations of
later words, particularly of the last words--again point to a general
distaste for writing, and to an impatience to be done; the pronounced
effects of pen slips permit the nature and purpose of the interfering
tendency to be recognized. One knows in general that if one finds a
slip of the pen in a letter everything was not as usual with the writer.
What was the matter one cannot always establish. The pen slip is
frequently as little noticed by the person who makes it as the tongue
slip. The following observation is striking: There are some persons who
have the habit of always rereading a letter they have written before
sending it. Others do not do so. But if the latter make an exception and
reread the letter, they always have the opportunity of finding and
correcting a conspicuous pen slip. How can that be explained? This looks
as if these persons knew that they had made a slip of the pen while
writing the letter. Shall we really believe that such is the case?

There is an interesting problem linked with the practical significance
of the pen slip. You may recall the case of the murderer H., who made a
practice of obtaining cultures of the most dangerous disease germs from
scientific institutions, by pretending to be a bacteriologist, and who
used these cultures to get his close relatives out of the way in this
most modern fashion. This man once complained to the authorities of such
an institution about the ineffectiveness of the culture which had been
sent to him, but committed a pen slip and instead of the words, "in my
attempts on mice and guinea pigs," was plainly written, "in my attempts
on people."[20] This slip even attracted the attention of the doctors at
the institution, but so far as I know, they drew no conclusion from it.
Now what do you think? Might not the doctors better have accepted the
slip as a confession and instituted an investigation through which the
murderer's handiwork would have been blocked in time? In this case was
not ignorance of our conception of errors to blame for an omission of
practical importance? Well, I am inclined to think that such a slip
would surely seem very suspicious to me, but a fact of great importance
stands in the way of its utilization as a confession. The thing is not
so simple. The pen slip is surely an indication, but by itself it would
not have been sufficient to instigate an investigation. That the man is
preoccupied with the thought of infecting human beings, the slip
certainly does betray, but it does not make it possible to decide
whether this thought has the value of a clear plan of injury or merely
of a phantasy having no practical consequence. It is even possible that
the person who made such a slip will deny this phantasy with the best
subjective justification and will reject it as something entirely alien
to him. Later, when we give our attention to the difference between
psychic and material reality, you will understand these possibilities
even better. Yet this is again a case in which an error later attained
unsuspected significance.

In misreading, we encounter a psychic situation which is clearly
differentiated from that of the tongue slips or pen slips. The one of
the two rival tendencies is here replaced by a sensory stimulus and
perhaps for that reason is less resistant. What one is reading is not a
production of one's own psychic activity, as is something which one
intends to write. In a large majority of cases, therefore, the
misreading consists in a complete substitution. One substitutes another
word for the word to be read, and there need be no connection in meaning
between the text and the product of the misreading. In general, the slip
is based upon a word resemblance. Lichtenberg's example of reading
"_Agamemnon_" for "_angenommen_"[21] is the best of this group. If one
wishes to discover the interfering tendency which causes the misreading,
one may completely ignore the misread text and can begin the analytic
investigation with the two questions: What is the first idea that occurs
in free association to the product of the misreading, and, in what
situation did the misreading occur? Now and then a knowledge of the
latter suffices by itself to explain the misreading. Take, for example,
the individual who, distressed by certain needs, wanders about in a
strange city and reads the word "_Closethaus_" on a large sign on the
first floor of a house. He has just time to be surprised at the fact
that the sign has been nailed so high up when he discovers that,
accurately observed, the sign reads "_Corset-haus_." In other cases the
misreadings which are independent of the text require a penetrating
analysis which cannot be accomplished without practice and confidence in
the psychoanalytic technique. But generally it is not a matter of much
difficulty to obtain the elucidation of a misreading. The substituted
word, as in the example, "_Agamemnon_," betrays without more ado the
thought sequence from which the interference results. In war times, for
instance, it is very common for one to read into everything which
contains a similar word structure, the names of the cities, generals and
military expressions which are constantly buzzing around us. In this
way, whatever interests and preoccupies one puts itself in the place of
that which is foreign or uninteresting. The after-effects of thoughts
blur the new perceptions.

There are other types of misreadings, in which the text itself arouses
the disturbing tendency, by means of which it is then most often changed
into its opposite. One reads something which is undesired; analysis then
convinces one that an intensive wish to reject what has been read should
be made responsible for the alteration.

In the first mentioned and more frequent cases of misreading, two
factors are neglected to which we gave an important role in the
mechanism of errors: the conflict of two tendencies and the suppression
of one which then indemnifies itself by producing the error. Not that
anything like the opposite occurs in misreading, but the importunity of
the idea content which leads to misreading is nevertheless much more
conspicuous than the suppression to which the latter may previously have
been subjected. Just these two factors are most tangibly apparent in the
various situations of errors of forgetfulness.

Forgetting plans is actually uniform in meaning; its interpretation is,
as we have heard, not denied even by the layman. The tendency
interfering with the plan is always an antithetical intention, an
unwillingness concerning which we need only discover why it does not
come to expression in a different and less disguised manner. But the
existence of this unwillingness is not to be doubted. Sometimes it is
possible even to guess something of the motives which make it necessary
for this unwillingness to disguise itself, and it always achieves its
purpose by the error resulting from the concealment, while its rejection
would be certain were it to present itself as open contradiction. If an
important change in the psychic situation occurs between the formulation
of the plan and its execution, in consequence of which the execution of
the plan does not come into question, then the fact that the plan was
forgotten is no longer in the class of errors. One is no longer
surprised at it, and one understands that it would have been superfluous
to have remembered the plan; it was then permanently or temporarily
effaced. Forgetting a plan can be called an error only when we have no
reason to believe there was such an interruption.

The cases of forgetting plans are in general so uniform and transparent
that they do not interest us in our investigation. There are two points,
however, from which we can learn something new. We have said that
forgetting, that is, the non-execution of a plan, points to an antipathy
toward it. This certainly holds, but, according to the results of our
investigations, the antipathy may be of two sorts, direct and indirect.
What is meant by the latter can best be explained by one or two
examples. If a patron forgets to say a good word for his protegé to a
third person, it may be because the patron is not really very much
interested in the protegé, therefore, has no great inclination to
commend him. It is, at any rate, in this sense that the protegé will
construe his patron's forgetfulness. But the matter may be more
complicated. The patron's antipathy to the execution of the plan may
originate in another quarter and fasten upon quite a different point. It
need not have anything to do with the protegé, but may be directed
toward the third person to whom the good word was to have been said.
Thus, you see what doubts here confront the practical application of our
interpretation. The protegé, despite a correct interpretation of the
forgetfulness, stands in danger of becoming too suspicious, and of doing
his patron a grave injustice. Or, if an individual forgets a rendezvous
which he has made, and which he had resolved to keep, the most frequent
basis will certainly be the direct aversion to encountering this person.
But analysis might here supply the information that the interfering
intention was not directed against that person, but against the place in
which they were to have met, and which was avoided because of a painful
memory associated with it. Or, if one forgets to mail a letter, the
counter-intention may be directed against the content of that letter,
yet this does not in any way exclude the possibility that the letter is
harmless in itself, and only subject to the counter-intention because
something about it reminds the writer of another letter written
previously, which, in fact, did afford a basis for the antipathy. One
can say in such a case that the antipathy has here transferred itself
from that former letter where it was justified to the present one in
which it really has no meaning. Thus you see that one must always
exercise restraint and caution in the application of interpretations,
even though the interpretations are justified. That which is
psychologically equivalent may nevertheless in practice be very

Phenomena such as these will seem very unusual to you. Perhaps you are
inclined to assume that the "indirect" antipathy is enough to
characterize the incident as pathological. Yet I can assure you that it
also occurs in a normal and healthy setting. I am in no way willing to
admit the unreliability of our analytic interpretation. After all, the
above-discussed ambiguity of plan-forgetting exists only so long as we
have not attempted an analysis of the case, and are interpreting it only
on the basis of our general suppositions. When we analyze the person in
question, we discover with sufficient certainty in each case whether or
not it is a direct antipathy, or what its origin is otherwise.

A second point is the following: when we find in a large majority of
cases that the forgetting of a plan goes back to an antipathy, we gain
courage to extend this solution to another series of cases in which the
analyzed person does not confirm, but denies, the antipathy which we
inferred. Take as an example the exceedingly frequent incidents of
forgetting to return books which one has borrowed, or forgetting to pay
one's bills or debts. We will be so bold as to accuse the individual in
question of intending to keep the books and not to pay the debts, while
he will deny such an intention but will not be in a position to give us
any other explanation of his conduct. Thereupon we insist that he has
the intention, only he knows nothing about it; all we need for our
inference is to have the intention betray itself through the effect of
the forgetfulness. The subject may then repeat that he had merely
forgotten it. You now recognize the situation as one in which we once
before found ourselves. If we wish to be consistent in our
interpretation, an interpretation which has been proved as manifold as
it is justified, we will be unavoidably forced to the conclusion that
there are tendencies in a human being which can become effective without
his being conscious of them. By so doing, however, we place ourselves in
opposition to all the views which prevail in daily life and in

Forgetting proper names and foreign names as well as foreign words can
be traced in the same manner to a counter-intention which aims either
directly or indirectly at the name in question. I have already given you
an example of such direct antipathy. The indirect causation, however, is
particularly frequent and generally necessitates careful analysis for
its determination. Thus, for example, in war times which force us to
sacrifice so many of our former inclinations, the ability to recall
proper names also suffers severely in consequence of the most peculiar
connections. A short time ago it happened that I could not reproduce the
name of that harmless Moravian city of Bisenz, and analysis showed that
no direct dislike was to blame, but rather the sound resemblance to the
name of the Bisenzi palace in Orrieto, in which I used to wish I might
live. As a motive for the antagonism to remembering the name, we here
encounter for the first time a principle which will later disclose to us
its whole tremendous significance in the causation of neurotic symptoms,
viz., the aversion on the part of the memory to remembering anything
which is connected with unpleasant experience and which would revive
this unpleasantness by a reproduction. This intention of avoiding
unpleasantness in recollections of other psychic acts, the psychic
flight from unpleasantness, we may recognize as the ultimate effective
motive not only for the forgetting of names, but also for many other
errors, such as omissions of action, etc.

Forgetting names does, however, seem to be especially facilitated
psycho-physiologically and therefore also occurs in cases in which the
interference of an unpleasantness-motive cannot be established. If
anyone once has a tendency to forget names, you can establish by
analytical investigation that he not only loses names because he himself
does not like them, or because they remind him of something he does not
like, but also because the same name in his mind belongs to another
chain of associations, with which he has more intimate relations. The
name is anchored there, as it were, and denied to the other associations
activated at the moment. If you will recall the tricks of mnemonic
technique you will ascertain with some surprise that one forgets names
in consequence of the same associations which one otherwise purposely
forms in order to save them from being forgotten. The most conspicuous
example of this is afforded by proper names of persons, which
conceivably enough must have very different psychic values for different
people. For example, take a first name, such as Theodore. To one of you
it will mean nothing special, to another it means the name of his
father, brother, friend, or his own name. Analytic experience will then
show you that the first person is not in danger of forgetting that a
certain stranger bears this name, while the latter will be constantly
inclined to withhold from the stranger this name which seems reserved
for intimate relationships. Let us now assume that this associative
inhibition can come into contact with the operation of the
unpleasantness-principle, and in addition with an indirect mechanism,
and you will be in a position to form a correct picture of the
complexity of causation of this temporary name-forgetting. An adequate
analysis that does justice to the facts, however, will completely
disclose these complications.

Forgetting impressions and experiences shows the working of the tendency
to keep unpleasantness from recollection much more clearly and
conclusively than does the forgetting of names. It does not, of course,
belong in its entirety to the category of errors, but only in so far as
it seems to us conspicuous and unjustified, measured by the measuring
stick of our accustomed conception--thus, for example, where the
forgetfulness strikes fresh or important impressions or impressions
whose loss tears a hole in the otherwise well-remembered sequence. Why
and how it is in general that we forget, particularly why and how we
forget experiences which have surely left the deepest impressions, such
as the incidents of our first years of childhood, is quite a different
problem, in which the defense against unpleasant associations plays a
certain role but is far from explaining everything. That unpleasant
impressions are easily forgotten is an indubitable fact. Various
psychologists have observed it, and the great Darwin was so struck by it
that he made the "golden rule" for himself of writing down with
particular care observations which seemed unfavorable to his theory,
since he had convinced himself that they were just the ones which would
not stick in his memory.

Those who hear for the first time of this principle of defense against
unpleasant recollections by means of forgetting, seldom fail to raise
the objection that they, on the contrary, have had the experience that
just the painful is hard to forget, inasmuch as it always comes back to
mind to torture the person against his will--as, for example, the
recollection of an insult or humiliation. This fact is also correct, but
the objection is not valid. It is important that one begin betimes to
reckon with the fact that the psychic life is the arena of the struggles
and exercises of antagonistic tendencies, or, to express it in
non-dynamic terminology, that it consists of contradictions and paired
antagonisms. Information concerning one specific tendency is of no avail
for the exclusion of its opposite; there is room for both of them. It
depends only on how the opposites react upon each other, what effects
will proceed from the one and what from the other.

Losing and mislaying objects is of especial interest to us because of
the ambiguity and the multiplicity of tendencies in whose services the
errors may act. The common element in all cases is this, that one wished
to lose something. The reasons and purposes thereof vary. One loses an
object when it has become damaged, when one intends to replace it with a
better one, when one has ceased to like it, when it came from a person
whose relations to one have become strained, or when it was obtained
under circumstances of which one no longer wishes to think. The same
purpose may be served by letting the object fall, be damaged or broken.
In the life of society it is said to have been found that unwelcome and
illegitimate children are much more often frail than those born in
wedlock. To reach this result we do not need the coarse technique of the
so-called angel-maker. A certain remissness in the care of the child is
said to suffice amply. In the preservation of objects, the case might
easily be the same as with the children.

But things may be singled out for loss without their having forfeited
any of their value, namely, when there exists the intention to sacrifice
something to fate in order to ward off some other dreaded loss. Such
exorcisings of fate are, according to the findings of analysis, still
very frequent among us; therefore, the loss of things is often a
voluntary sacrifice. In the same way losing may serve the purposes of
obstinacy or self-punishment. In short, the more distant motivation of
the tendency to get rid of a thing oneself by means of losing it is not

Mistakes, like other errors, are often used to fulfill wishes which one
ought to deny oneself. The purpose is thus masked as fortunate
accident; for instance, one of our friends once took the train to make a
call in the suburbs, despite the clearest antipathy to so doing, and
then, in changing cars, made the mistake of getting into the train which
took him back to the city. Or, if on a trip one absolutely wants to make
a longer stay at a half-way station, one is apt to overlook or miss
certain connections, so that he is forced to make the desired
interruption to the trip. Or, as once happened to a patient of mine whom
I had forbidden to call up his fiancée on the telephone, "by mistake"
and "absent-mindedly" he asked for a wrong number when he wanted to
telephone to me, so that he was suddenly connected with the lady. A
pretty example and one of practical significance in making a direct
mistake is the observation of an engineer at a preliminary hearing in a
damage suit:

"Some time ago I worked with several colleagues in the laboratory of a
high school on a series of complicated elasticity experiments, a piece
of work which we had undertaken voluntarily but which began to take more
time than we had expected. One day as I went into the laboratory with my
colleague F., the latter remarked how unpleasant it was to him to lose
so much time that day, since he had so much to do at home. I could not
help agreeing with him, and remarked half jokingly, alluding to an
incident of the previous week: 'Let's hope that the machine gives out
again so that we can stop work and go home early.'

"In the division of labor it happened that F. was given the regulation
of the valve of the press, that is to say, he was, by means of a
cautious opening of the valve, to let the liquid pressure from the
accumulator flow slowly into the cylinder of the hydraulic press. The
man who was directing the job stood by the manometer (pressure gauge)
and when the right pressure had been reached called out in a loud voice:
'Stop.' At this command F. seized the valve and turned with all his
might--to the left! (All valves, without exception, close to the right.)
Thereby the whole pressure of the accumulator suddenly became effective
in the press, a strain for which the connecting pipes are not designed,
so that a connecting pipe immediately burst--quite a harmless defect,
but one which nevertheless forced us to drop work for the day and go

"It is characteristic, by the way, that some time afterward when we were
discussing this occurrence, my friend F. had no recollection whatever
of my remark, which I could recall with certainty."

From this point you may reach the conjecture that it is not harmless
accident which makes the hands of your domestics such dangerous enemies
to your household property. But you can also raise the question whether
it is always an accident when one damages himself and exposes his own
person to danger. There are interests the value of which you will
presently be able to test by means of the analysis of observations.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is far from being all that might be said
about errors. There is indeed much left to investigate and to discuss.
But I am satisfied if, from our investigations to date, your previous
views are somewhat shaken and if you have acquired a certain degree of
liberality in the acceptance of new ones. For the rest, I must content
myself with leaving you face to face with an unclear condition of
affairs. We cannot prove all our axioms by the study of errors and,
indeed, are by no means solely dependent on this material. The great
value of errors for our purpose lies in the fact that they are very
frequent phenomena that can easily be observed on oneself and the
occurrence of which do not require a pathological condition. I should
like to mention just one more of your unanswered questions before
concluding: "If, as we have seen in many examples, people come so close
to understanding errors and so often act as though they penetrated their
meaning, how is it possible that they can so generally consider them
accidental, senseless and meaningless, and can so energetically oppose
their psychoanalytic elucidation?"

You are right; that is conspicuous and demands an explanation. I shall
not give this explanation to you, however, but shall guide you slowly to
the connecting links from which the explanation will force itself upon
you without any aid from me.





_Difficulties and Preliminary Approach_

One day the discovery was made that the disease symptoms of certain
nervous patients have a meaning.[22] Thereupon the psychoanalytic method
of therapy was founded. In this treatment it happened that the patients
also presented dreams in place of their symptoms. Herewith originated
the conjecture that these dreams also have a meaning.

We will not, however, pursue this historical path, but enter upon the
opposite one. We wish to discover the meaning of dreams as preparation
for the study of the neuroses. This inversion is justified, for the
study of dreams is not only the best preparation for that of the
neuroses, but the dream itself is also a neurotic symptom, and in fact
one which possesses for us the incalculable advantage of occurring in
all normals. Indeed, if all human beings were well and would dream, we
could gain from their dreams almost all the insight to which the study
of the neuroses has led.

Thus it is that the dream becomes the object of psychoanalytic
research--again an ordinary, little-considered phenomenon, apparently of
no practical value, like the errors with which, indeed, it shares the
character of occurring in normals. But otherwise the conditions are
rather less favorable for our work. Errors had been neglected only by
science, which had paid little attention to them; but at least it was no
disgrace to occupy one's self with them. People said there are indeed
more important things, but perhaps something may come of it.
Preoccupation with the dream, however, is not merely impractical and
superfluous, but actually ignominious; it carries the odium of the
unscientific, awakens the suspicion of a personal leaning towards
mysticism. The idea of a physician busying himself with dreams when even
in neuropathology and psychiatry there are matters so much more
serious--tumors the size of apples which incapacitate the organ of the
psyche, hemorrhages, and chronic inflammations in which one can
demonstrate changes in the tissues under the microscope! No, the dream
is much too trifling an object, and unworthy of Science.

And besides, it is a condition which in itself defies all the
requirements of exact research--in dream investigation one is not even
sure of one's object. A delusion, for example, presents itself in clear
and definite outlines. "I am the Emperor of China," says the patient
aloud. But the dream? It generally cannot be related at all. If anyone
relates a dream, has he any guarantee that he has told it correctly, and
not changed it during the telling, or invented an addition which was
forced by the indefiniteness of his recollection? Most dreams cannot be
remembered at all, are forgotten except for small fragments. And upon
the interpretation of such material shall a scientific psychology or
method of treatment for patients be based?

A certain excess in judgment may make us suspicious. The objections to
the dream as an object of research obviously go too far. The question of
insignificance we have already had to deal with in discussing errors. We
said to ourselves that important matters may manifest themselves through
small signs. As concerns the indefiniteness of the dream, it is after
all a characteristic like any other. One cannot prescribe the
characteristics of an object. Moreover, there are clear and definite
dreams. And there are other objects of psychiatric research which suffer
from the same trait of indefiniteness, e.g., many compulsion ideas, with
which even respectable and esteemed psychiatrists have occupied
themselves. I might recall the last case which occurred in my practice.
The patient introduced himself to me with the words, "I have a certain
feeling as though I had harmed or had wished to harm some living
thing--a child?--no, more probably a dog--perhaps pushed it off a
bridge--or something else." We can overcome to some degree the
difficulty of uncertain recollection in the dream if we determine that
exactly what the dreamer tells us is to be taken as his dream, without
regard to anything which he has forgotten or may have changed in
recollection. And finally, one cannot make so general an assertion as
that the dream is an unimportant thing. We know from our own experience
that the mood in which one wakes up after a dream may continue
throughout the whole day. Cases have been observed by physicians in
which a psychosis begins with a dream and holds to a delusion which
originated in it. It is related of historical personages that they drew
their inspiration for important deeds from dreams. So we may ask whence
comes the contempt of scientific circles for the dream?

I think it is the reaction to their over-estimation in former times.
Reconstruction of the past is notoriously difficult, but this much we
may assume with certainty--if you will permit me the jest--that our
ancestors of 3000 years ago and more, dreamed much in the way we do. As
far as we know, all ancient peoples attached great importance to dreams
and considered them of practical value. They drew omens for the future
from dreams, sought premonitions in them. In those days, to the Greeks
and all Orientals, a campaign without dream interpreters must have been
as impossible as a campaign without an aviation scout to-day. When
Alexander the Great undertook his campaign of conquests, the most famous
dream interpreters were in attendance. The city of Tyrus, which was then
still situated on an island, put up so fierce a resistance that
Alexander considered the idea of raising the siege. Then he dreamed one
night of a satyr dancing as if in triumph; and when he laid his dream
before his interpreters he received the information that the victory
over the city had been announced to him. He ordered the attack and took
Tyrus. Among the Etruscans and the Romans other methods of discovering
the future were in use, but the interpretation of dreams was practical
and esteemed during the entire Hellenic-Roman period. Of the literature
dealing with the topic at least the chief work has been preserved to us,
namely, the book of Artemidoros of Daldis, who is supposed to have lived
during the lifetime of the Emperor Hadrian. How it happened subsequently
that the art of dream interpretation was lost and the dream fell into
discredit, I cannot tell you. Enlightenment cannot have had much part in
it, for the Dark Ages faithfully preserved things far more absurd than
the ancient dream interpretation. The fact is, the interest in dreams
gradually deteriorated into superstition, and could assert itself only
among the ignorant. The latest misuse of dream interpretation in our day
still tries to discover in dreams the numbers which are going to be
drawn in the small lottery. On the other hand, the exact science of
to-day has repeatedly dealt with dreams, but always only with the
purpose of applying its physiological theories to the dream. By
physicians, of course, the dream was considered as a non-psychic act, as
the manifestation of somatic irritations in the psychic life. Binz
(1876) pronounced the dream "a bodily process, in all cases useless, in
many actually pathological, above which the world-soul and immortality
are raised as high as the blue ether over the weed-grown sands of the
lowest plain." Maury compared it with the irregular twitchings of St.
Vitus' Dance in contrast to the co-ordinated movements of the normal
person. An old comparison makes the content of the dream analogous to
the tones which the "ten fingers of a musically illiterate person would
bring forth if they ran over the keys of the instrument."

Interpretation means finding a hidden meaning. There can be no question
of interpretation in such an estimation of the dream process. Look up
the description of the dream in Wundt, Jodl and other newer
philosophers. You will find an enumeration of the deviations of dream
life from waking thought, in a sense disparaging to the dream. The
description points out the disintegration of association, the suspension
of the critical faculty, the elimination of all knowledge, and other
signs of diminished activity. The only valuable contribution to the
knowledge of the dream which we owe to exact science pertains to the
influence of bodily stimuli, operative during sleep, on the content of
the dream. There are two thick volumes of experimental researches on
dreams by the recently deceased Norwegian author, J. Mourly Vold,
(translated into German in 1910 and 1912), which deal almost solely with
the consequences of changes in the position of the limbs. They are
recommended as the prototype of exact dream research. Now can you
imagine what exact science would say if it discovered that we wish to
attempt to find the meaning of dreams? It may be it has already said it,
but we will not allow ourselves to be frightened off. If errors can have
a meaning, the dream can, too, and errors in many cases have a meaning
which has escaped exact science. Let us confess to sharing the prejudice
of the ancients and the common people, and let us follow in the
footsteps of the ancient dream interpreters.

First of all, we must orient ourselves in our task, and take a bird's
eye view of our field. What is a dream? It is difficult to say in one
sentence. But we do not want to attempt any definition where a reference
to the material with which everyone is familiar suffices. Yet we ought
to select the essential element of the dream. How can that be found?
There are such monstrous differences within the boundary which encloses
our province, differences in every direction. The essential thing will
very probably be that which we can show to be common to all dreams.

Well, the first thing which is common to all dreams is that we are
asleep during their occurrence. The dream is apparently the psychic life
during sleep, which has certain resemblances to that of the waking
condition, and on the other hand is distinguished from it by important
differences. That was noted even in Aristotle's definition. Perhaps
there are other connections obtaining between the dream and sleep. One
can be awakened by a dream, one frequently has a dream when he wakes
spontaneously or is forcibly awakened from sleep. The dream then seems
to be an intermediate condition between sleeping and waking. Thus we are
referred to the problem of sleep. What, then, is sleep?

That is a physiological or biological problem concerning which there is
still much controversy. We can form no decision on the point, but I
think we may attempt a psychological characterization of sleep. Sleep is
a condition in which I wish to have nothing to do with the external
world, and have withdrawn my interest from it. I put myself to sleep by
withdrawing myself from the external world and by holding off its
stimuli. I also go to sleep when I am fatigued by the external world.
Thus, by going to sleep, I say to the external world, "Leave me in
peace, for I wish to sleep." Conversely, the child says, "I won't go to
bed yet, I am not tired, I want to have some more fun." The biological
intention of sleep thus seems to be recuperation; its psychological
character, the suspension of interest in the external world. Our
relation to the world into which we came so unwillingly, seems to
include the fact that we cannot endure it without interruption. For this
reason we revert from time to time to the pre-natal existence, that is,
to the intra-uterine existence. At least we create for ourselves
conditions quite similar to those obtaining at that time--warmth,
darkness and the absence of stimuli. Some of us even roll ourselves
into tight packages and assume in sleep a posture very similar to the
intra-uterine posture. It seems as if the world did not wholly possess
us adults, it has only two-thirds of our life, we are still one-third
unborn. Each awakening in the morning is then like a new birth. We also
speak of the condition after sleep with the words, "I feel as though I
had been born anew," by which we probably form a very erroneous idea of
the general feeling of the newly born. It may be assumed that the
latter, on the contrary, feel very uncomfortable. We also speak of birth
as "seeing the light of day." If that be sleep, then the dream is not on
its program at all, rather it seems an unwelcome addition. We think,
too, that dreamless sleep is the best and only normal sleep. There
should be no psychic activity in sleep; if the psyche stirs, then just
to that extent have we failed to reduplicate the foetal condition;
remainders of psychic activity could not be completely avoided. These
remainders are the dream. Then it really does seem that the dream need
have no meaning. It was different in the case of errors; they were
activities of the waking state. But when I am asleep, have quite
suspended psychic activity and have suppressed all but certain of its
remainders, then it is by no means inevitable that these remainders have
a meaning. In fact, I cannot make use of this meaning, in view of the
fact that the rest of my psyche is asleep. This must, of course, be a
question only of twitching, like spasmodic reactions, a question only of
psychic phenomena such as follow directly upon somatic stimulation. The
dream, therefore, appears to be the sleep-disturbing remnant of the
psychic activity of waking life, and we may make the resolution promptly
to abandon a theme which is so ill-adapted to psychoanalysis.

However, even if the dream is superfluous, it exists nevertheless and we
may try to give an account of its existence. Why does not the psyche go
to sleep? Probably because there is something which gives it no rest.
Stimuli act upon the psyche, and it must react to them. The dream,
therefore, is the way in which the psyche reacts to the stimuli acting
upon it in the sleeping condition. We note here a point of approach to
the understanding of the dream. We can now search through different
dreams to discover what are the stimuli which seek to disturb the sleep
and which are reacted to with dreams. Thus far we might be said to have
discovered the first common element.

Are there other common elements? Yes, it is undeniable that there are,
but they are much more difficult to grasp and describe. The psychic
processes of sleep, for example, have a very different character from
those of waking. One experiences many things in the dream, and believes
in them, while one really has experienced nothing but perhaps the one
disturbing stimulus. One experiences them predominantly in visual
images; feelings may also be interspersed in the dream as well as
thoughts; the other senses may also have experiences, but after all the
dream experiences are predominantly pictures. A part of the difficulty
of dream telling comes from the fact that we have to transpose these
pictures into words. "I could draw it," the dreamer says frequently,
"but I don't know how to say it." That is not really a case of
diminished psychic activity, like that of the feeble-minded in
comparison with the highly gifted; it is something qualitatively
different, but it is difficult to say wherein the difference lies. G. T.
Fechner once hazarded the conjecture that the scene in which dreams are
played is a different one from that of the waking perceptual life. To be
sure, we do not understand this, do not know what we are to think of it,
but the impression of strangeness which most dreams make upon us does
really bear this out. The comparison of the dream activity with the
effects of a hand untrained in music also fails at this point. The
piano, at least, will surely answer with the same tones, even if not
with melodies, as soon as by accident one brushes its keys. Let us keep
this second common element of all dreams carefully in mind, even though
it be not understood.

Are there still further traits in common? I find none, and see only
differences everywhere, differences indeed in the apparent length as
well as the definiteness of the activities, participation of effects,
durability, etc. All this really is not what we might expect of a
compulsion-driven, irresistible, convulsive defense against a stimulus.
As concerns the dimensions of dreams, there are very short ones which
contain only one picture or a few, one thought--yes, even one word
only--, others which are uncommonly rich in content, seem to dramatize
whole novels and to last very long. There are dreams which are as plain
as an experience itself, so plain that we do not recognize them as
dreams for a long time after waking; others which are indescribably
weak, shadowy and vague; indeed in one and the same dream, the
overemphasized and the scarcely comprehensible, indefinite parts may
alternate with each other. Dreams may be quite meaningful or at least
coherent, yes, even witty, fantastically beautiful. Others, again, are
confused, as if feeble-minded, absurd, often actually mad. There are
dreams which leave us quite cold, others in which all the effects come
to expression--pain deep enough for tears, fear strong enough to waken
us, astonishment, delight, etc. Dreams are generally quickly forgotten
upon waking, or they may hold over a day to such an extent as to be
faintly and incompletely remembered in the evening. Others, for example,
the dreams of childhood, are so well preserved that they stay in the
memory thirty years later, like fresh experiences. Dreams, like
individuals, may appear a single time, and never again, or they may
repeat themselves unchanged in the same person, or with small
variations. In short, this nightly psychic activity can avail itself of
an enormous repertoire, can indeed compass everything which the psychic
accomplishes by day, but yet the two are not the same.

One might try to give an account of this many-sidedness of the dream by
assuming that it corresponds to different intermediate stages between
sleeping and waking, different degrees of incomplete sleep. Yes, but in
that case as the psyche nears the waking state, the conviction that it
is a dream ought to increase along with the value, content and
distinctiveness of the dream product, and it would not happen that
immediately beside a distinct and sensible dream fragment a senseless
and indistinct one would occur, to be followed again by a goodly piece
of work. Surely the psyche could not change its degree of somnolence so
quickly. This explanation thus avails us nothing; at any rate, it cannot
be accepted offhand.

Let us, for the present, give up the idea of finding the meaning of the
dream and try instead to clear a path to a better understanding of the
dream by means of the elements common to all dreams. From the relation
of dreams to the sleeping condition, we concluded that the dream is the
reaction to a sleep-disturbing stimulus. As we have heard, this is the
only point upon which exact experimental psychology can come to our
assistance; it gives us the information that stimuli applied during
sleep appear in the dream. There have been many such investigations
carried out, including that of the above mentioned Mourly Vold. Indeed,
each of us must at some time have been in a position to confirm this
conclusion by means of occasional personal observations. I shall choose
certain older experiments for presentation. Maury had such experiments
made on his own person. He was allowed to smell cologne while dreaming.
He dreamed that he was in Cairo in the shop of Johann Marina Farina, and
therewith were linked further extravagant adventures. Or, he was
slightly pinched in the nape of the neck; he dreamed of having a mustard
plaster applied, and of a doctor who had treated him in childhood. Or, a
drop of water was poured on his forehead. He was then in Italy,
perspired profusely, and drank the white wine of Orvieto.

What strikes us about these experimentally induced dreams we may perhaps
be able to comprehend still more clearly in another series of stimulated
dreams. Three dreams have been recounted by a witty observer,
Hildebrand, all of them reactions to the sound of the alarm clock:

"I go walking one spring morning and saunter through the green fields to
a neighboring village. There I see the inhabitants in gala attire, their
hymn books under their arms, going church-ward in great numbers. To be
sure, this is Sunday, and the early morning service will soon begin. I
decide to attend, but since I am somewhat overheated, decide to cool off
in the cemetery surrounding the church. While I am there reading several
inscriptions, I hear the bell ringer ascend the tower, and now see the
little village church bell which is to give the signal for the beginning
of the service. The bell hangs a good bit longer, then it begins to
swing, and suddenly its strokes sound clear and penetrating, so clear
and penetrating that they make an end of--my sleep. The bell-strokes,
however, come from my alarm clock.

"A second combination. It is a clear winter day. The streets are piled
high with snow. I agree to go on a sleighing party, but must wait a long
time before the announcement comes that the sleigh is at the door. Then
follow the preparations for getting in--the fur coat is put on, the
footwarmer dragged forth--and finally I am seated in my place. But the
departure is still delayed until the reins give the waiting horses the
tangible signal. Now they pull; the vigorously shaken bells begin their
familiar Janizary music so powerfully that instantly the spider web of
the dream is torn. Again it is nothing but the shrill tone of the alarm

"And still a third example. I see a kitchen maid walking along the
corridor to the dining room with some dozens of plates piled high. The
pillar of porcelain in her arms seems to me in danger of losing its
balance. 'Take care!' I warn her. 'The whole load will fall to the
ground.' Naturally, the inevitable retort follows: one is used to that,
etc., and I still continue to follow the passing figure with
apprehensive glances. Sure enough, at the threshold she stumbles--the
brittle dishes fall and rattle and crash over the floor in a thousand
pieces. But--the endless racket is not, as I soon notice, a real
rattling, but really a ringing and with this ringing, as the awakened
subject now realizes, the alarm has performed its duty."

These dreams are very pretty, quite meaningful, not at all incoherent,
as dreams usually are. We will not object to them on that score. That
which is common to them all is that the situation terminates each time
in a noise, which one recognizes upon waking up as the sound of the
alarm. Thus we see here how a dream originates, but also discover
something else. The dream does not recognize the alarm--indeed the alarm
does not appear in the dream--the dream replaces the alarm sound with
another, it interprets the stimulus which interrupts the sleep, but
interprets it each time in a different way. Why? There is no answer to
this question, it seems to be something arbitrary. But to understand the
dream means to be able to say why it has chosen just this sound and no
other for the interpretation of the alarm-clock stimulus. In quite
analogous fashion, we must raise the objection to the Maury experiment
that we see well enough that the stimulus appears in the dream, but that
we do not discover why it appears in just this form; and that the form
taken by the dream does not seem to follow from the nature of the
sleep-disturbing stimulus. Moreover, in the Maury experiments a mass of
other dream material links itself to the direct stimulus product; as,
for example, the extravagant adventures in the cologne dream, for which
one can give no account.

Now I shall ask you to consider the fact that the waking dreams offer by
far the best chances for determining the influence of external
sleep-disturbing stimuli. In most of the other cases it will be more
difficult. One does not wake up in all dreams, and in the morning, when
one remembers the dream of the night, how can one discover the
disturbing stimulus which was perhaps in operation at night? I did
succeed once in subsequently establishing such a sound stimulus, though
naturally only in consequence of special circumstances. I woke up one
morning in a place in the Tyrolese Mountains, with the certainty that I
had dreamt the Pope had died. I could not explain the dream, but then my
wife asked me: "Did you hear the terrible bell ringing that broke out
early this morning from all the churches and chapels?" No, I had heard
nothing, my sleep is a sound one, but thanks to this information I
understood my dream. How often may such stimuli incite the sleeper to
dream without his knowing of them afterward? Perhaps often, perhaps
infrequently; when the stimulus can no longer be traced, one cannot be
convinced of its existence. Even without this fact we have given up
evaluating the sleep disturbing stimuli, since we know that they can
explain only a little bit of the dream, and not the whole dream

But we need not give up this whole theory for that reason. In fact, it
can be extended. It is clearly immaterial through what cause the sleep
was disturbed and the psyche incited to dream. If the sensory stimulus
is not always externally induced, it may be instead a stimulus
proceeding from the internal organs, a so-called somatic stimulus. This
conjecture is obvious, and it corresponds to the most popular conception
of the origin of dreams. Dreams come from the stomach, one often hears
it said. Unfortunately it may be assumed here again that the cases are
frequent in which the somatic stimulus which operated during the night
can no longer be traced after waking, and has thus become unverifiable.
But let us not overlook the fact that many recognized experiences
testify to the derivation of dreams from the somatic stimulus. It is in
general indubitable that the condition of the internal organs can
influence the dream. The relation of many a dream content to a
distention of the bladder or to an excited condition of the genital
organs, is so clear that it cannot be mistaken. From these transparent
cases one can proceed to others in which, from the content of the dream,
at least a justifiable conjecture may be made that such somatic stimuli
have been operative, inasmuch as there is something in this content
which may be conceived as elaboration, representation, interpretation
of the stimuli. The dream investigator Schirmer (1861) insisted with
particular emphasis on the derivation of the dream from organic stimuli,
and cited several splendid examples in proof. For example, in a dream he
sees "two rows of beautiful boys with blonde hair and delicate
complexions stand opposite each other in preparation for a fight, fall
upon each other, seize each other, take up the old position again, and
repeat the whole performance;" here the interpretation of these rows of
boys as teeth is plausible in itself, and it seems to become convincing
when after this scene the dreamer "pulls a long tooth out of his jaws."
The interpretation of "long, narrow, winding corridors" as intestinal
stimuli, seems sound and confirms Schirmer's assertion that the dream
above all seeks to represent the stimulus-producing organ by means of
objects resembling it.

Thus we must be prepared to admit that the internal stimuli may play the
same role in the dream as the external. Unfortunately, their evaluation
is subject to the same difficulties as those we have already
encountered. In a large number of cases the interpretation of the
stimuli as somatic remains uncertain and undemonstrable. Not all dreams,
but only a certain portion of them, arouse the suspicion that an
internal organic stimulus was concerned in their causation. And finally,
the internal stimuli will be as little able as the external sensory
stimuli to explain any more of the dream than pertains to the direct
reaction to the stimuli. The origin, therefore, of the rest of the dream
remains obscure.

Let us, however, notice a peculiarity of dream life which becomes
apparent in the study of these effects of stimuli. The dream does not
simply reproduce the stimulus, but it elaborates it, it plays upon it,
places it in a sequence of relationships, replaces it with something
else. That is a side of dream activity which must interest us because it
may lead us closer to the nature of the dream. If one does something
under stimulation, then this stimulation need not exhaust the act.
Shakespeare's _Macbeth_, for example, is a drama created on the occasion
of the coronation of the King who for the first time wore upon his head
the crown symbolizing the union of three countries. But does this
historical occasion cover the content of the drama, does it explain its
greatness and its riddle? Perhaps the external and internal stimuli,
acting upon the sleeper, are only the incitors of the dream, of whose
nature nothing is betrayed to us from our knowledge of that fact.

The other element common to dreams, their psychic peculiarity, is on the
one hand hard to comprehend, and on the other hand offers no point for
further investigation. In dreams we perceive a thing for the most part
in visual forms. Can the stimuli furnish a solution for this fact? Is it
actually the stimulus which we experience? Why, then, is the experience
visual when optic stimulation incited the dream only in the rarest
cases? Or can it be proved, when we dream speeches, that during sleep a
conversation or sounds resembling it reached our ear? This possibility I
venture decisively to reject.

If, from the common elements of dreams, we get no further, then let us
see what we can do with their differences. Dreams are often senseless,
blurred, absurd; but there are some that are meaningful, sober,
sensible. Let us see if the latter, the sensible dreams, can give some
information concerning the senseless ones. I will give you the most
recent sensible dream which was told me, the dream of a young man: "I
was promenading in Kärtner Street, met Mr. X. there, whom I accompanied
for a bit, and then I went to a restaurant. Two ladies and a gentleman
seated themselves at my table. I was annoyed at this at first, and would
not look at them. Then I did look, and found that they were quite
pretty." The dreamer adds that the evening before the dream he had
really been in Kärtner Street, which is his usual route, and that he had
met Mr. X. there. The other portion of the dream is no direct
reminiscence, but bears a certain resemblance to a previous experience.
Or another meaningful dream, that of a lady. "Her husband asks, 'Doesn't
the piano need tuning?' She: 'It is not worth while; it has to be newly
lined.'" This dream reproduces without much alteration a conversation
which took place the day before between herself and her husband. What
can we learn from these two sober dreams? Nothing but that you find them
to be reproductions of daily life or ideas connected therewith. This
would at least be something if it could be stated of all dreams. There
is no question, however, that this applies to only a minority of dreams.
In most dreams there is no sign of any connection with the previous day,
and no light is thereby cast on the senseless and absurd dream. We know
only that we have struck a new problem. We wish to know not only what it
is that the dream says, but when, as in our examples, the dream speaks
plainly, we also wish to know why and wherefore this recent experience
is repeated in the dream.

I believe you are as tired as I am of continuing attempts like these. We
see, after all, that the greatest interest in a problem is inadequate if
one does not know a path which will lead to a solution. Up to this point
we have not found this path. Experimental psychology gave us nothing but
a few very valuable pieces of information concerning the meaning of
stimuli as dream incitors. We need expect nothing from philosophy except
that lately it has taken haughtily to pointing out to us the
intellectual inferiority of our object. Let us not apply to the occult
sciences for help. History and popular tradition tell us that the dream
is meaningful and significant; it sees into the future. Yet that is hard
to accept and surely not demonstrable. Thus our first efforts end in
entire helplessness.

Unexpectedly we get a hint from a quarter toward which we have not yet
looked. Colloquial usage--which after all is not an accidental thing but
the remnant of ancient knowledge, though it should not be made use of
without caution--our speech, that is to say, recognizes something which
curiously enough it calls "day dreaming." Day dreams are phantasies.
They are very common phenomena, again observable in the normal as well
as in the sick, and access to their study is open to everyone in his own
person. The most conspicuous feature about these phantastic productions
is that they have received the name "day dreams," for they share neither
of the two common elements of dreams. Their name contradicts the
relation to the sleeping condition, and as regards the second common
element, one does not experience or hallucinate anything, one only
imagines it. One knows that it is a phantasy, that one is not seeing but
thinking the thing. These day dreams appear in the period before
puberty, often as early as the last years of childhood, continue into
the years of maturity, are then either given up or retained through
life. The content of these phantasies is dominated by very transparent
motives. They are scenes and events in which the egoistic, ambitious and
power-seeking desires of the individual find satisfaction. With young
men the ambition phantasies generally prevail; in women, the erotic,
since they have banked their ambition on success in love. But often
enough the erotic desire appears in the background with men too; all the
heroic deeds and incidents are after all meant only to win the
admiration and favor of women. Otherwise these day dreams are very
manifold and undergo changing fates. They are either, each in turn,
abandoned after a short time and replaced by a new one, or they are
retained, spun out into long stories, and adapted to changes in daily
circumstances. They move with the time, so to speak, and receive from it
a "time mark" which testifies to the influence of the new situation.
They are the raw material of poetic production, for out of his day
dreams the poet, with certain transformations, disguises and omissions,
makes the situations which he puts into his novels, romances and dramas.
The hero of the day dreams, however, is always the individual himself,
either directly or by means of a transparent identification with

Perhaps day dreams bear this name because of the similarity of their
relation to reality, in order to indicate that their content is as
little to be taken for real as that of dreams. Perhaps, however, this
identity of names does nevertheless rest on a characteristic of the
dream which is still unknown to us, perhaps even one of those
characteristics which we are seeking. It is possible, on the other hand,
that we are wrong in trying to read a meaning into this similarity of
designation. Yet that can only be cleared up later.



_Hypothesis and Technique of Interpretation_

We must find a new path, a new method, in order to proceed with the
investigation of the dream. I shall now make an obvious suggestion. Let
us assume as a hypothesis for everything which follows, that _the dream
is not a somatic but a psychic phenomenon_. You appreciate the
significance of that statement, but what justification have we for
making it? None; but that alone need not deter us from making it. The
matter stands thus: If the dream is a somatic phenomenon, it does not
concern us. It can be of interest to us only on the supposition that it
is a _psychic_ phenomenon. Let us therefore work upon that assumption in
order to see what comes of it. The result of our labor will determine
whether we are to hold to this assumption and whether we may, in fact,
consider it in turn a result. What is it that we really wish to achieve,
to what end are we working? It is what one usually seeks to attain in
the sciences, an understanding of phenomena, the creation of
relationships between them, and ultimately, if possible, the extension
of our control over them.

Let us then proceed with the work on the assumption that the dream is a
psychic phenomenon. This makes it an achievement and expression of the
dreamer, but one that tells us nothing, one that we do not understand.
What do you do when I make a statement you do not understand? You ask
for an explanation, do you not? Why may we not do the same thing here,
_ask the dreamer to give us the meaning of his dream_?

If you will remember, we were in this same situation once before. It was
when we were investigating errors, a case of a slip of the tongue.
Someone said: "_Da sind dinge zum vorschwein gekommen_," whereupon we
asked--no, luckily, not we, but others, persons in no way associated
with psychoanalysis--these persons asked him what he meant by this
unintelligible talk. He immediately answered that he had intended to say
"_Das waren schweinereien_," but that he had suppressed this intention,
in favor of the other, more gentle "_Da sind dinge zum vorschein
gekommen_."[23] I explained to you at the time that this inquiry was
typical of every psychoanalytical investigation, and now you understand
that psychoanalysis follows the technique, as far as possible, of having
the subjects themselves discover the solutions of their riddles. The
dreamer himself, then, is to tell us the meaning of his dream.

It is common knowledge, however, that this is not such an easy matter
with dreams. In the case of slips, our method worked in a number of
cases, but we encountered some where the subject did not wish to say
anything--in fact, indignantly rejected the answer that we suggested.
Instances of the first method are entirely lacking in the case of
dreams; the dreamer always says he knows nothing. He cannot deny our
interpretation, for we have none. Shall we then give up the attempt?
Since he knows nothing and we know nothing and a third person surely
knows nothing, it looks as though there were no possibility of
discovering anything. If you wish, discontinue the investigation. But if
you are of another mind, you can accompany me on the way. For I assure
you, it is very possible, in fact, probable, that the dreamer does know
what his dream means, but does _not know that he knows, and therefore
believes he does not know_.

You will point out to me that I am again making an assumption, the
second in this short discourse, and that I am greatly reducing the
credibility of my claim. On the assumption that the dream is a psychic
phenomenon, on the further assumption that there are unconscious things
in man which he knows without knowing that he knows, etc.--we need only
realize clearly the intrinsic improbability of each of these two
assumptions, and we shall calmly turn our attention from the conclusions
to be derived from such premises.

Yet, ladies and gentlemen, I have not invited you here to delude you or
to conceal anything from you. I did, indeed, announce a _General
Introduction to Psychoanalysis_, but I did not intend the title to
convey that I was an oracle, who would show you a finished product with
all the difficulties carefully concealed, all the gaps filled in and all
the doubts glossed over, so that you might peacefully believe you had
learned something new. No, precisely because you are beginners, I wanted
to show you our science as it is, with all its hills and pitfalls,
demands and considerations. For I know that it is the same in all
sciences, and must be so in their beginnings particularly. I know, too,
that teaching as a rule endeavors to hide these difficulties and these
incompletely developed phases from the student. But that will not do in
psychoanalysis. I have, as a matter of fact, made two assumptions, one
within the other, and he who finds the whole too troublesome and too
uncertain or is accustomed to greater security or more elegant
derivations, need go no further with us. What I mean is, he should leave
psychological problems entirely alone, for it must be apprehended that
he will not find the sure and safe way he is prepared to go,
traversable. Then, too, it is superfluous for a science that has
something to offer to plead for auditors and adherents. Its results must
create its atmosphere, and it must then bide its time until these have
attracted attention to themselves.

I would warn those of you, however, who care to continue, that my two
assumptions are not of equal worth. The first, that the dream is a
psychic phenomenon, is the assumption we wish to prove by the results of
our work. The other has already been proved in another field, and I take
the liberty only of transferring it from that field to our problem.

Where, in what field of observation shall we seek the proof that there
is in man a knowledge of which he is not conscious, as we here wish to
assume in the case of the dreamer? That would be a remarkable, a
surprising fact, one which would change our understanding of the psychic
life, and which would have no need to hide itself. To name it would be
to destroy it, and yet it pretends to be something real, a contradiction
in terms. Nor does it hide itself. It is no result of the fact itself
that we are ignorant of its existence and have not troubled sufficiently
about it. That is just as little our fault as the fact that all these
psychological problems are condemned by persons who have kept away from
all observations and experiments which are decisive in this respect.

The proof appeared in the field of hypnotic phenomena. When, in the year
1889, I was a witness to the extraordinarily enlightening demonstrations
of Siebault and Bernheim in Nancy, I witnessed also the following
experiment: If one placed a man in the somnambulistic state, allowed him
to have all manner of hallucinatory experience, and then woke him up, it
appeared in the first instance that he knew nothing about what had
happened during his hypnotic sleep. Bernheim then directly invited him
to relate what had happened to him during the hypnosis. He maintained he
was unable to recall anything. But Bernheim insisted, he persisted, he
assured him he did know, that he must recall, and, incredible though it
may seem, the man wavered, began to rack his memory, recalled in a
shadowy way first one of the suggested experiences, then another; the
recollection became more and more complete and finally was brought forth
without a gap. The fact that he had this knowledge finally, and that he
had had no experiences from any other source in the meantime, permits
the conclusion that he knew of these recollections in the beginning.
They were merely inaccessible, he did not know that he knew them; he
believed he did not know them. This is exactly what we suspect in the

I trust you are taken by surprise by the establishment of this fact, and
that you will ask me why I did not refer to this proof before in the
case of the slips, where we credited the man who made a mistake in
speech with intentions he knew nothing about and which he denied. "If a
person believes he knows nothing concerning experiences, the memory of
which, however, he retains," you might say, "it is no longer so
improbable that there are also other psychic experiences within him of
whose existence he is ignorant. This argument would have impressed us
and advanced us in the understanding of errors." To be sure, I might
then have referred to this but I reserved it for another place, where it
was more necessary. Errors have in a measure explained themselves, have,
in part, furnished us with the warning that we must assume the existence
of psychic processes of which we know nothing, for the sake of the
connection of the phenomena. In dreams we are compelled to look to other
sources for explanations; and besides, I count on the fact that you will
permit the inference I draw from hypnotism more readily in this
instance. The condition in which we make mistakes most seem to you to
be the normal one. It has no similarity to the hypnotic. On the other
hand, there is a clear relationship between the hypnotic state and
sleep, which is the essential condition of dreams. Hypnotism is known as
artificial sleep; we say to the person whom we hypnotize, "Sleep," and
the suggestions which we throw out are comparable to the dreams of
natural sleep. The psychical conditions are in both cases really
analogous. In natural sleep we withdraw our attention from the entire
outside world; in the hypnotic, on the other hand, from the whole world
with the exception of the one person who has hypnotized us, with whom we
remain in touch. Furthermore, the so-called nurse's sleep in which the
nurse remains in touch with the child, and can be waked only by him, is
a normal counterpart of hypnotism. The transference of one of the
conditions of hypnotism to natural sleep does not appear to be such a
daring proceeding. The inferential assumption that there is also present
in the case of the dreamer a knowledge of his dream, a knowledge which
is so inaccessible that he does not believe it himself, does not seem to
be made out of whole cloth. Let us note that at this point there appears
a third approach to the study of the dream; from the sleep-disturbing
stimuli, from the day-dreams, and now in addition, from the suggested
dreams of the hypnotic state.

Now we return, perhaps with increased faith, to our problem. Apparently
it is very probable that the dreamer knows of his dream; the question
is, how to make it possible for him to discover this knowledge, and to
impart it to us? We do not demand that he give us the meaning of his
dream at once, but he will be able to discover its origin, the thought
and sphere of interest from which it springs. In the case of the errors,
you will remember, the man was asked how he happened to use the wrong
word, "_vorschwein_," and his next idea gave us the explanation. Our
dream technique is very simple, an imitation of this example. We again
ask how the subject happened to have the dream, and his next statement
is again to be taken as an explanation. We disregard the distinction
whether the dreamer believes or does not believe he knows, and treat
both cases in the same way.

This technique is very simple indeed, but I am afraid it will arouse
your sharpest opposition. You will say, "a new assumption. The third!
And the most improbable of all! If I ask the dreamer what he considers
the explanation of his dream to be, his very next association is to be
the desired explanation? But it may be he thinks of nothing at all, or
his next thought may be anything at all. We cannot understand upon what
we can base such anticipation. This, really, is putting too much faith
in a situation where a slightly more critical attitude would be more
suitable. Furthermore, a dream is not an isolated error, but consists of
many elements. To which idea should we pin our faith?"

You are right in all the non-essentials. A dream must indeed be
distinguished from a word slip, even in the number of its elements. The
technique is compelled to consider this very carefully. Let me suggest
that we separate the dream into its elements, and carry on the
investigation of each element separately; then the analogy to the
word-slip is again set up. You are also correct when you say that in
answer to the separate dream elements no association may occur to the
dreamer. There are cases in which we accept this answer, and later you
will hear what those cases are. They are, oddly enough, cases in which
we ourselves may have certain associations. But in general we shall
contradict the dreamer when he maintains he has no associations. We
shall insist that he must have some association and--we shall be
justified. He will bring forth some association, any one, it makes no
difference to us. He will be especially facile with certain information
which might be designated as historical. He will say, "that is something
that happened yesterday" (as in the two "prosaic" dreams with which we
are acquainted); or, "that reminds me of something that happened
recently," and in this manner we shall notice that the act of
associating the dreams with recent impressions is much more frequent
than we had at first supposed. Finally, the dreamer will remember
occurrences more remote from the dream, and ultimately even events in
the far past.

But in the essential matters you are mistaken. If you believe that we
assume arbitrarily that the dreamer's next association will disclose
just what we are seeking, or must lead to it, that on the contrary the
association is just as likely to be entirely inconsequential, and
without any connection with what we are seeking, and that it is an
example of my unbounded optimism to expect anything else, then you are
greatly mistaken. I have already taken the liberty of pointing out that
in each one of you there is a deep-rooted belief in psychic freedom and
volition, a belief which is absolutely unscientific, and which must
capitulate before the claims of a determinism that controls even the
psychic life. I beg of you to accept it as a fact that only this one
association will occur to the person questioned. But I do not put one
belief in opposition to another. It can be proved that the association,
which the subject produces, is not voluntary, is not indeterminable, not
unconnected with what we seek. Indeed, I discovered long ago--without,
however, laying too much stress on the discovery--that even experimental
psychology has brought forth this evidence.

I ask you to give your particular attention to the significance of this
subject. If I invite a person to tell me what occurs to him in relation
to some certain element of his dream I am asking him to abandon himself
to free association, _controlled by a given premise_. This demands a
special delimitation of the attention, quite different from cogitation,
in fact, exclusive of cogitation. Many persons put themselves into such
a state easily; others show an extraordinarily high degree of
clumsiness. There is a higher level of free association again, where I
omit this original premise and designate only the manner of the
association, e.g., rule that the subject freely give a proper name or a
number. Such an association would be more voluntary, more
indeterminable, than the one called forth by our technique. But it can
be shown that it is strongly determined each time by an important inner
mental set which, at the moment at which it is active, is unknown to us,
just as unknown as the disturbing tendencies in the case of errors and
the provocative tendencies in the case of accidental occurrences.

I, and many others after me, have again and again instigated such
investigations for names and numbers which occur to the subject without
any restraint, and have published some results. The method is the
following: Proceeding from the disclosed names, we awaken continuous
associations which then are no longer entirely free, but rather are
limited as are the associations to the dream elements, and this is true
until the impulse is exhausted. By that time, however, the motivation
and significance of the free name associations is explained. The
investigations always yield the same results, the information often
covers a wealth of material and necessitates lengthy elaboration. The
associations to freely appearing numbers are perhaps the most
significant. They follow one another so quickly and approach a hidden
goal with such inconceivable certainty, that it is really startling. I
want to give you an example of such a name analysis, one that, happily,
involves very little material.

In the course of my treatment of a young man, I referred to this subject
and mentioned the fact that despite the apparent volition it is
impossible to have a name occur which does not appear to be limited by
the immediate conditions, the peculiarities of the subject, and the
momentary situation. He was doubtful, and I proposed that he make such
an attempt immediately. I know he has especially numerous relations of
every sort with women and girls, and so am of the opinion that he will
have an unusually wide choice if he happens to think of a woman's name.
He agrees. To my astonishment, and perhaps even more to his, no
avalanche of women's names descends upon my head, but he is silent for a
time, and then admits that a single name has occurred to him--and no
other: _Albino_. How extraordinary, but what associations have you with
this name? How many albinoes do you know? Strangely enough, he knew no
albinoes, and there were no further associations with the name. One
might conclude the analysis had proved a failure; but no--it was already
complete; no further association was necessary. The man himself had
unusually light coloring. In our talks during the cure I had frequently
called him an albino in fun. We were at the time occupied in determining
the feminine characteristics of his nature. He himself was the Albino,
who at that moment was to him the most interesting feminine person.

In like manner, melodies, which come for no reason, show themselves
conditioned by and associated with a train of thought which has a right
to occupy one, yet of whose activity one is unconscious. It is easily
demonstrable that the attraction to the melody is associated with the
text, or its origin. But I must take the precaution not to include in
this assertion really musical people, with whom, as it happens, I have
had no experience. In their cases the musical meaning of the melody may
have occasioned its occurrence. More often the first reason holds. I
know of a young man who for a time was actually haunted by the really
charming melody of the song of Paris, from _The Beautiful Helen_, until
the analysis brought to his attention the fact that at that time his
interest was divided between an Ida and a Helen.

If then the entirely unrestrained associations are conditioned in such a
manner and are arranged in a distinct order, we are justified in
concluding that associations with a single condition, that of an
original premise, or starting point, may be conditioned to no less
degree. The investigation does in fact show that aside from the
conditioning which we have established by the premise, a second farther
dependence is recognizable upon powerful affective thoughts, upon cycles
of interest and complexes of whose influence we are ignorant, therefore
unconscious at the time.

Associations of this character have been the subject matter of very
enlightening experimental investigations, which have played a noteworthy
role in the history of psychoanalysis. The Wundt school proposed the
so-called association-experiment, wherein the subject is given the task
of answering in the quickest possible time, with any desired reaction,
to a given stimulus-word. It is then possible to study the interval of
time that elapses between the stimulus and the reaction, the nature of
the answer given as reaction, the possible mistake in a subsequent
repetition of the same attempt, and similar matters. The Zurich School
under the leadership of Bleuler and Jung, gave the explanation of the
reactions following the association-experiment, by asking the subject to
explain a given reaction by means of further associations, in the cases
where there was anything extraordinary in the reaction. It then became
apparent that these extraordinary reactions were most sharply determined
by the complexes of the subject. In this matter Bleuler and Jung built
the first bridge from experimental psychology to psychoanalysis.

Thus instructed, you will be able to say, "We recognize now that free
associations are predetermined, not voluntary, as we had believed. We
admit this also as regards the associations connected with the elements
of the dream, but that is not what we are concerned with. You maintain
that the associations to the dream element are determined by the unknown
psychic background of this very element. We do not think that this is a
proven fact. We expect, to be sure, that the association to the dream
element will clearly show itself through one of the complexes of the
dreamer, but what good is that to us? That does not lead us to
understand the dream, but rather, as in the case of the
association-experiment, to a knowledge of the so-called complexes. What
have these to do with the dream?"

You are right, but you overlook one point, in fact, the very point
because of which I did not choose the association-experiment as the
starting point for this exposition. In this experiment the one
determinate of the reaction, viz., the stimulus word, is voluntarily
chosen. The reaction is then an intermediary between this stimulus word
and the recently aroused complex of the subject. In the dream the
stimulus word is replaced by something that itself has its origin in the
psychic life of the dreamer, in sources unknown to him, hence very
likely itself a product of the complex. It is not an altogether
fantastic hypothesis, then, that the more remote associations, even
those that are connected with the dream element, are determined by no
other complex than the one which determines the dream element itself,
and will lead to the disclosure of the complex.

Let me show you by another case that the situation is really as we
expect it to be. Forgetting proper names is really a splendid example
for the case of dream analysis; only here there is present in one person
what in the dream interpretation is divided between two persons. Though
I have forgotten a name temporarily I still retain the certainty that I
know the name; that certainty which we could acquire for the dreamer
only by way of the Bernheim experiment. The forgotten name, however, is
not accessible. Cogitation, no matter how strenuous, does not help.
Experience soon tells me that. But I am able each time to find one or
more substitute names for the forgotten name. If such a substitute name
occurs to me spontaneously then the correspondence between this
situation and that of the dream analysis first becomes evident. Nor is
the dream element the real thing, but only a substitute for something
else, for what particular thing I do not know, but am to discover by
means of the dream analysis. The difference lies only in this, that in
forgetting a name I recognize the substitute automatically as
unsuitable, while in the dream element we must acquire this
interpretation with great labor. When a name is forgotten, too, there
is a way to go from the substitute to the unknown reality, to arrive at
the forgotten name. If I centre my attention on the substitute name and
allow further associations to accumulate, I arrive in a more or less
roundabout way at the forgotten name, and discover that the spontaneous
substitute names, together with those called up by me, have a certain
connection with the forgotten name, were conditioned by it.

I want to show you an analysis of this type. One day I noticed that I
could not recall the name of the little country in the Riviera of which
Monte Carlo is the capital. It is very annoying, but it is true. I steep
myself in all my knowledge about this country, think of Prince Albert,
of the house of Lusignan, of his marriages, his preference for deep-sea
study, and anything else I can think of, but to no avail. So I give up
the thinking, and in place of the lost name allow substitute names to
suggest themselves. They come quickly--Monte Carlo itself, then
Piedmont, Albania, Montevideo, Colico. Albania is the first to attract
my attention, it is replaced by Montenegro, probably because of the
contrast between black and white. Then I see that four of these
substitutes contain the same syllable _mon_. I suddenly have the
forgotten word, and cry aloud, "_Monaco_." The substitutes really
originated in the forgotten word, the four first from the first
syllable, the last brings back the sequence of syllables and the entire
final syllable. In addition, I am also able easily to discover what it
was that took the name from my memory for a time. Monaco is also the
Italian name of Munich; this latter town exerted the inhibiting

The example is pretty enough, but too simple. In other cases we must add
to the first substitute names a long line of associations, and then the
analogy to the dream interpretation becomes clearer. I have also had
such experiences. Once when a stranger invited me to drink Italian wine
with him, it so happened in the hostelry that he forgot the name of the
wine he had intended to order just because he had retained a most
pleasant memory of it. Out of a profusion of dissimilar substitute
associations which came to him in the place of the forgotten name, I was
able to conclude that the memory of some one named Hedwig had deprived
him of the name of the wine, and he actually confirmed not only that he
had first tasted this wine in the company of a Hedwig, but he also, as
a result of this declaration, recollected the name again. He was at the
time happily married, and this Hedwig belonged to former times, not now
recalled with pleasure.

What is possible in forgetting names must work also in dream
interpretation, viz., making the withheld actuality accessible by means
of substitutions and through connecting associations. As exemplified by
name-forgetting, we may conclude that in the case of the associations to
the dream element they will be determined as well by the dream element
as by its unknown essential. Accordingly, we have advanced a few steps
in the formulation of our dream technique.



_Manifest Dream Content and Latent Dream Thought_

We have not studied the problem of errors in vain. Thanks to our efforts
in this field, under the conditions known to you, we have evolved two
different things, a conception of the elements of the dream and a
technique for dream interpretation. The conception of the dream element
goes to show something unreal, a substitute for something else, unknown
to the dreamer, similar to the tendency of errors, a substitute for
something the dreamer knows but cannot approach. We hope to transfer the
same conception to the whole dream, which consists of just such
elements. Our method consists of calling up, by means of free
associations, other substitute formations in addition to these elements,
from which we divine what is hidden.

Let me ask you to permit a slight change in our nomenclature which will
greatly increase the flexibility of our vocabulary. Instead of hidden,
unapproachable, unreal, let us give a truer description and say
inaccessible or unknown to the consciousness of the dreamer. By this we
mean only what the connection with the lost word or with the interfering
intention of the error can suggest to you, namely, unconscious _for the
time being_. Naturally in contrast to this we may term _conscious_ the
elements of the dream itself and the substitute formations just gained
by association. As yet there is absolutely no theoretical construction
implied in this nomenclature. The use of the word unconscious as a
suitable and intelligible descriptive epithet is above criticism.

If we transfer our conception from a single element to the entire dream,
we find that the dream as a whole is a distorted substitute for
something else, something unconscious. To discover this unconscious
thing is the task of dream interpretation. From this, three important
rules, which we must observe in the work of dream interpretation, are
straightway derived:

1. What the dream seems to say, whether it be sensible or absurd, clear
or confused is not our concern, since it can under no condition be that
unconscious content we are seeking. Later we shall have to observe an
obvious limitation of this rule. 2. The awakening of substitute
formations for each element shall be the sole object of our work. We
shall not reflect on these, test their suitability or trouble how far
they lead away from the element of the dream. 3. We shall wait until the
hidden unconscious we are seeking appears of itself, as the missing word
_Monaco_ in the experiment which we have described.

Now we can understand, too, how unimportant it is how much, how little,
above all, how accurately or how indifferently the dream is remembered.
For the dream which is remembered is not the real one, but a distorted
substitute, which is to help us approach the real dream by awakening
other substitute formations and by making the unconscious in the dream
conscious. Therefore if our recollection of the dream was faulty, it has
simply brought about a further distortion of this substitute, a
distortion which cannot, however, be unmotivated.

One can interpret one's own dreams as well as those of others. One
learns even more from these, for the process yields more proof. If we
try this, we observe that something impedes the work. Haphazard ideas
arise, but we do not let them have their way. Tendencies to test and to
choose make themselves felt. As an idea occurs, we say to ourselves "No,
that does not fit, that does not belong here"; of a second "that is too
senseless"; of a third, "this is entirely beside the point"; and one can
easily observe how the ideas are stifled and suppressed by these
objections, even before they have become entirely clear. On the one
hand, therefore, too much importance is attached to the dream elements
themselves; on the other, the result of free association is vitiated by
the process of selection. If you are not interpreting the dream alone,
if you allow someone else to interpret it for you, you will soon
discover another motive which induces you to make this forbidden choice.
At times you say to yourself, "No, this idea is too unpleasant, I either
will not or cannot divulge this."

Clearly these objections are a menace to the success of our work. We
must guard against them, in our own case by the firm resolve not to give
way to them; and in the interpretation of the dreams of others by making
the hard and fast rule for them, never to omit any idea from their
account, even if one of the following four objections should arise: that
is, if it should seem too unimportant, absurd, too irrelevant or too
embarrassing to relate. The dreamer promises to obey this rule, but it
is annoying to see how poorly he keeps his promise at times. At first we
account for this by supposing that in spite of the authoritative
assurance which has been given to the dreamer, he is not impressed with
the importance of free association, and plan perhaps to win his
theoretic approval by giving him papers to read or by sending him to
lectures which are to make him a disciple of our views concerning free
association. But we are deterred from such blunders by the observation
that, in one's own case, where convictions may certainly be trusted, the
same critical objections arise against certain ideas, and can only be
suppressed subsequently, upon second thought, as it were.

Instead of becoming vexed at the disobedience of the dreamer, these
experiences can be turned to account in teaching something new,
something which is the more important the less we are prepared for it.
We understand that the task of interpreting dreams is carried on against
a certain _resistance_ which manifests itself by these critical
objections. This resistance is independent of the theoretical conviction
of the dreamer. Even more is apparent. We discover that such a critical
objection is never justified. On the contrary, those ideas which we are
so anxious to suppress, prove _without exception_ to be the most
important, the most decisive, in the search for the unconscious. It is
even a mark of distinction if an idea is accompanied by such an

This resistance is something entirely new, a phenomenon which we have
found as a result of our hypotheses although it was not originally
included in them. We are not too pleasantly surprised by this new factor
in our problem. We suspect that it will not make our work any easier. It
might even tempt us to abandon our entire work in connection with the
dream. Such an unimportant thing as the dream and in addition such
difficulties instead of a smooth technique! But from another point of
view, these same difficulties may prove fascinating, and suggest that
the work is worth the trouble. Whenever we try to penetrate to the
hidden unconscious, starting out from the substitute which the dream
element represents, we meet with resistance. Hence, we are justified in
supposing that something of weight must be hidden behind the substitute.
What other reason could there be for the difficulties which are
maintained for purposes of concealment? If a child does not want to open
his clenched fist, he is certainly hiding something he ought not to

Just as soon as we bring the dynamic representation of resistance into
our consideration of the case, we must realize that this factor is
something quantitatively variable. There may be greater or lesser
resistances and we are prepared to see these differences in the course
of our work. We may perhaps connect this with another experience found
in the work of dream interpretation. For sometimes only one or two ideas
serve to carry us from the dream element to its unconscious aspect,
while at other times long chains of associations and the suppression of
many critical objections are necessary. We shall note that these
variations are connected with the variable force of resistance. This
observation is probably correct. If resistance is slight, then the
substitute is not far removed from the unconscious, but strong
resistance carries with it a great distortion of the unconscious and in
addition a long journey back to it.

Perhaps the time has come to take a dream and try out our method to see
if our faith in it shall be confirmed. But which dream shall we choose?
You cannot imagine how hard it is for me to decide, and at this point I
cannot explain the source of the difficulty. Of course, there must be
dreams which, as a whole, have suffered slight distortion, and it would
be best to start with one of these. But which dreams are the least
distorted? Those which are sensible and not confused, of which I have
already given you two examples? This would be a gross misunderstanding.
Testing shows that these dreams have suffered by distortion to an
exceptionally high degree. But if I take the first best dream,
regardless of certain necessary conditions, you would probably be very
much disappointed. Perhaps we should have to note such an abundance of
ideas in connection with single elements of dream that it would be
absolutely impossible to review the work in perspective. If we write the
dream out and confront it with the written account of all the ideas
which arise in connection with it, these may easily amount to a
reiteration of the text of the dream. It would therefore seem most
practical to choose for analysis several short dreams of which each one
can at least reveal or confirm something. This is what we shall decide
upon, provided experience should not point out where we shall really
find slightly distorted dreams.

But I know of another way to simplify matters, one which, moreover, lies
in our path. Instead of attempting the interpretation of entire dreams,
we shall limit ourselves to single dream elements and by observing a
series of examples we shall see how these are explained by the
application of our method.

1. A lady relates that as a child she often dreamt "_that God had a
pointed paper hat on his head_." How do you expect to understand that
without the help of the dreamer? Why, it sounds quite absurd. It is no
longer absurd when the lady testifies that as a child she was frequently
made to wear such a hat at the table, because she could not help
stealing glances at the plates of her brothers and sisters to see if one
of them had gotten more than she. The hat was therefore supposed to act
as a sort of blinder. This explanation was moreover historic, and given
without the least difficulty. The meaning of this fragment and of the
whole brief dream, is clear with the help of a further idea of the
dreamer. "Since I had heard that God was all-knowing and all-seeing,"
she said, "the dream can only mean that I know everything and see
everything just as God does, even when they try to prevent me." This
example is perhaps too simple.

2. A sceptical patient has a longer dream, in which certain people
happen to tell her about my book concerning laughter and praise it
highly. Then something is mentioned about a certain "_'canal,' perhaps
another book in which 'canal' occurs, or something else with the word
'canal' ... she doesn't know ... it is all confused_."

Now you will be inclined to think that the element "canal" will evade
interpretation because it is so vague. You are right as to the supposed
difficulty, but it is not difficult because it is vague, but rather it
is vague for a different reason, the same reason which also makes the
interpretation difficult. The dreamer can think of nothing concerning
the word canal, I naturally can think of nothing. A little while later,
as a matter of fact on the next day, she tells me that something
occurred to her that _may perhaps_ be related to it, a joke that she has
heard. On a ship between Dover and Calais a well-known author is
conversing with an Englishman, who quoted the following proverb in a
certain connection: "_Du sublime au ridicule, il n'y a qu'un pas_."[24]
The author answers, "_Oui, le pas de Calais_,"[25] with which he wishes
to say that he finds France sublime and England ridiculous. But the
"_Pas de Calais_" is really a canal, namely, the English Channel. Do I
think that this idea has anything to do with the dream? Certainly, I
believe that it really gives the solution to the puzzling dream
fragments. Or can you doubt that this joke was already present in the
dream, as the unconscious factor of the element, "canal." Can you take
it for granted that it was subsequently added to it? The idea testifies
to the scepticism which is concealed behind her obtrusive admiration,
and the resistance is probably the common reason for both phenomena, for
the fact that the idea came so hesitatingly and that the decisive
element of the dream turned out to be so vague. Kindly observe at this
point the relation of the dream element to its unconscious factor. It is
like a small part of the unconscious, like an allusion to it; through
its isolation it became quite unintelligible.

3. A patient dreams, in the course of a longer dream: "_Around a table
of peculiar shape several members of his family are sitting, etc._" In
connection with this table, it occurs to him that he saw such a piece of
furniture during a visit to a certain family. Then his thoughts
continue: In this family a peculiar relation had existed between father
and son, and soon he adds to this that as a matter of fact the same
relation exists between himself and his father. The table is therefore
taken up into the dream to designate this parallel.

This dreamer had for a long time been familiar with the claims of dream
interpretation. Otherwise he might have taken exception to the fact that
so trivial a detail as the shape of a table should be taken as the
basis of the investigation. As a matter of fact we judge nothing in the
dream as accidental or indifferent, and we expect to reach our
conclusion by the explanation of just such trivial and unmotivated
details. Perhaps you will be surprised that the dream work should arouse
the thought "we are in exactly the same position as they are," just by
the choice of the table. But even this becomes clear when you learn that
the name of the family in question is _Tischler_. By permitting his own
family to sit at such a table, he intends to express that they too are
_Tischler_. Please note how, in relating such a dream interpretation,
one must of necessity become indiscreet. Here you have arrived at one of
the difficulties in the choice of examples that I indicated before. I
could easily have substituted another example for this one, but would
probably have avoided this indiscretion at the cost of committing
another one in its place.

The time has come to introduce two new terms, which we could have used
long ago. We shall call that which the dream relates, the manifest
content of the dream; that which is hidden, which we can only reach by
the analysis of ideas we shall call latent dream thoughts. We may now
consider the connection between the manifest dream content and the
latent dream thoughts as they are revealed in these examples. Many
different connections can exist. In examples 1 and 2 the manifest
content is also a constituent part of the latent thought, but only a
very small part of it. A small piece of a great composite psychic
structure in the unconscious dream thought has penetrated into the
manifest dream, like a fragment of it, or in other cases, like an
allusion to it, like a catchword or an abbreviation in the telegraphic
code. The interpretation must mould this fragment, or indication, into a
whole, as was done most successfully in example 2. One sort of
distortion of which the dream mechanism consists is therefore
substitution by means of a fragment or an allusion. In the third,
moreover, we must recognize another relation which we shall see more
clearly and distinctly expressed in the following examples:

4. The dreamer "_pulls a certain woman of his acquaintance from behind a
bed_." He finds the meaning of this dream element himself by his first
association. It means: This woman "has a pull" with him.[26]

5. Another man dreams that "_his brother is in a closet_." The first
association substitutes _clothes-press_ for closet, and the second gives
the meaning: his brother is _close-pressed_ for money.[27]

6. The dreamer "_climbs a mountain from the top of which he has an
extraordinarily distant view_." This sounds quite sensible; perhaps
there is nothing about it that needs interpretation, and it is simply
necessary to find out which reminiscence this dream touches upon and why
it was recalled. But you are mistaken; it is evident that this dream
requires interpretation as well as any other which is confused. For no
previous mountain climbing of his own occurs to the dreamer, but he
remembers that an acquaintance of his is publishing a "_Rundschau_,"
which deals with our relation to the furthermost parts of the earth. The
latent dream thought is therefore in this case an identification of the
dreamer with the "_Rundschauer_."

Here you find a new type of connection between the manifest content and
the latent dream element. The former is not so much a distortion of the
latter as a representation of it, a plastic concrete perversion that is
based on the sound of the word. However, it is for this very reason
again a distortion, for we have long ago forgotten from which concrete
picture the word has arisen, and therefore do not recognize it by the
image which is substituted for it. If you consider that the manifest
dream consists most often of visual images, and less frequently of
thoughts and words, you can imagine that a very particular significance
in dream formation is attached to this sort of relation. You can also
see that in this manner it becomes possible to create substitute
formations for a great number of abstract thoughts in the manifest
dream, substitutions that serve the purpose of further concealment all
the same. This is the technique of our picture puzzle. What the origin
is of the semblance of wit which accompanies such representations is a
particular question which we need not touch upon at this time.

A fourth type of relation between the manifest and the latent dream
cannot be dealt with until its cue in the technique has been given. Even
then I shall not have given you a complete enumeration, but it will be
sufficient for our purpose.

Have you the courage to venture upon the interpretation of an entire
dream? Let us see if we are well enough equipped for this undertaking.
Of course, I shall not choose one of the most obscure, but one
nevertheless that shows in clear outline the general characteristics of
a dream.

A young woman who has been married for many years dreams: "_She is
sitting in the theatre with her husband; one side of the orchestra is
entirely unoccupied. Her husband tells her that Elise L. and her
bridegroom had also wished to come, but had only been able to procure
poor seats, three for_ 1 _Fl.,_ 50 _Kr. and those of course they could
not take. She thinks this is no misfortune for them._"

The first thing that the dreamer has to testify is that the occasion for
the dream is touched upon in its manifest content. Her husband had
really told her that Elise L., an acquaintance of about her age, had
become engaged. The dream is the reaction to this news. We already know
that in the case of many dreams it is easy to trace such a cause to the
preceding day, and that the dreamer often gives these deductions without
any difficulty. The dreamer also places at our disposal further
information for other parts of the manifest dream content. Whence the
detail that one side of the orchestra is unoccupied? It is an allusion
to an actual occurrence of the previous week. She had made up her mind
to go to a certain performance and had procured tickets in advance, so
much in advance that she had been forced to pay a preference tax.[28]
When she arrived at the theatre, she saw how needless had been her
anxiety, for _one side of the orchestra was almost empty_. She could
have bought the tickets on the day of the performance itself. Her
husband would not stop teasing her about her excessive haste. Whence the
1 Fl. 50 Kr.? From a very different connection that has nothing to do
with the former, but which also alludes to an occurrence of the previous
day. Her sister-in-law had received 150 florins as a present from her
husband, and knew no better, the poor goose, than to hasten to the
jeweler and spend the money on a piece of jewelry. Whence the number 3?
She can think of nothing in connection with this unless one stresses the
association that the bride, Elise L., is only three months younger than
she herself, who has been married for almost ten years. And the
absurdity of buying three tickets for two people? She says nothing of
this, and indeed denies all further associations or information.

But she has given us so much material in her few associations, that it
becomes possible to derive the latent dream thought from it. It must
strike us that in her remarks concerning the dream, time elements which
constitute a common element in the various parts of this material appear
at several points. She attended to the tickets _too soon_, took them
_too hastily_, so that she had to pay more than usual for them; her
sister-in-law likewise _hastened_ to carry her money to the jeweler's to
buy a piece of jewelry, just as if she might _miss_ it. Let us add to
the expressions "_too early_," "_precipitately_," which are emphasized
so strongly, the occasion for the dream, namely, that her friend only
three months younger than herself had even now gotten a good husband,
and the criticism expressed in the condemnation of her sister-in-law,
that it was _foolish_ to hurry so. Then the following construction of
the latent dream thought, for which the manifest dream is a badly
distorted substitute, comes to us almost spontaneously:

"How _foolish_ it was of me to hurry so in marrying! Elise's example
shows me that I could have gotten a husband later too." (The
precipitateness is represented by her own behavior in buying the
tickets, and that of her sister-in-law in purchasing jewelry. Going to
the theatre was substituted for getting married. This appears to have
been the main thought; and perhaps we may continue, though with less
certainty, because the analysis in these parts is not supported by
statements of the dreamer.) "And I would have gotten 100 times as much
for my money." (150 Fl. is 100 times as much as 1 Fl. 50 Kr.). If we
might substitute the dowry for the money, then it would mean that one
buys a husband with a dowry; the jewelry as well as the poor seats would
represent the husband. It would be even more desirable if the fragment
"3 seats" had something to do with a husband. But our understanding does
not penetrate so far. We have only guessed that the dream expresses her
_disparagement_ of her own husband, and her regret at having _married so

It is my opinion that we are more surprised and confused than satisfied
by the result of this first dream interpretation. We are swamped by more
impressions than we can master. We see that the teachings of dream
interpretation are not easily exhausted. Let us hasten to select those
points that we recognize as giving us new, sound insight.

In the first place, it is remarkable that in the latent thought the main
emphasis falls on the element of haste; in the manifest dream there is
absolutely no mention of this to be found. Without the analysis we
should not have had any idea that this element was of any importance at
all. So it seems possible that just the main thing, the central point of
the unconscious thoughts, may be absent in the manifest dream. Because
of this, the original impression in the dream must of necessity be
entirely changed. Secondly: In the dream there is a senseless
combination, 3 for 1 Fl. 50 Kr.; in the dream thought we divine the
sentence, "It was senseless (to marry so early)." Can one deny that this
thought, "It was senseless," was represented in the manifest dream by
the introduction of an absurd element? Thirdly: Comparison will show
that the relation between the manifest and latent elements is not
simple, certainly not of such a sort that a manifest element is always
substituted for the latent. There must rather be a quantitative
relationship between the two groups, according to which a manifest
element may represent several latent ones, or a latent element
represented by several manifest elements.

Much that is surprising might also be said of the sense of the dream and
the dreamer's reaction to it. She acknowledges the interpretation but
wonders at it. She did not know that she disparaged her husband so, and
she did not know why she should disparage him to such a degree. There is
still much that is incomprehensible. I really believe that we are not
yet fully equipped for dream interpretation, and that we must first
receive further instruction and preparation.



_Dreams of Childhood_

We think we have advanced too rapidly. Let us go back a little. Before
our last attempt to overcome the difficulties of dream distortion
through our technique, we had decided that it would be best to avoid
them by limiting ourselves only to those dreams in which distortion is
either entirely absent or of trifling importance, if there are such. But
here again we digress from the history of the evolution of our
knowledge, for as a matter of fact we become aware of dreams entirely
free of distortion only after the consistent application of our method
of interpretation and after complete analysis of the distorted dream.

The dreams we are looking for are found in children. They are short,
clear, coherent, easy to understand, unambiguous, and yet unquestionable
dreams. But do not think that all children's dreams are like this. Dream
distortion makes its appearance very early in childhood, and dreams of
children from five to eight years of age have been recorded that showed
all the characteristics of later dreams. But if you will limit
yourselves to the age beginning with conscious psychic activity, up to
the fourth or fifth year, you will discover a series of dreams that are
of a so-called infantile character. In a later period of childhood you
will be able to find some dreams of this nature occasionally. Even among
adults, dreams that closely resemble the typically infantile ones occur
under certain conditions.

From these children's dreams we gain information concerning the nature
of dreams with great ease and certainty, and we hope it will prove
decisive and of universal application.

1. For the understanding of these dreams we need no analysis, no
technical methods. We need not question the child that is giving an
account of his dream. But one must add to this a story taken from the
life of the child. An experience of the previous day will always explain
the dream to us. The dream is a sleep-reaction of psychic life upon
these experiences of the day.

We shall now consider a few examples so that we may base our further
deductions upon them.

_a_). A boy of 22 months is to present a basket of cherries as a
birthday gift. He plainly does so very unwillingly, although they
promise him that he will get some of them himself. The next morning he
relates as his dream, "_Hermann eat all cherries_."

_b_). A little girl of three and a quarter years makes her first trip
across a lake. At the landing she does not want to leave the boat and
cries bitterly. The time of the trip seems to her to have passed
entirely too rapidly. The next morning she says, "_Last night I rode on
the lake_." We may add the supplementary fact that this trip lasted

_c_). A boy of five and a quarter years is taken on an excursion into
the Escherntal near Hallstatt. He had heard that Hallstatt lay at the
foot of the Dachstein, and had shown great interest in this mountain.
From his home in Aussee there was a beautiful view of the Dachstein, and
with a telescope one could discern the Simonyhütte upon it. The child
had tried again and again to see it through the telescope, with what
result no one knew. He started on the excursion in a joyously expectant
mood. Whenever a new mountain came in sight the boy asked, "Is that the
Dachstein?" The oftener this question was answered in the negative, the
more moody he became; later he became entirely silent and would not take
part in a small climb to a waterfall. They thought he was overtired, but
the next morning, he said quite happily, "_Last night I dreamed that we
were in the Simonyhütte_." It was with this expectation, therefore, that
he had taken part in the excursion. The only detail he gave was one he
had heard before, "you had to climb steps for six hours."

These three dreams will suffice for all the information we desire.

2. We see that children's dreams are not meaningless; they are
_intelligible, significant, psychic acts_. You will recall what I
represented to you as the medical opinion concerning the dream, the
simile of untrained fingers wandering aimlessly over the keys of the
piano. You cannot fail to see how decidedly these dreams of childhood
are opposed to this conception. But it would be strange indeed if the
child brought forth complete psychic products in sleep, while the adult
in the same condition contents himself with spasmodic reactions. Indeed,
we have every reason to attribute the more normal and deeper sleep to
the child.

3. Dream distortion is lacking in these dreams, therefore they need no
interpretation. The manifest and latent dreams are merged. _Dream
distortion is therefore not inherent in the dream._ I may assume that
this relieves you of a great burden. But upon closer consideration we
shall have to admit of a tiny bit of distortion, a certain
differentiation between manifest dream content and latent dream thought,
even in these dreams.

4. The child's dream is a reaction to an experience of the day, which
has left behind it a regret, a longing or an unfulfilled desire. _The
dream brings about the direct unconcealed fulfillment of this wish._ Now
recall our discussions concerning the importance of the role of external
or internal bodily stimuli as disturbers of sleep, or as dream
producers. We learned definite facts about this, but could only explain
a very small number of dreams in this way. In these children's dreams
nothing points to the influence of such somatic stimuli; we cannot be
mistaken, for the dreams are entirely intelligible and easy to survey.
But we need not give up the theory of physical causation entirely on
this account. We can only ask why at the outset we forgot that besides
the physical stimuli there are also psychic sleep-disturbing stimuli.
For we know that it is these stimuli that commonly cause the disturbed
sleep of adults by preventing them from producing the ideal condition of
sleep, the withdrawal of interest from the world. The dreamer does not
wish to interrupt his life, but would rather continue his work with the
things that occupy him, and for this reason he does not sleep. The
unfulfilled wish, to which he reacts by means of the dream, is the
psychic sleep-disturbing stimulus for the child.

5. From this point we easily arrive at an explanation of the function of
the dream. The dream, as a reaction to the psychic stimulus, must have
the value of a release of this stimulus which results in its elimination
and in the continuation of sleep. We do not know how this release is
made possible by the dream, but we note that _the dream is not a
disturber of sleep_, as calumny says, _but a guardian of sleep, whose
duty it is to quell disturbances_. It is true, we think we would have
slept better if we had not dreamt, but here we are wrong; as a matter of
fact, we would not have slept at all without the help of the dream. That
we have slept so soundly is due to the dream alone. It could not help
disturbing us slightly, just as the night watchman often cannot avoid
making a little noise while he drives away the rioters who would awaken
us with their noise.

6. One main characteristic of the dream is that a wish is its source,
and that the content of the dream is the gratification of this wish.
Another equally constant feature is that the dream does not merely
express a thought, but also represents the fulfillment of this wish in
the form of a hallucinatory experience. "_I should like to travel on the
lake_," says the wish that excites the dream; the dream itself has as
its content "_I travel on the lake_." One distinction between the latent
and manifest dream, a distortion of the latent dream thought, therefore
remains even in the case of these simple children's dreams, namely, _the
translation of the thought into experience_. In the interpretation of
the dream it is of utmost importance that this change be traced back. If
this should prove to be an extremely common characteristic of the dream,
then the above mentioned dream fragment, "_I see my brother in a
closet_" could not be translated, "_My brother is close-pressed_," but
rather, "I wish that my brother were close-pressed, _my brother should
be close-pressed_." Of the two universal characteristics of the dream we
have cited, the second plainly has greater prospects of unconditional
acknowledgment than the first. Only extensive investigation can
ascertain that the cause of the dream must always be a wish, and cannot
also be an anxiety, a plan or a reproach; but this does not alter the
other characteristic, that the dream does not simply reproduce the
stimulus but by experiencing it anew, as it were, removes, expells and
settles it.

7. In connection with these characteristics of the dream we can again
resume the comparison between the dream and the error. In the case of
the latter we distinguish an interfering tendency and one interfered
with, and the error is the compromise between the two. The dream fits
into the same scheme. The tendency interfered with, in this case, can
be no other than that of sleep. For the interfering tendency we
substitute the psychic stimulus, the wish which strives for its
fulfillment, let us say, for thus far we are not familiar with any other
sleep-disturbing psychic stimulus. In this instance also the dream is
the result of compromise. We sleep, and yet we experience the removal of
a wish; we gratify the wish, but at the same time continue to sleep.
Both are partly carried out and partly given up.

8. You will remember that we once hoped to gain access to the
understanding of the dream problem by the fact that certain very
transparent phantasy formations are called _day dreams_. Now these day
dreams are actual wish fulfillments, fulfillments of ambitious or erotic
wishes with which we are familiar; but they are conscious, and though
vividly imagined, they are never hallucinatory experiences. In this
instance, therefore, the less firmly established of the two main
characteristics of the dream holds, while the other proves itself
entirely dependent upon the condition of sleep and impossible to the
waking state. In colloquial usage, therefore, there is a presentment of
the fact that the fulfillment of a wish is a main characteristic of the
dream. Furthermore, if the experience in the dream is a transformed
representation only made possible by the condition of sleep--in other
words, a sort of nocturnal day dream--then we can readily understand
that the occurrence of phantasy formations can release the nocturnal
stimulus and bring satisfaction. For day dreaming is an activity closely
bound up in gratification and is, indeed, pursued only for this reason.

Not only this but other colloquial usages also express the same feeling.
Well-known proverbs say, "The pig dreams of acorns, the goose of maize,"
or ask, "Of what does the hen dream? Of millet." So the proverb descends
even lower than we do, from the child to the animal, and maintains that
the content of a dream is the satisfaction of a need. Many turns of
speech seem to point to the same thing--"dreamlike beauty," "I should
never have dreamed of that," "in my wildest dreams I hadn't imagined
that." This is open partisanship on the part of colloquial usage. For
there are also dreams of fear and dreams of embarrassing or indifferent
content, but they have not been drawn into common usage. It is true that
common usage recognizes "bad" dreams, but still the dream plainly
connotates to it only the beautiful wish fulfillment. There is indeed
no proverb that tells us that the pig or the goose dreams of being

Of course it is unbelievable that the wish-fulfillment characteristic
has not been noted by writers on the dream. Indeed, this was very often
the case, but none of them thought of acknowledging this characteristic
as universal and of making it the basis of an explanation of the dream.
We can easily imagine what may have deterred them and shall discuss it

See what an abundance of information we have gained, with almost no
effort, from the consideration of children's dreams--the function of the
dream as a guardian of sleep; its origin from two rival tendencies, of
which the one, the longing for sleep, remains constant, while the other
tries to satisfy a psychic stimulus; the proof that the dream is a
significant psychic act; its two main characteristics: wish fulfillment
and hallucinatory experience. And we were almost able to forget that we
are engaged in psychoanalysis. Aside from its connection with errors our
work has no specific connotation. Any psychologist, who is entirely
ignorant of the claims of psychoanalysis, could have given this
explanation of children's dreams. Why has no one done so?

If there were only infantile dreams, our problem would be solved, our
task accomplished, and that without questioning the dreamer, or
approaching the unconscious, and without taking free association into
consideration. The continuation of our task plainly lies in this
direction. We have already repeatedly had the experience that
characteristics that at first seemed universally true, have subsequently
held good only for a certain kind and for a certain number of dreams. It
is therefore for us to decide whether the common characteristics which
we have gathered from children's dreams can be applied universally,
whether they also hold for those dreams that are not transparent, whose
manifest content shows no connection with wishes left over from the
previous day. We think that these dreams have undergone considerable
distortion and for this reason are not to be judged superficially. We
also suspect that for the explanation of this distortion we shall need
the psychoanalytic method which we could dispense with in the
understanding of children's dreams.

There is at any rate a class of dreams that are undistorted, and, just
like children's dreams, are easily recognizable as wish fulfillments. It
is those that are called up throughout life by the imperative needs of
the body--hunger, thirst, sexual desire--hence wish fulfillments in
reaction to internal physical stimuli. For this reason, I have noted the
dream of a young girl, that consisted of a menu following her name (Anna
F......, strawberry, huckleberry, egg-dish, pap), as a reaction to an
enforced day of fasting on account of a spoiled stomach, which was
directly traceable to the eating of the fruits twice mentioned in the
dream. At the same time, the grandmother, whose age added to that of her
grandchild would make a full seventy, had to go without food for a day
on account of kidney-trouble, and dreamed the same night that she had
been invited out and that the finest tid-bits had been set before her.
Observations with prisoners who are allowed to go hungry, or with people
who suffer privations on travels or expeditions, show that under these
conditions the dreams regularly deal with the satisfaction of these
needs. Otto Nordenskjold, in his book _Antarctic_ (1904), testifies to
the same thing concerning his crew, who were ice-bound with him during
the winter (Vol. 1, page 336). "Very significant in determining the
trend of our inmost thoughts were our dreams, which were never more
vivid and numerous than just at this time. Even those of our comrades
who ordinarily dreamed but seldom, now had long stories to tell, when in
the morning we exchanged our latest experiences in that realm of
phantasy. All of them dealt with that outside world that now was so far
away from us, but often they fitted into our present condition. Food and
drink were most often the pivots about which our dreams revolved. One of
us, who excelled in going to great dinners in his sleep, was most happy
whenever he could tell us in the morning that he attended a dinner of
three courses; another one dreamed of tobacco, whole mountains of
tobacco; still another dreamed of a ship that came along on the open
sea, under full sail. One other dream deserves mention: The postman
comes with the mail and gives a long explanation of why it is so late;
he had delivered it to the wrong address and only after great trouble on
his part had succeeded in getting it back. Of course one occupies
himself with even more impossible things in sleep, but in nearly all the
dreams that I myself dreamed or heard tell of, the lack of phantasy was
quite striking. It would surely be of great psychological interest if
all these dreams were recorded. It is easy to understand how we longed
for sleep, since it could offer us everything for which each one of us
felt the most burning desire." I quote further from Du Prel. "Mungo
Park, who during a trip in Africa was almost exhausted, dreamed without
interruption of the fertile valleys and fields of his home. Trenck,
tortured by hunger in the redoubt at Magdeburg, likewise saw himself
surrounded by wonderful meals, and George Back, who took part in
Franklin's first expedition, dreamed regularly and consistently of
luxurious meals when, as a result of terrible privations, he was nearly
dead of hunger."

A man who feels great thirst at night after enjoying highly seasoned
food for supper, often dreams that he is drinking. It is of course
impossible to satisfy a rather strong desire for food or drink by means
of the dream; from such a dream one awakes thirsty and must now drink
real water. The effect of the dream is in this case practically
trifling, but it is none the less clear that it was called up for the
purpose of maintaining the sleep in spite of the urgent impulse to awake
and to act. Dreams of satisfaction often overcome needs of a lesser

In a like manner, under the influence of sexual stimuli, the dream
brings about satisfaction that shows noteworthy peculiarities. As a
result of the characteristic of the sexual urge which makes it somewhat
less dependent upon its object than hunger and thirst, satisfaction in a
dream of pollution may be an actual one, and as a result of difficulties
to be mentioned later in connection with the object, it happens
especially often that the actual satisfaction is connected with confused
or distorted dream content. This peculiarity of the dream of pollution,
as O. Rank has observed, makes it a fruitful subject to pursue in the
study of dream distortion. Moreover, all dreams of desire of adults
usually contain something besides satisfaction, something that has its
origin in the sources of the purely psychic stimuli, and which requires
interpretation to render it intelligible.

Moreover we shall not maintain that the wish-fulfillment dreams of the
infantile kind occur in adults only as reactions to the known imperative
desires. We also know of short clear dreams of this sort under the
influence of dominating situations that arise from unquestionably
psychic sources. As, for example, in dreams of impatience, whenever a
person has made preparations for a journey, for a theatrical
performance, for a lecture or for a visit, and now dreams of the
anticipated fulfillment of his expectations, and so arrives at his goal
the night before the actual experience, in the theatre or in
conversation with his host. Or the well-named dreams of comfort, when a
person who likes to prolong his sleep, dreams that he is already up, is
washing himself, or is already in school, while as a matter of fact he
continues sleeping, hence would rather get up in a dream than in
reality. The desire for sleep which we have recognized as a regular part
of the dream structure becomes intense in these dreams and appears in
them as the actual shaping force of the dream. The wish for sleep
properly takes its place beside other great physical desires.

At this point I refer you to a picture by Schwind, from the Schack
Gallery in Munich, so that you may see how rightly the artist has
conceived the origin of a dream from a dominating situation. It is the
_Dream of a Prisoner_,[29] which can have no other subject than his
release. It is a very neat stroke that the release should be effected
through the window, for the ray of light that awakens the prisoner comes
through the same window. The gnomes standing one above the other
probably represent the successive positions which he himself had to take
in climbing to the height of the window, and I do not think I am
mistaken or that I attribute too much preconcerted design to the artist,
by noting that the uppermost of the gnomes, who is filing the grating
(and so does what the prisoner would like to do) has the features of the

In all other dreams except those of children and those of the infantile
type, distortion, as we have said, blocks our way. At the outset we
cannot ascertain whether they are also wish fulfillments, as we suspect;
from their manifest content we cannot determine from what psychic
stimulus they derive their origin, and we cannot prove that they also
are occupied in doing away with the stimulus and in satisfying it. They
must probably be interpreted, that is, translated; their distortion must
be annulled; their manifest content replaced by their latent thought
before we can judge whether what we have found in children's dreams may
claim a universal application for all dreams.



_The Dream Censor_

We have learned to know the origin, nature and function of the dream
from the study of children's dreams. _Dreams are the removal of
sleep-disturbing psychic stimuli by way of hallucinated satisfaction._
Of adults' dreams, to be sure, we could explain only one group, what we
characterized as dreams of an infantile type. As to the others we know
nothing as yet, nor do we understand them. For the present, however, we
have obtained a result whose significance we do not wish to
under-estimate. Every time a dream is completely comprehensible to us,
it proves to be an hallucinated wish-fulfillment. This coincidence
cannot be accidental, nor is it an unimportant matter.

We conclude, on the basis of various considerations and by analogy to
the conception of mistakes, that another type of dream is a distorted
substitute for an unknown content and that it must first be led back to
that content. Our next task is the investigation and the understanding
of this dream distortion.

Dream distortion is the thing which makes the dream seem strange and
incomprehensible to us. We want to know several things about it;
firstly, whence it comes, its dynamics; secondly, what it does; and
finally, how it does it. We can say at this point that dream distortion
is the product of the dream work, that is, of the mental functioning of
which the dream itself is the conscious symptom. Let us describe the
dream work and trace it back to the forces which work upon it.

And now I shall ask you to listen to the following dream. It was
recorded by a lady of our profession, and according to her, originated
with a highly cultivated and respected lady of advanced age. No analysis
of this dream was made. Our informant remarks that to a psychoanalyst
it needs no interpretation. The dreamer herself did not interpret it,
but she judged and condemned it as if she understood its interpretation.
For she said concerning it: "That a woman of fifty should dream such
abominable, stupid stuff--a woman who has no other thought, day and
night, than to care for her child!"

And now follows the dreams of the "_services of love_." "She goes into
Military Hospital No. 1, and says to the sentry at the gate, that she
must speak to the chief physician ... (she mentions a name which is not
familiar to her), as she wants to offer her service to the hospital. She
stresses the word 'service,' so love services. Since she is an old lady
he lets her pass after some hesitation. But instead of reaching the
chief physician, she finds herself in a large somber room in which there
are many officers and army doctors sitting and standing around a long
table. She turns with her proposal to a staff doctor who, after a few
words, soon understands her. The words of her speech in the dream are,
'I and numerous other women and girls of Vienna are ready for the
soldiers, troops, and officers, without distinction....' Here in the
dream follows a murmuring. That the idea is, however, correctly
understood by those present she sees from the semi-embarrassed, somewhat
malicious expressions of the officers. The lady then continues, 'I know
that our decision sounds strange, but we are in bitter earnest. The
soldier in the field is not asked either whether or not he wants to
die.' A moment of painful silence follows. The staff doctor puts his arm
around her waist and says, 'Madame, let us assume that it really came to
that ...' (murmurs). She withdraws from his arm with the thought, 'They
are all alike!' and answers, 'My heavens, I am an old woman, and perhaps
will never be confronted with that situation; one consideration,
moreover, must be kept in mind: the consideration of age, which prevents
an older woman from ... with a very young boy ... (murmurs) ... that
would be horrible.' The staff doctor, 'I understand perfectly.' Several
officers, among them one who had paid court to her in her youth, laugh
loudly, and the lady asks to be conducted to the chief physician, whom
she knows, so that everything may be arranged. At this she realizes with
great dismay that she does not know his name. The staff officer,
nevertheless, very politely and respectfully shows her the way to the
second story, up a very narrow winding iron stairway which leads to the
upper story directly from the door of the room. In going up she hears an
officer say, 'That is a tremendous decision irrespective of whether a
woman is young or old; all honor to her!'

"With the feeling that she is merely doing her duty, she goes up an
endless staircase."

This dream she repeats twice in the course of a few weeks, with--as the
lady notices--quite insignificant and very senseless changes.

This dream corresponds in its structure to a day dream. It has few gaps,
and many of its individual points might have been elucidated as to
content through inquiry, which, as you know, was omitted. The
conspicuous and interesting point for us, however, is that the dream
shows several gaps, gaps not of recollection, but of original content.
In three places the content is apparently obliterated, the speeches in
which these gaps occur are interrupted by murmurs. Since we have
performed no analysis, we have, strictly speaking, also no right to make
any assertion about the meaning of the dream. Yet there are intimations
given from which something may be concluded. For example, the phrase
"services of love," and above all the bits of speech which immediately
precede the murmurs, demand a completion which can have but one meaning.
If we interpolate these, then the phantasy yields as its content the
idea that the dreamer is ready, as an act of patriotic duty, to offer
her person for the satisfaction of the erotic desires of the army,
officers as well as troops. That certainly is exceedingly shocking, it
is an impudent libidinous phantasy, but--it does not occur in the dream
at all. Just at the point where consistency would demand this
confession, there is a vague murmur in the manifest dream, something is
lost or suppressed.

I hope you will recognize the inevitability of the conclusion that it is
the shocking character of these places in the dream that was the motive
for their suppression. Yet where do you find a parallel for this state
of affairs? In these times you need not seek far. Take up any political
paper and you will find that the text is obliterated here and there, and
that in its place shimmers the white of the paper. You know that that is
the work of the newspaper censor. In these blank spaces something was
printed which was not to the liking of the censorship authorities, and
for that reason it was crossed out. You think that it is a pity, that it
probably was the most interesting part, it was "the best part."

In other places the censorship did not touch the completed sentence. The
author foresaw what parts might be expected to meet with the objection
of the censor, and for that reason he softened them by way of
prevention, modified them slightly, or contented himself with innuendo
and allusion to what really wanted to flow from his pen. Thus the sheet,
it is true, has no blank spaces, but from certain circumlocutions and
obscurities of expression you will be able to guess that thoughts of the
censorship were the restraining motive.

Now let us keep to this parallel. We say that the omitted dream
speeches, which were disguised by a murmuring, were also sacrifices to a
censorship. We actually speak of a _dream censor_ to which we may
ascribe a contributing part in the dream distortion. Wherever there are
gaps in the manifest dream, it is the fault of the dream censor. Indeed,
we should go further, and recognize each time as a manifestation of the
dream censor, those places at which a dream element is especially faint,
indefinitely and doubtfully recalled among other, more clearly
delineated portions. But it is only rarely that this censorship
manifests itself so undisguisedly, so naively one may say, as in the
example of the dream of the "services of love." Far more frequently the
censorship manifests itself according to the second type, through the
production of weakenings, innuendoes, allusions instead of direct

For a third type of dream censorship I know of no parallel in the
practice of newspaper censorship, yet it is just this type that I can
demonstrate by the only dream example which we have so far analyzed. You
will remember the dream of the "three bad theatre tickets for one florin
and a half." In the latent thoughts of this dream, the element
"_precipitately, too soon_," stood in the foreground. It means: "It was
foolish to marry so _early_, it was also foolish to buy theatre tickets
so _early_, it was ridiculous of the sister-in-law to spend her money so
_hastily_, merely to buy an ornament." Nothing of this central element
of the dream thought was evident in the manifest dream. In the latter,
going to the theatre and getting the tickets were shoved into the
foreground. Through this displacement of the emphasis, this regrouping
of the elements of the content, the manifest dream becomes so dissimilar
from the latent dream thoughts that no one would suspect the latter
behind the former. This displacement of emphasis is a favorite device of
the dream distortion and gives the dream that strangeness which makes
the dreamer himself unwilling to recognize it as his own production.

Omission, modification, regrouping of the material, these, then, are the
effects of the dream censor and the devices of dream distortion. The
dream censorship itself is the author, or one of the authors, of the
dream distortion whose investigation now occupies us. Modification and
rearrangement we are already accustomed to summarize as _displacement_.

After these remarks concerning the effects of the dream censor, let us
now turn to their dynamics. I hope you will not consider the expression
too anthropomorphically, and picture the dream censor as a severe little
manikin who lives in a little brain chamber and there performs his
duties; nor should you attempt to localize him too much, to think of a
brain center from which his censoring influence emanates, and which
would cease with the injury or extirpation of this center. For the
present, the term "dream censor" is no more than a very convenient
phrase for a dynamic relationship. This phrase does not prevent us from
asking by what tendencies such influence is exerted and upon which
tendencies it works; nor will we be surprised to discover that we have
already encountered the dream censor before, perhaps without recognizing

For such was actually the case. You will remember that we had a
surprising experience when we began to apply our technique of free
association. We then began to feel that some sort of a resistance
blocked our efforts to proceed from the dream element to the unconscious
element for which the former is the substitute. This resistance, we
said, may be of varying strength, enormous at one time, quite negligible
at another. In the latter case we need cross only a few intermediate
steps in our work of interpretation. But when the resistance is strong,
then we must go through a long chain of associations, are taken far
afield and must overcome all the difficulties which present themselves
as critical objections to the association technique. What we met with in
the work of interpretation, we must now bring into the dream work as
the dream censor. The resistance to interpretation is nothing but the
objectivation of the dream censor. The latter proves to us that the
force of the censor has not spent itself in causing the dream
distortion, has not since been extinguished, but that this censorship
continues as a permanent institution with the purpose of preserving the
distortion. Moreover, just as in the interpretation the strength of the
resistance varied with each element, so also the distortion produced by
the censor in the same dream is of varying magnitude for each element.
If one compares the manifest with the latent dream one sees that certain
isolated latent elements have been practically eliminated, others more
or less modified, and still others left unchanged, indeed, have perhaps
been taken over into the dream content with additional strength.

But we wanted to discover what purposes the censorship serves and
against which tendencies it acts. This question, which is fundamental to
the understanding of the dream, indeed perhaps to human life, is easily
answered if we look over a series of those dreams which have been
analyzed. The tendencies which the censorship exercises are those which
are recognized by the waking judgment of the dreamer, those with which
he feels himself in harmony. You may rest assured that when you reject
an accurate interpretation of a dream of your own, you do so with the
same motives with which the dream censor works, the motives with which
it produces the dream distortion and makes the interpretation necessary.
Recall the dream of our fifty-year old lady. Without having interpreted
it, she considers her dream abominable, would have been still more
outraged if our informant had told her anything about the indubitable
meaning; and it is just on account of this condemnation that the
shocking spots in her dream were replaced by a murmur.

The tendencies, however, against which the dream censor directs itself,
must now be described from the standpoint of this instance. One can say
only that these tendencies are of an objectionable nature throughout,
that they are shocking from an ethical, aesthetic and social point of
view, that they are things one does not dare even to think, or thinks of
only with abhorrence. These censored wishes which have attained to a
distorted expression in the dream, are above all expressions of a
boundless, reckless egoism. And indeed, the personal ego occurs in
every dream to play the major part in each of them, even if it can
successfully disguise itself in the manifest content. This _sacro
egoismo_ of the dream is surely not unconnected with the sleep-inducing
cessation of psychic activity which consists, it should be noted, in the
withdrawal of interest from the entire external world.

The ego which has been freed of all ethical restraints feels itself in
accord with all the demands of the sexual striving, with those demands
which have long since been condemned by our aesthetic rearing, demands
of such a character that they resist all our moral demands for
restraint. The pleasure-striving--the libido, as we term it--chooses its
objects without inhibitions, and indeed, prefers those that are
forbidden. It chooses not only the wife of another, but, above all,
those incestuous objects declared sacred by the agreement of
mankind--the mother and sister in the man's case, the father and brother
in the woman's. Even the dream of our fifty-year old lady is an
incestuous one, its libido unmistakably directed toward her son. Desires
which we believe to be far from human nature show themselves strong
enough to arouse dreams. Hate, too, expends itself without restraint.
Revenge and murderous wishes toward those standing closest to the
dreamer are not unusual, toward those best beloved in daily life, toward
parents, brothers and sisters, toward one's spouse and one's own
children. These censored wishes seem to arise from a veritable hell; no
censorship seems too harsh to be applied against their waking

But do not reproach the dream itself for this evil content. You will
not, I am sure, forget that the dream is charged with the harmless,
indeed the useful function of guarding sleep from disturbance. This evil
content, then, does not lie in the nature of the dream. You know also
that there are dreams which can be recognized as the satisfaction of
justified wishes and urgent bodily needs. These, to be sure, undergo no
dream distortion. They need none. They can satisfy their function
without offending the ethical and aesthetic tendencies of the ego. And
will you also keep in mind the fact that the amount of dream distortion
is proportional to two factors. On the one hand, the worse the
censorable wish, the greater the distortion; on the other hand, however,
the stricter the censor himself is at any particular time the greater
the distortion will be also. A young, strictly reared and prudish girl
will, by reason of those factors, disfigure with an inexorable
censorship those dream impulses which we physicians, for example, and
which the dreamer herself ten years later, would recognize as
permissible, harmless, libidinous desires.

Besides, we are far from being at the point where we can allow ourselves
to be shocked by the results of our work of interpretation. I think we
are not yet quite adept at it; and above all there lies upon us the
obligation to secure it against certain attacks. It is not at all
difficult to "find a hitch" in it. Our dream interpretations were made
on the hypotheses we accepted a little while ago, that the dream has
some meaning, that from the hypnotic to the normal sleep one may carry
over the idea of the existence at such times of an unconscious psychic
activity, and that all associations are predetermined. If we had come to
plausible results on the basis of these hypotheses, we would have been
justified in concluding that the hypotheses were correct. But what is to
be done when the results are what I have just pictured them to be? Then
it surely is natural to say, "These results are impossible, foolish, at
least very improbable, hence there must have been something wrong with
the hypotheses. Either the dream is no psychic phenomenon after all, or
there is no such thing as unconscious mental activity in the normal
condition, or our technique has a gap in it somewhere. Is that not a
simpler and more satisfying conclusion than the abominations which we
pretend to have disclosed on the basis of our suppositions?"

Both, I answer. It is a simpler as well as a more satisfying conclusion,
but not necessarily more correct for that reason. Let us take our time,
the matter is not yet ripe for judgment. Above all we can strengthen the
criticism against our dream interpretation still further. That its
conclusions are so unpleasant and unpalatable is perhaps of secondary
importance. A stronger argument is the fact that the dreamers to whom we
ascribe such wish-tendencies from the interpretation of their dreams
reject the interpretations most emphatically, and with good reason.
"What," says the one, "you want to prove to me by this dream that I
begrudged the sums which I spent for my sister's trousseau and my
brother's education? But indeed that can't be so. Why I work only for my
sister, I have no interest in life but to fulfill my duties toward her,
as being the oldest child, I promised our blessed mother I would." Or a
woman says of her dream, "You mean to say that I wish my husband were
dead! Why, that is simply revolting, nonsense. It isn't only that we
have the happiest possible married life, you probably won't believe me
when I tell you so, but his death would deprive me of everything else
that I own in the world." Or another will tell us, "You mean that I have
sensual desires toward my sister? That is ridiculous. I am not in the
least fond of her. We don't get along and I haven't exchanged a word
with her in years." We might perhaps ignore this sort of thing if the
dreamers did not confirm or deny the tendencies ascribed to them; we
could say that they are matters which the dreamers do not know about
themselves. But that the dreamers should feel the exact opposite of the
ascribed wish, and should be able to prove to us the dominance of the
opposite tendency--this fact must finally disconcert us. Is it not time
to lay aside the whole work of the dream interpretation as something
whose results reduce it to absurdity?

By no means; this stronger argument breaks down when we attack it
critically. Assuming that there are unconscious tendencies in the
psychic life, nothing is proved by the ability of the subject to show
that their opposites dominate his conscious life. Perhaps there is room
in the psychic life even for antithetical tendencies, for contradictions
which exist side by side, yes, possibly it is just the dominance of the
one impulse which is the necessary condition for the unconsciousness of
its opposite. The first two objections raised against our work hold
merely that the results of dream interpretation are not simple, and very
unpleasant. In answer to the first of these, one may say that for all
your enthusiasm for the simple solution, you cannot thereby solve a
single dream problem. To do so you must make up your mind to accept the
fact of complicated relationships. And to the second of these objections
one may say that you are obviously wrong to use a preference or a
dislike as the basis for a scientific judgment. What difference does it
make if the results of the dream interpretation seem unpleasant, even
embarrassing and disgusting to you? "That doesn't prevent them from
existing," as I used to hear my teacher Charcot say in similar cases,
when I was a young doctor. One must be humble, one must keep personal
preferences and antipathies in the background, if one wishes to
discover the realities of the world. If a physicist can prove to you
that the organic life of this planet must, within a short period of
time, become completely extinct, do you also venture to say to him,
"That cannot be so. This prospect is too unpleasant." On the contrary,
you will be silent until another physicist proves some error in the
assumptions or calculations of the first. If you reject the unpleasant,
you are repeating the mechanism of dream construction instead of
understanding and mastering it.

Perhaps you will promise to overlook the repulsive character of the
censored dream-wishes, and will take refuge in the argument that it is
improbable, after all, that so wide a field be given over to the evil in
the constitution of man. But does your own experience justify you in
saying that? I will not discuss the question of how you may estimate
yourselves, but have you found so much good will among your superiors
and rivals, so much chivalry among your enemies, so little envy in their
company, that you feel yourselves in duty bound to enter a protest
against the part played by the evil of egoism in human nature? Are you
ignorant of how uncontrolled and undependable the average human being is
in all the affairs of sex life? Or do you not know that all the
immoralities and excesses of which we dream nightly are crimes committed
daily by waking persons? What else does psychoanalysis do here but
confirm the old saying of Plato, that the good people are those who
content themselves with dreaming what the others, the bad people, really

And now turn your attention from the individual case to the great war
devastating Europe. Think of the amount of brutality, the cruelty and
the lies allowed to spread over the civilized world. Do you really
believe that a handful of conscienceless egoists and corruptionists
could have succeeded in setting free all these evil spirits, if the
millions of followers did not share in the guilt? Do you dare under
these circumstances to break a lance for the absence of evil from the
psychic constitution of mankind?

You will reproach me with judging the war one-sidedly, you will say that
it has also brought forth all that is most beautiful and noble in
mankind, its heroic courage, its self-sacrifice, its social feeling.
Certainly, but do not at this point allow yourselves to become guilty of
the injustice which has so often been perpetrated against
psychoanalysis, of reproaching it with denying one thing because it was
asserting another. It is not our intention to deny the noble strivings
of human nature, nor have we ever done anything to deprecate their
value. On the contrary, I show you not only the censored evil
dream-wishes, but also the censor which suppresses them and renders them
unrecognizable. We dwell on the evil in mankind with greater emphasis
only because others deny it, a method whereby the psychic life of
mankind does not become better, but merely incomprehensible. When,
however, we give up this one-sided ethical estimate, we shall surely be
able to find a more accurate formula for the relationship of the evil to
the good in human nature.

And thus the matter stands. We need not give up the conclusions to which
our labors in dream interpretation lead us even though we must consider
those conclusions strange. Perhaps we can approach their understanding
later by another path. For the present, let us repeat: dream distortion
is a consequence of the censorship practised by accredited tendencies of
the ego against those wish-impulses that are in any way shocking,
impulses which stir in us nightly during sleep. Why these wish-impulses
come just at night, and whence they come--these are questions which will
bear considerable investigation.

It would be a mistake, however, to omit to mention, with fitting
emphasis, another result of these investigations. The dream wishes which
try to disturb our sleep are not known to us, in fact we learn of them
first through the dream interpretation. Therefore, they may be described
as "at that time" unconscious in the sense above defined. But we can go
beyond this and say that they are more than merely "at that time"
unconscious. The dreamer to be sure denies their validity, as we have
seen in so many cases, even after he has learned of their existence by
means of the interpretation. The situation is then repeated which we
first encountered in the interpretation of the tongue slip "hiccough"
where the toastmaster was outraged and assured us that neither then nor
ever before had he been conscious of disrespectful impulse toward his
chief. This is repeated with every interpretation of a markedly
distorted dream, and for that reason attains a significance for our
conception. We are now prepared to conclude that there are processes and
tendencies in the psychic life of which one knows nothing at all, has
known nothing for some time, might, in fact, perhaps never have known
anything. The unconscious thus receives a new meaning for us; the idea
of "at present" or "at a specific time" disappears from its conception,
for it can also mean _permanently_ unconscious, not merely _latent at
the time_. Obviously we shall have to learn more of this at another



_Symbolism in the Dream_

We have discovered that the distortion of dreams, a disturbing element
in our work of understanding them, is the result of a censorious
activity which is directed against the unacceptable of the unconscious
wish-impulses. But, of course, we have not maintained that censorship is
the only factor which is to blame for the dream distortion, and we may
actually make the discovery in a further study of the dream that other
items play a part in this result. That is, even if the dream censorship
were eliminated we might not be in a position to understand the dreams;
the actual dream still might not be identical with the latent dream

This other item which makes the dream unintelligible, this new addition
to dream distortion, we discover by considering a gap in our technique.
I have already admitted that for certain elements of the dream, no
associations really occur to the person being analyzed. This does not
happen so often as the dreamers maintain; in many cases the association
can be forced by persistence. But still there are certain instances in
which no association is forthcoming, or if forced does not furnish what
we expected. When this happens in the course of a psychoanalytic
treatment, then a particular meaning may be attached thereto, with which
we have nothing to do here. It also occurs, however, in the
interpretation of the dreams of a normal person or in interpreting one's
own dreams. Once a person is convinced that in these cases no amount of
forcing of associations will avail, he will finally make the discovery
that the unwished-for contingency occurs regularly in certain dream
elements, and he will begin to recognize a new order of things there,
where at first he believed he had come across a peculiar exception to
our technique.

In this way we are tempted to interpret these silent dream elements
ourselves, to undertake their translation by the means at hand. The fact
that every time we trust to this substitution we obtain a satisfactory
meaning is forced upon us; until we resolve upon this decision the dream
remains meaningless, its continuity is broken. The accumulation of many
similar cases tends to give the necessary certainty to our first timid

I am expounding all this in rather a schematic manner, but this is
permissible for purposes of instruction, and I am not trying to
misstate, but only to simplify matters.

In this manner we derive constant translations for a whole series of
dream elements just as constant translations are found in our popular
dream books for all the things we dream. But do not forget that in our
association technique we never discover constant substitutes for the
dream elements.

You will say at once that this road to interpretation appears far more
uncertain and open to objection than the former methods of free
association. But a further fact is to be taken into consideration. After
one has gathered a sufficient number of such constant substitutes
empirically, he will say that of his own knowledge he should actually
have denied that these items of dream interpretation could really be
understood without the associations of the dreamer. The facts that force
us to recognize their meaning will appear in the second half of our

We call such a constant relationship between a dream element and its
interpretation _symbolic_. The dream element is itself a _symbol_ of the
unconscious dream thought. You will remember that previously, when we
were investigating the relationship between dream elements and their
actuality, I drew three distinctions, viz., that of the part of the
whole, that of the allusion, and that of the imagery. I then announced
that there was a fourth, but did not name it. This fourth is the
symbolic relationship here introduced. Very interesting discussions
center about this, and we will now consider them before we express our
own particular observations on symbolism. Symbolism is perhaps the most
noteworthy chapter of dream study.

In the first place, since symbols are permanent or constant
translations, they realize, in a certain measure, the ideal of ancient
as well as popular dream interpretation, an ideal which by means of our
technique we had left behind. They permit us in certain cases to
interpret a dream without questioning the dreamer who, aside from this,
has no explanation for the symbol. If the interpreter is acquainted with
the customary dream symbols and, in addition, with the dreamer himself,
the conditions under which the latter lives and the impressions he
received before having the dream, it is often possible to interpret a
dream without further information--to translate it "right off the bat."
Such a trick flatters the interpreter and impresses the dreamer; it
stands out as a pleasurable incident in the usual arduous course of
cross-examining the dreamer. But do not be misled. It is not our
function to perform tricks. Interpretation based on a knowledge of
symbols is not a technique that can replace the associative technique,
or even compare with it. It is a supplement to the associative
technique, and furnishes the latter merely with transplanted, usable
results. But as regards familiarity with the dreamer's psychic
situation, you must consider the fact that you are not limited to
interpreting the dreams of acquaintances; that as a rule you are not
acquainted with the daily occurrences which act as the stimuli for the
dreams, and that the associations of the subject furnish you with a
knowledge of that very thing we call the psychic situation.

Furthermore, it is very extraordinary, particularly in view of
circumstances to be mentioned later, that the most vehement opposition
has been voiced against the existence of the symbolic relationship
between the dream and the unconscious. Even persons of judgment and
position, who have otherwise made great progress in psychoanalysis, have
discontinued their support at this point. This is the more remarkable
since, in the first place, symbolism is neither peculiar to the dream
nor characteristic of it, and since in the second place, symbolism in
the dream was not discovered through psychoanalysis, although the latter
is not poor otherwise in making startling discoveries. The discoverer of
dream symbolism, if we insist on a discovery in modern times, was the
philosopher K. A. Scherner (1861). Psychoanalysis affirmed Scherner's
discovery and modified it considerably.

Now you will want to know something of the nature of dream symbolism,
and to hear some examples. I shall gladly impart to you what I know, but
I admit that our knowledge is not so complete as we could desire it to

The nature of the symbol relationship is a comparison, but not any
desired comparison. One suspects a special prerequisite for this
comparison, but is unable to say what it is. Not everything to which we
are able to compare an object or an occurrence occurs in the dream as
its symbol; on the other hand, the dream does not symbolize anything we
may choose, but only specific elements of the dream thought. There are
limitations on both sides. It must be admitted that the idea of the
symbol cannot be sharply delimited at all times--it mingles with the
substitution, dramatization, etc., even approaches the allusion. In one
series of symbols the basic comparison is apparent to the senses. On the
other hand, there are other symbols which raise the question of where
the similarity, the "something intermediate" of this suspected
comparison is to be sought. We may discover it by more careful
consideration, or it may remain hidden to us. Furthermore, it is
extraordinary, if the symbol is a comparison, that this comparison is
not revealed by the association, that the dreamer is not acquainted with
the comparison, that he makes use of it without knowing of its
existence. Indeed, the dreamer does not even care to admit the validity
of this comparison when it is pointed out to him. So you see, a symbolic
relationship is a comparison of a very special kind, the origin of which
is not yet clearly understood by us. Perhaps later we may find
references to this unknown factor.

The number of things that find symbolic representation in the dream is
not great--the human body as a whole, parents, children, brothers and
sisters, birth, death, nakedness and a few others. The only typical,
that is, regular representation of the human person as a whole is in the
form of a _house_, as was recognized by Scherner who, indeed, wished to
credit this symbol with an overwhelming significance which it does not
deserve. It occurs in dreams that a person, now lustful, now frightened,
climbs down the fronts of houses. Those with entirely smooth walls are
men; but those which are provided with projections and balconies to
which one can hold on, are women. Parents appear in the dream as _king_
and _queen_, or other persons highly respected. The dream in this
instance is very pious. It treats children, and brothers and sisters,
less tenderly; they are symbolized as _little animals_ or _vermin_.
Birth is almost regularly represented by some reference to _water_;
either one plunges into the water or climbs out of it, or rescues
someone from the water, or is himself rescued from it, i.e., there is a
mother-relation to the person. Death is replaced in the dream by _taking
a journey, riding in a train_; _being dead, by various darksome, timid
suggestions_; _nakedness, by clothes_ and _uniforms_. You see here how
the lines between symbolic and suggestive representation merge one into

In contrast to the paucity of this enumeration, it is a striking fact
that the objects and subject matter of another sphere are represented by
an extraordinarily rich symbolism. This is the sphere of the sexual
life, the genitals, the sex processes and sexual intercourse. The great
majority of symbols in the dream are sex symbols. A remarkable
disproportion results from this fact. The designated subject matters are
few, their symbols extraordinarily profuse, so that each of these
objects can be expressed by any number of symbols of almost equal value.
In the interpretation something is disclosed that arouses universal
objection. The symbol interpretations, in contrast to the many-sidedness
of the dream representations, are very monotonous--this displeases all
who deal with them; but what is one to do?

Since this is the first time in these lectures that we speak of the
sexual life, I must tell you the manner in which I intend to handle this
theme. Psychoanalysis sees no reason for hiding matters or treating them
by innuendo, finds no necessity of being ashamed of dealing with this
important subject, believes it is proper and decent to call everything
by its correct name, and hopes most effectively in this manner to ward
off disturbing or salacious thoughts. The fact that I am talking before
a mixed audience can make no difference on this point. Just as there is
no special knowledge either for the Delphic oracle or for flappers, so
the ladies present among you have, by their appearance in this lecture
hall, made it clear that they wish to be considered on the same basis as
the men.

The dream has a number of representations for the male genital that may
be called symbolic, and in which the similarity of the comparison is,
for the most part, very enlightening. In the first place, the holy
figure 3 is a symbolical substitute for the entire male genital. The
more conspicuous and more interesting part of the genital to both sexes,
the male organ, has symbolical substitute in objects of like form, those
which are long and upright, such as _sticks_, _umbrellas_, _poles_,
_trees_, etc. It is also symbolized by objects that have the
characteristic, in common with it, of penetration into the body and
consequent injury, hence pointed _weapons_ of every type, _knives_,
_daggers_, _lances_, _swords_, and in the same manner _firearms_,
_guns_, _pistols_ and the _revolver_, which is so suitable because of
its shape. In the troubled dream of the young girl, pursuit by a man
with a knife or a firearm plays a big role. This, probably the most
frequent dream symbolism, is easily translatable. Easily comprehensible,
too, is the substitution for the male member of objects out of which
water flows: _faucets_, _water cans_, _fountains_, as well as its
representation by other objects that have the power of elongation, such
as _hanging lamps_, _collapsible pencils_, etc. That _pencils_,
_quills_, _nail files_, _hammers_ and other _instruments_ are
undoubtedly male symbols is a fact connected with a conception of the
organ, which likewise is not far to seek.

The extraordinary characteristic of the member of being able to raise
itself against the force of gravity, one of the phenomena of erection,
leads to symbolic representations by _balloons_, _aeroplanes_, and more
recently, _Zeppelins_. The dream has another far more expressive way of
symbolizing erection. It makes the sex organ the essential part of the
whole person and pictures the person himself as _flying_. Do not feel
disturbed because the dreams of flying, often so beautiful, and which we
all have had, must be interpreted as dreams of general sexual
excitement, as erection dreams. P. Federn, among the psychoanalytical
students, has confirmed this interpretation beyond any doubt, and even
Mourly Vold, much praised for his sobriety, who carried on his dream
experiments with artificial positions of the arms and legs, and who was
really opposed to psychoanalysis--perhaps knew nothing about
psychoanalysis--has come to the same conclusion as a result of his
research. It is no objection to this conclusion that women may have the
same dreams of flying. Remember that our dreams act as wish-fulfillments,
and that the wish to be a man is often present in women, consciously or
unconsciously. And the fact that it is possible for a woman to realize
this wish by the same sensation as a man does, will not mislead anyone
acquainted with anatomy. There is a small organ in the genitals of a
woman similar to that of the male, and this small organ, the clitoris,
even in childhood, and in the years before sexual intercourse, plays
the same role as does the large organ of the male.

To the less comprehensible male sex-symbols belong certain _reptiles_
and _fish_, notably the famous symbol of the _snake_. Why _hats_ and
_cloaks_ should have been turned to the same use is certainly difficult
to discover, but their symbolic meaning leaves no room for doubt. And
finally the question may be raised whether possibly the substitution of
some other member as a representation for the male organ may not be
regarded as symbolic. I believe that one is forced to this conclusion by
the context and by the female counterparts.

The female genital is symbolically represented by all those objects
which share its peculiarity of enclosing a space capable of being filled
by something--viz., by _pits_, _caves_, and _hollows_, by _pitchers_ and
_bottles_, by _boxes_ and _trunks_, _jars_, _cases_, _pockets_, etc. The
_ship_, too, belongs in this category. Many symbols represent the womb
of the mother rather than the female genital, as _wardrobes_, _stoves_,
and primarily a _room_. The room-symbolism is related to the
house-symbol, _doors_ and _entrances_ again become symbolic of the
genital opening. But materials, too, are symbols of the woman--_wood_,
_paper_, and objects that are made of these materials, such as _tables_
and _books_. Of animals, at least the _snail_ and _mussel_ are
unmistakably recognizable as symbols for the female; of parts of the
body the _mouth_ takes the place of the genital opening, while
_churches_ and _chapels_ are structural symbolisms. As you see, all of
these symbols are not equally comprehensible.

The breasts must be included in the genitals, and like the larger
hemispheres of the female body are represented by _apples_, _peaches_
and _fruits_ in general. The pubic hair growth of both sexes appears in
the dream as _woods_ and _bushes_. The complicated topography of the
female genitals accounts for the fact that they are often represented as
scenes with _cliffs_, _woods_ and _water_, while the imposing mechanism
of the male sex apparatus leads to the use of all manner of very
complicated _machinery_, difficult to describe.

A noteworthy symbol of the female genital is also the _jewel-casket_;
_jewels_ and _treasure_ are also representatives of the beloved person
in the dream; _sweets_ frequently occur as representatives of sexual
delights. The satisfaction in one's own genital is suggested by all
types of _play_, in which may be included _piano-playing_. Exquisite
symbolic representations of _onanism_ are _sliding_ and _coasting_ as
well as _tearing off a branch_. A particularly remarkable dream symbol
is that of having _one's_ _teeth fall out_, or _having them pulled_.
Certainly its most immediate interpretation is castration as a
punishment for onanism. Special representations for the relations of the
sexes are less numerous in the dream than we might have expected from
the foregoing. Rhythmic activities, such as _dancing_, _riding_ and
_climbing_ may be mentioned, also harrowing experiences, such as _being
run over_. One may include certain _manual activities_, and, of course,
_being threatened with weapons_.

You must not imagine that either the use or the translation of these
symbols is entirely simple. All manner of unexpected things are
continually happening. For example, it seems hardly believable that in
these symbolic representations the sex differences are not always
sharply distinguished. Many symbols represent a genital in general,
regardless of whether male or female, e.g., the _little child_, the
_small son_ or _daughter_. It sometimes occurs that a predominantly male
symbol is used for a female genital, or vice versa. This is not
understood until one has acquired an insight into the development of the
sexual representations of mankind. In many instances this double meaning
of symbols may be only apparent; the most striking of the symbols, such
as _weapons_, _pockets_ and _boxes_ are excluded from this bisexual

I should now like to give a summary, from the point of view of the
symbols rather than of the thing represented, of the field out of which
the sex symbols are for the most part taken, and then to make a few
remarks about the symbols which have points in common that are not
understood. An obscure symbol of this type is the _hat_, perhaps
headdress on the whole, and is usually employed as a male
representation, though at times as a female. In the same way the _cloak_
represents a man, perhaps not always the genital aspect. You are at
liberty to ask, why? The _cravat_, which is suspended and is not worn by
women, is an unmistakable male symbol. _White laundry_, all _linen_, in
fact, is female. _Dresses_, _uniforms_ are, as we have already seen,
substitutes for nakedness, for body-formation; the _shoe_ or _slipper_
is a female genital. _Tables_ and _wood_ have already been mentioned as
puzzling but undoubtedly female symbols. _Ladders_, _ascents_, _steps_
in relation to their mounting, are certainly symbols of sexual
intercourse. On closer consideration we see that they have the rhythm of
walking as a common characteristic; perhaps, too, the heightening of
excitement and the shortening of the breath, the higher one mounts.

We have already spoken of _natural scenery_ as a representation of the
female genitals. _Mountains_ and _cliffs_ are symbols of the male organ;
the _garden_ a frequent symbol of the female genitals. _Fruit_ does not
stand for the child, but for the breasts. _Wild animals_ signify
sensually aroused persons, or further, base impulses, passions.
_Blossoms_ and _flowers_ represent the female genitals, or more
particularly, virginity. Do not forget that the blossoms are really the
genitals of the plants.

We already know the _room_ as a symbol. The representation may be
extended in that the windows, entrances and exits of the room take on
the meaning of the body openings. Whether the room is _open_ or _closed_
is a part of this symbolism, and the _key_ that opens it is an
unmistakable male symbol.

This is the material of dream symbolism. It is not complete and might be
deepened as well as extended. But I am of the opinion it will seem more
than enough to you, perhaps will make you reluctant. You will ask, "Do I
really live in the midst of sex symbols? Are all the objects that
surround me, all the clothes I put on, all the things that I touch,
always sex symbols, and nothing else?" There really are sufficient
grounds for such questions, and the first is, "Where, in fact, are we to
find the meaning of these dream symbols if the dreamer himself can give
no information concerning them, or at best can give only incomplete

My answer is: "From many widely different sources, from fairy tales and
myths, jokes and farces, from folklore, that is, the knowledge of the
customs, usages, sayings and songs of peoples, from the poetic and
vulgar language. Everywhere we find the same symbolism and in many of
these instances we understand them without further information. If we
follow up each of these sources separately we shall find so many
parallels to the dream symbolism that we must believe in the correctness
of our interpretations."

The human body, we have said, is, according to Scherner, frequently
symbolized in the dream by the house. Continuing this representation,
the windows, doors and entrances are the entrances into the body
cavities, the facades are smooth or provided with balconies and
projections to which to hold. The same symbolism is to be found in our
daily speech when we greet a good friend as "_old house_" or when we say
of someone, "We'll hit him in the _belfry_," or maintain of another that
he's not quite right in the _upper story_. In anatomy the body openings
are sometimes called the _body-portals_.

The fact that we meet our parents in the dream as imperial or royal
persons is at first surprising. But it has its parallel in the fairy
tale. Doesn't it begin to dawn upon us that the many fairy tales which
begin "Once upon a time there was a _king_ and a _queen_" intend nothing
else than, "Once there was a _father_ and a _mother_?" In our families
we refer to our children as _princes_, the eldest as the _crown-prince_.
The king usually calls himself the _father of the country_. We playfully
designate little children as _worms_, and say, sympathetically, "_poor
little worm_."

Let us return to the symbolism of the house. When we use the projections
of the house to hold ourselves on to in the dream, are we not reminded
of the familiar colloquialism about persons with well-developed breasts:
"She has something to _hold onto_"? The folk express this in still
another way when it says, "there's lots of _wood in front of her
house_"; as though it wished to come to the aid of our interpretation
that wood is a feminine, maternal symbol.

In addition to wood there are others. We might not understand how this
material has come to be a substitute for the maternal, the feminine.
Here our comparison of languages may be helpful. The German word _Holz_
(wood) is said to be from the same stem as the Greek word, νλη,
which means stuff, raw material. This is an example of the case, not
entirely unusual, where a general word for material finally is
exclusively used for some special material. There is an island in the
ocean, known by the name of Madeira. The Portuguese gave it this name at
the time of its discovery because it was at that time entirely covered
with forests, for in the language of the Portuguese, Madeira means
_wood_. You will recognize, however, that Madeira, is nothing else than
the slightly changed Latin word _materia_ which again has the general
meaning of _material_ Material is derived from _mater_, mother. The
material out of which something is made, is at the same time its
mother-part. In the symbolic use of wood for woman, mother, this ancient
conception still lives.

Birth is regularly expressed in dreams by some connection with water;
one plunges into the water, or comes out of the water, which means one
gives birth to, or is born. Now let us not forget that this symbol may
refer in two ways to the truths of evolutionary history. Not alone have
all land-mammals, including the ancestors of man, developed out of water
animals--this is the ultimate fact--but every single mammal, every human
being, lived the first part of his existence in the water--namely, lived
in the body of his mother as an embryo in the amniotic fluid and came
out of the water at the time of his birth. I do not wish to maintain
that the dreamer knows this, on the contrary I hold that he does not
have to know. The dreamer very likely knows some things because of the
fact that he was told about them in his childhood, and for that very
reason I maintain that this knowledge has played no part in the
construction of his symbols. He was told in childhood that the stork
brought him--but where did it get him? Out of a lake, out of the
well--again, out of the water. One of my patients to whom such
information had been given, a little count, disappeared for a whole
afternoon. Finally he was discovered lying at the edge of the palace
lake, his little face bent above the water and earnestly peering into it
to see if he could not see the little children at the bottom.

In the myths of the birth of the hero, which O. Rank submitted to
comparative examination,--the oldest is that of King Sargon of Agade,
about 2800 B.C.--exposure in the water and rescue from water play a
predominating role. Rank has recognized that these are representations
of birth, analogous to those customary in dreams. When a person in his
dream rescues another from the water, the latter becomes his mother, or
just plainly mother; in the myth a person who rescues a child out of the
water professes herself as the real mother of the child. In a well-known
joke the intelligent Jewish boy is asked who was the mother of Moses. He
answered without hesitation, the Princess. But no, he is told, she only
took him out of the water. "That's what _she says_," is his reply, and
thereby he shows that he has found the correct interpretation of the

Leaving on a trip represents death in the dream. Likewise it is the
custom in the nursery when a child asks where someone who has died, and
whom he misses, may be, to say to him that the absent one has taken a
trip. Again I should like to deny the truth of the belief that the dream
symbol originates in this evasion used for the benefit of children. The
poet makes use of the same symbol when he speaks of the Hereafter as
"that undiscovered bourne from which no _traveler_ returns." Even in
everyday speech it is customary to refer to the last journey. Every
person acquainted with ancient rite knows how seriously, for example,
the Egyptians considered the portrayal of a journey to the land of the
dead. There still exist many copies of the "death book" which was given
to the mummy for this journey as a sort of Baedeker. Since the burial
places have been separated from the living quarters, the last journey of
the dead person has become a reality.

In the same manner the genital symbolism is just as little peculiar to
the dream alone. Every one of you has perhaps at some time or other been
so unkind as to call some woman an "_old casket_" without perhaps being
aware that he was using a genital symbol. In the New Testament one may
read "Woman is a weak _vessel_." The Holy Scriptures of the Jews, so
nearly poetic in their style, are filled with sex-symbolic expressions
which have not always been correctly understood, and the true
construction of which, in the _Song of Songs_, for example, has led to
many misunderstandings. In the later Hebraic literature the
representation of woman as a house, the door taking the place of the sex
opening, is very widespread. The man complains, for instance, when he
discovers a lack of virginity, that he has found _the door open_. The
symbol of the table for woman is also known to this literature. The
woman says of her husband, "I set the table for him, _but he upset it_."
Lame children are supposed to result from the fact that the man has
_overturned the table_. I take these examples from a work by L. Levy of
Brünn, _The Sexual Symbolism of the Bible and the Talmud_.

That ships, too, represent women in dreams is a belief derived from the
etymologists, who maintain "ship" was originally the name of an earthen
vessel and is the same word as _Schaff_ (to create). The Greek myth of
Periander of Corinth and his wife Melissa is proof that the stove or
oven is a woman, and a womb. When, according to Herodotus, the tyrant
entreated the shade of his beloved wife, whom, however, he had murdered
in a fit of jealousy, for some sign of its identity, the deceased
identified herself by the reminder that he, _Periander_, _had thrust his
bread into a cold oven_, as a disguise for an occurrence that could have
been known to no other person. In the _Anthropophyteia_ published by F.
S. Krauss, an indispensable source book for everything that has to do
with the sex life of nations, we read that in a certain German region it
is commonly said of a woman who has just been delivered of a child,
"_Her oven has caved in_." The making of a fire and everything connected
therewith is filled through and through with sex symbolism. The flame is
always the male genital, the fireplace, the hearth, is the womb of the

If you have often wondered why it is that landscapes are so often used
to represent the female genitals in the dream, then let the mythologist
teach you the role Mother Earth has played in the symbolisms and cults
of ancient times. You may be tempted to say that a room represents a
woman in the dream because of the German colloquialism which uses the
term _Frauenzimmer_ instead of _Frau_, in other words, it substitutes
for the human person the idea of that room that is set aside for her
exclusive use. In like manner we speak of the _Sublime Porte_, and mean
the Sultan and his government; furthermore, the name of the ancient
Egyptian ruler, Pharaoh, means nothing other than "great court room."
(In the ancient Orient the court yards between the double gates of the
town were the gathering places of the people, in the same manner as the
market place was in the classical world.) What I mean is, this
derivation is far too superficial. It seems more probable to me that the
room, as the space surrounding man, came to be the symbol of woman. We
have seen that the house is used in such a representation; from
mythology and poetry we may take the _city_, _fortress_, _palace_,
_citadel_, as further symbols of woman. The question may easily be
decided by the dreams of those persons who do not speak German and do
not understand it. In the last few years my patients have been
predominantly foreign-language speaking, and I think I can recall that
in their dreams as well the room represents woman, even where they had
no analogous usages in their languages. There are still other signs
which show that the symbolization is not limited by the bounds of
language, a fact that even the old dream investigator, Schubert (1862)
maintained. Since none of my dreamers were totally ignorant of German I
must leave this differentiation to those psychoanalysts who can gather
examples in other lands where the people speak but one language.

Among the symbol-representations of the male genital there is scarcely
one that does not recur in jokes or in vulgar or poetical usage,
especially among the old classical poets. Not alone do those symbols
commonly met with in dreams appeal here, but also new ones, e.g., the
working materials of various performances, foremost of which is the
incantation. Furthermore, we approach in the symbolic representation of
the male a very extended and much discussed province, which we shall
avoid for economic reasons. I should like to make a few remarks,
however, about one of the unclassified symbols--the figure 3. Whether or
not this figure derives its holiness from its symbolic meaning may
remain undecided. But it appears certain that many objects which occur
in nature as three-part things derive their use as coats-of-arms and
emblems from such symbolic meaning, e.g., the clover, likewise the
three-part French lily, (fleur-de-lys), and the extraordinary
coats-of-arms of two such widely separated islands as Sicily and the
Isle of Man, where the Triskeles (three partly bended knees, emerging
from a central point) are merely said to be the portrayal in a different
form of the male genitals. Copies of the male member were used in
antiquity as the most powerful charms (_Apotropaea_) against evil
influences, and this is connected with the fact that the lucky amulets
of our own time may one and all be recognized as genital or sex-symbols.
Let us study such a collection, worn in the form of little silver
pendants: the four-leaf clover, a pig, a mushroom, a horse-shoe, a
ladder, a chimney-sweep. The four-leaf clover, it seems, has usurped the
place of the three-leaf clover, which is really more suitable as a
symbol; the pig is an ancient symbol of fertility; the mushroom is an
unquestionable penis symbol--there are mushrooms that derive their
systematic names from their unmistakable similarity to the male member
(Phallus impudicus); the horseshoe recalls the contour of the female
genital opening; and the chimney sweep who carries a ladder belongs in
this company because he carries on that trade with which the
sex-intercourse is vulgarly compared (_cf._ the _Anthropophyteia_). We
have already become acquainted with his ladder as a sex symbol in the
dream; the German usage is helpful here, it shows us how the verb "to
mount"[30] is made use of in an exquisite sexual sense. We use the
expressions "_to run after women_," which literally translated would be
"_to climb after women_," and "_an old climber_."[31] In French, where
"_step_" is "_la marche_" we find that the analogous expression for a
man about town is "_un vieux marcheur_." It is apparently not unknown in
this connection that the sexual intercourse of many of the larger
animals requires a mounting, _a climbing upon_ the female.

The tearing off of a branch as the symbolic representation of onanism is
not alone in keeping with the vulgar representation of the fact of
onanism, but has far-reaching mythological parallels. Especially
noteworthy, however, is the representation of onanism, or rather the
punishment therefor, castration, by the falling out or pulling out of
teeth, because there is a parallel in folk-lore which is probably known
to the fewest dreamers. It does not seem at all questionable to me that
the practice of circumcision common among so many peoples is an
equivalent and a substitute for castration. And now we are informed that
in Australia certain primitive tribes practice circumcision as a rite of
puberty (the ceremony in honor of the boy's coming of age), while
others, living quite near, have substituted for this act the striking
out of a tooth.

I end my exposition with these examples. They are only examples. We know
more about these matters, and you may well imagine how much richer and
how much more interesting such a collection would appear if made, not by
amateurs like ourselves, but by real experts in mythology, anthropology,
philology and folk-lore. We are compelled to draw a few conclusions
which cannot be exhaustive, but which give us much food for thought.

In the first place, we are faced by the fact that the dreamer has at his
disposal a symbolic means of expression of which he is unconscious
while awake, and does not recognize when he sees. That is as remarkable
as if you should make the discovery that your chambermaid understands
Sanskrit, although you know she was born in a Bohemian village and never
learned the language. It is not easy to harmonize this fact with our
psychological views. We can only say that the dreamer's knowledge of
symbolism is unconscious, that it is a part of his unconscious mental
life. We make no progress with this assumption. Until now it was only
necessary to admit of unconscious impulses, those about which one knew
nothing, either for a period of time or at all times. But now we deal
with something more; indeed, with unknown knowledge, with thought
relationships, comparisons between unlike objects which lead to this,
that one constant may be substituted for another. These comparisons are
not made anew each time, but they lie ready, they are complete for all
time. That is to be concluded from the fact of their agreement in
different persons, agreement despite differences in language.

But whence comes the knowledge of these symbol-relationships? The usages
of language cover only a small part of them. The dreamer is for the most
part unacquainted with the numerous parallels from other sources; we
ourselves must first laboriously gather them together.

Secondly, these symbolic representations are peculiar neither to the
dreamer nor to the dream work by means of which they become expressed.
We have learned that mythology and fairy-tales make use of the same
symbolism, as well as do the people in their sayings and songs, the
ordinary language of every day, and poetic phantasy. The field of
symbolism is an extraordinarily large one, and dream symbolism is but a
small part thereof. It is not even expedient to approach the whole
problem from the dream side. Many of the symbols that are used in other
places do not occur in the dream at all, or at best only very seldom.
Many of the dream symbols are to be found in other fields only very
rarely, as you have seen. One gets the impression that he is here
confronted with an ancient but no longer existent method of expression,
of which various phases, however, continue in different fields, one
here, one there, a third, perhaps in a slightly altered form, in several
fields. I am reminded of the phantasy of an interesting mental
defective, who had imagined a fundamental language, of which all these
symbolic representations were the remains.

Thirdly, you must have noticed that symbolism in these other fields is
by no means sex symbolism solely, while in the dream the symbols are
used almost entirely to express sexual objects and processes. Nor is
this easily explained. Is it possible that symbols originally sexual in
their meaning later came to have other uses, and that this was the
reason perhaps for the weakening of the symbolic representation to one
of another nature? These questions are admittedly unanswerable if one
has dealt only with dream-symbolism. One can only adhere to the
supposition that there is an especially intimate connection between true
symbols and things sexual.

An important indication of this has been given us recently. A
philologist, H. Sperber (Upsala) who works independently of
psychoanalysis, advanced the theory that sexual needs have played the
largest part in the origin and development of languages. The first
sounds served as means of communication, and called the sexual partner;
the further development of the roots of speech accompanied the
performance of the primitive man's work. This work was communal and
progressed to the accompaniment of rhythmically repeated word sounds. In
that way a sexual interest was transferred to the work. The primitive
man made work acceptable at the same time that he used it as an
equivalent and substitute for sex-activity. The word thus called forth
by the common labor had two meanings, designating the sex-act as well as
the equivalent labor-activity. In time the word became disassociated
from its sexual significance and became fixed on this work. Generations
later the same thing happened to a new word that once had sexual
significance and came to be used for a new type of work. In this manner
a number of word-roots were formed, all of sexual origin, and all of
which had lost their sexual significance. If the description sketched
here approximates the truth, it opens up the possibility for an
understanding of the dream symbolism. We can understand how it is that
in the dream, which preserves something of these most ancient
conditions, there are so extraordinarily many symbols for the sexual,
and why, in general, weapons and implements always stand for the male,
materials and things manufactured, for the female. Symbolic
relationships would be the remnants of the old word-identity; things
which once were called by the same names as the genitals can now appear
in the dream as symbols for them.

From our parallels to dream symbolization you may also learn to
appreciate what is the character of psychoanalysis which makes it a
subject of general interest, which is true of neither psychology nor
psychiatry. Psychoanalytic work connects with so many other scientific
subjects, the investigation of which promises the most pertinent
discoveries, with mythology, with folk-lore, with racial psychology and
with religion. You will understand how a journal can have grown on
psychoanalytic soil, the sole purpose of which is the furtherance of
these relationships. This is the _Imago_ founded in 1912 and edited by
Hanns Sachs and Otto Rank. In all of these relations, psychoanalysis is
first and foremost the giving, less often the receiving, part. Indeed it
derives benefit from the fact that its unusual teachings are
substantiated by their recurrence in other fields, but on the whole it
is psychoanalysis that provides the technical procedure and the point of
view, the use of which will prove fruitful in those other fields. The
psychic life of the human individual provides us, upon psychoanalytic
investigation, with explanations with which we are able to solve many
riddles in the life of humanity, or at least show these riddles in their
proper light.

Furthermore, I have not even told you under what conditions we are able
to get the deepest insight into that suppositious "fundamental
language," or from which field we gain the most information. So long as
you do not know this you cannot appreciate the entire significance of
the subject. This field is the neurotic, its materials, the symptoms and
other expressions of the nervous patient, for the explanation and
treatment of which psychoanalysis was devised.

My fourth point of view returns to our premise and connects up with our
prescribed course. We said, even if there were no such thing as dream
censorship, the dream would still be hard to understand, for we would
then be confronted with the task of translating the symbol-language of
the dream into the thought of our waking hours. Symbolism is a second
and independent item of dream distortion, in addition to dream
censorship. It is not a far cry to suppose that it is convenient for
the dream censorship to make use of symbolism since both lead to the
same end, to making the dream strange and incomprehensible.

Whether or not in the further study of the dream we shall hit upon a new
item that influences dream distortion, remains to be seen. I should not
like to leave the subject of dream symbolism without once more touching
upon the curious fact that it arouses such strong opposition in the case
of educated persons, in spite of the fact that symbolism in myth,
religion, art and speech is undoubtedly so prevalent. Is not this again
because of its relationship to sexuality?



_The Dream-Work_

If you have mastered dream censorship and symbolic representation, you
are, to be sure, not yet adept in dream distortion, but you are
nevertheless in a position to understand most dreams. For this you
employ two mutually supplementary methods, call up the associations of
the dreamer until you have penetrated from the substitute to the actual,
and from your own knowledge supply the meaning for the symbol. Later we
shall discuss certain uncertainties which show themselves in this

We are now in a position to resume work which we attempted, with very
insufficient means at an earlier stage, when we studied the relation
between the manifest dream elements and their latent actualities, and in
so doing established four such main relationships: that of a part of the
whole, that of approach or allusion, the symbolic relationship and
plastic word representation. We shall now attempt the same on a larger
scale, by comparing the manifest dream content as a whole, with the
latent dream which we found by interpretation.

I hope you will never again confuse these two. If you have achieved
this, you have probably accomplished more in the understanding of the
dream than the majority of the readers of my _Interpretation of Dreams_.
Let me remind you once more that this process, which changes the latent
into the manifest dream, is called _dream-work_. Work which proceeds in
the opposite direction, from the manifest dream to the latent, is our
_work of interpretation_. The work of interpretation attempts to undo
the dream-work. Infantile dreams that are recognized as evident wish
fulfillments nevertheless have undergone some dream-work, namely, the
transformation of the wish into reality, and generally, too, of thoughts
into visual pictures. Here we need no interpretation, but only a
retracing of these transformations. Whatever dream-work has been added
to other dreams, we call _dream distortion_, and this can be annulled by
our work of interpretation.

The comparison of many dream interpretations has rendered it possible
for me to give you a coherent representation of what the dream-work does
with the material of the latent dream. I beg of you, however, not to
expect to understand too much of this. It is a piece of description that
should be listened to with calm attention.

The first process of the dream-work is _condensation_. By this we
understand that the manifest dream has a smaller content than the latent
one, that is, it is a sort of abbreviated translation of the latter.
Condensation may occasionally be absent, but as a rule it is present,
often to a very high degree. The opposite is never true, that is, it
never occurs that the manifest dream is more extensive in scope and
content than the latent. Condensation occurs in the following ways: 1.
Certain latent elements are entirely omitted; 2. only a fragment of the
many complexes of the latent dream is carried over into the manifest
dream; 3. latent elements that have something in common are collected
for the manifest dream and are fused into a whole.

If you wish, you may reserve the term "condensation" for this last
process alone. Its effects are particularly easy to demonstrate. From
your own dreams you will doubtless recall the fusion of several persons
into one. Such a compound person probably looks like A., is dressed like
B., does something that one remembers of C., but in spite of this one is
conscious that he is really D. By means of this compound formation
something common to all four people is especially emphasized. One can
make a compound formation of events and of places in the same way as of
people, provided always that the single events and localities have
something in common which the latent dream emphasizes. It is a sort of
new and fleeting concept of formation, with the common element as its
kernel. This jumble of details that has been fused together regularly
results in a vague indistinct picture, as though you had taken several
pictures on the same film.

The shaping of such compound formations must be of great importance to
the dream-work, for we can prove, (by the choice of a verbal expression
for a thought, for instance) that the common elements mentioned above
are purposely manufactured where they originally do not exist. We have
already become acquainted with such condensation and compound
formations; they played an important part in the origin of certain cases
of slips of the tongue. You recall the young man who wished to _inscort_
a woman. Furthermore, there are jokes whose technique may be traced to
such a condensation. But entirely aside from this, one may maintain that
this appearance of something quite unknown in the dream finds its
counterpart in many of the creations of our imagination which fuse
together component parts that do not belong together in experience, as
for example the centaurs, and the fabulous animals of old mythology or
of Boecklin's pictures. For creative imagination can invent nothing new
whatsoever, it can only put together certain details normally alien to
one another. The peculiar thing, however, about the procedure of the
dream-work is the following: The material at the disposal of the
dream-work consists of thoughts, thoughts which may be offensive and
unacceptable, but which are nevertheless correctly formed and expressed.
These thoughts are transformed into something else by the dream-work,
and it is remarkable and incomprehensible that this translation, this
rendering, as it were, into another script or language, employs the
methods of condensation and combination. For a translation usually
strives to respect the discriminations expressed in the text, and to
differentiate similar things. The dream-work, on the contrary, tries to
fuse two different thoughts by looking, just as the joke does, for an
ambiguous word which shall act as a connecting link between the two
thoughts. One need not attempt to understand this feature of the case at
once, but it may become significant for the conception of the

Although condensation renders the dream opaque, one does not get the
impression that it is an effect of dream censorship. One prefers to
trace it back to mechanical or economic conditions; but censorship
undoubtedly has a share in the process.

The results of condensation may be quite extraordinary. With its help,
it becomes possible at times to collect quite unrelated latent thought
processes into one manifest dream, so that one can arrive at an
apparently adequate interpretation, and at the same time conceive a
possible further interpretation.

The consequence of condensation for the relation between latent and
manifest dreams is the fact that no simple relations can exist between
the elements of the one and the other. A manifest element corresponds
simultaneously to several latent ones, and vice versa, a latent element
may partake of several manifest ones, an interlacing, as it were. In the
interpretation of the dream it also becomes evident that the
associations to a single element do not necessarily follow one another
in orderly sequence. Often we must wait until the entire dream is

Dream-work therefore accomplishes a very unusual sort of transcription
of dream thoughts, not a translation word for word, or sign for sign,
not a selection according to a set rule, as if all the consonants of a
word were given and the vowels omitted; nor is it what we might call
substitution, namely, the choice of one element to take the place of
several others. It is something very different and much more

The second process of the dream-work is _displacement_. Fortunately we
are already prepared for this, since we know that it is entirely the
work of dream censorship. The two evidences of this are firstly, that a
latent element is not replaced by one of its constituent parts but by
something further removed from it, that is, by a sort of allusion;
secondly, that the psychic accent is transferred from an important
element to another that is unimportant, so that the dream centers
elsewhere and seems strange.

Substitution by allusion is known to our conscious thinking also, but
with a difference. In conscious thinking the allusion must be easily
intelligible, and the substitute must bear a relation to the actual
content. Jokes, too, often make use of allusion; they let the condition
of content associations slide and replace it by unusual external
associations, such as resemblances in sound, ambiguity of words, etc.
They retain, however, the condition of intelligibility; the joke would
lose all its effect if the allusion could not be traced back to the
actual without any effort whatsoever. The allusion of displacement has
freed itself of both these limitations. Its connection with the element
which it replaces is most external and remote, is unintelligible for
this reason, and if it is retraced, its interpretation gives the
impression of an unsuccessful joke or of a forced, far-fetched
explanation. For the dream censor has only then accomplished its
purpose, when it has made the path of return from the allusion to the
original undiscoverable.

The displacement of emphasis is unheard of as a means of expressing
thoughts. In conscious thinking we occasionally admit it to gain a comic
effect. I can probably give you an idea of the confusion which this
produces by reminding you of the story of the blacksmith who had
committed a capital crime. The court decided that the penalty for the
crime must be paid, but since he was the only blacksmith in the village
and therefore indispensable, while there were three tailors, one of the
latter was hung in his stead.

The third process of the dream-work is the most interesting from a
psychological point of view. It consists of the _translation_ of
thoughts into visual images. Let us bear in mind that by no means all
dream thoughts undergo this translation; many of them retain their form
and appear in the manifest dream also as thought or consciousness;
moreover, visual images are not the only form into which thoughts are
translated. They are, however, the foundation of the dream fabric; this
part of the dream work is, as we already know, the second most constant,
and for single dream elements we have already learned to know "plastic
word representation."

It is evident that this process is not simple. In order to get an idea
of its difficulties you must pretend that you have undertaken the task
of replacing a political editorial in a newspaper by a series of
illustrations, that you have suffered an atavistic return from the use
of the alphabet to ideographic writing. Whatever persons or concrete
events occur in this article you will be able to replace easily by
pictures, perhaps to your advantage, but you will meet with difficulties
in the representation of all abstract words and all parts of speech
denoting thought relationships, such as particles, conjunctions, etc.
With the abstract words you could use all sorts of artifices. You will,
for instance, try to change the text of the article into different words
which may sound unusual, but whose components will be more concrete and
more adapted to representation. You will then recall that most abstract
words were concrete before their meaning paled, and will therefore go
back to the original concrete significance of these words as often as
possible, and so you will be glad to learn that you can represent the
"possession" of an object by the actual physical straddling of it.[32]
The dream work does the same thing. Under such circumstances you can
hardly demand accuracy of representation. You will also have to allow
the dream-work to replace an element that is as hard to depict as for
instance, broken faith, by another kind of rupture, a broken leg.[33] In
this way you will be able to smooth away to some extent the crudity of
imagery when the latter is endeavoring to replace word expression.

In the representation of parts of speech that denote thought relations,
such as _because_, _therefore_, _but_, etc., you have no such aids;
these constituent parts of the text will therefore be lost in your
translation into images. In the same way, the dream-work resolves the
content of the dream thought into its raw material of objects and
activities. You may be satisfied if the possibility is vouchsafed you to
suggest certain relations, not representable in themselves, in a more
detailed elaboration of the image. In quite the same way the dream-work
succeeds in expressing much of the content of the latent dream thought
in the formal peculiarities of the manifest dream, in its clearness or
vagueness, in its division into several parts, etc. The number of
fragmentary dreams into which the dream is divided corresponds as a rule
to the number of main themes, of thought sequences in the latent dream;
a short preliminary dream often stands as an introduction or a
motivation to the complementary dream which follows; a subordinate
clause in dream thought is represented in the manifest dream as an
interpolated change of scene, etc. The form of the dream is itself,
therefore, by no means without significance and challenges
interpretation. Different dreams of the same night often have the same
meaning, and testify to an increasing effort to control a stimulus of
growing urgency. In a single dream a particularly troublesome element
may be represented by "duplicates," that is, by numerous symbols.

By continually comparing dream thought with the manifest dream that
replaces it, we learn all sorts of things for which we were not
prepared, as for instance, the fact that even the nonsense and absurdity
of the dream have meaning. Yes, on this point the opposition between the
medical and psychoanalytic conception of the dream reaches a climax not
previously achieved. According to the former, the dream is senseless
because the dreaming psychic activity has lost all power of critical
judgment; according to our theory, on the other hand, the dream becomes
senseless, whenever a critical judgment, contained in the dream thought,
wishes to express the opinion: "It is nonsense." The dream which you all
know, about the visit to the theatre (three tickets 1 Fl. 50 Kr.) is a
good example of this. The opinion expressed here is: "It was _nonsense_
to marry so early."

In the same way, we discover in interpretation what is the significance
of the doubts and uncertainties so often expressed by the dreamer as to
whether a certain element really occurred in the dream; whether it was
this or something else. As a rule these doubts and uncertainties
correspond to nothing in the latent dream thought; they are occasioned
throughout by the working of the dream censor and are equivalent to an
unsuccessful attempt at suppression.

One of the most surprising discoveries is the manner in which the
dream-work deals with those things which are opposed to one another in
the latent dream. We already know that agreements in the latent material
are expressed in the manifest dream by condensations. Now oppositions
are treated in exactly the same way as agreements and are, with special
preference, expressed by the same manifest element. An element in a
manifest dream, capable of having an opposite, may therefore represent
itself as well as its opposite, or may do both simultaneously; only the
context can determine which translation is to be chosen. It must follow
from this that the particle "no" cannot be represented in the dream, at
least not unambiguously.

The development of languages furnishes us with a welcome analogy for
this surprising behavior on the part of the dream work. Many scholars
who do research work in languages have maintained that in the oldest
languages opposites--such as strong, weak; light, dark; big,
little--were expressed by the same root word. (_The Contradictory Sense
of Primitive Words._) In old Egyptian, _ken_ originally meant both
strong and weak. In conversation, misunderstanding in the use of such
ambiguous words was avoided by the tone of voice and by accompanying
gestures, in writing by the addition of so-called determinatives, that
is, by a picture that was itself not meant to be expressed. Accordingly,
if ken meant strong, the picture of an erect little man was placed after
the alphabetical signs, if _ken_, _weak_, was meant, the picture of a
cowering man followed. Only later, by slight modifications of the
original word, were two designations developed for the opposites which
it denoted. In this way, from _ken_ meaning both strong and weak, there
was derived a _ken_, strong, and a _ken_, weak. It is said that not only
the most primitive languages in their last developmental stage, but also
the more recent ones, even the living tongues of to-day have retained
abundant remains of this primitive opposite meaning. Let me give you a
few illustrations of this taken from C. Abel (1884).

In Latin there are still such words of double meaning:

_altus_--high, deep, and _sacer_, sacred, accursed.

As examples of modifications of the same root, I cite:

_clamare_--to scream, _clam_--quiet, still, secret;

_siccus_--dry, _succus_--juice.

And from the German:

_Stimme_--voice, _stumm_--dumb.

The comparison of related tongues yields a wealth of examples:

English: _lock_; German: _Loch_--hole, _Lücke_--gap.

English: _cleave_; German: _kleben_--to stick, to adhere.

The English _without_, is to-day used to mean "not with"; that "with"
had the connotation of deprivation as well as that of apportioning, is
apparent from the compounds: _withdraw_, _withhold_. The German
_wieder_, again, closely resembles this.

Another peculiarity of dream-work finds it prototype in the development
of language. It occurred in ancient Egyptian as well as in other later
languages that the sequence of sounds of the words was transposed to
denote the same fundamental idea. The following are examples from
English and German:

_Topf_--_pot_; _boat_--_tub_; _hurry_--_Ruhe_ (rest, quiet).

_Balken_ (beam)--_Kloben_ (mallet)--_club_.

From the Latin and the German:

_capere_ (to seize)--_packen_ (to seize, to grasp).

Inversions such as occur here in the single word are effected in a very
different way by the dream-work. We already know the inversion of the
sense, substitution by the opposite. Besides there are inversions of
situations, of relations between two people, and so in dreams we are in
a sort of topsy-turvy world. In a dream it is frequently the rabbit that
shoots the hunter. Further inversion occurs in the sequence of events,
so that in the dream the cause is placed after the effect. It is like a
performance in a third-rate theatre, where the hero falls before the
shot which kills him is fired from the wings. Or there are dreams in
which the whole sequence of the elements is inverted, so that in the
interpretation one must take the last first, and the first last, in
order to obtain a meaning. You will recall from our study of dream
symbolism that to go or fall into the water means the same as to come
out of it, namely, to give birth to, or to be born, and that mounting
stairs or a ladder means the same as going down. The advantage that
dream distortions may gain from such freedom of representation, is

These features of the dream-work may be called _archaic_. They are
connected with ancient systems of expression, ancient languages and
literatures, and involve the same difficulties which we shall deal with
later in a critical connection.

Now for some other aspects of the matter. In the dream-work it is
plainly a question of translating the latent thoughts, expressed in
words, into psychic images, in the main, of a visual kind. Now our
thoughts were developed from such psychic images; their first material
and the steps which led up to them were psychic impressions, or to be
more exact, the memory images of these psychic impressions. Only later
were words attached to these and then combined into thoughts. The
dream-work therefore puts the thoughts through a _regressive_ treatment,
that is, one that retraces the steps in their development. In this
regression, all that has been added to the thoughts as a new
contribution in the course of the development of the memory pictures
must fall away.

This, then, is the dream-work. In view of the processes that we have
discovered about it, our interest in the manifest dream was forced into
the background. I shall, however, devote a few remarks to the latter,
since it is after all the only thing that is positively known to us.

It is natural that the manifest dream should lose its importance for us.
It must be a matter of indifference to us whether it is well composed or
resolved into a series of disconnected single images. Even when its
exterior seems to be significant, we know that it has been developed by
means of dream distortion and may have as little organic connection with
the inner content of the dream as the facade of an Italian church has
with its structure and ground plan. At other times this facade of the
dream, too, has its significance, in that it reproduces with little or
no distortion an important part of the latent dream thought. But we
cannot know this before we have put the dream through a process of
interpretation and reached a decision as to what amount of distortion
has taken place. A similar doubt prevails when two elements in the dream
seem to have been brought into close relations to one another. This may
be a valuable hint, suggesting that we may join together those manifest
thoughts which correspond to the elements in the latent dream; yet at
other times we are convinced that what belongs together in thought has
been torn apart in the dream.

As a general rule we must refrain from trying to explain one part of the
manifest dream by another, as if the dream were coherently conceived and
pragmatically represented. At the most it is comparable to a Breccian
stone, produced by the fusion of various minerals in such a way that the
markings it shows are entirely different from those of the original
mineral constituents. There is actually a part of the dream-work, the
so-called _secondary treatment_, whose function it is to develop
something unified, something approximately coherent from the final
products of the dream-work. In so doing the material is often arranged
in an entirely misleading sense and insertions are made wherever it
seems necessary.

On the other hand, we must not over-estimate the dream-work, nor
attribute too much to it. The processes which we have enumerated tell
the full tale of its functioning; beyond condensing, displacing,
representing plastically, and then subjecting the whole to a secondary
treatment, it can do nothing. Whatever of judgment, of criticism, of
surprise, and of deduction are to be found in the dream are not products
of the dream-work and are only very seldom signs of afterthoughts about
the dream, but are generally parts of the latent dream thought, which
have passed over into the manifest dream, more or less modified and
adapted to the context. In the matter of composing speeches, the
dream-work can also do nothing. Except for a few examples, the speeches
in the dream are imitations and combinations of speeches heard or made
by oneself during the day, and which have been introduced into the
latent thought, either as material or as stimuli for the dream. Neither
can the dream pose problems; when these are found in the dream, they are
in the main combinations of numbers, semblances of examples that are
quite absurd or merely copies of problems in the latent dream thought.
Under these conditions it is not surprising that the interest which has
attached itself to the dream-work is soon deflected from it to the
latent dream thoughts which are revealed in more or less distorted form
in the manifest dream. It is not justifiable, however, to have this
change go so far that in a theoretical consideration one regularly
substitutes the latent dream thought for the dream itself, and
maintains of the latter what can hold only for the former. It is odd
that the results of psychoanalysis should be misused for such an
exchange. "Dream" can mean nothing but the result of the dream-work,
that is, the _form_ into which the latent dream thoughts have been
translated by the dream-work.

Dream-work is a process of a very peculiar sort, the like of which has
hitherto not been discovered in psychic life. These condensations,
displacements, regressive translations of thoughts into pictures, are
new discoveries which richly repay our efforts in the field of
psychoanalysis. You will realize from the parallel to the dream-work,
what connections psychoanalytic studies will reveal with other fields,
especially with the development of speech and thought. You can only
surmise the further significance of these connections when you hear that
the mechanism of the dream structure is the model for the origin of
neurotic symptoms.

I know too that we cannot as yet estimate the entire contribution that
this work has made to psychology. We shall only indicate the new proofs
that have been given of the existence of unconscious psychic acts--for
such are the latent dream thoughts--and the unexpectedly wide approach
to the understanding of the unconscious psychic life that dream
interpretation opens up to us.

The time has probably come, however, to illustrate separately, by
various little examples of dreams, the connected facts for which you
have been prepared.



_Analysis of Sample Dreams_

I hope you will not be disappointed if I again lay before you excerpts
from dream analyses instead of inviting you to participate in the
interpretation of a beautiful long dream. You will say that after so
much preparation you ought to have this right, and that after the
successful interpretation of so many thousands of dreams it should long
ago have become possible to assemble a collection of excellent dream
samples with which we could demonstrate all our assertions concerning
dream-work and dream thoughts. Yes, but the difficulties which stand in
the way of the fulfillment of your wish are too many.

First of all, I must confess to you that no one practices dream
interpretation as his main occupation. When does one interpret dreams?
Occasionally one can occupy himself with the dream of some friend,
without any special purpose, or else he may work with his own dreams for
a time in order to school himself in psychoanalytic method; most often,
however, one deals with the dreams of nervous individuals who are
undergoing analytic treatment. These latter dreams are excellent
material, and in no way inferior to those of normal persons, but one is
forced by the technique of the treatment to subordinate dream analysis
to therapeutic aims and to pass over a large number of dreams after
having derived something from them that is of use in the treatment. Many
dreams we meet with during the treatment are, as a matter of fact,
impossible of complete analysis. Since they spring from the total mass
of psychic material which is still unknown to us, their understanding
becomes possible only after the completion of the cure. Besides, to tell
you such dreams would necessitate the disclosure of all the secrets
concerning a neurosis. That will not do for us, since we have taken the
dream as preparation for the study of the neuroses.

I know you would gladly leave this material, and would prefer to hear
the dreams of healthy persons, or your own dreams explained. But that is
impossible because of the content of these dreams. One can expose
neither himself, nor another whose confidence he has won, so
inconsiderately as would result from a thorough interpretation of his
dreams--which, as you already know, refer to the most intimate things of
his personality. In addition to this difficulty, caused by the nature of
the material, there is another that must be considered when
communicating a dream. You know the dream seems strange even to the
dreamer himself, let alone to one who does not know the dreamer. Our
literature is not poor in good and detailed dream analyses. I myself
have published some in connection with case histories. Perhaps the best
example of a dream interpretation is the one published by O. Rank, being
two related dreams of a young girl, covering about two pages of print,
the analysis covering seventy-six pages. I would need about a whole
semester in order to take you through such a task. If we select a longer
or more markedly distorted dream, we have to make so many explanations,
we must make use of so many free associations and recollections, must go
into so many bypaths, that a lecture on the subject would be entirely
unsatisfactory and inconclusive. So I must ask you to be content with
what is more easily obtained, with the recital of small bits of dreams
of neurotic persons, in which we may be able to recognize this or that
isolated fact. Dream symbols are the most easily demonstrable, and after
them, certain peculiarities of regressive dream representations.[34] I
shall tell you why I considered each of the following dreams worthy of

1. A dream, consisting of only two brief pictures: "_The dreamer's uncle
is smoking a cigarette, although it is Saturday. A woman caresses him as
though he were her child._"

In commenting on the first picture, the dreamer (a Jew) remarks that his
uncle is a pious man who never did, and never would do, anything so
sinful as smoking on the Sabbath. As to the woman of the second picture,
he has no free associations other than his mother. These two pictures or
thoughts should obviously be brought into connection with each other,
but how? Since he expressly rules out the reality of his uncle's action,
then it is natural to interpolate an "if." "_If_ my uncle, that pious
man, should smoke a cigarette on Saturday, then I could also permit my
mother's caresses." This obviously means that the mother's caresses are
prohibited, in the same manner as is smoking on Saturday, to a pious
Jew. You will recall, I told you that all relations between the dream
thoughts disappear in the dream-work, that these relations are broken up
into their raw material, and that it is the task of interpretation to
re-interpolate the omitted connections.

2. Through my publications on dreams I have become, in certain respects,
the public consultant on matters pertaining to dreams, and for many
years I have been receiving communications from the most varied sources,
in which dreams are related to me or presented to me for my judgment. I
am of course grateful to all those persons who include with the story of
the dream, enough material to make an interpretation possible, or who
give such an interpretation themselves. It is in this category that the
following dream belongs, the dream of a Munich physician in the year
1910. I select it because it goes to show how impossible of
understanding a dream generally is before the dreamer has given us what
information he has about it. I suspect that at bottom you consider the
ideal dream interpretation that in which one simply inserts the meaning
of the symbols, and would like to lay aside the technique of free
association to the dream elements. I wish to disabuse your minds of this
harmful error.

"On July 13, 1910, toward morning, I dreamed _that I was bicycling down
a street in Tübingen, when a brown Dachshund tore after me and caught me
by the heel. A bit further on I get off, seat myself on a step, and
begin to beat the beast, which has clenched its teeth tight._ (_I feel
no discomfort from the biting or the whole scene._) _Two elderly ladies
are sitting opposite me and watching me with grins on their faces. Then
I wake up and, as so often happens to me, the whole dream becomes
perfectly clear to me in this moment of transition to the waking

Symbols are of little use in this case. The dreamer, however, informs
us, "I lately fell in love with a girl, just from seeing her on the
street, but had no means of becoming acquainted with her. The most
pleasant means might have been the Dachshund, since I am a great lover
of animals, and also felt that the girl was in sympathy with this
characteristic." He also adds that he repeatedly interfered in the
fights of scuffling dogs with great dexterity and frequently to the
great amazement of the spectators. Thus we learn that the girl, who
pleased him, was always accompanied by this particular dog. This girl,
however, was disregarded in the manifest dream, and there remained only
the dog which he associates with her. Perhaps the elderly ladies who
simpered at him took the place of the girl. The remainder of what he
tells us is not enough to explain this point. Riding a bicycle in the
dream is a direct repetition of the remembered situation. He had never
met the girl with the dog except when he was on his bicycle.

3. When anyone has lost a loved one, he produces dreams of a special
sort for a long time afterward, dreams in which the knowledge of death
enters into the most remarkable compromises with the desire to have the
deceased alive again. At one time the deceased is dead and yet continues
to live on because he does not know that he is dead, and would die
completely only if he knew it; at another time he is half dead and half
alive, and each of these conditions has its particular signs. One cannot
simply label these dreams nonsense, for to come to life again is no more
impossible in the dream than, for example, it is in the fairy story, in
which it occurs as a very frequent fate. As far as I have been able to
analyze such dreams, I have always found them to be capable of a
sensible solution, but that the pious wish to recall the deceased to
life goes about expressing itself by the oddest methods. Let me tell you
such a dream, which seems queer and senseless enough, and analysis of
which will show you many of the points for which you have been prepared
by our theoretical discussions. The dream is that of a man who had lost
his father many years previously.

"_Father is dead, but has been exhumed and looks badly. He goes on
living, and the dreamer does everything to prevent him from noticing
that fact._" Then the dream goes on to other things, apparently

The father is dead, that we know. That he was exhumed is not really
true, nor is the truth of the rest of the dream important. But the
dreamer tells us that when he came back from his father's funeral, one
of his teeth began to ache. He wanted to treat this tooth according to
the Jewish precept, "If thy tooth offend thee, pluck it out," and betook
himself to the dentist. But the latter said, "One does not simply pull a
tooth out, one must have patience with it. I shall inject something to
kill the nerve. Come again in three days and then I will take it out."

"This 'taking it out'," says the dreamer suddenly, "is the exhuming."

Is the dreamer right? It does not correspond exactly, only
approximately, for the tooth is not taken out, but something that has
died off is taken out of it. But after our other experiences we are
probably safe in believing that the dream work is capable of such
inaccuracies. It appears that the dreamer condensed, fused into one, his
dead father and the tooth that was killed but retained. No wonder then,
that in the manifest dream something senseless results, for it is
impossible for everything that is said of the tooth to fit the father.
What is it that serves as something intermediate between tooth and
father and makes this condensation possible?

This interpretation must be correct, however, for the dreamer says that
he is acquainted with the saying that when one dreams of losing a tooth
it means that one is going to lose a member of his family.

We know that this popular interpretation is incorrect, or at least is
correct only in a scurrilous sense. For that reason it is all the more
surprising to find this theme thus touched upon in the background of
other portions of the dream content.

Without any further urging, the dreamer now begins to tell of his
father's illness and death as well as of his relations with him. The
father was sick a long time, and his care and treatment cost him, the
son, much money. And yet it was never too much for him, he never grew
impatient, never wished it might end soon. He boasts of his true Jewish
piety toward his father, of rigid adherence to the Jewish precepts. But
are you not struck by a contradiction in the thoughts of the dream? He
had identified tooth with father. As to the tooth he wanted to follow
the Jewish precept that carries out its own judgment, "pull it out if it
causes pain and annoyance." He had also been anxious to follow the
precept of the law with regard to his father, which in this case,
however, tells him to disregard trouble and expense, to take all the
burdens upon himself and to let no hostile intent arise toward the
object which causes the pain. Would not the agreement be far more
compelling if he had really developed feelings toward his father similar
to those about his sick tooth; that is, had he wished that a speedy
death should put an end to that superfluous, painful and expensive

I do not doubt that this was really his attitude toward his father
during the latter's extended illness, and that his boastful assurances
of filial piety were intended to distract his attention from these
recollections. Under such circumstances, the death-wish directed toward
the parent generally becomes active, and disguises itself in phrases of
sympathetic consideration such as, "It would really be a blessed release
for him." But note well that we have here overcome an obstacle in the
latent dream thoughts themselves. The first part of these thoughts was
surely unconscious only temporarily, that is to say, during the
dream-work, while the inimical feelings toward the father might have
been permanently unconscious, dating perhaps from childhood,
occasionally slipping into consciousness, shyly and in disguise, during
his father's illness. We can assert this with even greater certainty of
other latent thoughts which have made unmistakable contributions to the
dream content. To be sure, none of these inimical feelings toward the
father can be discovered in the dream. But when we search a childhood
history for the root of such enmity toward the father, we recollect that
fear of the father arises because the latter, even in the earliest
years, opposes the boy's sex activities, just as he is ordinarily forced
to oppose them again, after puberty, for social motives. This relation
to the father applies also to our dreamer; there had been mixed with his
love for him much respect and fear, having its source in early sex

From the onanism complex we can now explain the other parts of the
manifest dream. "_He looks badly_" does, to be sure, allude to another
remark of the dentist, that it looks badly to have a tooth missing in
that place; but at the same time it refers to the "looking badly" by
which the young man betrayed, or feared to betray, his excessive sexual
activity during puberty. It was not without lightening his own heart
that the dreamer transposed the bad looks from himself to his father in
the manifest content, an inversion of the dream work with which you are
familiar. "_He goes on living since then_," disguises itself with the
wish to have him alive again as well as with the promise of the dentist
that the tooth will be preserved. A very subtle phrase, however, is the
following: "The dreamer does everything _to prevent him_ (_the father_)
_from noticing the fact_," a phrase calculated to lead us to conclude
that he is dead. Yet the only meaningful conclusion is again drawn from
the onanism complex, where it is a matter of course for the young man to
do everything in order to hide his sex life from his father. Remember,
in conclusion, that we were constantly forced to interpret the so-called
tooth-ache dreams as dreams dealing with the subject of onanism and the
punishment that is feared.

You now see how this incomprehensible dream came into being, by the
creation of a remarkable and misleading condensation, by the fact that
all the ideas emerge from the midst of the latent thought process, and
by the creation of ambiguous substitute formations for the most hidden
and, at the time, most remote of these thoughts.

4. We have tried repeatedly to understand those prosaic and banal dreams
which have nothing foolish or repulsive about them, but which cause us
to ask: "Why do we dream such unimportant stuff?" So I shall give you a
new example of this kind, three dreams belonging together, all of which
were dreamed in the same night by a young woman.

(_a_). "_She it going through the hall of her house and strikes her head
against the low-hanging chandelier, so that her head bleeds._"

She has no reminiscence to contribute, nothing that really happened. The
information she gives leads in quite another direction. "You know how
badly my hair is falling out. Mother said to me yesterday, 'My child, if
it goes on like this, you will have a head like the cheek of a
buttock.'" Thus the head here stands for the other part of the body. We
can understand the chandelier symbolically without other help; all
objects that can be lengthened are symbols of the male organ. Thus the
dream deals with a bleeding at the lower end of the body, which results
from its collision with the male organ. This might still be ambiguous;
her further associations show that it has to do with her belief that
menstrual bleeding results from sexual intercourse with a man, a bit of
sexual theory believed by many immature girls.

(_b_). "_She sees a deep hole in the vineyard which she knows was made
by pulling out a tree._" Herewith her remark that "_she misses the
tree_." She means that she did not see the tree in the dream, but the
same phrase serves to express another thought which symbolic
interpretation makes completely certain. The dream deals with another
bit of the infantile sex theory, namely, with the belief that girls
originally had the same genitals as boys and that the later conformation
resulted from castration (pulling out of a tree).

(_c_). "_She is standing in front of the drawer of her writing table,
with which she is so familiar that she knows immediately if anybody has
been through it._" The writing-table drawer, like every drawer, chest,
or box, stands for the female genital. She knows that one can recognize
from the genital the signs of sexual intercourse (and, as she thinks,
even of any contact at all) and she has long been afraid of such a
conviction. I believe that the accent in all these dreams is to be laid
upon the idea of _knowing_. She is reminded of the time of her childish
sexual investigations, the results of which made her quite proud at the

5. Again a little bit of symbolism. But this time I must first describe
the psychic situation in a short preface. A man who spent the night with
a woman describes his partner as one of those motherly natures whose
desire for a child irresistibly breaks through during intercourse. The
circumstances of their meeting, however, necessitated a precaution
whereby the fertilizing discharge of semen is kept away from the womb.
Upon awaking after this night, the woman tells the following dream:

"_An officer with a red cap follows her on the street. She flees from
him, runs up the staircase, and he follows after her. Breathlessly she
reaches her apartment and slams and locks the door behind her. He
remains outside and as she looks through a peephole she sees him sitting
outside on a bench and weeping._"

You undoubtedly recognize in the pursuit by an officer with a red cap,
and the breathless stair climbing, the representation of the sexual act.
The fact that the dreamer locks herself in against the pursuer may serve
as an example of that inversion which is so frequently used in dreams,
for in reality it was the man who withdrew before the completion of the
act. In the same way her grief has been transposed to the partner, it is
he who weeps in the dream, whereby the discharge of the semen is also

You must surely have heard that in psychoanalysis it is always
maintained that all dreams have a sexual meaning. Now you yourselves are
in a position to form a judgment as to the incorrectness of this
reproach. You have become acquainted with the wish-fulfillment dreams,
which deal with the satisfying of the plainest needs, of hunger, of
thirst, of longing for freedom, the dreams of convenience and of
impatience and likewise the purely covetous and egoistic dreams. But
that the markedly distorted dreams preponderantly--though again not
exclusively--give expression to sex wishes, is a fact you may certainly
keep in mind as one of the results of psychoanalytical research.

6. I have a special motive for piling up examples of the use of symbols
in dreams. At our first meeting I complained of how hard it is, when
lecturing on psychoanalysis, to demonstrate the facts in order to awaken
conviction; and you very probably have come to agree with me since then.
But the various assertions of psychoanalysis are so closely linked that
one's conviction can easily extend from one point to a larger part of
the whole. We might say of psychoanalysis that if we give it our little
finger it promptly demands the whole hand. Anyone who was convinced by
the explanation of errors can no longer logically disbelieve in all the
rest of psychoanalysis. A second equally accessible point of approach is
furnished by dream symbolism. I shall give you a dream, already
published, of a peasant woman, whose husband is a watchman and who has
certainly never heard anything about dream symbolism and psychoanalysis.
You may then judge for yourselves whether its explanation with the help
of sex symbols can be called arbitrary and forced.

"_Then someone broke into her house and she called in fright for a
watchman. But the latter had gone companionably into a church together
with two 'beauties.' A number of steps led up to the church. Behind the
church was a hill, and on its crest a thick forest. The watchman was
fitted out with a helmet, gorget and a cloak. He had a full brown beard.
The two were going along peacefully with the watchman, had sack-like
aprons bound around their hips. There was a path from the church to the
hill. This was overgrown on both sides with grass and underbrush that
kept getting thicker and that became a regular forest on the crest of
the hill._"

You will recognize the symbols without any difficulty. The male genital
is represented by a trinity of persons, the female by a landscape with a
chapel, hill and forest. Again you encounter steps as the symbol of the
sexual act. That which is called a hill in the dream has the same name
in anatomy, namely, _mons veneris_, the mount of Venus.

7. I have another dream which can be solved by means of inserting
symbols, a dream that is remarkable and convincing because the dreamer
himself translated all the symbols, even though he had had no
preliminary knowledge of dream interpretation. This situation is very
unusual and the conditions essential to its occurrence are not clearly

"_He is going for a walk with his father in some place which must be the
Prater_,[35] _for one can see the rotunda and before it a smaller
building to which is anchored a captive balloon, which, however, seems
fairly slack. His father asks him what all that is for; he wonders at it
himself but explains it to his father. Then they come to a courtyard in
which there lies spread out a big sheet of metal. His father wants to
break off a big piece of it for himself but first looks about him to see
if anyone might see him. He says to him that all he needs to do is to
tell the inspector and then he can take some without more ado. There are
steps leading from this courtyard down into a pit, the walls of which
are upholstered with some soft material rather like a leather arm chair.
At the end of this pit is a longish platform and then a new pit

The dreamer himself interprets as follows: "The rotunda is my genital,
the balloon in front of it is my penis, of whose slackness I have been
complaining." Thus one may translate in more detail, that the rotunda is
the posterior--a part of the body which the child regularly considers as
part of the genital--while the smaller building before it is the
scrotum. In the dream his father asks him what all that is for; that is
to say, he asks the object and function of the genitals. It is easy to
turn this situation around so that the dreamer is the one who does the
asking. Since no such questioning of the father ever took place in real
life, we must think of the thought of this dream as a wish or consider
it in the light of a supposition, "If I had asked father for sexual
enlightenment." We will find the continuation of this idea in another
place shortly.

The courtyard, in which the sheet metal lies spread out, is not to be
considered primarily as symbolical but refers to the father's place of
business. For reasons of discretion I have substituted the "sheet metal"
for another material with which the father deals, without changing
anything in the literal wording of the dream. The dreamer entered his
father's business and took great offense at the rather dubious practices
upon which the profits depended to a large extent. For this reason the
continuation of the above idea of the dream might be expressed as "if I
had asked him, he would only have deceived me as he deceives his
customers." The dreamer himself gives us the second meaning of "breaking
off the metal," which serves to represent the commercial dishonesty. He
says it means masturbation. Not only have we long since become familiar
with this symbol, but the fact also is in agreement. The secrecy of
masturbation is expressed by means of its opposite--"It can be safely
done openly." Again our expectations are fulfilled by the fact that
masturbatory activity is referred to as the father's, just as the
questioning was in the first scene of the dream. Upon being questioned
he immediately gives the interpretation of the pit as the vagina on
account of the soft upholstering of its walls. I will add arbitrarily
that the "going down" like the more usual "going up" is meant to
describe the sexual intercourse in the vagina.

Such details as the fact that the first pit ends in a platform and then
a new one begins, he explains himself as having been taken from his own
history. He practiced intercourse for a while, then gave it up on
account of inhibitions, and now hopes to be able to resume it as a
result of the treatment.

8. The two following dreams are those of a foreigner, of very polygamous
tendencies, and I give them to you as proof for the claim that one's ego
appears in every dream, even in those in which it is disguised in the
manifest content. The trunks in the dream are a symbol for woman.

(_a_). "_He is to take a trip, his luggage is placed on a carriage to
be taken to the station, and there are many trunks piled up, among which
are two big black ones like sample trunks. He says, consolingly, to
someone, 'Well, they are only going as far as the station with us.'_"

In reality he does travel with a great deal of luggage, but he also
brings many tales of women with him when he comes for treatment. The two
black trunks stand for two dark women who play the chief part in his
life at present. One of them wanted to travel to Vienna after him, but
he telegraphed her not to, upon my advice.

(_b_). A scene at the customs house: "_A fellow traveler opens his trunk
and says indifferently while puffing a cigarette, 'There's nothing in
here.' The customs official seems to believe him but delves into the
trunk once more and finds something particularly forbidden. The traveler
then says resignedly, 'Well, there's no help for it.'_"

He himself is the traveler, I the customs official. Though otherwise
very frank in his confessions, he has on this occasion tried to conceal
from me a new relationship which he had struck up with a lady whom he
was justified in believing that I knew. The painful situation of being
convicted of this is transposed into a strange person so that he himself
apparently is not present in the dream.

9. The following is an example of a symbol which I have not yet

"_He meets his sister in company with two friends who are themselves
sisters. He extends his hand to both of them but not to his sister._"

This is no allusion to a real occurrence. His thoughts instead lead him
back to a time when his observations made him wonder why a girl's
breasts develop so late. The two sisters, therefore, are the breasts. He
would have liked to touch them if only it had not been his sister.

10. Let me add an example of a symbol of death in a dream:

"_He is walking with two persons whose name he knows but has forgotten.
By the time he is awake, over a very high, steep iron bridge. Suddenly
the two people are gone and he sees a ghostly man with a cap, and clad
in white. He asks this man whether he is the telegraph messenger.... No.
Or is he a coachman? No. Then he goes on,_" and even in the dream he is
in great fear. After waking he continues the dream by a phantasy in
which the iron bridge suddenly breaks, and he plunges into the abyss.

When the dreamer emphasizes the fact that certain individuals in a dream
are unknown, that he has forgotten their names, they are generally
persons standing in very close relationship to the dreamer. This dreamer
has two sisters; if it be true, as his dream indicates, that he wished
these two dead, then it would only be justice if the fear of death fell
upon him for so doing. In connection with the telegraph messenger he
remarks that such people always bring bad news. Judged by his uniform he
might also have been the lamp-lighter, who, however, also extinguishes
the lamps--in other words, as the spirit of death extinguishes the flame
of life. The coachman reminds him of Uhland's poem of King Karl's ocean
voyage and also of a dangerous lake trip with two companions in which he
played the role of the king in the poem. In connection with the iron
bridge he remembers a recent accident and the stupid saying "Life is a
suspension bridge."

11. The following may serve as another example of the representation of
death in a dream: "_An unknown man leaves a black bordered visiting card
for him._"

12. The following dream will interest you for several reasons, though it
is one arising from a neurotic condition among other things:

"_He is traveling in a train. The train stops in an open field. He
thinks it means that there is going to be an accident, that he must save
himself, and he goes through all the compartments of the train and
strikes dead everyone whom he meets, conductors, engine drivers, etc._"

In connection with this he tells a story that one of his friends told
him. An insane man was being transported in a private compartment in a
certain place in Italy, but through some mistake another traveler was
put in the same compartment. The insane man murdered his fellow
passenger. Thus he identifies himself with this insane person and bases
his right so to do upon a compulsive idea which was then torturing him,
namely, he must "do away with all persons who knew of his failings." But
then he himself finds a better motivation which gave rise to the dream.
The day before, in the theatre, he again saw the girl whom he had
expected to marry but whom he had left because she had given him cause
for jealousy. With a capacity for intense jealousy such as he has, he
would really be insane if he married. In other words, he considers her
so untrustworthy that out of jealousy he would have to strike dead all
the persons who stood in his way. Going through a series of rooms, of
compartments in this case, we have already learned to recognize as the
symbol of marriage (the opposite of monogamy).

In connection with the train stopping in the open country and his fear
of an accident, he tells the following: Once, when he was traveling in a
train and it came to a sudden stop outside of a station, a young lady in
the compartment remarked that perhaps there was going to be a collision,
and that in that case the best precaution would be to pull one's legs
up. But this "legs up" had also played a role in the many walks and
excursions into the open which he had taken with the girl in that happy
period in their first love. Thus it is a new argument for the idea that
he would have to be crazy in order to marry her now. But from my
knowledge of the situation I can assume with certainty that the wish to
be as crazy as that nevertheless exists in him.



_Archaic Remnants and Infantilism in the Dream_

Let us revert to our conclusion that the dream-work, under the influence
of the dream censorship, transforms the latent dream thoughts into some
other form of expression. The latent thoughts are no other than the
conscious thoughts known to us in our waking hours; the new mode of
expression is incomprehensible to us because of its many-sided features.
We have said it extends back to conditions of our intellectual
development which we have long progressed beyond, to the language of
pictures, the symbol-representations, perhaps to those conditions which
were in force before the development of our language of thought. So we
called the mode of expression of the dream-work the archaic or

You may conclude that as a result of the deeper study of the dream-work
we gain valuable information about the rather unknown beginnings of our
intellectual development. I trust this will be true, but this work has
not, up to the present time, been undertaken. The antiquity into which
the dream-work carries us back is of a double aspect, firstly, the
individual antiquity, childhood; and, secondly (in so far as every
individual in his childhood lives over again in some more or less
abbreviated manner the entire development of the human race), also this
antiquity, the philogenetic. That we shall be able to differentiate
which part of the latent psychic proceeding has its source in the
individual, and which part in the philogenetic antiquity is not
improbable. In this connection it appears to me, for example, that the
symbolic relations which the individual has never learned are ground for
the belief that they should be regarded as a philogenetic inheritance.

However, this is not the only archaic characteristic of the dream. You
probably all know from your own experiences the peculiar amnesia, that
is, loss of memory, concerning childhood. I mean the fact that the first
years, to the fifth, sixth or eighth, have not left the same traces in
our memory as have later experiences. One meets with individual persons,
to be sure, who can boast of a continuous memory from the very beginning
to the present day, but the other condition, that of a gap in the
memory, is far more frequent. I believe we have not laid enough stress
on this fact. The child is able to speak well at the age of two, it soon
shows that it can become adjusted to the most complicated psychic
situations, and makes remarks which years later are retold to it, but
which it has itself entirely forgotten. Besides, the memory in the early
years is more facile, because it is less burdened than in later years.
Nor is there any reason for considering the memory-function as a
particularly high or difficult psychic performance; in fact, the
contrary is true, and you can find a good memory in persons who stand
very low intellectually.

As a second peculiarity closely related to the first, I must point out
that certain well-preserved memories, for the most part formatively
experienced, stand forth in this memory-void which surrounds the first
years of childhood and do not justify this hypothesis. Our memory deals
selectively with its later materials, with impressions which come to us
in later life. It retains the important and discards the unimportant.
This is not true of the retained childhood memories. They do not bespeak
necessarily important experiences of childhood, not even such as from
the viewpoint of the child need appear of importance. They are often so
banal and intrinsically so meaningless that we ask ourselves in wonder
why just these details have escaped being forgotten. I once endeavored
to approach the riddle of childhood amnesia and the interrupted memory
remnants with the help of analysis, and I arrived at the conclusion that
in the case of the child, too, only the important has remained in the
memory, except that by means of the process of condensation already
known to you, and especially by means of distortion, the important is
represented in the memory by something that appears unimportant. For
this reason I have called these childhood memories "disguise-memories,"
memories used to conceal; by means of careful analysis one is able to
develop out of them everything that is forgotten.

In psychoanalytic treatment we are regularly called upon to fill out the
infantile memory gaps, and in so far as the cure is to any degree
successful, we are able again to bring to light the content of the
childhood years thus clouded in forgetfulness. These impressions have
never really been forgotten, they have only been inaccessible, latent,
have belonged to the unconscious. But sometimes they bob up out of the
unconscious spontaneously, and, as a matter of fact, this is what
happens in dreams. It is apparent that the dream life knows how to find
the entrance to these latent, infantile experiences. Beautiful examples
of this occur in literature, and I myself can present such an example. I
once dreamed in a certain connection of a person who must have performed
some service for me, and whom I clearly saw. He was a one-eyed man,
short in stature, stout, his head deeply sunk into his neck. I concluded
from the content that he was a physician. Luckily I was able to ask my
mother, who was still living, how the physician in my birth-place, which
I left when I was three years old, looked, and I learned from her that
he had one eye, was short and stout, with his head sunk into his neck,
and also learned at what forgotten mishap he had been of service to me.
This control over the forgotten material of childhood years is, then, a
further archaic tendency of the dream.

The same information may be made use of in another of the puzzles that
have presented themselves to us. You will recall how astonished people
were when we came to the conclusion that the stimuli which gave rise to
dreams were extremely bad and licentious sexual desires which have made
dream-censorship and dream-distortion necessary. After we have
interpreted such a dream for the dreamer and he, in the most favorable
circumstances does not attack the interpretation itself, he almost
always asks the question whence such a wish comes, since it seems
foreign to him and he feels conscious of just the opposite sensations.
We need not hesitate to point out this origin. These evil wish-impulses
have their origin in the past, often in a past which is not too far
away. It can be shown that at one time they were known and conscious,
even if they no longer are so. The woman, whose dream is interpreted to
mean that she would like to see her seventeen-year old daughter dead,
discovers under our guidance that she in fact at one time entertained
this wish. The child is the fruit of an unhappy marriage, which early
ended in a separation. Once, while the child was still in the womb, and
after a tense scene with her husband, she beat her body with her fists
in a fit of anger, in order to kill the child. How many mothers who
to-day love their children tenderly, perhaps too tenderly, received them
unwillingly, and at the time wished that the life within them would not
develop further; indeed, translated this wish into various actions,
happily harmless. The later death-wish against some loved one, which
seems so strange, also has its origin in early phases of the
relationship to that person.

The father, the interpretation of whose dream shows that he wishes for
the death of his eldest and favorite child, must be reminded of the fact
that at one time this wish was no stranger to him. While the child was
still a suckling, this man, who was unhappy in his choice of a wife,
often thought that if the little being that meant nothing to him would
die, he would again be free, and would make better use of his freedom. A
like origin may be found for a large number of similar hate impulses;
they are recollections of something that belonged to the past, were once
conscious and played their parts in the psychic life. You will wish to
conclude therefrom that such wishes and such dreams cannot occur if such
changes in the relationship to a person have not taken place; if such
relationship was always of the same character. I am ready to admit this,
only wish to warn you that you are to take into consideration not the
exact terms of the dream, but the meaning thereof according to its
interpretation. It may happen that the manifest dream of the death of
some loved person has only made use of some frightful mask, that it
really means something entirely different, or that the loved person
serves as a concealing substitute for some other.

But the same circumstances will call forth another, more difficult
question. You say: "Granted this death wish was present at some time or
other, and is substantiated by memory, yet this is no explanation. It is
long outlived, to-day it can be present only in the unconscious and as
an empty, emotionless memory, but not as a strong impulse. Why should it
be recalled by the dream at all!" This question is justified. The
attempt to answer it would lead us far afield and necessitate taking up
a position in one of the most important points of dream study. But I
must remain within the bounds of our discussion and practice restraint.
Prepare yourselves for the temporary abstention. Let us be satisfied
with the circumstantial proof that this outlived wish can be shown to
act as a dream stimulator and let us continue the investigation to see
whether or not other evil wishes admit of the same derivation out of the

Let us continue with the removal or death-wish which most frequently can
be traced back to the unbounded egoism of the dreamer. Such a wish can
very often be shown to be the inciting cause of the dream. As often as
someone has been in our way in life--and how often must this happen in
the complicated relationships of life--the dream is ready to do away
with him, be he father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, etc. We have
wondered sufficiently over this evil tendency of human nature, and
certainly were not predisposed to accept the authenticity of this result
of dream interpretation without question. After it has once been
suggested to us to seek the origin of such wishes in the past, we
disclose immediately the period of the individual past in which such
egoism and such wish-impulses, even as directed against those closest to
the dreamer, are no longer strangers. It is just in these first years of
childhood which later are hidden by amnesia, that this egoism frequently
shows itself in most extreme form, and from which regular but clear
tendencies thereto, or real remnants thereof, show themselves. For the
child loves itself first, and later learns to love others, to sacrifice
something of its ego for another. Even those persons whom the child
seems to love from the very beginning, it loves at the outset because it
has need of them, cannot do without them, in others words, out of
egoistical motives. Not until later does the love impulse become
independent of egoism. _In brief, egoism has taught the child to love._

In this connection it is instructive to compare the child's regard for
his brothers and sisters with that which he has for his parents. The
little child does not necessarily love his brothers and sisters, often,
obviously, he does not love them at all. There is no doubt that in them
he hates his rivals and it is known how frequently this attitude
continues for many years until maturity, and even beyond, without
interruption. Often enough this attitude is superseded by a more tender
feeling, or rather let us say glossed over, but the hostile feeling
appears regularly to have been the earlier. It is most noticeable in
children of from two and one-half to four or five years of age, when a
new little brother or sister arrives. The latter is usually received in
a far from friendly manner. Expressions such as "I don't want him! Let
the stork take him away again," are very usual. Subsequently every
opportunity is made use of to disparage the new arrival, and even
attempts to do him bodily harm, direct attacks, are not unheard of. If
the difference in age is less, the child learns of the existence of the
rival with intense psychic activity, and accommodates himself to the new
situation. If the difference in age is greater, the new child may awaken
certain sympathies as an interesting object, as a sort of living doll,
and if the difference is eight years or more, motherly impulses,
especially in the case of girls, may come into play. But to be truthful,
when we disclose in a dream the wish for the death of a mother or sister
we need seldom find it puzzling and may trace its origin easily to early
childhood, often enough, also, to the propinquity of later years.

Probably no nurseries are free from mighty conflicts among the
inhabitants. The motives are rivalry for the love of the parents,
articles owned in common, the room itself. The hostile impulses are
called forth by older as well as younger brothers and sisters. I believe
it was Bernard Shaw who said: "If there is anyone who hates a young
English lady more than does her mother, it is her elder sister." There
is something about this saying, however, that arouses our antipathy. We
can, at a pinch, understand hatred of brothers and sisters, and rivalry
among them, but how may feelings of hatred force their way into the
relationship between daughter and mother, parents and children?

This relationship is without doubt the more favorable, even when looked
at from the viewpoint of the child. This is in accord with our
expectation; we find it much more offensive for love between parents and
children to be lacking than for love between brothers and sisters. We
have, so to speak, made something holy in the first instance which in
the other case we permitted to remain profane. But daily observation can
show us how frequently the feelings between parents and their grown
children fail to come up to the ideal established by society, how much
enmity exists and would find expression did not accumulations of piety
and of tender impulse hold them back. The motives for this are
everywhere known and disclose a tendency to separate those of the same
sex, daughter from mother, father from son. The daughter finds in her
mother the authority that hems in her will and that is entrusted with
the task of causing her to carry out the abstention from sexual liberty
which society demands; in certain cases also she is the rival who
objects to being displaced. The same type of thing occurs in a more
glaring manner between father and son. To the son the father is the
embodiment of every social restriction, borne with such great
opposition; the father bars the way to freedom of will, to early sexual
satisfaction, and where there is family property held in common, to the
enjoyment thereof. Impatient waiting for the death of the father grows
to heights approximating tragedy in the case of a successor to the
throne. Less strained is the relationship between father and daughter,
mother and son. The latter affords the purest examples of an unalterable
tenderness, in no way disturbed by egoistical considerations.

Why do I speak of these things, so banal and so well known? Because
there is an unmistakable disposition to deny their significance in life,
and to set forth the ideal demanded by society as a fulfilled thing much
oftener than it really is fulfilled. But it is preferable for psychology
to speak the truth, rather than that this task should be left to the
cynic. In any event, this denial refers only to actual life. The arts of
narrative and dramatic poetry are still free to make use of the motives
that result from a disturbance of this ideal.

It is not to be wondered at that in the case of a large number of people
the dream discloses the wish for the removal of the parents, especially
the parent of the same sex. We may conclude that it is also present
during waking hours, and that it becomes conscious even at times when it
is able to mask itself behind another motive, as in the case of the
dreamer's sympathy for his father's unnecessary sufferings in example 3.
It is seldom that the enmity alone controls the relationship; much more
often it recedes behind more tender impulses, by which it is suppressed,
and must wait until a dream isolates it. That which the dream shows us
in enlarged form as a result of such isolation, shrinks together again
after it has been properly docketed in its relation to life as a result
of our interpretation (H. Sachs). But we also find this dream wish in
places where it has no connection with life, and where the adult, in his
waking hours, would never recognize it. The reason for this is that the
deepest and most uniform motive for becoming unfriendly, especially
between persons of the same sex, has already made its influence felt in
earliest childhood.

I mean the love rivalry, with the especial emphasis of the sex
character. The son, even as a small child, begins to develop an especial
tenderness for his mother, whom he considers as his own property, and
feels his father to be a rival who puts into question his individual
possession; and in the same manner the little daughter sees in her
mother a person who is a disturbing element in her tender relationship
with her father, and who occupies a position that she could very well
fill herself. One learns from these observations to what early years
these ideas extend back--ideas which we designate as the
_Oedipus-complex_, because this myth realizes with a very slightly
weakened effect the two extreme wishes which grow out of the situation
of the son--to kill his father and take his mother to wife. I do not
wish to maintain that the Oedipus-complex covers entirely the relation
of the child to its parents; this relation can be much more complicated.
Furthermore, the Oedipus-complex is more or less well-developed; it may
even experience a reversal, but it is a customary and very important
factor in the psychic life of the child; and one tends rather to
underestimate than to overestimate its influence and the developments
which may follow from it. In addition, children frequently react to the
Oedipus-idea through stimulation by the parents, who in the placing of
their affection are often led by sex-differences, so that the father
prefers the daughter, the mother the son; or again, where the marital
affection has cooled, and this love is substituted for the outworn love.

One cannot maintain that the world was very grateful to psychoanalytic
research for its discovery of the Oedipus-complex. On the contrary, it
called forth the strongest resistance on the part of adults; and persons
who had neglected to take part in denying this proscribed or tabooed
feeling-relationship later made good the omission by taking all value
from the complex through false interpretations. According to my
unchanged conviction there is nothing to deny and nothing to make more
palatable. One should accept the fact, recognized by the Greek myth
itself, as inevitable destiny. On the other hand, it is interesting that
this Oedipus-complex, cast out of life, was yielded up to poetry and
given the freest play. O. Rank has shown in a careful study how this
very Oedipus-complex has supplied dramatic literature with a large
number of motives in unending variations, derivations and disguises,
also in distorted forms such as we recognize to be the work of a censor.
We may also ascribe this Oedipus-complex to those dreamers who were so
fortunate as to escape in later life these conflicts with their parents,
and intimately associated therewith we find what we call the _castration
complex_, the reaction to sexual intimidation or restriction, ascribed
to the father, of early infantile sexuality.

By applying our former researches to the study of the psychic life of
the child, we may expect to find that the origin of other forbidden
dream-wishes, of excessive sexual impulses, may be explained in the same
manner. Thus we are moved to study the development of sex-life in the
child also, and we discover the following from a number of sources: In
the first place, it is a mistake to deny that the child has a sexual
life, and to take it for granted that sexuality commences with the
ripening of the genitals at the time of puberty. On the contrary--the
child has from the very beginning a sexual life rich in content and
differing in numerous respects from that which is later considered
normal. What we call "perverse" in the life of the adult, differs from
the normal in the following respects: first, in disregard for the
dividing line of species (the gulf between man and animal); second,
being insensible to the conventional feeling of disgust; third, the
incest-limitation (being prohibited from seeking sexual satisfaction
with near blood-relations); fourth, homosexuality, and fifth,
transferring the role of the genitals to other organs and other parts of
the body. None of these limitations exist in the beginning, but are
gradually built up in the course of development and education. The
little child is free from them. He knows no unbridgable chasm between
man and animal; the arrogance with which man distinguishes himself from
the animal is a later acquisition. In the beginning he is not disgusted
at the sight of excrement, but slowly learns to be so disgusted under
the pressure of education; he lays no special stress on the difference
between the sexes, rather accredits to both the same genital formation;
he directs his earliest sexual desires and his curiosity toward those
persons closest to him, and who are dear to him for various reasons--his
parents, brothers and sisters, nurses; and finally, you may observe in
him that which later breaks through again, raised now to a love
attraction, viz., that he does not expect pleasure from his sexual
organs alone, but that many other parts of the body portray the same
sensitiveness, are the media of analogous sensations, and are able to
play the role of the genitals. The child may, then, be called
"polymorphus perverse," and if he makes but slight use of all these
impulses, it is, on the one hand, because of their lesser intensity as
compared to later life, and on the other hand, because the bringing up
of the child immediately and energetically suppresses all his sexual
expressions. This suppression continues in theory, so to say, since the
grown-ups are careful to control part of the childish sex-expressions,
and to disguise another part by misrepresenting its sexual nature until
they can deny the whole business. These are often the same persons who
discourse violently against all the sexual faults of the child and then
at the writing table defend the sexual purity of the same children.
Where children are left to themselves or are under the influence of
corruption, they often are capable of really conspicuous performances of
perverse sexual activity. To be sure, the grown-ups are right in looking
upon these things as "childish performances," as "play," for the child
is not to be judged as mature and answerable either before the bar of
custom or before the law, but these things do exist, they have their
significance as indications of innate characteristics as well as causes
and furtherances of later developments, they give us an insight into
childhood sex-life and thereby into the sex life of man. When we
rediscover in the background of our distorted dreams all these perverse
wish-impulses, it means only that the dream has in this field traveled
back to the infantile condition.

Especially noteworthy among these forbidden wishes are those of incest,
i.e., those directed towards sexual intercourse with parents and
brothers and sisters. You know what antipathy society feels toward such
intercourse, or at least pretends to feel, and what weight is laid on
the prohibitions directed against it. The most monstrous efforts have
been made to explain this fear of incest. Some have believed that it is
due to evolutionary foresight on the part of nature, which is
psychically represented by this prohibition, because inbreeding would
deteriorate the race-character; others maintained that because of having
lived together since early childhood the sexual desire is diverted from
the persons under consideration. In both cases, furthermore, the
incest-avoidance would be automatically assured, and it would be
difficult to understand the need of strict prohibitions, which rather
point to the presence of a strong desire. Psychoanalytic research has
incontrovertibly shown that the incestuous love choice is rather the
first and most customary choice, and that not until later is there any
resistance, the source of which probably is to be found in the
individual psychology.

Let us sum up what our plunge into child psychology has given us toward
the understanding of the dream. We found not only that the materials of
forgotten childhood experiences are accessible to the dream, but we saw
also that the psychic life of children, with all its peculiarities, its
egoism, its incestuous love-choice, etc., continues, for the purposes of
the dream, in the unconscious, and that the dream nightly leads us back
to this infantile stage. Thus it becomes more certain _that the
unconscious in our psychic life is the infantile_. The estranging
impression that there is so much evil in man, begins to weaken. This
frightful evil is simply the original, primitive, infantile side of
psychic life, which we may find in action in children, which we overlook
partly because of the slightness of its dimensions, partly because it is
lightly considered, since we demand no ethical heights of the child.
Since the dream regresses to this stage, it seems to have made apparent
the evil that lies in us. But it is only a deceptive appearance by which
we have allowed ourselves to be frightened. We are not so evil as we
might suspect from the interpretation of dreams.

If the evil impulses of the dream are merely infantilism, a return to
the beginnings of our ethical development, since the dream simply makes
children of us again in thinking and in feeling, we need not be ashamed
of these evil dreams if we are reasonable. But being reasonable is only
a part of psychic life. Many things are taking place there that are not
reasonable, and so it happens that we are ashamed of such dreams, and
unreasonably. We turn them over to the dream-censorship, are ashamed and
angry if one of these dreams has in some unusual manner succeeded in
penetrating into consciousness in an undistorted form, so that we must
recognize it--in fact, we are at times just as ashamed of the distorted
dream as we would be if we understood it. Just think of the scandalized
opinion of the fine old lady about her uninterpreted dream of "services
of love." The problem is not yet solved, and it is still possible that
upon further study of the evil in the dream we shall come to some other
decision and arrive at another valuation of human nature.

As a result of the whole investigation we grasp two facts, which,
however, disclose only the beginnings of new riddles, new doubts. First:
the regression of dream-work is not only formal, it is also of greater
import. It not only translates our thoughts into a primitive form of
expression, but it reawakens the peculiarities of our primitive psychic
life, the ancient predominance of the ego, the earliest impulses of our
sexual life, even our old intellectual property, if we may consider the
symbolic relations as such. And second: We must accredit all these
infantilisms which once were governing, and solely governing, to the
unconscious, about which our ideas now change and are broadened.
Unconscious is no longer a name for what is at that time latent, the
unconscious is an especial psychic realm with wish-impulses of its own,
with its own method of expression and with a psychic mechanism peculiar
to itself, all of which ordinarily are not in force. But the latent
dream-thoughts, which we have solved by means of the dream-interpretation,
are not of this realm. They are much more nearly the same as any we may
have thought in our waking hours. Still they are unconscious; how does
one solve this contradiction? We begin to see that a distinction must be
made. Something that originates in our conscious life, and that shares
its characteristics--we call it the day-remnants--combines in the
dream-fabrication with something else out of the realm of the
unconscious. Between these two parts the dream-work completes itself.
The influencing of the day-remnants by the unconscious necessitates
regression. This is the deepest insight into the nature of the dream
that we are able to attain without having searched through further
psychic realms. The time will soon come, however, when we shall clothe
the unconscious character of the latent dream-thought with another name,
which shall differentiate it from the unconscious out of the realm of
the infantile.

We may, to be sure, propound the question: what forces the psychological
activity during sleep to such regression? Why do not the sleep
disturbing psychic stimuli do the job without it? And if they must,
because of the dream censorship, disguise themselves through old forms
of expression which are no longer comprehensible, what is the use of
giving new life to old, long-outgrown psychic stimuli, wishes and
character types, that is, why the material regression in addition to the
formal? The only satisfactory answer would be this, that only in this
manner can a dream be built up, that dynamically the dream-stimulus can
be satisfied only in this way. But for the time being we have no right
to give such an answer.



_Wish Fulfillment_

May I bring to your attention once more the ground we have already
covered? How, when we met with dream distortion in the application of
our technique, we decided to leave it alone for the time being, and set
out to obtain decisive information about the nature of the dream by way
of infantile dreams? How, then, armed with the results of this
investigation, we attacked dream distortion directly and, I trust, in
some measure overcame it? But we must remind ourselves that the results
we found along the one way and along the other do not fit together as
well as might be. It is now our task to put these two results together
and balance them against one another.

From both sources we have seen that the dream-work consists essentially
in the transposition of thoughts into an hallucinatory experience. How
that can take place is puzzling enough, but it is a problem of general
psychology with which we shall not busy ourselves here. We have learned
from the dreams of children that the purpose of the dream-work is the
satisfaction of one of the sleep-disturbing psychic stimuli by means of
a wish fulfillment. We were unable to make a similar statement
concerning distorted dreams, until we knew how to interpret them. But
from the very beginning we expected to be able to bring the distorted
dreams under the same viewpoint as the infantile. The earliest
fulfillment of this expectation led us to believe that as a matter of
fact all dreams are the dreams of children and that they all work with
infantile materials, through childish psychic stimuli and mechanics.
Since we consider that we have conquered dream-distortion, we must
continue the investigation to see whether our hypothesis of
wish-fulfillment holds good for distorted dreams also.

We very recently subjected a number of dreams to interpretation, but
left wish-fulfillment entirely out of consideration. I am convinced that
the question again and again occurred to you: "What about
wish-fulfillment, which ostensibly is the goal of dream-work?" This
question is important. It was, in fact, the question of our lay-critics.
As you know, humanity has an instinctive antagonism toward intellectual
novelties. The expression of such a novelty should immediately be
reduced to its narrowest limits, if possible, comprised in a commonplace
phrase. Wish-fulfillment has become that phrase for the new
dream-science. The layman asks: "Where is the wish-fulfillment?"
Immediately, upon having heard that the dream is supposed to be a
wish-fulfillment, and indeed, by the very asking of the question, he
answers it with a denial. He is at once reminded of countless
dream-experiences of his own, where his aversion to the dream was
enormous, so that the proposition of psychoanalytic dream-science seems
very improbable to him. It is a simple matter to answer the layman that
wish-fulfillment cannot be apparent in distorted dreams, but must be
sought out, so that it is not recognized until the dream is interpreted.
We know, too, that the wishes in these distorted dreams are prohibited
wishes, are wishes rejected by the censor and that their existence lit
the very cause of the dream distortion and the reason for the intrusion
of the dream censor. But it is hard to convince the lay-critic that one
may not seek the wish-fulfillment in the dream before the dream has been
interpreted. This is continually forgotten. His sceptical attitude
toward the theory of wish-fulfillment is really nothing more than a
consequence of dream-censorship, a substitute and a result of the denial
of this censored dream-wish.

To be sure, even we shall find it necessary to explain to ourselves why
there are so many dreams of painful content, and especially dreams of
fear. We see here, for the first time, the problem of the affects in the
dream, a problem worthy of separate investigation, but which
unfortunately cannot be considered here. If the dream is a
wish-fulfillment, painful experiences ought to be impossible in the
dream; in that the lay-critics apparently are right. But three
complications, not thought of by them, must be taken into consideration.

First: It may be that the dream work has not been successful in creating
a wish-fulfillment, so that a part of the painful effect of the
dream-thought is left over for the manifest dream. Analysis should then
show that these thoughts were far more painful even than the dream which
was built out of them. This much may be proved in each instance. We
admit, then, that the dream work has not achieved its purpose any more
than the drink-dream due to the thirst-stimulus has achieved its purpose
of satisfying the thirst. One remains thirsty, and must wake up in order
to drink. But it was a real dream, it sacrificed nothing of its nature.
We must say: "Although strength be lacking, let us praise the will to
do." The clearly recognizable intention, at least, remains praiseworthy.
Such cases of miscarriage are not unusual. A contributory cause is this,
that it is so much more difficult for the dream work to change affect
into content in its own sense; the affects often show great resistance,
and thus it happens that the dream work has worked the painful content
of the dream-thoughts over into a wish-fulfillment, while the painful
affect continues in its unaltered form. Hence in dreams of this type the
affect does not fit the content at all, and our critics may say the
dream is so little a wish-fulfillment that a harmless content may be
experienced as painful. In answer to this unintelligible remark we say
that the wish-fulfillment tendency in the dream-work appears most
prominent, because isolated, in just such dreams. The error is due to
the fact that he who does not know neurotics imagines the connection
between content and affect as all too intimate, and cannot, therefore,
grasp the fact that a content may be altered without any corresponding
change in the accompanying affect-expression.

A second, far more important and more extensive consideration, equally
disregarded by the layman, is the following: A wish-fulfillment
certainly must bring pleasure--but to whom? Naturally, to him who has
the wish. But we know from the dreamer that he stands in a very special
relationship to his wishes. He casts them aside, censors them, he will
have none of them. Their fulfillment gives him no pleasure, but only the
opposite. Experience then shows that this opposite, which must still be
explained, appears in the form of fear. The dreamer in his relation to
his dream-wishes can be compared only to a combination of two persons
bound together by some strong common quality. Instead of further
explanations I shall give you a well-known fairy tale, in which you will
again find the relationships I have mentioned. A good fairy promises a
poor couple, husband and wife, to fulfill their first three wishes. They
are overjoyed, and determine to choose their three wishes with great
care. But the woman allows herself to be led astray by the odor of
cooking sausages emanating from the next cottage, and wishes she had a
couple of such sausages. Presto! they are there. This is the first
wish-fulfillment. Now the husband becomes angry, and in his bitterness
wishes that the sausages might hang from the end of her nose. This, too,
is accomplished, and the sausages cannot be removed from their new
location. So this is the second wish-fulfillment, but the wish is that
of the husband. The wife is very uncomfortable because of the
fulfillment of this wish. You know how the fairy tale continues. Since
both husband and wife are fundamentally one, the third wish must be that
the sausages be removed from the nose of the wife. We could make use of
this fairy tale any number of times in various connections; here it
serves only as an illustration of the possibility that the
wish-fulfillment for the one personality may lead to an aversion on the
part of the other, if the two do not agree with one another.

It will not be difficult now to come to a better understanding of the
anxiety-dream. We shall make one more observation, then we shall come to
a conclusion to which many things lead. The observation is that the
anxiety dreams often have a content which is entirely free from
distortion and in which the censorship is, so to speak, eluded. The
anxiety dream is ofttimes an undisguised wish-fulfillment, not, to be
sure, of an accepted, but of a discarded wish. The anxiety development
has stepped into the place of the censorship. While one may assert of
the infantile dream that it is the obvious fulfillment of a wish that
has gained admittance, and of the distorted dream that it is the
disguised fulfillment of a suppressed wish, he must say of the anxiety
dream that the only suitable formula is this, that it is the obvious
fulfillment of a suppressed wish. Anxiety is the mark which shows that
the suppressed wish showed itself stronger than the censorship, that it
put through its wish-fulfillment despite the censorship, or was about to
put it through. We understand that what is wish-fulfillment for the
suppressed wish is for us, who are on the side of the dream-censor, only
a painful sensation and a cause for antagonism. The anxiety which
occurs in dreams is, if you wish, anxiety because of the strength of
these otherwise suppressed wishes. Why this antagonism arises in the
form of anxiety cannot be discovered from a study of the dream alone;
one must obviously study anxiety from other sources.

What holds true for the undistorted anxiety dream we may assume to be
true also of those dreams which have undergone partial distortion, and
of the other dreams of aversion whose painful impressions very probably
denote approximations of anxiety. The anxiety dream is usually also a
dream that causes waking; we habitually interrupt sleep before the
suppressed wish of the dream has accomplished its entire fulfillment in
opposition to the censorship. In this case the execution of the dream is
unsuccessful, but this does not change its nature. We have likened the
dream to the night watchman or sleep-defender who wishes to protect our
sleep from being disturbed. The night watchman, too, sometimes wakes the
sleeper when he feels himself too weak to drive away the disturbance or
danger all by himself. Yet we are often able to remain asleep, even when
the dream begins to become suspicious, and begins to assume the form of
anxiety. We say to ourselves in our sleep: "It's only a dream," and we
sleep on.

When does it happen that the dream-wish is in a position to overpower
this censorship? The conditions for this may be just as easily furnished
by the dream-wish as by the dream-censorship. The wish may, for unknown
reasons, become irresistible; but one gets the impression that more
frequently the attitude of the dream censorship is to blame for this
disarrangement in the relations of the forces. We have already heard
that the censorship works with varying intensity in each single
instance, that it handles each element with a different degree of
strictness; now we should like to add the proposition that it is an
extremely variable thing and does not exert equal force on every
occasion against the same objectionable element. If on occasion the
censorship feels itself powerless with respect to a dream-wish which
threatens to over-ride it, then, instead of distortion, it makes use of
the final means at its disposal, it destroys the sleep condition by the
development of anxiety.

And now it occurs to us that we know absolutely nothing yet as to why
these evil, depraved wishes are aroused just at night, in order that
they may disturb our sleep. The answer can only be an assumption which
is based on the nature of the condition of sleep. During the day the
heavy pressure of a censorship weighs upon these wishes, making it
impossible, as a rule, for them to express themselves in any manner. At
night, evidently, this censorship is withdrawn for the benefit of the
single sleep-wish, in the same manner as are all the other interests of
psychic life, or at least placed in a position of very minor importance.
The forbidden wishes must thank this noctural deposition of the censor
for being able to raise their heads again. There are nervous persons
troubled with insomnia who admit that their sleeplessness was in the
beginning voluntary. They did not trust themselves to fall asleep,
because they were afraid of their dreams, that is, of the results due to
a slackening of the censorship. So you can readily see that this
withdrawal of the censor does not in itself signify rank carelessness.
Sleep weakens our power to move; our evil intentions, even if they do
begin to stir, can accomplish nothing but a dream, which for practical
purposes is harmless, and the highly sensible remark of the sleepers, a
night-time remark indeed, but not a part of the dream life, "it is only
a dream," is reminiscent of this quieting circumstance. So let us grant
this, and sleep on.

If, thirdly, you recall the concept that the dreamer, struggling against
his wishes, is to be compared to a summation of two separate persons, in
some manner closely connected, you will be able to grasp the further
possibility of how a thing which is highly unpleasant, namely,
punishment, may be accomplished by wish-fulfillment. Here again the
fairy tale of the three wishes can be of service to us: the sausages on
the plate are the direct wish-fulfillment of the first person, the
woman; the sausages at the end of her nose are the wish-fulfillment of
the second person, the husband, but at the same time the punishment for
the stupid wish of the woman. Among the neurotics we find again the
motivation of the third wish, which remains in fairy tales only. There
are many such punishment-tendencies in the psychic life of man; they are
very powerful, and we may make them responsible for some of our painful
dreams. Perhaps you now say that at this rate, not very much of the
famed wish-fulfillment is left. But upon closer view you will admit
that you are wrong. In contrast to the many-sided to be discussed, of
what the dream might be--and, according to numerous authors, is--the
solution (wish-fulfillment, anxiety-fulfillment, punishment-fulfillment)
is indeed very restricted. That is why anxiety is the direct antithesis
of the wish, why antitheses are so closely allied in association and why
they occur together in the unconscious, as we have heard; and that is
why punishment, too, is a wish-fulfillment of the other, the censoring

On the whole, then, I have made no concessions to your protestation
against the theory of wish-fulfillment. We are bound, however, to
establish wish-fulfillment in every dream no matter how distorted, and
we certainly do not wish to withdraw from this task. Let us go back to
the dream, already interpreted, of the three bad theatre tickets for 1
Fl. 50 Kr. from which we have already learned so much. I hope you still
remember it. A lady who tells her husband during the day that her friend
Elise, only three months younger than herself, has become engaged,
dreams she is in the theatre with her husband. Half the parquet is
empty. Her husband says, "Elise and her fiancé wanted to go to the
theatre, too, but couldn't because they could get only poor seats, three
for one gulden and a half." She was of the opinion that that wasn't so
unfortunate. We discovered that the dream-thought originated in her
discontent at having married too soon, and the fact that she was
dissatisfied with her husband. We may be curious as to the manner in
which these thoughts have been worked over into a wish-fulfillment, and
where their traces may be found in the manifest content. Now we know
that the element "too soon, premature" is eliminated from the dream by
the censor. The empty parquet is a reference to it. The puzzling "three
for 1 Fl. 50 Kr." is now, with the help of symbolism which we have since
learned, more understandable.[36] The "3" really means a husband, and
the manifest element is easy to translate: to buy a husband for her
dowry ("I could have bought one ten times better for my dowry"). The
marriage is obviously replaced by going into the theatre. "Buying the
tickets too soon" directly takes the place of the premature marriage.
This substitution is the work of the wish-fulfillment. Our dreamer was
not always so dissatisfied with her early marriage as she was on the day
she received news of the engagement of her friend. At the time she was
proud of her marriage and felt herself more favored than her friend.
Naive girls have frequently confided to their friends after their
engagement that soon they, too, will be able to go to all the plays
hitherto forbidden, and see everything. The desire to see plays, the
curiosity that makes its appearance here, was certainly in the beginning
directed towards sex matters, the sex-life, especially the sex-life of
the parents, and then became a strong motive which impelled the girl to
an early marriage. In this way the visit to the theatre becomes an
obvious representative substitute for being married. In the momentary
annoyance at her early marriage she recalls the time when the early
marriage was a wish-fulfillment for her, because she had satisfied her
curiosity; and she now replaces the marriage, guided by the old
wish-impulse, with the going to the theatre.

We may say that we have not sought out the simplest example as proof of
a hidden wish-fulfillment. We would have to proceed in analogous manner
with other distorted dreams. I cannot do that for you, and simply wish
to express the conviction that it will be successful everywhere. But I
wish to continue along this theoretical line. Experience has taught me
that it is one of the most dangerous phases of the entire dream science,
and that many contradictions and misunderstandings are connected
therewith. Besides, you are perhaps still under the impression that I
have retracted a part of my declaration, in that I said that the dream
is a fulfilled wish or its opposite, an actualized anxiety or
punishment, and you will think this is the opportunity to compel further
reservations of me. I have also heard complaints that I am too abrupt
about things which appear evident to me, and that for that reason I do
not present the thing convincingly enough.

If a person has gone thus far with us in dream-interpretation, and
accepted everything that has been offered, it is not unusual for him to
call a halt at wish-fulfillment, and say, "Granted that in every
instance the dream has a meaning, and that this meaning can be disclosed
by psychoanalytic technique, why must this dream, despite all evidence
to the contrary, always be forced into the formula of wish-fulfillment?
Why might not the meaning of this nocturnal thought be as many-sided as
thought is by day; why may not the dream in one case express a fulfilled
wish, in another, as you yourself say, the opposite thereof, an
actualized anxiety; or why may it not correspond to a resolution, a
warning, a reflection with its pro's and con's, a reproach, a goad to
conscience, an attempt to prepare oneself for a contemplated
performance, etc? Why always nothing more than a wish, or at best, its

One might maintain that a difference of opinion on these points is of no
great importance, so long as we are at one otherwise. We might say that
it is enough to have discovered the meaning of the dream, and the way to
recognize it; that it is a matter of no importance, if we have too
narrowly limited this meaning. But this is not so. A misunderstanding of
this point strikes at the nature of our knowledge of the dream, and
endangers its worth for the understanding of neuroses. Then, too, that
method of approach which is esteemed in the business world as genteel is
out of place in scientific endeavors, and harmful.

My first answer to the question why the dream may not be many-sided in
its meaning is the usual one in such instances: I do not know why it
should not be so. I would not be opposed to such a state of affairs. As
far as I am concerned, it could well be true. Only one small matter
prevents this broader and more comfortable explanation of the
dream--namely, that as a matter of fact it isn't so. My second answer
emphasizes the fact that the assumption that the dream corresponds to
numerous forms of thought and intellectual operations is no stranger to
me. In a story about a sick person I once reported a dream that occurred
three nights running and then stopped, and I explained this suppression
by saying that the dream corresponded to a resolution which had no
reason to recur after having been carried out. More recently I published
a dream which corresponded to a confession. How is it possible for me to
contradict myself, and maintain that the dream is always only a
fulfilled wish?

I do that, because I do not wish to admit a stupid misunderstanding
which might cost us the fruits of all our labors with regard to the
dream, a misunderstanding which confuses the dream with the latent
dream-thought and affirms of the dream something that applies
specifically and solely to the latter. For it is entirely correct that
the dream can represent, and be replaced by all those things we
enumerated: a resolution, a warning, reflection, preparation, an attempt
to solve a problem, etc. But if you look closely, you will recognize
that all these things are true only of the latent dream thoughts, which
have been changed about in the dream. You learn from the interpretation
of the dreams that the person's unconscious thinking is occupied with
such resolutions, preparations, reflections, etc., out of which the
dream-work then builds the dream. If you are not at the time interested
in the dream-work, but are very much interested in the unconscious
thought-work of man, you eliminate the dream-work, and say of the dream,
for all practical purposes quite correctly, that it corresponds to a
warning, a resolution, etc. This often happens in psychoanalytic
activity. People endeavor for the most part only to destroy the dream
form, and to substitute in its place in the sequence the latent thoughts
out of which the dream was made.

Thus we learn, from the appreciation of the latent dream-thoughts, that
all the highly complicated psychic acts we have enumerated can go on
unconsciously, a result as wonderful as it is confusing.

But to return, you are right only if you admit that you have made use of
an abbreviated form of speech, and if you do not believe that you must
connect the many-sidedness we have mentioned with the essence of the
dream. When you speak of the dream you must mean either the manifest
dream, i.e., the product of the dream-work, or at most the dream-work
itself--that psychic occurrence which forms the manifest dream out of
the latent dream thought. Any other use of the word is a confusion of
concept that can only cause trouble. If your assertions refer to the
latent thoughts back of the dream, say so, and do not cloud the problem
of the dream by using such a faulty means of expression. The latent
dream thoughts are the material which the dream-work remolds into the
manifest dream. Why do you insist upon confusing the material with the
work that makes use of it? Are you any better off than those who knew
only the product of this work, and could explain neither where it came
from nor how it was produced?

The only essential thing in the dream is the dream-work that has had
its influence upon the thought-material. We have no right to disregard
it theoretically even if, in certain practical situations, we may fail
to take it into account. Analytic observation, too, shows that the
dream-work never limits itself to translating these thoughts in the
archaic or regressive mode of expression known to you. Rather it
regularly adds something which does not belong to the latent thoughts of
waking, but which is the essential motive of dream-formation. This
indispensable ingredient is at the same time the unconscious wish, for
the fulfillment of which the dream content is rebuilt. The dream may be
any conceivable thing, if you take into account only the thoughts
represented by it, warning, resolution, preparation, etc.; it is also
always the fulfillment of an unknown wish, and it is this only if you
look upon it as the result of the dream-work. A dream is never itself a
resolution, a warning, and no more--but always a resolution, etc.,
translated into an archaic form of expression with the help of the
unconscious wish, and changed about for the purpose of fulfilling this
wish. The one characteristic, wish-fulfillment, is constant; the other
may vary; it may itself be a wish at times, so that the dream, with the
aid of an unconscious wish, presents as fulfilled a latent wish out of
waking hours.

I understand all this very well, but I do not know whether or not I
shall be successful in making you understand it as well. I have
difficulties, too, in proving it to you. This cannot be done without, on
the one hand, careful analysis of many dreams, and on the other hand
this most difficult and most important point of our conception of the
dream cannot be set forth convincingly without reference to things to
follow. Can you, in fact, believe that taking into consideration the
intimate relationship of all things, one is able to penetrate deeply
into the nature of one thing without having carefully considered other
things of a very similar nature? Since we know nothing as yet about the
closest relatives of the dream, neurotic symptoms, we must once again
content ourselves with what has already been accomplished. I want to
explain one more example to you, and propose a new viewpoint.

Let us again take up that dream to which we have several times recurred,
the dream of the three theatre tickets for 1 Fl. 50 Kr. I can assure you
that I took this example quite unpremeditatedly at first. You are
acquainted with the latent dream thoughts: annoyance, upon hearing that
her friend had just now become engaged, at the thought that she herself
had hurried so to be married; contempt for her husband; the idea that
she might have had a better one had she waited. We also know the wish,
which made a dream out of these thoughts--it is "curiosity to see,"
being permitted to go to the theatre, very likely a derivation from the
old curiosity finally to know just what happens when one is married.
This curiosity, as is well known, regularly directs itself in the case
of children to the sex-life of the parents. It is an impulse of
childhood, and in so far as it persists later, an impulse whose roots
reach back into the infantile. But that day's news played no part in
awaking the curiosity, it awoke only annoyance and regret. This wish
impulse did not have anything to do immediately with the latent dream
thoughts, and we could fit the result of the dream interpretation into
the analysis without considering the wish impulse at all. But then, the
annoyance itself was not capable of producing the dream; a dream could
not be derived from the thought: "It was stupid to marry so soon,"
except by reviving the old wish finally to see what happens when one is
married. The wish then formed the dream content, in that it replaced
marriage by going to the theatre, and gave it the form of an earlier
wish-fulfillment: "so now I may go to the theatre and see all the
forbidden things, and you may not. I am married and you must wait." In
such a manner the present situation was transposed into its opposite, an
old triumph put into the place of the recent defeat. Added thereto was a
satisfied curiosity amalgamated with a satisfied egoistic sense of
rivalry. This satisfaction determines the manifest dream content in
which she really is sitting in the theatre, and her friend was unable to
get tickets. Those bits of dream content are affixed to this
satisfaction situation as unfitting and inexplicable modifications,
behind which the latent dream thoughts still hide. Dream interpretation
must take into consideration everything that serves toward the
representation of the wish-fulfillment and must reconstruct from these
suggestions the painful latent dream-thought.

The observation I now wish to make is for the purpose of drawing your
attention to the latent, dream thoughts, now pushed to the fore. I beg
of you not to forget first, that the dreamer is unconscious of them,
second, they are entirely logical and continuous, so that they may be
understood as a comprehensible reaction to the dream occasion, third,
that they may have the value of any desired psychic impulse or
intellectual operation. I shall now designate these thoughts more
forcibly than before as "day-remnants"; the dreamer may acknowledge them
or not. I now separate day-remnants and latent dream thoughts in
accordance with our previous usage of calling everything that we
discover in interpreting the dream "latent dream thoughts," while the
day-remnants are only a part of the latent dream thoughts. Then our
conception goes to show that something additional has been added to the
day-remnants, something which also belonged to the unconscious, a strong
but suppressed wish impulse, and it is this alone that has made possible
the dream fabrication. The influence of this wish impulse on the
day-remnants creates the further participation of the latent dream
thoughts, thoughts which no longer appear rational and understandable in
relation to waking life.

In explaining the relationship of the day-remnants to the unconscious
wish I have made use of a comparison which I can only repeat here. Every
undertaking requires a capitalist, who defrays the expenses, and an
entrepreneur, who has the idea and understands how to carry it out. The
role of the capitalist in the dream fabrication is always played by the
unconscious wish; it dispenses the psychic energy for dream-building.
The actual worker is the day-remnant, which determines how the
expenditure is to be made. Now the capitalist may himself have the idea
and the particularized knowledge, or the entrepreneur may have the
capital. This simplifies the practical situation, but makes its
theoretical comprehension more difficult. In economics we always
distinguish between the capitalist and the entrepreneur aspect in a
single person, and thus we reconstruct the fundamental situation which
was the point of departure for our comparison. In dream-fabrication the
same variations occur. I shall leave their further development to you.

We can go no further here, for you have probably long been disturbed by
a reflection which deserves to be heard. Are the day-remnants, you ask,
really unconscious in the same sense as the unconscious wish which is
essential to making them suitable for the dream? You discern correctly.
Here lies the salient point of the whole affair. They are not
unconscious in the same sense. The dream wish belongs to a different
unconsciousness, that which we have recognized as of infantile origin,
fitted out with special mechanisms. It is entirely appropriate to
separate these two types of unconsciousness and give them different
designations. But let us rather wait until we have become acquainted
with the field of neurotic symptoms. If people say one unconsciousness
is fantastic, what will they say when we acknowledge that we arrived at
our conclusions by using two kinds of unconsciousness?

Let us stop here. Once more you have heard something incomplete; but is
there not hope in the thought that this science has a continuation which
will be brought to light either by ourselves or by those to follow? And
have not we ourselves discovered a sufficient number of new and
surprising things?



_Doubtful Points and Criticism_

Let us not leave the subject of dreams before we have touched upon the
most common doubts and uncertainties which have arisen in connection
with the new ideas and conceptions we have discussed up to this point.
The more attentive members of the audience probably have already
accumulated some material bearing upon this.

1. You may have received the impression that the results of our work of
interpretation of the dream have left so much that is uncertain, despite
our close adherence to technique, that a true translation of the
manifest dream into the latent dream thoughts is thereby rendered
impossible. In support of this you will point out that in the first
place, one never knows whether a specific element of the dream is to be
taken literally or symbolically, since those elements which are used
symbolically do not, because of that fact, cease to be themselves. But
if one has no objective standard by which to decide this, the
interpretation is, as to this point, left to the discretion of the dream
interpreter. Moreover, because of the way in which the dream work
combines opposites, it is always uncertain whether a specific dream
element is to be taken in the positive or the negative sense, whether it
is to be understood as itself or as its opposite. Hence this is another
opportunity for the exercise of the interpreter's discretion. In the
third place, in consequence of the frequency with which every sort of
inversion is practised in the dream, the dream interpreter is at liberty
to assume such an inversion at any point of the dream he pleases. And
finally you will say, you have heard that one is seldom sure that the
interpretation which is found is the only possible one. There is danger
of overlooking a thoroughly admissible second interpretation of the
same dream. Under these circumstances, you will conclude there is a
scope left for the discretion of the interpreter, the breadth of which
seems incompatible with the objective accuracy of the results. Or you
may also conclude that the fault does not rest with the dream but that
the inadequacies of our dream interpretation result from errors in our
conceptions and hypotheses.

All your material is irreproachable, but I do not believe that it
justifies your conclusions in two directions, namely, that dream
interpretation as we practice it is sacrificed to arbitrariness and that
the deficiency of our results makes the justification of our method
doubtful. If you will substitute for the arbitrariness of the
interpreter, his skill, his experience, his comprehension, I agree with
you. We shall surely not be able to dispense with some such personal
factor, particularly not in difficult tasks of dream interpretation. But
this same state of affairs exists also in other scientific occupations.
There is no way in which to make sure that one man will not wield a
technique less well, or utilize it more fully, than another. What might,
for example, impress you as arbitrariness in the interpretation of
symbols, is compensated for by the fact that as a rule the connection of
the dream thoughts among themselves, the connection of the dream with
the life of the dreamer, and the whole psychic situation in which the
dream occurs, chooses just one of the possible interpretations advanced
and rejects the others as useless for its purposes. The conclusion drawn
from the inadequacies of dream interpretation, that our hypotheses are
wrong, is weakened by an observation which shows that the ambiguity and
indefiniteness of the dream is rather characteristic and necessarily to
be expected.

Recollect that we said that the dream work translates the dream thoughts
into primitive expressions analogous to picture writing. All these
primitive systems of expression are, however, subject to such
indefiniteness and ambiguities, but it does not follow that we are
justified in doubting their usefulness. You know that the fusion of
opposites by the dream-work is analogous to the so-called "antithetical
meaning of primitive words," in the oldest languages. The philologist,
R. Abel (1884), whom we have to thank for this point of view, admonishes
us not to believe that the meaning of the communication which one
person made to another when using such ambiguous words was necessarily
unclear. Tone and gesture used in connection with the words would have
left no room for doubt as to which of the two opposites the speaker
intended to communicate. In writing, where gesture is lacking, it was
replaced by a supplementary picture sign not intended to be spoken, as
for example by the picture of a little man squatting lazily or standing
erect, according to whether the ambiguous hieroglyphic was to mean
"weak" or "strong." It was in this way that one avoided any
misunderstanding despite the ambiguity of the sounds and signs.

We recognize in the ancient systems of expression, e.g., the writings of
those oldest languages, a number of uncertainties which we would not
tolerate in our present-day writings. Thus in many Semitic writings only
the consonants of words are indicated. The reader had to supply the
omitted vowels according to his knowledge and the context. Hieroglyphic
writing does not proceed in exactly this way, but quite similarly, and
that is why the pronunciation of old Egyptian has remained unknown to
us. The holy writings of the Egyptians contain still other
uncertainties. For example, it is left to the discretion of the writer
whether or not he shall arrange the pictures from right to left or from
left to right. To be able to read we have to follow the rule that we
must depend upon the faces of the figures, birds, and the like. The
writer, however, could also arrange the picture signs in vertical rows,
and in inscriptions on small objects he was guided by considerations of
beauty and proportion further to change the order of the signs. Probably
the most confusing feature of hieroglyphic writing is to be found in the
fact that there is no space between words. The pictures stretch over the
page at uniform distances from one another, and generally one does not
know whether a sign belongs to what has gone before or is the beginning
of a new word. Persian cuneiform writing, on the other hand, makes use
of an oblique wedge sign to separate the words.

The Chinese tongue and script is exceedingly old, but still used by four
hundred million people. Please do not think I understand anything about
it. I have only informed myself concerning it because I hoped to find
analogies to the indefinite aspects of the dream. Nor was I
disappointed. The Chinese language is filled with so many vagaries that
it strikes terror into our hearts. It consists, as is well known, of a
number of syllable sounds which are spoken singly or are combined in
twos. One of the chief dialects has about four hundred such sounds. Now
since the vocabulary of this dialect is estimated at about four thousand
words, it follows that every sound has on an average of ten different
meanings, some less but others, consequently, more. Hence there are a
great number of ways of avoiding a multiplicity of meaning, since one
cannot guess from the context alone which of the ten meanings of the
syllable sound the speaker intended to convey to the hearer. Among them
are the combining of two sounds into a compounded word and the use of
four different "tones" with which to utter these syllables. For our
purposes of comparison, it is still more interesting to note that this
language has practically no grammar. It is impossible to say of a
one-syllable word whether it is a noun, a verb, or an adjective, and we
find none of those changes in the forms of the words by means of which
we might recognize sex, number, ending, tense or mood. The language,
therefore, might be said to consist of raw material, much in the same
manner as our thought language is broken up by the dream work into its
raw materials when the expressions of relationship are left out. In the
Chinese, in all cases of vagueness the decision is left to the
understanding of the hearer, who is guided by the context. I have
secured an example of a Chinese saying which, literally translated,
reads: "Little to be seen, much to wonder at." That is not difficult to
understand. It may mean, "The less a man has seen, the more he finds to
wonder at," or, "There is much to admire for the man who has seen
little." Naturally, there is no need to choose between these two
translations, which differ only in grammar. Despite these uncertainties,
we are assured, the Chinese language is an extraordinarily excellent
medium for the expression of thought. Vagueness does not, therefore,
necessarily lead to ambiguity.

Now we must certainly admit that the condition of affairs is far less
favorable in the expression-system of the dream than in these ancient
languages and writings. For, after all, these latter are really designed
for communication, that is to say, they were always intended to be
understood, no matter in what way and with what aids. But it is just
this characteristic which the dream lacks. The dream does not want to
tell anyone anything, it is no vehicle of communication, it is, on the
contrary, constructed so as not to be understood. For that reason we
must not be surprised or misled if we should discover that a number of
the ambiguities and vagaries of the dream do not permit of
determination. As the one specific gain of our comparison, we have only
the realization that such uncertainties as people tried to make use of
in objecting to the validity of our dream interpretation, are rather the
invariable characteristic of all primitive systems of expression.

How far the dream can really be understood can be determined only by
practice and experience. My opinion is, that that is very far indeed,
and the comparison of results which correctly trained analysts have
gathered confirms my view. The lay public, even that part of the lay
public which is interested in science, likes, in the face of the
difficulties and uncertainties of a scientific task, to make what I
consider an unjust show of its superior scepticism. Perhaps not all of
you are acquainted with the fact that a similar situation arose in the
history of the deciphering of the Babylonian-Assyrian inscriptions.
There was a period then when public opinion went far in declaring the
decipherors of cuneiform writing to be visionaries and the whole
research a "fraud." But in the year 1857 the Royal Asiatic Society made
a decisive test. It challenged the four most distinguished decipherors
of cuneiform writing, Rawlinson, Hincks, Fox Talbot and Oppert, each to
send to it in a sealed envelope his independent translation of a newly
discovered inscription, and the Society was then able to testify, after
having made a comparison of the four readings, that their agreement was
sufficiently marked to justify confidence in what already had been
accomplished, and faith in further progress. At this the mockery of the
learned lay world gradually came to an end and the confidence in the
reading of cuneiform documents has grown appreciably since then.

2. A second series of objections is firmly grounded in the impression
from which you too probably are not free, that a number of the solutions
of dream interpretations which we find it necessary to make seem forced,
artificial, far-fetched, in other words, violent or even comical or
jocose. These comments are so frequent that I shall choose at random the
latest example which has come to my attention. Recently, in free
Switzerland, the director of a boarding-school was relieved of his
position on account of his active interest in psychoanalysis. He raised
objections and a Berne newspaper made public the judgment of the school
authorities. I quote from that article some sentences which apply to
psychoanalysis: "Moreover, we are surprised at the many far-fetched and
artificial examples as found in the aforementioned book of Dr. Pfister
of Zurich.... Thus, it certainly is a cause of surprise when the
director of a boarding-school so uncritically accepts all these
assertions and apparent proofs." These observations are offered as the
decisions of "one who judges calmly." I rather think this calm is
"artificial." Let us examine these remarks more closely in the hope that
a little reflection and knowledge of the subject can be no detriment to
calm judgment.

It is positively refreshing to see how quickly and unerringly some
individuals can judge a delicate question of abstruse psychology by
first impressions. The interpretations seem to them far-fetched and
forced, they do not please them, so the interpretations are wrong and
the whole business of interpretation amounts to nothing. No fleeting
thought ever brushes the other possibility, that these interpretations
must appear as they are for good reasons, which would give rise to the
further question of what these good reasons might be.

The content thus judged generally relates to the results of
displacement, with which you have become acquainted as the strongest
device of the dream censor. It is with the help of displacements that
the dream censor creates substitute-formations which we have designated
as allusions. But they are allusions which are not easily recognized as
such, and from which it is not easy to find one's way back to the
original and which are connected with this original by means of the
strangest, most unusual, most superficial associations. In all of these
cases, however, it is a question of matters which are to be hidden,
which were intended for concealment; this is what the dream censor aims
to do. We must not expect to find a thing that has been concealed in its
accustomed place in the spot where it belongs. In this respect the
Commissions for the Surveillance of Frontiers now in office are more
cunning than the Swiss school authorities. In their search for documents
and maps they are not content to search through portfolios and letter
cases but they also take into account the possibility that spies and
smugglers might carry such severely proscribed articles in the most
concealed parts of their clothing, where they certainly do not belong,
as for example between the double soles of their boots. If the concealed
objects are found in such a place, they certainly are very far-fetched,
but nevertheless they have been "fetched."

If we recognize that the most remote, the most extraordinary
associations between the latent dream element and its manifest
substitute are possible, associations appearing ofttimes comical,
ofttimes witty, we follow in so doing a wealth of experience derived
from examples whose solutions we have, as a rule, not found ourselves.
Often it is not possible to give such interpretations from our own
examples. No sane person could guess the requisite association. The
dreamer either gives us the translation with one stroke by means of his
immediate association--he can do this, for this substitute formation was
created by his mind--or he provides us with so much material that the
solution no longer demands any special astuteness but forces itself upon
us as inevitable. If the dreamer does not help us in either of these two
ways, then indeed the manifest element in question remains forever
incomprehensible to us. Allow me to give you one more such example of
recent occurrence. One of my patients lost her father during the time
that she was undergoing treatment. Since then she has made use of every
opportunity to bring him back to life in her dreams. In one of her
dreams her father appears in a certain connection, of no further
importance here, and says, "_It is a quarter past eleven, it is half
past eleven, it is quarter of twelve_." All she can think of in
connection with this curious incident is the recollection that her
father liked to see his grown-up children appear punctually at the
general meal hour. That very thing probably had some connection with the
dream element, but permitted of no conclusion as to its source. Judging
from the situation of the treatment at that time, there was a justified
suspicion that a carefully suppressed critical rebellion against her
loved and respected father played its part in this dream. Continuing her
associations, and apparently far afield from topics relevant to the
dream, the dreamer relates that yesterday many things of a
psychological nature had been discussed in her presence, and that a
relative made the remark: "The cave man (_Urmensch_) continues to live
in all of us." Now we think we understand. That gave her an excellent
opportunity of picturing her father as continuing to live. So in the
dream she made of him a clockman (_Uhrmensch_) by having him announce
the quarter-hours at noon time.

You may not be able to disregard the similarity which this examples
bears to a pun, and it really has happened frequently that the dreamer's
pun is attributed to the interpreter. There are still other examples in
which it is not at all easy to decide whether one is dealing with a joke
or a dream. But you will recall that the same doubt confronted us when
we were dealing with slips of the tongue. A man tells us a dream of his,
that his uncle, while they were sitting in the latter's _auto_mobile,
gave him a kiss. He very quickly supplies the interpretation himself. It
means "_auto_-eroticism," (a term taken from the study of the libido, or
love impulse, and designating satisfaction of that impulse without an
external object). Did this man permit himself to make fun of us and give
out as a dream a pun that occurred to him? I do not believe so; he
really dreamed it. Whence comes the astounding similarity? This question
at one time led me quite a ways from my path, by making it necessary for
me to make a thorough investigation of the problem of humor itself. By
so doing I came to the conclusion that the origin of wit lies in a
foreconscious train of thought which is left for a moment to unconscious
manipulation, from which it then emerges as a joke. Under the influence
of the unconscious it experiences the workings of the mechanisms there
in force, namely, of condensation and displacement, that is, of the same
processes which we found active in the dream work, and it is to this
agreement that we are to ascribe the similarity between wit and the
dream, wherever it occurs. The unintentional "dream joke" has, however,
none of the pleasure-giving quality of the ordinary joke. Why that is
so, greater penetration into the study of wit may teach you. The "dream
joke" seems a poor joke to us, it does not make us laugh, it leaves us

Here we are also following in the footsteps of ancient dream
interpretation, which has left us, in addition to much that is useless,
many a good example of dream interpretation we ourselves cannot
surpass. I am now going to tell you a dream of historical importance
which Plutarch and Artemidorus of Daldis both tell concerning Alexander
the Great, with certain variations. When the King was engaged in
besieging the city of Tyre (322 B.C.), which was being stubbornly
defended, he once dreamed that he saw a dancing satyr. Aristandros, his
dream interpreter, who accompanied the army, interpreted this dream for
him by making of the word _Satyros_, σἁ Τὑρος, "Thine is Tyre," and thus
promising him a triumph over the city. Alexander allowed himself to be
influenced by this interpretation to continue the siege, and finally
captured Tyre. The interpretation, which seems artificial enough, was
without doubt the correct one.

3. I can imagine that it will make a special impression on you to hear
that objections to our conception of the dream have been raised also by
persons who, as psychoanalysts, have themselves been interested in the
interpretation of dreams. It would have been too extraordinary if so
pregnant an opportunity for new errors had remained unutilized, and
thus, owing to comprehensible confusions and unjustified
generalizations, there have been assertions made which, in point of
incorrectness are not far behind the medical conception of dreams. One
of these you already know. It is the declaration that the dream is
occupied with the dreamer's attempts at adaptation to his present
environment, and attempts to solve future problems, in other words, that
the dream follows a "prospective tendency" (A. Maeder). We have already
shown that this assertion is based upon a confusion of the dream with
the latent thoughts of the dream, that as a premise it overlooks the
existence of the dream-work. In characterizing that psychic activity
which is unconscious and to which the latent thoughts of the dream
belong, the above assertion is no novelty, nor is it exhaustive, for
this unconscious psychic activity occupies itself with many other things
besides preparation for the future. A much worse confusion seems to
underlie the assurance that back of every dream one finds the
"death-clause," or death-wish. I am not quite certain what this formula
is meant to indicate, but I suppose that back of it is a confusion of
the dream with the whole personality of the dreamer.

An unjustified generalization, based on few good examples, is the
pronouncement that every dream permits of two interpretations, one such
as we have explained, the so-called psychoanalytic, and another, the
so-called anagogical or mystical, which ignores the instinctive impulses
and aims at a representation of the higher psychic functions (V.
Silberer). There are such dreams, but you will try in vain to extend
this conception to even a majority of the dreams. But after everything
you have heard, the statement will seem very incomprehensible that all
dreams can be interpreted bisexually, that is, as the concurrence of two
tendencies which may be designated as male and female (A. Adler). To be
sure, there are a few such dreams, and you may learn later that these
are built up in the manner of certain hysterical symptoms. I mention all
these newly discovered general characteristics of the dream in order to
warn you against them or at least in order not to leave you in doubt as
to how I judge them.

4. At one time the objective value of dream research was called into
question by the observation that patients undergoing analysis
accommodate the content of their dreams to the favorite theories of
their physicians, so that some dream predominantly of sexual impulses,
others of the desire for power and still others even of rebirth (W.
Stekel). The weight of this observation is diminished by the
consideration that people dreamed before there was such a thing as a
psychoanalytic treatment to influence their dreams, and that those who
are now undergoing treatment were also in the habit of dreaming before
the treatment was commenced. The meaning of this novel discovery can
soon be recognized as a matter of course and as of no consequence for
the theory of the dream. Those day-remnants which give rise to the dream
are the overflow from the strong interest of the waking life. If the
remarks of the physician and the stimuli which he gives have become
significant to the patient under analysis, then they become a part of
the day's remnants, can serve as psychic stimuli for the formation of a
dream along with other, emotionally-charged, unsolved interests of the
day, and operate much as do the somatic stimuli which act upon the
sleeper during his sleep. Just like these other incitors of the dream,
the sequence of ideas which the physician sets in motion may appear in
the manifest content, or may be traced in the latent content of the
dream. Indeed, we know that one can produce dreams experimentally, or to
speak more accurately, one can insert into the dream a part of the
dream material. Thus the analyst in influencing his patients, merely
plays the role of an experimenter in the manner of Mourly Vold, who
places the limbs of his subjects in certain positions.

One can often influence the dreamer as to the _subject-matter_ of his
dream, but one can never influence _what he will dream_ about it. The
mechanism of the dream-work and the unconscious wish that is hidden in
the dream are beyond the reach of all foreign influences. We already
realized, when we evaluated the dreams caused by bodily stimuli, that
the peculiarity and self-sufficiency of the dream life shows itself in
the reaction with which the dream retorts to the bodily or physical
stimuli which are presented. The statement here discussed, which aims to
throw doubt upon the objectivity of dream research, is again based on a
confusion--this time of the whole dream with the dream material.

This much, ladies and gentlemen, I wanted to tell you concerning the
problems of the dream. You will suspect that I have omitted a great
deal, and have yourselves discovered that I had to be inconclusive on
almost all points. But that is due to the relation which the phenomena
of the dream have to those of the neuroses. We studied the dream by way
of introduction to the study of the neuroses, and that was surely more
correct than the reverse would have been. But just as the dream prepares
us for the understanding of the neuroses, so in turn the correct
evaluation of the dream can only be gained after a knowledge of neurotic
phenomena has been won.

I do not know what you will think about this, but I must assure you that
I do not regret having taken so much of your interest and of your
available time for the problems of the dream. There is no other field in
which one can so quickly become convinced of the correctness of the
assertions by which psychoanalysis stands or falls. It will take the
strenuous labor of many months, even years, to show that the symptoms in
a case of neurotic break-down have their meaning, serve a purpose, and
result from the fortunes of the patient. On the other hand, the efforts
of a few hours suffice in proving the same content in a dream product
which at first seems incomprehensibly confused, and thereby to confirm
all the hypotheses of psychoanalysis, the unconsciousness of psychic
processes, the special mechanism which they follow, and the motive
forces which manifest themselves in them. And if we associate the
thorough analogy in the construction of the dream and the neurotic
symptom with the rapidity of transformation which makes of the dreamer
an alert and reasonable individual, we gain the certainty that the
neurosis also is based only on a change in the balance of the forces of
psychic life.





_Psychoanalysis and Psychiatry_

I am very glad to welcome you back to continue our discussions. I last
lectured to you on the psychoanalytic treatment of errors and of the
dream. To-day I should like to introduce you to an understanding of
neurotic phenomena, which, as you soon will discover, have much in
common with both of those topics. But I shall tell you in advance that I
cannot leave you to take the same attitude toward me that you had
before. At that time I was anxious to take no step without complete
reference to your judgment. I discussed much with you, I listened to
your objections, in short, I deferred to you and to your "normal common
sense." That is no longer possible, and for a very simple reason. As
phenomena, the dream and errors were not strange to you. One might say
that you had as much experience as I, or that you could easily acquire
as much. But neuroses are foreign to you; since you are not doctors
yourselves you have had access to them only through what I have told
you. Of what use is the best judgment if it is not supported by
familiarity with the material in question?

Do not, however, understand this as an announcement of dogmatic lectures
which demand your unconditional belief. That would be a gross
misunderstanding. I do not wish to convince you. I am out to stimulate
your interest and shake your prejudices. If, in consequence of not
knowing the facts, you are not in a position to judge, neither should
you believe nor condemn. Listen and allow yourselves to be influenced by
what I tell you. One cannot be so easily convinced; at least if he comes
by convictions without effort, they soon prove to be valueless and
unable to hold their own. He only has a right to conviction who has
handled the same material for many years and who in so doing has gone
through the same new and surprising experiences again and again. Why, in
matters of intellect these lightning conversions, these momentary
repulsions? Do you not feel that a _coup de foudre_, that love at first
sight, originates in quite a different field, namely, in that of the
emotions? We do not even demand that our patients should become
convinced of and predisposed to psychoanalysis. When they do, they seem
suspicious to us. The attitude we prefer in them is one of benevolent
scepticism. Will you not also try to let the psychoanalytic conception
develop in your mind beside the popular or "psychiatric"? They will
influence each other, mutually measure their strength, and some day work
themselves into a decision on your part.

On the other hand, you must not think for a moment that what I present
to you as the psychoanalytic conception is a purely speculative system.
Indeed, it is a sum total of experiences and observations, either their
direct expression or their elaboration. Whether this elaboration is done
adequately and whether the method is justifiable will be tested in the
further progress of the science. After two and a half decades, now that
I am fairly advanced in years, I may say that it was particularly
difficult, intensive and all-absorbing work which yielded these
observations. I have often had the impression that our opponents were
unwilling to take into consideration this objective origin of our
statements, as if they thought it were only a question of subjective
ideas arising haphazard, ideas to which another may oppose his every
passing whim. This antagonistic behavior is not entirely comprehensible
to me. Perhaps the physician's habit of steering clear of his neurotic
patients and listening so very casually to what they have to say allows
him to lose sight of the possibility of deriving anything valuable from
his patients' communications, and therefore, of making penetrating
observations on them. I take this opportunity of promising you that I
shall carry on little controversy in the course of my lectures, least of
all with individual controversialists. I have never been able to
convince myself of the truth of the saying that controversy is the
father of all things. I believe that it comes down to us from the Greek
sophist philosophy and errs as does the latter through the overvaluation
of dialectics. To me, on the contrary, it seems as if the so-called
scientific criticism were on the whole unfruitful, quite apart from the
fact that it is almost always carried on in a most personal spirit. For
my part, up to a few years ago, I could even boast that I had entered
into a regular scientific dispute with only one scholar (Lowenfeld, of
Munich). The end of this was that we became friends and have remained
friends to this day. But I did not repeat this attempt for a long time,
because I was not certain that the outcome would be the same.

Now you will surely judge that so to reject the discussion of literature
must evidence stubborness, a very special obtuseness against objections,
or, as the kindly colloquialisms of science have it, "a complete
personal bias." In answer, I would say that should you attain to a
conviction by such hard labor, you would thereby derive a certain right
to sustain it with some tenacity. Furthermore, I should like to
emphasize the fact that I have modified my views on certain important
points in the course of my researches, changed them and replaced them by
new ones, and that I naturally made a public statement of that fact each
time. What has been the result of this frankness? Some paid no attention
at all to my self-corrections and even to-day criticize me for
assertions which have long since ceased to have the same meaning for me.
Others reproach me for just this deviation, and on account of it declare
me unreliable. For is anyone who has changed his opinions several times
still trustworthy; is not his latest assertion, as well, open to error?
At the same time he who holds unswervingly to what he has once said, or
cannot be made to give it up quickly enough, is called stubborn and
biased. In the face of these contradictory criticisms, what else can one
do but be himself and act according to his own dictates? That is what I
have decided to do, and I will not allow myself to be restrained from
modifying and adapting my theories as the progress of my experience
demands. In the basic ideas I have hitherto found nothing to change, and
I hope that such will continue to be the case.

Now I shall present to you the psychoanalytic conception of neurotic
manifestations. The natural thing for me to do is to connect them to the
phenomena we have previously treated, for the sake of their analogy as
well as their contrast. I will select as symptomatic an act of frequent
occurrence in my office hour. Of course, the analyst cannot do much for
those who seek him in his medical capacity, and lay the woes of a
lifetime before him in fifteen minutes. His deeper knowledge makes it
difficult for him to deliver a snap decision as do other
physicians--"There is nothing wrong with you"--and to give the advice,
"Go to a watering-place for a while." One of our colleagues, in answer
to the question as to what he did with his office patients, said,
shrugging his shoulders, that he simply "fines them so many kronen for
their mischief-making." So it will not surprise you to hear that even in
the case of very busy analysts, the hours for consultation are not very
crowded. I have had the ordinary door between my waiting room and my
office doubled and strengthened by a covering of felt. The purpose of
this little arrangement cannot be doubted. Now it happens over and over
again that people who are admitted from my waiting room omit to close
the door behind them; in fact, they almost always leave both doors open.
As soon as I have noticed this I insist rather gruffly that he or she go
back in order to rectify the omission, even though it be an elegant
gentleman or a lady in all her finery. This gives an impression of
misapplied pedantry. I have, in fact, occasionally discredited myself by
such a demand, since the individual concerned was one of those who
cannot touch even a door knob, and prefer as well to have their
attendants spared this contact. But most frequently I was right, for he
who conducts himself in this way, and leaves the door from the waiting
room into the physician's consultation room open, belongs to the rabble
and deserves to be received inhospitably. Do not, I beg you, defend him
until you have heard what follows. For the fact is that this negligence
of the patient's only occurs when he has been alone in the waiting room
and so leaves an empty room behind him, never when others, strangers,
have been waiting with him. If that latter is the case, he knows very
well that it is in his interest not to be listened to while he is
talking to the physician, and never omits to close both the doors with

This omission of the patient's is so predetermined that it becomes
neither accidental nor meaningless, indeed, not even unimportant, for,
as we shall see, it throws light upon the relation of this patient to
the physician. He is one of the great number of those who seek
authority, who want to be dazzled, intimidated. Perhaps he had inquired
by telephone as to what time he had best call, he had prepared himself
to come on a crowd of suppliants somewhat like those in front of a
branch milk station. He now enters an empty waiting room which is,
moreover, most modestly furnished, and he is disappointed. He must
demand reparation from the physician for the wasted respect that he had
tendered him, and so he omits to close the door between the reception
room and the office. By this, he means to say to the physician: "Oh,
well, there is no one here anyway, and probably no one will come as long
as I am here." He would also be quite unmannerly and supercilious during
the consultation if his presumption were not at once restrained by a
sharp reminder.

You will find nothing in the analysis of this little symptomatic act
which was not previously known to you. That is to say, it asserts that
this act is not accidental, but has a motive, a meaning, a purpose, that
it has its assignable connections psychologically, and that it serves as
a small indication of a more important psychological process. But above
all it implies that the process thus intimated is not known to the
consciousness of the individual in whom it takes place, for none of the
patients who left the two doors open would have admitted that they meant
by this omission to show me their contempt. Some could probably recall a
slight sense of disappointment at entering an empty waiting room, but
the connection between this impression and the symptomatic act which
followed--of these, his consciousness was surely not aware.

Now let us place, side by side with this small analysis of a symptomatic
act, an observation on a pathological case. I choose one which is fresh
in my mind and which can also be described with relative brevity. A
certain measure of minuteness of detail is unavoidable in any such

A young officer, home on a short leave of absence, asked me to see his
mother-in-law who, in spite of the happiest circumstances, was
embittering her own and her people's existence by a senseless idea. I am
introduced to a well preserved lady of fifty-three with pleasant, simple
manners, who gives the following account without any hesitation: She is
most happily married and lives in the country with her husband, who
operates a large factory. She cannot say enough for the kind
thoughtfulness of her husband. They had married for love thirty years
ago, and since then there had never been a shadow, a quarrel or cause
for jealousy. Now, even though her two children are well married, the
husband and father does not yet want to retire, from a feeling of duty.
A year ago there happened the incredible thing, incomprehensible to
herself as well. She gave complete credence to an anonymous letter which
accused her excellent husband of having an affair with a young girl--and
since then her happiness is destroyed. The more detailed circumstances
were somewhat as follows: She had a chambermaid with whom she had
perhaps too often discussed intimate matters. This girl pursued another
young woman with positively malicious enmity because the latter had
progressed so much further in life, despite the fact that she was of no
better origin. Instead of going into domestic service, the girl had
obtained a business training, had entered the factory and in consequence
of the short-handedness due to the drafting of the clerks into the army
had advanced to a good position. She now lives in the factory itself,
meets all the gentlemen socially, and is even addressed as "Miss." The
girl who had remained behind in life was of course ready to speak all
possible evil of her one-time schoolmate. One day our patient and her
chambermaid were talking of an old gentleman who had been visiting at
the house, and of whom it was known that he did not live with his wife,
but kept another woman as his mistress. She does not know how it
happened that she suddenly remarked, "That would be the most awful thing
that could happen to me, if I should ever hear that my good husband also
had a mistress." The next day she received an anonymous letter through
the mail which, in a disguised handwriting, carried this very
communication which she had conjured up. She concluded--it seems
justifiably--that the letter was the handiwork of her malignant
chambermaid, for the letter named as the husband's mistress the
self-same woman whom the maid persecuted with her hatred. Our patient,
in spite of the fact that she immediately saw through the intrigue and
had seen enough in her town to know how little credence such cowardly
denunciations deserve, was nevertheless at once prostrated by the
letter. She became dreadfully excited and promptly sent for her husband
in order to heap the bitterest reproaches upon him. Her husband
laughingly denied the accusation and did the best that could be done. He
called in the family physician, who was as well the doctor in attendance
at the factory, and the latter added his efforts to quiet the unhappy
woman. Their further procedure was also entirely reasonable. The
chambermaid was dismissed, but the pretended rival was not. Since then,
the patient claims she has repeatedly so far calmed herself as no longer
to believe the contents of the anonymous letter, but this relief was
neither thoroughgoing nor lasting. It was enough to hear the name of the
young lady spoken or to meet her on the street in order to precipitate a
new attack of suspicion, pain and reproach.

This, now, is the case history of this good woman. It does not need much
psychiatric experience to understand that her portrayal of her own case
was, if anything, rather too mild in contrast to other nervous patients.
The picture, we say, was dissimulated; in reality she had never overcome
her belief in the accusation of the anonymous letter.

Now what position does a psychiatrist take toward such a case? We
already know what he would do in the case of the symptomatic act of the
patient who does not close the doors to the waiting room. He declares it
an accident without psychological interest, with which he need not
concern himself. But this attitude cannot be maintained toward the
pathological case of the jealous woman. The symptomatic act seems no
great matter, but the symptom itself claims attention by reason of its
gravity. It is bound up with intense subjective suffering while
objectively it threatens to break up a home; therefore its claim to
psychiatric interest cannot be put aside. The first endeavor of the
psychiatrist is to characterize the symptom by some distinctive feature.
The idea with which this woman torments herself cannot in itself be
called nonsensical, for it does happen that elderly married men have
affairs with young girls. But there is something else about it that is
nonsensical and incredible. The patient has no reason beyond the
declaration in the anonymous letter to believe that her tender and
faithful husband belongs to this sort of married men, otherwise not
uncommon. She knows that this letter in itself carries no proof; she can
satisfactorily explain its origin; therefore she ought to be able to
persuade herself that she has no reason to be jealous. Indeed she does
this, but in spite of it she suffers every bit as much as she would if
she acknowledged this jealousy as fully justified. We are agreed to call
ideas of this sort, which are inaccessible to arguments based on logic
or on facts, "_obsessions_." Thus the good lady suffers from an
"_obsession of jealousy_" that is surely a distinctive characterization
for this pathological case.

Having reached this first certainty, our psychiatric interest will have
become aroused. If we cannot do away with a delusion by taking reality
into account, it can hardly have arisen from reality. But the delusion,
what is its origin? There are delusions of the most widely varied
content. Why is it that in our case the content should be jealousy? In
what types of persons are obsessions liable to occur, and, in
particular, obsessions of jealousy? We would like to turn to the
psychiatrist with such questions, but here he leaves us in the lurch.
There is only one of our queries which he heeds. He will examine the
family history of this woman and _perhaps_ will give us the answer: "The
people who develop obsessions are those in whose families similar and
other psychic disturbances have repeatedly occurred." In other words, if
this lady develops an obsession she does so because she was predisposed
to it by reason of her heredity. That is certainly something, but is it
all that we want to know? Is it all that was effective in causing this
breakdown? Shall we be content to assume that it is immaterial,
accidental and inexplicable why the obsession of jealousy develops
rather than any other? And may we also accept this sentence about the
dominance of the influence of heredity in its negative meaning, that is,
that no matter what experiences came to this human being she was
predestined to develop some kind of obsession? You will want to know why
scientific psychiatry will give no further explanation. And I reply, "He
is a rascal who gives more than he owns." The psychiatrist does not know
of any path that leads him further in the explanation of such a case. He
must content himself with the diagnosis and a prognosis which, despite a
wealth of experience, is uncertain.

Yet, can psychoanalysis do more at this point? Indeed yes! I hope to
show you that even in so inaccessible a case as this it can discover
something which makes the further understanding possible. May I ask you
first to note the apparently insignificant fact that the patient
actually provoked the anonymous letter which now supports her delusion.
The day before, she announces to the intriguing chambermaid that if her
husband were to have an affair with a young girl it would be the worst
misfortune that could befall her. By so doing she really gave the maid
the idea of sending her the anonymous letter. The obsession thus attains
a certain independence from the letter; it existed in the patient
beforehand--perhaps as a dread; or was it a wish? Consider, moreover,
these additional details yielded by an analysis of only two hours. The
patient was indeed most helpful when, after telling her story, she was
urged to communicate her further thoughts, ideas and recollections. She
declared that nothing came to her mind, that she had already told
everything. After two hours the undertaking had really to be given up
because she announced that she already felt cured and was sure that the
morbid idea would not return. Of course, she said this because of this
resistance and her fear of continuing the analysis. In these two hours,
however, she had let fall certain remarks which made possible definite
interpretation, indeed made it incontestable; and this interpretation
throws a clear light on the origin of her obsession of jealousy. Namely,
she herself was very much infatuated with a certain young man, the very
same son-in-law upon whose urging she had come to consult me
professionally. She knew nothing of this infatuation, or at least only a
very little. Because of the existing relationship, it was very easy for
this infatuation to masquerade under the guise of harmless tenderness.
With all our further experience it is not difficult to feel our way
toward an understanding of the psychic life of this honest woman and
good mother. Such an infatuation, a monstrous, impossible thing, could
not be allowed to become conscious. But it continued to exist and
unconsciously exerted a heavy pressure. Something had to happen, some
sort of relief had to be found and the mechanism of displacement which
so constantly takes part in the origin of obsessional jealousy offered
the most immediate mitigation. If not only she, old woman that she was,
was in love with a young man but if also her old husband had an affair
with a young girl, then she would be freed from the voice of her
conscience which accused her of infidelity. The phantasy of her
husband's infidelity was thus like a cooling salve on her burning wound.
Of her own love she never became conscious, but the reflection of it,
which would bring her such advantages, now became compulsive,
obsessional and conscious. Naturally all arguments directed against the
obsession were of no avail since they were directed only to the
reflection, and not to the original force to which it owed its strength
and which, unimpeachable, lay buried in the unconscious.

Let us now piece together these fragments to see what a short and
impeded psychoanalysis can nevertheless contribute to the understanding
of this case. It is assumed of course that our inquiries were carefully
conducted, a point which I cannot at this place submit to your judgment.
In the first place, the obsession becomes no longer nonsensical nor
incomprehensible, it is full of meaning, well motivated and an integral
part of the patient's emotional experience. Secondly, it is a necessary
reaction toward an unconscious psychological process, revealed in other
ways, and it is to this very circumstance that it owes its obsessional
nature, that is, its resistance to arguments based on logic or fact. In
itself the obsession is something wished for, a kind of consolation.
Finally, the experiences underlying the condition are such as
unmistakably determine an obsession of jealousy and no other. You will
also recognize the part played by the two important analogies in the
analysis of the symptomatic act with reference to its meaning and intent
and also to its relation to an unconscious factor in the situation.

Naturally, we have not yet answered all the questions which may be put
on the basis of this case. Rather the case bristles with further
problems of a kind which we have not yet been able to solve in any way,
and of others which could not be solved because of the disadvantage of
the circumstances under which we were working. For example: why is this
happily married woman open to an infatuation for her son-in-law, and why
does the relief which could have been obtained in other ways come to her
by way of this mirror-image, this projection of her own condition upon
her husband? I trust you will not think that it is idle and wanton to
open such problems. Already we have much material at our disposal for
their possible solution. This woman is in that critical age when her
sexual needs undergo a sudden and unwelcome exaggeration. This might in
itself be sufficient. In addition, her good and faithful mate may for
many years have been lacking in that sufficient sexual capacity which
the well-preserved woman needs for her satisfaction. We have learned by
experience to know that those very men whose faithfulness is thus placed
beyond a doubt are most gentle in their treatment of their wives and
unusually forbearing toward their nervous complaints. Furthermore, the
fact that it was just the young husband of a daughter who became the
object of her abnormal infatuation is by no means insignificant. A
strong erotic attachment to the daughter, which in the last analysis
leads back to the mother's sexual constitution, will often find a way to
live on under such a disguise. May I perhaps remind you in this
connection that the relationship between mother and son-in-law has
seemed particularly delicate since all time and is one which among
primitive peoples gave rise to very powerful taboos and avoidances.[37]
It often transgresses our cultural standards positively as well as
negatively. I cannot tell you of course which of these three factors
were at work in our case; whether two of them only, or whether all of
them coöperated, for as you know I did not have the opportunity to
continue the analysis beyond two hours.

I realize at this point, ladies and gentlemen, that I have been speaking
entirely of things for which your understanding was not prepared. I did
this in order to carry through the comparison of psychiatry and
psychoanalysis. May I now ask one thing of you? Have you noticed any
contradiction between them? Psychiatry does not apply the technical
methods of psychoanalysis, and neglects to look for any significance in
the content of the obsession. Instead of first seeking out more specific
and immediate causes, psychiatry refers us to the very general and
remote source--heredity. But does this imply a contradiction, a conflict
between them? Do they not rather supplement one another? For does the
hereditary factor deny the significance of the experience, is it not
rather true that both operate together in the most effective way? You
must admit that there is nothing in the nature of psychiatric work which
must repudiate psychoanalytic research. Therefore, it is the
psychiatrists who oppose psychoanalysis, not psychiatry itself.
Psychoanalysis stands in about the same relation to psychiatry as does
histology to anatomy. The one studies the outer forms of organs, the
other the closer structure of tissues and cells. A contradiction between
two types of study, where one simplifies the other, is not easily
conceivable. You know that anatomy to-day forms the basis of scientific
medicine, but there was a time when the dissection of human corpses to
learn the inner structure of the body was as much frowned upon as the
practice of psychoanalysis, which seeks to ascertain the inner workings
of the human soul, seems proscribed to-day. And presumably a not too
distant time will bring us to the realization that a psychiatry which
aspires to scientific depth is not possible without a real knowledge of
the deeper unconscious processes in the psychic life.

Perhaps this much-attacked psychoanalysis has now found some friends
among you who are anxious to see it justify itself as well from another
aspect, namely, the therapeutic side. You know that the therapy of
psychiatry has hitherto not been able to influence obsessions. Can
psychoanalysis perhaps do so, thanks to its insight into the mechanism
of these symptoms? No, ladies and gentlemen, it cannot; for the present
at least it is just as powerless in the face of these maladies as every
other therapy. We can understand what it was that happened within the
patient, but we have no means of making the patient himself understand
this. In fact, I told you that I could not extend the analysis of the
obsession beyond the first steps. Would you therefore assert that
analysis is objectionable in such cases because it remains without
result? I think not. We have the right, indeed we have the duty to
pursue scientific research without regard to an immediate practical
effect. Some day, though we do not know when or where, every little
scrap of knowledge will have been translated into skill, even into
therapeutic skill. If psychoanalysis were as unsuccessful in all other
forms of nervous and psychological disease as it is in the case of the
obsession, it would nevertheless remain fully justified as an
irreplaceable method of scientific research. It is true that we would
then not be in a position to practice it, for the human subjects from
which we must learn, live and will in their own right; they must have
motives of their own in order to assist in the work, but they would deny
themselves to us. Therefore let me conclude this session by telling you
that there are comprehensive groups of nervous diseases concerning which
our better understanding has actually been translated into therapeutic
power; moreover, that in disturbances which are most difficult to reach
we can under certain conditions secure results which are second to none
in the field of internal therapeutics.



_The Meaning of the Symptoms_

In the last lecture I explained to you that clinical psychiatry concerns
itself very little with the form under which the symptoms appear or with
the burden they carry, but that it is precisely here that psychoanalysis
steps in and shows that the symptom carries a meaning and is connected
with the experience of the patient. The meaning of neurotic symptoms was
first discovered by J. Breuer in the study and felicitous cure of a case
of hysteria which has since become famous (1880-82). It is true that P.
Janet independently reached the same result; literary priority must in
fact be accorded to the French scholar, since Breuer published his
observations more than a decade later (1893-95) during his period of
collaboration with me. On the whole it may be of small importance to us
who is responsible for this discovery, for you know that every discovery
is made more than once, that none is made all at once, and that success
is not meted out according to deserts. America is not named after
Columbus. Before Breuer and Janet, the great psychiatrist Leuret
expressed the opinion that even for the deliria of the insane, if we
only understood how to interpret them, a meaning could be found. I
confess that for a considerable period of time I was willing to estimate
very highly the credit due to P. Janet in the explanation of neurotic
symptoms, because he saw in them the expression of subconscious ideas
(_idées inconscientes_) with which the patients were obsessed. But since
then Janet has expressed himself most conservatively, as though he
wanted to confess that the term "subconscious" had been for him nothing
more than a mode of speech, a shift, "_une façon de parler_," by the use
of which he had nothing definite in mind. I now no longer understand
Janet's discussions, but I believe that he has needlessly deprived
himself of high credit.

The neurotic symptoms then have their meaning just like errors and the
dream, and like these they are related to the lives of the persons in
whom they appear. The importance of this insight into the nature of the
symptom can best be brought home to you by way of examples. That it is
borne out always and in all cases, I can only assert, not prove. He who
gathers his own experience will be convinced of it. For certain reasons,
however, I shall draw my instances not from hysteria, but from another
fundamentally related and very curious neurosis concerning which I wish
to say a few introductory words to you. This so-called compulsion
neurosis is not so popular as the widely known hysteria; it is, if I may
use the expression, not so noisily ostentatious, behaves more as a
private concern of the patient, renounces bodily manifestations almost
entirely and creates all its symptoms psychologically. Compulsion
neurosis and hysteria are those forms of neurotic disease by the study
of which psychoanalysis has been built up, and in whose treatment as
well the therapy celebrates its triumphs. Of these the compulsion
neurosis, which does not take that mysterious leap from the psychic to
the physical, has through psychoanalytic research become more intimately
comprehensible and transparent to us than hysteria, and we have come to
understand that it reveals far more vividly certain extreme
characteristics of the neuroses.

The chief manifestations of compulsion neurosis are these: the patient
is occupied by thoughts that in reality do not interest him, is moved by
impulses that appear alien to him, and is impelled to actions which, to
be sure, afford him no pleasure, but the performance of which he cannot
possibly resist. The thoughts may be absurd in themselves or thoroughly
indifferent to the individual, often they are absolutely childish and in
all cases they are the result of strained thinking, which exhausts the
patient, who surrenders himself to them most unwillingly. Against his
will he is forced to brood and speculate as though it were a matter of
life or death to him. The impulses, which the patient feels within
himself, may also give a childish or ridiculous impression, but for the
most part they bear the terrifying aspect of temptations to fearful
crimes, so that the patient not only denies them, but flees from them in
horror and protects himself from actual execution of his desires through
inhibitory renunciations and restrictions upon his personal liberty. As
a matter of fact he never, not a single time, carries any of these
impulses into effect; the result is always that his evasion and
precaution triumph. The patient really carries out only very harmless
trivial acts, so-called compulsive acts, for the most part repetitions
and ceremonious additions to the occupations of every-day life, through
which its necessary performances--going to bed, washing, dressing,
walking--become long-winded problems of almost insuperable difficulty.
The abnormal ideas, impulses and actions are in nowise equally potent in
individual forms and cases of compulsion neurosis; it is the rule,
rather, that one or the other of these manifestations is the dominating
factor and gives the name to the disease; that all these forms, however,
have a great deal in common is quite undeniable.

Surely this means violent suffering. I believe that the wildest
psychiatric phantasy could not have succeeded in deriving anything
comparable, and if one did not actually see it every day, one could
hardly bring oneself to believe it. Do not think, however, that you give
the patient any help when you coax him to divert himself, to put aside
these stupid ideas and to set himself to something useful in the place
of his whimsical occupations. This is just what he would like of his own
accord, for he possesses all his senses, shares your opinion of his
compulsion symptoms, in fact volunteers it quite readily. But he cannot
do otherwise; whatever activities actually are released under compulsion
neurosis are carried along by a driving energy, such as is probably
never met with in normal psychic life. He has only one remedy--to
transfer and change. In place of one stupid idea he can think of a
somewhat milder absurdity, he can proceed from one precaution and
prohibition to another, or carry through another ceremonial. He may
shift, but he cannot annul the compulsion. One of the chief
characteristics of the sickness is the instability of the symptoms; they
can be shifted very far from their original form. It is moreover
striking that the contrasts present in all psychological experience are
so very sharply drawn in this condition. In addition to the compulsion
of positive and negative content, an intellectual doubt makes itself
felt that gradually attacks the most ordinary and assured certainties.
All these things merge into steadily increasing uncertainty, lack of
energy, curtailment of personal liberty, despite the fact that the
patient suffering from compulsion neurosis is originally a most
energetic character, often of extraordinary obstinacy, as a rule
intellectually gifted above the average. For the most part he has
attained a desirable stage of ethical development, is overconscientious
and more than usually correct. You can imagine that it takes no
inconsiderable piece of work to find one's way through this maze of
contradictory characteristics and symptoms. Indeed, for the present our
only object is to understand and to interpret some symptoms of this

Perhaps in reference to our previous discussions, you would like to know
the position of present-day psychiatry to the problems of the compulsion
neurosis. This is covered in a very slim chapter. Psychiatry gives names
to the various forms of compulsion, but says nothing further concerning
them. Instead it emphasizes the fact that those who show these symptoms
are degenerates. That yields slight satisfaction, it is an ethical
judgment, a condemnation rather than an explanation. We are led to
suppose that it is in the unsound that all these peculiarities may be
found. Now we do believe that persons who develop such symptoms must
differ fundamentally from other people. But we would like to ask, are
they more "degenerate" than other nervous patients, those suffering, for
instance, from hysteria or other diseases of the mind? The
characterization is obviously too general. One may even doubt whether it
is at all justified, when one learns that such symptoms occur in
excellent men and women of especially great and universally recognized
ability. In general we glean very little intimate knowledge of the great
men who serve us as models. This is due both to their own discretion and
to the lying propensities of their biographers. Sometimes, however, a
man is a fanatic disciple of truth, such as Emile Zola, and then we hear
from him the strange compulsion habits from which he suffered all his

Psychiatry has resorted to the expedient of speaking of "superior
degenerates." Very well--but through psychoanalysis we have learned that
these peculiar compulsion symptoms may be permanently removed just like
any other disease of normal persons. I myself have frequently succeeded
in doing this.

I will give you two examples only of the analysis of compulsion
symptoms, one, an old observation, which cannot be replaced by anything
more complete, and one a recent study. I am limiting myself to such a
small number because in an account of this nature it is necessary to be
very explicit and to enter into every detail.

A lady about thirty years old suffered from the most severe compulsions.
I might indeed have helped her if caprice of fortune had not destroyed
my work--perhaps I will yet have occasion to tell you about it. In the
course of each day the patient often executed, among others, the
following strange compulsive act. She ran from her room into an
adjoining one, placed herself in a definite spot beside a table which
stood in the middle of the room, rang for her maid, gave her a trivial
errand to do, or dismissed her without more ado, and then ran back
again. This was certainly not a severe symptom of disease, but it still
deserved to arouse curiosity. Its explanation was found, absolutely
without any assistance on the part of the physician, in the very
simplest way, a way to which no one can take exception. I hardly know
how I alone could have guessed the meaning of this compulsive act, or
have found any suggestion toward its interpretation. As often as I had
asked the patient: "Why do you do this? Of what use is it?" she had
answered, "I don't know." But one day after I had succeeded in
surmounting a grave ethical doubt of hers she suddenly saw the light and
related the history of the compulsive act. More than ten years prior she
had married a man far older than herself, who had proved impotent on the
bridal night. Countless times during the night he had run from his room
to hers to repeat the attempt, but each time without success. In the
morning he said angrily: "It is enough to make one ashamed before the
maid who does the beds," and took a bottle of red ink that happened to
be in the room, and poured its contents on the sheet, but not on the
place where such a stain would have been justifiable. At first I did not
understand the connection between this reminiscence and the compulsive
act in question, for the only agreement I could find between them was in
the running from one room into another,--possibly also in the appearance
of the maid. Then the patient led me to the table in the second room and
let me discover a large spot on the cover. She explained also that she
placed herself at the table in such a way that the maid could not miss
seeing the stain. Now it was no longer possible to doubt the intimate
relation of the scene after her bridal night and her present compulsive
act, but there were still a number of things to be learned about it.

In the first place, it is obvious that the patient identifies herself
with her husband, she is acting his part in her imitation of his running
from one room into the other. We must then admit--if she holds to this
role--that she replaces the bed and sheet by table and cover. This may
seem arbitrary, but we have not studied dream symbolism in vain. In
dreams also a table which must be interpreted as a bed, is frequently
seen. "Bed and board" together represent married life, one may therefore
easily be used to represent the other.

The evidence that the compulsive act carries meaning would thus be
plain; it appears as a representation, a repetition of the original
significant scene. However, we are not forced to stop at this semblance
of a solution; when we examine more closely the relation between these
two people, we shall probably be enlightened concerning something of
wider importance, namely, the purpose of the compulsive act. The nucleus
of this purpose is evidently the summoning of the maid; to her she
wishes to show the stain and refute her husband's remark: "It is enough
to shame one before the maid." He--whose part she is playing--therefore
feels no shame before the maid, hence the stain must be in the right
place. So we see that she has not merely repeated the scene, rather she
has amplified it, corrected it and "turned it to the good." Thereby,
however, she also corrects something else,--the thing which was so
embarrassing that night and necessitated the use of the red
ink--impotence. The compulsive act then says: "No, it is not true, he
did not have to be ashamed before the maid, he was not impotent." After
the manner of a dream she represents the fulfillment of this wish in an
overt action, she is ruled by the desire to help her husband over that
unfortunate incident.

Everything else that I could tell you about this case supports this clue
more specifically; all that we otherwise know about her tends to
strengthen this interpretation of a compulsive act incomprehensible in
itself. For years the woman has lived separated from her husband and is
struggling with the intention to obtain a legal divorce. But she is by
no means free from him; she forces herself to remain faithful to him,
she retires from the world to avoid temptation; in her imagination she
excuses and idealizes him. The deepest secret of her malady is that by
means of it she shields her husband from malicious gossip, justifies her
separation from him, and renders possible for him a comfortable separate
life. Thus the analysis of a harmless compulsive act leads to the very
heart of this case and at the same time reveals no inconsiderable
portion of the secret of the compulsion neurosis in general. I shall be
glad to have you dwell upon this instance, as it combines conditions
that one can scarcely demand in other cases. The interpretation of the
symptoms was discovered by the patient herself in one flash, without the
suggestion or interference of the analyst. It came about by the
reference to an experience, which did not, as is usually the case,
belong to the half-forgotten period of childhood, but to the mature life
of the patient, in whose memory it had remained unobliterated. All the
objections which critics ordinarily offer to our interpretation of
symptoms fail in this case. Of course, we are not always so fortunate.

And one thing more! Have you not observed how this insignificant
compulsive act initiated us into the intimate life of the invalid? A
woman can scarcely relate anything more intimate than the story of her
bridal night, and is it without further significance that we just
happened to come on the intimacies of her sexual life? It might of
course be the result of the selection I have made in this instance. Let
us not judge too quickly and turn our attention to the second instance,
one of an entirely different kind, a sample of a frequently occurring
variety, namely, the sleep ritual.

A nineteen-year old, well-developed, gifted girl, an only child, who was
superior to her parents in education and intellectual activity, had been
wild and mischievous in her childhood, but has become very nervous
during the last years without any apparent outward cause. She is
especially irritable with her mother, always discontented, depressed,
has a tendency toward indecision and doubt, and is finally forced to
confess that she can no longer walk alone on public squares or wide
thoroughfares. We shall not consider at length her complicated
condition, which requires at least two diagnoses--agoraphobia and
compulsion neurosis. We will dwell only upon the fact that this girl has
also developed a sleep ritual, under which she allows her parents to
suffer much discomfort. In a certain sense, we may say that every
normal person has a sleep ritual, in other words that he insists on
certain conditions, the absence of which hinders him from falling
asleep; he has created certain observances by which he bridges the
transition from waking to sleeping and these he repeats every evening in
the same manner. But everything that the healthy person demands in order
to obtain sleep is easily understandable and, above all, when external
conditions necessitate a change, he adapts himself easily and without
loss of time. But the pathological ritual is rigid, it persists by
virtue of the greatest sacrifices, it also masks itself with a
reasonable justification and seems, in the light of superficial
observation, to differ from the normal only by exaggerated pedantry. But
under closer observation we notice that the mask is transparent, for the
ritual covers intentions that go far beyond this reasonable
justification, and other intentions as well that are in direct
contradiction to this reasonable justification. Our patient cites as the
motive of her nightly precautions that she must have quiet in order to
sleep; therefore she excludes all sources of noise. To accomplish this,
she does two things: the large clock in her room is stopped, all other
clocks are removed; not even the wrist watch on her night-table is
suffered to remain. Flowerpots and vases are placed on her desk so that
they cannot fall down during the night, and in breaking disturb her
sleep. She knows that these precautions are scarcely justifiable for the
sake of quiet; the ticking of the small watch could not be heard even if
it should remain on the night-table, and moreover we all know that the
regular ticking of a clock is conducive to sleep rather than disturbing.
She does admit that there is not the least probability that flowerpots
and vases left in place might of their own accord fall and break during
the night. She drops the pretense of quiet for the other practice of
this sleep ritual. She seems on the contrary to release a source of
disturbing noises by the demand that the door between her own room and
that of her parents remain half open, and she insures this condition by
placing various objects in front of the open door. The most important
observances concern the bed itself. The large pillow at the head of the
bed may not touch the wooden back of the bed. The small pillow for her
head must lie on the large pillow to form a rhomb; she then places her
head exactly upon the diagonal of the rhomb. Before covering herself,
the featherbed must be shaken so that its foot end becomes quite flat,
but she never omits to press this down and redistribute the thickness.

Allow me to pass over the other trivial incidents of this ritual; they
would teach us nothing new and cause too great digression from our
purpose. Do not overlook, however, the fact that all this does not run
its course quite smoothly. Everything is pervaded by the anxiety that
things have not been done properly; they must be examined, repeated. Her
doubts seize first on one, then on another precaution, and the result is
that one or two hours elapse during which the girl cannot and the
intimidated parents dare not sleep.

These torments were not so easily analyzed as the compulsive act of our
former patient. In the working out of the interpretations I had to hint
and suggest to the girl, and was met on her part either by positive
denial or mocking doubt. This first reaction of denial, however, was
followed by a time when she occupied herself of her own accord with the
possibilities that had been suggested, noted the associations they
called out, produced reminiscences, and established connections, until
through her own efforts she had reached and accepted all
interpretations. In so far as she did this, she desisted as well from
the performance of her compulsive rules, and even before the treatment
had ended she had given up the entire ritual. You must also know that
the nature of present-day analysis by no means enables us to follow out
each individual symptom until its meaning becomes clear. Rather it is
necessary to abandon a given theme again and again, yet with the
certainty that we will be led back to it in some other connection. The
interpretation of the symptoms in this case, which I am about to give
you, is a synthesis of results, which, with the interruptions of other
work, needed weeks and months for their compilation.

Our patient gradually learns to understand that she has banished clocks
and watches from her room during the night because the clock is the
symbol of the female genital. The clock, which we have learned to
interpret as a symbol for other things also, receives this role of the
genital organ through its relation to periodic occurrences at equal
intervals. A woman may for instance be found to boast that her
menstruation is as regular as clockwork. The special fear of our
patient, however, was that the ticking of the clock would disturb her
in her sleep. The ticking of the clock may be compared to the throbbing
of the clitoris during sexual excitement. Frequently she had actually
been awakened by this painful sensation and now this fear of an erection
of the clitoris caused her to remove all ticking clocks during the
night. Flowerpots and vases are, as are all vessels, also female
symbols. The precaution, therefore, that they should not fall and break
at night, was not without meaning. We know the widespread custom of
breaking a plate or dish when an engagement is celebrated. The fragment
of which each guest possesses himself symbolizes his renunciation of his
claim to the bride, a renunciation which we may assume as based on the
monogamous marriage law. Furthermore, to this part of her ceremonial our
patient adds a reminiscence and several associations. As a child she had
slipped once and fallen with a bowl of glass or clay, had cut her
finger, and bled violently. As she grew up and learned the facts of
sexual intercourse, she developed the fear that she might not bleed
during her bridal night and so not prove to be a virgin. Her precaution
against the breaking of vases was a rejection of the entire virginity
complex, including the bleeding connected with the first cohabitation.
She rejected both the fear to bleed and the contradictory fear not to
bleed. Indeed her precautions had very little to do with a prevention of

One day she guessed the central idea of her ceremonial, when she
suddenly understood her rule not to let the pillow come in contact with
the bed. The pillows always had seemed a woman to her, the erect back of
the bed a man. By means of magic, we may say, she wished to keep apart
man and wife; it was her parents she wished to separate, so to prevent
their marital intercourse. She had sought to attain the same end by more
direct methods in earlier years, before the institution of her
ceremonial. She had simulated fear or exploited a genuine timidity in
order to keep open the door between the parents' bedroom and the
nursery. This demand had been retained in her present ceremonial. Thus
she had gained the opportunity of overhearing her parents, a proceeding
which at one time subjected her to months of sleeplessness. Not content
with this disturbance to her parents, she was at that time occasionally
able to gain her point and sleep between father and mother in their
very bed. Then "pillow" and "wooden wall" could really not come in
contact. Finally when she became so big that her presence between the
parents could not longer be borne comfortably, she consciously simulated
fear and actually succeeded in changing places with her mother and
taking her place at her father's side. This situation was undoubtedly
the starting point for the phantasies, whose after-effects made
themselves felt in her ritual.

If a pillow represented a woman, then the shaking of the featherbed till
all the feathers were lumped at one end, rounding it into a prominence,
must have its meaning also. It meant the impregnation of the wife; the
ceremonial, however, never failed to provide for the annulment, of this
pregnancy by the flattening down of the feathers. Indeed, for years our
patient had feared that the intercourse between her parents might result
in another child which would be her rival. Now, where the large pillow
represents a woman, the mother, then the small pillow could be nothing
but the daughter. Why did this pillow have to be placed so as to form a
rhomb; and why did the girl's head have to rest exactly upon the
diagonal? It was easy to remind the patient that the rhomb on all walls
is the rune used to represent the open female genital. She herself then
played the part of the man, the father, and her head took the place of
the male organ. (Cf. the symbol of beheading to represent castration.)

Wild ideas, you will say, to run riot in the head of a virgin girl. I
admit it, but do not forget that I have not created these ideas but
merely interpreted them. A sleep ritual of this kind is itself very
strange, and you cannot deny the correspondence between the ritual and
the phantasies that yielded us the interpretation. For my part I am most
anxious that you observe in this connection that no single phantasy was
projected in the ceremonial, but a number of them had to be
integrated,--they must have their nodal points somewhere in space.
Observe also that the observance of the ritual reproduce the sexual
desire now positively, now negatively, and serve in part as their
rejection, again as their representation.

It would be possible to make a better analysis of this ritual by
relating it to other symptoms of the patient. But we cannot digress in
that direction. Let the suggestion suffice that the girl is subject to
an erotic attachment to her father, the beginning of which goes back to
her earliest childhood. That perhaps is the reason for her unfriendly
attitude toward her mother. Also we cannot escape the fact that the
analysis of this symptom again points to the sexual life of the patient.
The more we penetrate to the meaning and purpose of neurotic symptoms,
the less surprising will this seem to us.

By means of two selected illustrations I have demonstrated to you that
neurotic symptoms carry just as much meaning as do errors and the dream,
and that they are intimately connected with the experience of the
patient. Can I expect you to believe this vitally significant statement
on the strength of two examples? No. But can you expect me to cite
further illustrations until you declare yourself convinced? That too is
impossible, since considering the explicitness with which I treat each
individual case, I would require a five-hour full semester course for
the explanation of this one point in the theory of the neuroses. I must
content myself then with having given you one proof for my assertion and
refer you for the rest to the literature of the subject, above all to
the classical interpretation of symptoms in Breuer's first case
(hysteria) as well as to the striking clarification of obscure symptoms
in the so-called dementia praecox by C. G. Jung, dating from the time
when this scholar was still content to be a mere psychoanalyst--and did
not yet want to be a prophet; and to all the articles that have
subsequently appeared in our periodicals. It is precisely investigations
of this sort which are plentiful. Psychoanalysts have felt themselves so
much attracted by the analysis, interpretation and translation of
neurotic symptoms, that by contrast they seem temporarily to have
neglected other problems of neurosis.

Whoever among you takes the trouble to look into the matter will
undoubtedly be deeply impressed by the wealth of evidential material.
But he will also encounter difficulties. We have learned that the
meaning of a symptom is found in its relation to the experience of the
patient. The more highly individualized the symptom is, the sooner we
may hope to establish these relations. Therefore the task resolves
itself specifically into the discovery for every nonsensical idea and
useless action of a past situation wherein the idea had been justified
and the action purposeful. A perfect example for this kind of symptom is
the compulsive act of our patient who ran to the table and rang for the
maid. But there are symptoms of a very different nature which are by no
means rare. They must be called typical symptoms of the disease, for
they are approximately alike in all cases, in which the individual
differences disappear or shrivel to such an extent that it is difficult
to connect them with the specific experiences of the patient and to
relate them to the particular situations of his past. Let us again
direct our attention to the compulsion neurosis. The sleep ritual of our
second patient is already quite typical, but bears enough individual
features to render possible what may be called an _historic_
interpretation. But all compulsive patients tend to repeat, to isolate
their actions from others and to subject them to a rhythmic sequence.
Most of them wash too much. Agoraphobia (topophobia, fear of spaces), a
malady which is no longer grouped with the compulsion neurosis, but is
now called anxiety hysteria, invariably shows the same pathological
picture; it repeats with exhausting monotony the same feature, the
patient's fear of closed spaces, of large open squares, of long
stretched streets and parkways, and their feeling of safety when
acquaintances accompany them, when a carriage drives after them, etc. On
this identical groundwork, however, the individual differences between
the patients are superimposed--moods one might almost call them, which
are sharply contrasted in the various cases. The one fears only narrow
streets, the other only wide ones, the one can go out walking only when
there are few people abroad, the other when there are many. Hysteria
also, aside from its wealth of individual features, has a superfluity of
common typical symptoms that appear to resist any facile historical
methods of tracing them. But do not let us forget that it is by these
typical symptoms that we get our bearings in reaching a diagnosis. When,
in one case of hysteria we have finally traced back a typical symptom to
an experience or a series of similar experiences, for instance followed
back an hysterical vomiting to its origin in a succession of disgust
impressions, another case of vomiting will confuse us by revealing an
entirely different chain of experiences, seemingly just as effective. It
seems almost as though hysterical patients must vomit for some reason as
yet unknown, and that the historic factors, revealed by analysis, are
chance pretexts, seized on as opportunity best offered to serve the
purposes of a deeper need.

Thus we soon reach the discouraging conclusion that although we can
satisfactorily explain the individual neurotic symptom by relating it to
an experience, our science fails us when it comes to the typical
symptoms that occur far more frequently. In addition, remember that I am
not going into all the detailed difficulties which come up in the course
of resolutely hunting down an historic interpretation of the symptom. I
have no intention of doing this, for though I want to keep nothing from
you, and so paint everything in its true colors, I still do not wish to
confuse and discourage you at the very outset of our studies. It is true
that we have only begun to understand the interpretation of symptoms,
but we wish to hold fast to the results we have achieved, and struggle
forward step by step toward the mastery of the still unintelligible
data. I therefore try to cheer you with the thought that a fundamental
between the two kinds of symptoms can scarcely be assumed. Since the
individual symptoms are so obviously dependent upon the experience of
the patient, there is a possibility that the typical symptoms revert to
an experience that is in itself typical and common to all humanity.
Other regularly recurring features of neurosis, such as the repetition
and doubt of the compulsion neurosis, may be universal reactions which
are forced upon the patient by the very nature of the abnormal change.
In short, we have no reason to be prematurely discouraged; we shall see
what our further results will yield.

We meet a very similar difficulty in the theory of dreams, which in our
previous discussion of the dream I could not go into. The manifest
content of dreams is most profuse and individually varied, and I have
shown very explicitly what analysis may glean from this content. But
side by side with these dreams there are others which may also be termed
"typical" and which occur similarly in all people. These are dreams of
identical content which offer the same difficulties for their
interpretation as the typical symptom. They are the dreams of falling,
flying, floating, swimming, of being hemmed in, of nakedness, and
various other anxiety dreams that yield first one and then another
interpretation for the different patients, without resulting in an
explanation of their monotonous and typical recurrence. In the matter
of these dreams also, we see a fundamental groundwork enriched by
individual additions. Probably they as well can be fitted into the
theory of dream life, built up on the basis of other dreams,--not
however by straining the point, but by the gradual broadening of our



_Traumatic Fixation--The Unconscious_

I said last time that we would not continue our work from the standpoint
of our doubts, but on the basis of our results. We have not even touched
upon two of the most interesting conclusions, derived equally from the
same two sample analyses.

In the first place, both patients give us the impression of being
_fixated_ upon some very definite part of their past; they are unable to
free themselves therefrom, and have therefore come to be completely
estranged both from the present and the future. They are now isolated in
their ailment, just as in earlier days people withdrew into monasteries
there to carry along the burden of their unhappy fates. In the case of
the first patient, it is her marriage with her husband, really
abandoned, that has determined her lot. By means of her symptoms she
continues to deal with her husband; we have learned to understand those
voices which plead his case, which excuse him, exalt him, lament his
loss. Although she is young and might be coveted by other men, she has
seized upon all manner of real and imaginary (magic) precautions to
safeguard her virtue for him. She will not appear before strangers, she
neglects her personal appearance; furthermore, she cannot bring herself
to get up readily from any chair on which she has been seated. She
refuses to give her signature, and finally, since she is motivated by
her desire not to let anyone have anything of hers, she is unable to
give presents.

In the case of the second patient, the young girl, it is an erotic
attachment for her father that had established itself in the years prior
to puberty, which plays the same role in her life. She also has arrived
at the conclusion that she may not marry so long as she is sick. We may
suspect she became ill in order that she need not marry, and that she
might stay with her father.

It is impossible to evade the question of how, in what manner, and
driven by what motives, an individual may come by such a remarkable and
unprofitable attitude toward life. Granted of course that this bearing
is a general characteristic of neurosis, and not a special peculiarity
of these two cases, it is nevertheless a general trait in every neurosis
of very great importance in practice. Breuer's first hysterical patient
was fixated in the same manner upon the time when she nursed her very
sick father. In spite of her recuperation she has, in certain respects,
since that time, been done with life; although she remained healthy and
able, she did not enter on the normal life of women. In every one of our
patients we may see, by the use of analysis, that in his
disease-symptoms and their results he has gone back again into a
definite period of his past. In the majority of cases he even chooses a
very early phase of his life, sometime a childhood phase, indeed,
laughable as it may appear, a phase of his very suckling existence.

The closest analogies to these conditions of our neurotics are furnished
by the types of sickness which the war has just now made so
frequent--the so-called traumatic neuroses. Even before the war there
were such cases after railroad collisions and other frightful
occurrences which endangered life. The traumatic neuroses are,
fundamentally, not the same as the spontaneous neuroses which we have
been analysing and treating; moreover, we have not yet succeeded in
bringing them within our hypotheses, and I hope to be able to make clear
to you wherein this limitation lies. Yet on one point we may emphasize
the existence of a complete agreement between the two forms. The
traumatic neuroses show clear indications that they are grounded in a
fixation upon the moment of the traumatic disaster. In their dreams
these patients regularly live over the traumatic situation; where there
are attacks of an hysterical type, which permit of an analysis, we learn
that the attack approximates a complete transposition into this
situation. It is as if these patients had not yet gotten through with
the traumatic situation, as if it were actually before them as a task
which was not yet mastered. We take this view of the matter in all
seriousness; it shows the way to an _economic_ view of psychic
occurrences. For the expression "traumatic" has no other than an
economic meaning, and the disturbance permanently attacks the
management of available energy. The traumatic experience is one which,
in a very short space of time, is able to increase the strength of a
given stimulus so enormously that its assimilation, or rather its
elaboration, can no longer be effected by normal means.

This analogy tempts us to classify as traumatic those experiences as
well upon which our neurotics appear to be fixated. Thus the possibility
is held out to us of having found a simple determining factor for the
neurosis. It would then be comparable to a traumatic disease, and would
arise from the inability to meet an overpowering emotional experience.
As a matter of fact this reads like the first formula, by which Breuer
and I, in 1893-1895, accounted theoretically for our new observations. A
case such as that of our first patient, the young woman separated from
her husband, is very well explained by this conception. She was not able
to get over the unfeasibility of her marriage, and has not been able to
extricate herself from this trauma. But our very next, that of the girl
attached to her father, shows us that the formula is not sufficiently
comprehensive. On the one hand, such baby love of a little girl for her
father is so usual, and so often outlived that the designation
"traumatic" would carry no significance; on the other hand, the history
of the patient teaches us that this first erotic fixation apparently
passed by harmlessly at the time, and did not again appear until many
years later in the symptoms of the compulsion neurosis. We see
complications before us, the existence of a greater wealth of
determining factors in the disease, but we also suspect that the
traumatic viewpoint will not have to be given up as wrong; rather it
will have to subordinate itself when it is fitted into a different

Here again we must leave the road we have been traveling. For the time
being, it leads us no further and we have many other things to find out
before we can go on again. But before we leave this subject let us note
that the fixation on some particular phase of the past has bearings
which extend far beyond the neurosis. Every neurosis contains such a
fixation, but every fixation does not lead to a neurosis, nor fall into
the same class with neuroses, nor even set the conditions for the
development of a neurosis. Mourning is a type of emotional fixation on a
theory of the past, which also brings with it the most complete
alienation from the present and the future. But mourning is sharply
distinguished from neuroses that may be designated as pathological forms
of mourning.

It also happens that men are brought to complete deadlock by a traumatic
experience that has so completely shaken the foundations on which they
have built their lives that they give up all interest in the present and
future, and become completely absorbed in their retrospections; but
these unhappy persons are not necessarily neurotic. We must not
overestimate this one feature as a diagnostic for a neurosis, no matter
how invariable and potent it may be.

Now let us turn to the second conclusion of our analysis, which however
we will hardly need to limit subsequently. We have spoken of the
senseless compulsive activities of our first patient, and what intimate
memories she disclosed as belonging to them; later we also investigated
the connection between experience and symptom and thus discovered the
purpose hidden behind the compulsive activity. But we have entirely
omitted one factor that deserves our whole attention. As long as the
patient kept repeating the compulsive activity she did not know that it
was in any way related with the experience in question. The connection
between the two was hidden from her, she truthfully answered that she
did not know what compelled her to do this. Once, suddenly, under the
influence of the cure, she hit upon the connection and was able to tell
it to us. But still she did not know of the end in the service of which
she performed the compulsive activities, the purpose to correct a
painful part of the past and to place the husband, still loved by her,
upon a higher level. It took quite a long time and a great deal of
trouble for her to grasp and admit to me that such a motive alone could
have been the motive force of the compulsive activity.

The relation between the scene after the unhappy bridal night and the
tender motive of the patient yield what we have called the meaning of
the compulsive activity. But both the "whence" and the "why" remained
hidden from her as long as she continued to carry out the compulsive
act. Psychological processes had been going on within her for which the
compulsive act found an expression. She could, in a normal frame of
mind, observe their effect, but none of the psychological antecedents
of her action had come to the knowledge of her consciousness. She had
acted in just the same manner as a hypnotized person to whom Bernheim
had given the injunction that five minutes after his awakening in the
ward he was to open an umbrella, and he had carried out this order on
awakening, but could give no motive for his so doing. We have exactly
such facts in mind when we speak of the existence of _unconscious
psychological processes_. Let anyone in the world account for these
facts in a more correct scientific manner, and we will gladly withdraw
completely our assumption of unconscious psychological processes. Until
then, however, we shall continue to use this assumption, and when anyone
wants to bring forward the objection that the unconscious can have no
reality for science and is a mere makeshift, (_une façon de parler_), we
must simply shrug our shoulders and reject his incomprehensible
statement resignedly. A strange unreality which can call out such real
and palpable effects as a compulsion symptom!

In our second patient we meet with fundamentally the same thing. She had
created a decree which she must follow: the pillow must not touch the
head of the bed; yet she does not know how it originated, what its
meaning is, nor to what motive it owes the source of its power. It is
immaterial whether she looks upon it with indifference or struggles
against it, storms against it, determines to overcome it. She must
nevertheless follow it and carry out its ordinance, though she asks
herself, in vain, why. One must admit that these symptoms of compulsion
neurosis offer the clearest evidence for a special sphere of
psychological activity, cut off from the rest. What else could be back
of these images and impulses, which appear from one knows not where,
which have such great resistance to all the influences of an otherwise
normal psychic life; which give the patient himself the impression that
here are super-powerful guests from another world, immortals mixing in
the affairs of mortals. Neurotic symptoms lead unmistakably to a
conviction of the existence of an unconscious psychology, and for that
very reason clinical psychiatry, which recognizes only a conscious
psychology, has no explanation other than that they are present as
indications of a particular kind of degeneration. To be sure, the
compulsive images and impulses are not themselves unconscious--no more
so than the carrying out of the compulsive-acts escapes conscious
observation. They would not have been symptoms had they not penetrated
through into consciousness. But their psychological antecedents as
disclosed by the analysis, the associations into which we place them by
our interpretations, are unconscious, at least until we have made them
known to the patient during the course of the analysis.

Consider now, in addition, that the facts established in our two cases
are confirmed in all the symptoms of all neurotic diseases, that always
and everywhere the meaning of the symptoms is unknown to the sufferer,
that analysis shows without fail that these symptoms are derivatives of
unconscious experiences which can, under various favorable conditions,
become conscious. You will understand then that in psychoanalysis we
cannot do without this unconscious psyche, and are accustomed to deal
with it as with something tangible. Perhaps you will also be able to
understand how those who know the unconscious only as an idea, who have
never analyzed, never interpreted dreams, or never translated neurotic
symptoms into meaning and purpose, are most ill-suited to pass an
opinion on this subject. Let us express our point of view once more. Our
ability to give meaning to neurotic symptoms by means of analytic
interpretation is an irrefutable indication of the existence of
unconscious psychological processes--or, if you prefer, an irrefutable
proof of the necessity for their assumption.

But that is not all. Thanks to a second discovery of Breuer's, for which
he alone deserves credit and which appears to me to be even more
far-reaching, we are able to learn still more concerning the
relationship between the unconscious and the neurotic symptom. Not alone
is the meaning of the symptoms invariably hidden in the unconscious; but
the very existence of the symptom is conditioned by its relation to this
unconscious. You will soon understand me. With Breuer I maintain the
following: Every time we hit upon a symptom we may conclude that the
patient cherishes definite unconscious experiences which withhold the
meaning of the symptoms. Vice versa, in order that the symptoms may come
into being, it is also essential that this meaning be unconscious.
Symptoms are not built up out of conscious experiences; as soon as the
unconscious processes in question become conscious, the symptom
disappears. You will at once recognize here the approach to our therapy,
a way to make symptoms disappear. It was by these means that Breuer
actually achieved the recovery of his patient, that is, freed her of her
symptoms; he found a technique for bringing into her consciousness the
unconscious experiences that carried the meaning of her symptoms, and
the symptoms disappeared.

This discovery of Breuer's was not the result of a speculation, but of a
felicitous observation made possible by the coöperation of the patient.
You should therefore not trouble yourself to find things you already
know to which you can compare these occurrences, rather you should
recognize herein a new fundamental fact which in itself is capable of
much wider application. Toward this further end permit me to go over
this ground again in a different way.

The symptom develops as a substitution for something else that has
remained suppressed. Certain psychological experiences should normally
have become so far elaborated that consciousness would have attained
knowledge of them. This did not take place, however, but out of these
interrupted and disturbed processes, imprisoned in the unconscious, the
symptom arose. That is to say, something in the nature of an interchange
had been effected; as often as therapeutic measures are successful in
again reversing this transposition, psychoanalytic therapy solves the
problem of the neurotic symptom.

Accordingly, Breuer's discovery still remains the foundation of
psychoanalytic therapy. The assertion that the symptoms disappear when
one has made their unconscious connections conscious, has been borne out
by all subsequent research, although the most extraordinary and
unexpected complications have been met with in its practical execution.
Our therapy does its work by means of changing the unconscious into the
conscious, and is effective only in so far as it has the opportunity of
bringing about this transformation.

Now we shall make a hasty digression so that you do not by any chance
imagine that this therapeutic work is too easy. From all we have learned
so far, the neurosis would appear as the result of a sort of ignorance,
the incognizance of psychological processes that we should know of. We
would thus very closely approximate the well-known Socratic teachings,
according to which evil itself is the result of ignorance. Now the
experienced physician will, as a rule, discover fairly readily what
psychic impulses in his several patients have remained unconscious.
Accordingly it would seem easy for him to cure the patient by imparting
this knowledge to him and freeing him of his ignorance. At least the
part played by the unconscious meaning of the symptoms could easily be
discovered in this manner, and it would only be in dealing with the
relationship of the symptoms to the experiences of the patient that the
physician would be handicapped. In the face of these experiences, of
course, he is the ignorant one of the two, for he did not go through
these experiences, and must wait until the patient remembers them and
tells them to him. But in many cases this difficulty could be readily
overcome. One can question the relatives of the patient concerning these
experiences, and they will often be in a position to point out those
that carry any traumatic significance; they may even be able to inform
the analyst of experiences of which the patient knows nothing because
they occurred in the very early years of his life. By a combination of
such means it would seem that the pathogenic ignorance of the patient
could be cleared up in a short time and without much trouble.

If only that were all! We have made discoveries for which we were at
first unprepared. Knowing and knowing is not always the same thing;
there are various kinds of knowing that are psychologically by no means
comparable. "_Il y a fagots et fagots_,"[39] as Molière says. The
knowledge of the physician is not the same as that of the patient and
cannot bring about the same results. The physician can gain no results
by transferring his knowledge to the patient in so many words. This is
perhaps putting it incorrectly, for though the transference does not
result in dissolving the symptoms, it does set the analysis in motion,
and calls out an energetic denial, the first sign usually that this has
taken place. The patient has learned something that he did not know up
to that time, the meaning of his symptoms, and yet he knows it as little
as before. So we discover there is more than one kind of ignorance. It
will require a deepening of our psychological insight to make clear to
us wherein the difference lies. But our assertion nevertheless remains
true that the symptoms disappear with the knowledge of their meaning.
For there is only one limiting condition; the knowledge must be founded
on an inner change in the patient which can be attained only through
psychic labors directed toward a definite end. We have here been
confronted by problems which will soon lead us to the elaboration of a
dynamics of symptom formation.

I must stop to ask you whether this is not all too vague and too
complicated? Do I not confuse you by so often retracting my words and
restricting them, spinning out trains of thought and then rejecting
them? I should be sorry if this were the case. However, I strongly
dislike simplification at the expense of truth, and am not averse to
having you receive the full impression of how many-sided and complicated
the subject is. I also think that there is no harm done if I say more on
every point than you can at the moment make use of. I know that every
hearer and reader arranges what is offered him in his own thoughts,
shortens it, simplifies it and extracts what he wishes to retain. Within
a given measure it is true that the more we begin with the more we have
left. Let me hope that, despite all the by-play, you have clearly
grasped the essential parts of my remarks, those about the meaning of
symptoms, about the unconscious, and the relation between the two. You
probably have also understood that our further efforts are to take two
directions: first, the clinical problem--to discover how persons become
sick, how they later on accomplish a neurotic adaptation toward life;
secondly, a problem of psychic dynamics, the evolution of the neurotic
symptoms themselves from the prerequisites of the neuroses. We will
undoubtedly somewhere come on a point of contact for these two problems.

I do not wish to go any further to-day, but since our time is not yet up
I intend to call your attention to another characteristic of our two
analyses, namely, the memory gaps or amnesias, whose full appreciation
will be possible later. You have heard that it is possible to express
the object of psychoanalytic treatment in a formula: all pathogenic
unconscious experience must be transposed into consciousness. You will
perhaps be surprised to learn that this formula can be replaced by
another: all the memory gaps of the patient must be filled out, his
amnesias must be abolished. Practically this amounts to the same thing.
Therefore an important role in the development of his symptoms must be
accredited to the amnesias of the neurotic. The analysis of our first
case, however, will hardly justify this valuation of the amnesia. The
patient has not forgotten the scene from which the compulsion act
derives--on the contrary, she remembers it vividly, nor is there any
other forgotten factor which comes into play in the development of these
symptoms. Less clear, but entirely analogous, is the situation in the
case of our second patient, the girl with the compulsive ritual. She,
too, has not really forgotten the behavior of her early years, the fact
that she insisted that the door between her bedroom and that of her
parents be kept open, and that she banished her mother out of her place
in her parents' bed. She recalls all this very clearly, although
hesitatingly and unwillingly. Only one factor stands out strikingly in
our first case, that though the patient carries out her compulsive act
innumerable times, she is not once reminded of its similarity with the
experience after the bridal-night; nor was this memory even suggested
when by direct questions she was asked to search for its motivation. The
same is true of the girl, for in her case not only her ritual, but the
situation which provoked it, is repeated identically night after night.
In neither case is there any actual amnesia, no lapse of memory, but an
association is broken off which should have called out a reproduction, a
revival in the memory. Such a disturbance is enough to bring on a
compulsion neurosis. Hysteria, however, shows a different picture, for
it is usually characterized by most grandiose amnesias. As a rule, in
the analysis of each hysterical symptom, one is led back to a whole
chain of impressions which, upon their recovery, are expressly
designated as forgotten up to the moment. On the one hand this chain
extends back to the earliest years of life, so that the hysterical
amnesias may be regarded as the direct continuation of the infantile
amnesias, which hides the beginnings of our psychic life from those of
us who are normal. On the other hand, we discover with surprise that the
most recent experiences of the patient are blurred by these losses of
memory--that especially the provocations which favored or brought on the
illness are, if not entirely wiped out by the amnesia, at least
partially obliterated. Without fail important details have disappeared
from the general picture of such a recent memory, or are placed by false
memories. Indeed it happens almost regularly that just before the
completion of an analysis, certain memories of recent experiences
suddenly come to light. They had been held back all this time, and had
left noticeable gaps in the context.

We have pointed out that such a crippling of the ability to recall is
characteristic of hysteria. In hysteria symptomatic conditions also
arise (hysterical attacks) which need leave no trace in the memory. If
these things do not occur in compulsion-neuroses, you are justified in
concluding that these amnesias exhibit psychological characteristics of
the hysterical change, and not a general trait of the neuroses. The
significance of this difference will be more closely limited by the
following observations. We have combined two things as the meaning of a
symptom, its "whence," on the one hand, and its "whither" or "why," on
the other. By these we mean to indicate the impressions and experiences
whence the symptom arises, and the purpose the symptom serves. The
"whence" of a symptom is traced back to impressions which have come from
without, which have therefore necessarily been conscious at some time,
but which may have sunk into the unconscious--that is, have been
forgotten. The "why" of the symptom, its tendency, is in every case an
endopsychic process, developed from within, which may or may not have
become conscious at first, but could just as readily never have entered
consciousness at all and have been unconscious from its inception. It
is, after all, not so very significant that, as happens in the
hysterias, amnesia has covered over the "whence" of the symptom, the
experience upon which it is based; for it is the "why," the tendency of
the symptom, which establishes its dependence on the unconscious, and
indeed no less so in the compulsion neuroses than in hysteria. In both
cases the "why" may have been unconscious from the very first.

By thus bringing into prominence the unconscious in psychic life, we
have raised the most evil spirits of criticism against psychoanalysis.
Do not be surprised at this, and do not believe that the opposition is
directed only against the difficulties offered by the conception of the
unconscious or against the relative inaccessibility of the experiences
which represent it. I believe it comes from another source. Humanity, in
the course of time, has had to endure from the hands of science two
great outrages against its naive self-love. The first was when humanity
discovered that our earth was not the center of the universe, but only
a tiny speck in a world-system hardly conceivable in its magnitude. This
is associated in our minds with the name "Copernicus," although
Alexandrian science had taught much the same thing. The second occurred
when biological research robbed man of his apparent superiority under
special creation, and rebuked him with his descent from the animal
kingdom, and his ineradicable animal nature. This re-valuation, under
the influence of Charles Darwin, Wallace and their predecessors, was not
accomplished without the most violent opposition of their
contemporaries. But the third and most irritating insult is flung at the
human mania of greatness by present-day psychological research, which
wants to prove to the "I" that it is not even master in its own home,
but is dependent upon the most scanty information concerning all that
goes on unconsciously in its psychic life. We psychoanalysts were
neither the first, nor the only ones to announce this admonition to look
within ourselves. It appears that we are fated to represent it most
insistently and to confirm it by means of empirical data which are of
importance to every single person. This is the reason for the widespread
revolt against our science, the omission of all considerations of
academic urbanity, and emancipation of the opposition from all
restraints of impartial logic. We were compelled to disturb the peace of
the world, in addition, in another manner, of which you will soon come
to know.



_Resistance and Suppression_

In order to progress in our understanding of the neuroses, we need new
experiences and we are about to obtain two. Both are very remarkable and
were at the time of their discovery, very surprising. You are, of
course, prepared for both from our discussions of the past semester.

In the first place: When we undertake to cure a patient, to free him
from the symptoms of his malady, he confronts us with a vigorous,
tenacious resistance that lasts during the whole time of the treatment.
That is so peculiar a fact that we cannot expect much credence for it.
The best thing is not to mention this fact to the patient's relatives,
for they never think of it otherwise than as a subterfuge on our part in
order to excuse the length or the failure of our treatment. The patient,
moreover, produces all the phenomena of this resistance without even
recognizing it as such; it is always a great advance to have brought him
to the point of understanding this conception and reckoning with it.
Just consider, this patient suffers from his symptoms and causes those
about him to suffer with him. He is willing, moreover, to take upon
himself so many sacrifices of time, money, effort and self-denial in
order to be freed. And yet he struggles, in the very interests of his
malady, against one who would help him. How improbable this assertion
must sound! And yet it is so, and if we are reproached with its
improbability, we need only answer that this fact is not without its
analogies. Whoever goes to a dentist with an unbearable toothache may
very well find himself thrusting away the dentist's arm when the man
makes for his sick tooth with a pair of pincers.

The resistance which the patient shows is highly varied, exceedingly
subtle, often difficult to recognize, Protean-like in its manifold
changes of form. It means that the doctor must become suspicious and be
constantly on his guard against the patient. In psychoanalytic therapy
we make use, as you know, of that technique which is already familiar to
you from the interpretation of dreams. We tell the patient that without
further reflection he should put himself into a condition of calm
self-observation and that he must then communicate whatever results this
introspection gives him--feelings, thoughts, reminiscences, in the order
in which they appear to his mind. At the same time, we warn him
expressly against yielding to any motive which would induce him to
choose or exclude any of his thoughts as they arise, in whatever way the
motive may be couched and however it may excuse him from telling us the
thought: "that is too unpleasant," or "too indiscreet" for him to tell;
or "it is too unimportant," or "it does not belong here," "it is
nonsensical." We impress upon him the fact that he must skim only across
the surface of his consciousness and must drop the last vestige of a
critical attitude toward that which he finds. We finally inform him that
the result of the treatment and above all its length is dependent on the
conscientiousness with which he follows this basic rule of the analytic
technique. We know, in fact, from the technique of interpreting dreams,
that of all the random notions which may occur, those against which such
doubts are raised are invariably the ones to yield the material which
leads to the uncovering of the unconscious.

The first reaction we call out by laying down this basic technical rule
is that the patient directs his entire resistance against it. The
patient tries in every way to escape its requirements. First he will
declare that he cannot think of anything, then, that so much comes to
his mind that it is impossible to seize on anything definite. Then we
discover with no slight displeasure that he has yielded to this or that
critical objection, for he betrays himself by the long pauses which he
allows to occur in his speaking. He then confesses that he really cannot
bring himself to this, that he is ashamed to; he prefers to let this
motive get the upper hand over his promise. He may say that he did think
of something but that it concerns someone else and is for that reason
exempt. Or he says that what he just thought of is really too trivial,
too stupid and too foolish. I surely could not have meant that he should
take such thoughts into account. Thus it goes on, with untold
variations, in the face of which we continually reiterate that "telling
everything" really means telling everything.

One can scarcely find a patient who does not make the attempt to reserve
some province for himself against the intrusion of the analysis. One
patient, whom I must reckon among the most highly intelligent, thus
concealed an intimate love relation for weeks; and when he was asked to
explain this infringement of our inviolable rule, he defended his action
with the argument that he considered this one thing was his private
affair. Naturally, analytic treatment cannot countenance such right of
sanctuary. One might as well try in a city like Vienna to allow an
exception to be made of great public squares like the Hohe Markt or the
Stephans Platz and say that no one should be arrested in those
places--and then attempt to round up some particular wrong-doer. He will
be found nowhere but in those sanctuaries. I once brought myself around
to permit such an exception in the case of a man on whose capacity for
work a great deal depended, and who was bound by his oath of service,
which forbade him to tell anyone of certain things. To be sure, he was
satisfied with the results--but not I; I resolved never to repeat such
an attempt under these conditions.

Compulsion neurotics are exceedingly adept at making this technical rule
almost useless by bringing to bear all their over-conscientiousness and
their doubts upon it. Patients suffering from anxiety-hysteria sometimes
succeed in reducing it to absurdity by producing only notions so remote
from the thing sought for that analysis is quite unprofitable. But it is
not my intention to go into the way in which these technical
difficulties may be met. It is enough to know that finally, by means of
resolution and perseverance, we do succeed in wresting a certain amount
of obedience from the patient toward this basic rule of the technique;
the resistance then makes itself felt in other ways. It appears in the
form of an intellectual resistance, battles by means of arguments, and
makes use of all difficulties and improbabilities which a normal yet
uninstructed thinking is bound to find in the theory of analysis. Then
we hear from one voice alone the same criticisms and objections which
thunder about us in mighty chorus in the scientific literature.
Therefore the critics who shout to us from outside cannot tell us
anything new. It is a veritable tempest in a teapot. Still the patient
can be argued with, he is anxious to persuade us to instruct him, to
teach him, to lead him to the literature, so that he may continue
working things out for himself. He is very ready to become an adherent
of psychoanalysis on condition that analysis spare him personally. But
we recognize this curiosity as a resistance, as a diversion from our
special objects, and we meet it accordingly. In those patients who
suffer from compulsion neuroses, we must expect the resistance to
display special tactics. They frequently allow the analysis to take its
way, so that it may succeed in throwing more and more light on the
problems of the case, but we finally begin to wonder how it is that this
clearing up brings with it no practical progress, no diminution of the
symptom. Then we may discover that the resistance has entrenched itself
in the doubts of the compulsion neurosis itself and in this position is
able successfully to resist our efforts. The patient has said something
like this to himself: "This is all very nice and interesting. And I
would be glad to continue it. It would affect my malady considerably if
it were true. But I don't believe that it is true and as long as I don't
believe it, it has nothing to do with my sickness." And so it may go on
for a long time until one finally has shaken this position itself; it is
then that the decisive battle takes place.

The intellectual resistances are not the worst, one can always get ahead
of them. But the patient can also put up resistances, within the limits
of the analysis, whose conquest belongs to the most difficult tasks of
our technique. Instead of recalling, he actually goes again through the
attitudes and emotions of his previous life which, by means of the
so-called "transference," can be utilized as resistances to the
physician and the treatment. If the patient is a man, he takes this
material as a rule from his relations to his father, in whose place he
now puts the physician, and in so doing constructs a resistance out of
his struggle for independence of person and opinion; out of his ambition
to equal or to excel his father; out of his unwillingness to assume the
burden of gratitude a second time in his life. For long times at a
stretch one receives the impression that the patient desires to put the
physician in the wrong and to let him feel his helplessness by
triumphing over him, and that this desire has completely replaced his
better intention of making an end to his sickness. Women are adepts at
exploiting, for the purposes of the resistance, a tender, erotically
tinged transference to the physician. When this leaning attains a
certain intensity, all interest for the actual situation of the
treatment is lost, together with every sense of the responsibility which
was assumed by undertaking it. The never-failing jealousy as well as the
embitterment over the inevitable repudiation, however gently effected,
all must serve to spoil the personal understanding between patient and
physician and thus to throw out one of the most powerful propelling
forces of the analysis.

Resistances of this sort must not be narrow-mindedly condemned. They
contain so much of the most important material of the patient's past and
reproduce it in such a convincing manner, that they become of the
greatest aid to the analysis, if a skillful technique is able to turn
them in the right direction. It is only remarkable that this material is
at first always in the service of the resistance, for which it serves as
a barrier against the treatment. One can also say that here are traits
of character, adjustments of the ego which were mobilized in order to
defeat the attempted change. We are thus able to learn how these traits
arose under the conditions of the neurosis, as a reaction to its
demands, and to see features more clearly in this character which could
otherwise not have shown up so clearly or at least not to this extent,
and which one may therefore designate as latent. You must also not get
the impression that we see an unforeseen endangering of the analytic
influence in the appearance of these resistances. On the contrary, we
know that these resistances must come to light; we are dissatisfied only
when we do not provoke them in their full strength and so make them
plain to the patient Indeed, we at last understand that overcoming these
resistances is the essential achievement of analysis and is that portion
of the work which alone assures us that we have accomplished something
with the patient.

You must also take into account the fact that any accidental occurrences
which arise during the treatment will be made use of by the patient as a
disturbance--every diverting incident, every statement about analysis
from an inimical authority in his circle, any chance illness or any
organic affection which complicates the neurosis; indeed, he even uses
every improvement of his condition as a motive for abating his efforts.
You will then have gained an approximate, though still an incomplete
picture of the forms and devices of the resistance which must be met
and overcome in the course of every analysis. I have given this point
such detailed consideration because I am about to inform you that our
dynamic conception of the neurosis is based on this experience with the
resistance of neurotic patients against the banishment of their
symptoms. Breuer and I both originally practiced psycho-therapy by means
of hypnosis. Breuer's first patient was treated throughout under a
condition of hypnotic suggestibility, and I at first followed his
example. I admit that my work at that time progressed easily and
agreeably and also took much less time. But the results were capricious
and not permanent; therefore I finally gave up hypnotism. Then only did
I realize that no insight into the forces which produce these diseases
was possible as long as one used hypnotism. The condition of hypnosis
could prevent the physician from realizing the existence of a
resistance. Hypnosis drives back the resistance and frees a certain
field for the work of analysis, but similarly to the doubt in the
compulsion neurosis, in so doing it clogs the boundaries of this field
till they become impenetrable. That is why I can say that true
psychoanalysis began when the help of hypnotism was renounced.

But if the establishment of the resistance thus becomes a matter of such
importance, then surely we must give our caution full rein, and follow
up any doubts as to whether we are not all too ready in our assumption
of their existence. Perhaps there really are neurotic cases in which
associations appear for other reasons, perhaps the arguments against our
hypothesis really deserve more consideration and we are unjustified in
conveniently rejecting all intellectual criticisms of analysis as a
resistance. Indeed, ladies and gentlemen, but our judgment was by no
means readily arrived at. We had opportunity to observe every critical
patient from the first sign of the resistance till after its
disappearance. In the course of the treatment, the resistance is
moreover constantly changing in intensity. It is always on the increase
as we approach a new theme, is strongest at the height of its
elaboration, and dies down again when this theme has been abandoned.
Furthermore, unless we have made some unusual and awkward technical
error, we never have to deal with the full measure of resistance of
which the patient is capable. We could therefore convince ourselves that
the same man took up and discarded his critical attitude innumerable
times in the course of the analysis. Whenever we are on the point of
bringing before his consciousness some piece of unconscious material
which is especially painful to him, then he is critical in the extreme.
Even though he had previously understood and accepted a great deal,
nevertheless all record of these gains seems now to have been wiped out.
He may, in his desire to resist at any cost, present a picture of
veritable emotional feeblemindedness. If one succeeds in helping him to
overcome this new resistance, then he regains his insight and his
understanding. Thus his criticism is not an independent function to be
respected as such; it plays the role of handy-man to his emotional
attitude and is guided by his resistance. If something displeases him,
he can defend himself against it very ingeniously and appear most
critical. But if something strikes his fancy, then he may show himself
easily convinced. Perhaps none of us are very different, and the patient
under analysis shows this dependence of the intellect on the emotional
life so plainly only because, under the analysis, he is so hard pressed.

In what way shall we now account for the observation that the patient so
energetically resists our attempts to rid him of his symptoms and to
make his psychic processes function in a normal way? We tell ourselves
that we have here come up against strong forces which oppose any change
in the condition; furthermore, that these forces must be identical with
those which originally brought about the condition. Some process must
have been functional in the building up of these symptoms, a process
which we can now reconstruct by means of our experiences in solving the
meaning of the symptoms. We already know from Breuer's observations that
the existence of a symptom presupposes that some psychic process was not
carried to its normal conclusion, so that it could not become conscious.
The symptom is the substitute for that which did not take place. Now we
know where the forces whose existence we suspect must operate. Some
violent antagonism must have been aroused to prevent the psychic process
in question from reaching consciousness, and it therefore remained
unconscious. As an unconscious thought it had the power to create a
symptom. The same struggle during the analytic treatment opposes anew
the efforts to carry this unconscious thought over into consciousness.
This process we felt as a resistance. That pathogenic process which is
made evident to us through the resistance, we will name _repression_.

We are now ready to obtain a more definite idea of this process of
repression. It is the preliminary condition for the formation of
symptoms; it is also a thing for which we have no parallel. If we take
as prototype an impulse, a psychological process which is striving to
convert itself into action, we know that it may succumb before a
rejection, which we call "repudiation" or "condemnation." In the course
of this struggle, the energy which the impulse had at its disposal was
withdrawn from it, it becomes powerless; yet it may subsist in the form
of a memory. The whole process of decision occurs with the full
knowledge of the ego. The state of affairs is very different if we
imagine that this same impulse has been subjected to repression. In that
case, it would retain its energy and there would be no memory of it
left; in addition, the process of repression would be carried out
without the knowledge of the ego. Through this comparison, however, we
have come no nearer understanding the nature of repression.

I now go into the theoretical ideas which alone have shown themselves
useful in making the conception of repression more definite. It is above
all necessary that we progress from a purely descriptive meaning of the
word "unconscious" to its more systematic meaning; that is, we come to a
point where we must call the consciousness or unconsciousness of a
psychic process only one of its attributes, an attribute which is,
moreover, not necessarily unequivocal. If such a process remained
unconscious, then this separation from consciousness is perhaps only an
indication of the fate to which it has submitted and not this fate
itself. To bring this home to us more vividly, let us assume that every
psychological process--with one exception, which I will go into
later--first exists in an unconscious state or phase and only goes over
from this into a conscious phase, much as a photographic picture is
first a negative and then becomes a picture by being printed. But not
every negative need become a positive, and just as little is it
necessary that every unconscious psychological process should be changed
into a conscious one. We find it advantageous to express ourselves as
follows: Any particular process belongs in the first place to the
psychological system of the unconscious; from this system it can under
certain conditions go over into the system of the conscious. The crudest
conception of these systems is the one which is most convenient for us,
namely, a representation in space. We will compare the system of the
unconscious to a large ante-chamber, in which the psychic impulses rub
elbows with one another, as separate beings. There opens out of this
ante-chamber another, a smaller room, a sort of parlor, which
consciousness occupies. But on the threshold between the two rooms there
stands a watchman; he passes on the individual psychic impulses, censors
them, and will not let them into the parlor if they do not meet with his
approval. You see at once that it makes little difference whether the
watchman brushes a single impulse away from the threshold, or whether he
drives it out again after it has already entered the parlor. It is a
question here only of the extent of his watchfulness, and the timeliness
of his judgment. Still working with this simile, we proceed to a further
elaboration of our nomenclature. The impulses in the ante-chamber of the
unconscious cannot be seen by the conscious, which is in the other room;
therefore for the time being they must remain unconscious. When they
have succeeded in pressing forward to the threshold, and have been sent
back by the watchman, then they are unsuitable for consciousness and we
call them _suppressed_. Those impulses, however, which the watchman has
permitted to cross the threshold have not necessarily become conscious;
for this can happen only if they have been successful in attracting to
themselves the glance of the conscious. We therefore justifiably call
this second room the system of the _fore-conscious_. In this way the
process of becoming conscious retains its purely descriptive sense.
Suppression then, for any individual impulse, consists in not being able
to get past the watchman from the system of the unconscious to that of
the fore-conscious. The watchman himself is long since known to us; we
have met him as the resistance which opposed us when we attempted to
release the suppression through analytic treatment.

Now I know you will say that these conceptions are as crude as they are
fantastic, and not at all permissible in a scientific discussion. I know
they are crude--indeed, we even know that they are incorrect, and if we
are not very much mistaken we have a better substitute for them in
readiness. Whether they will continue then to appear so fantastic to you
I do not know. For the time being, they are useful conceptions, similar
to the manikin _Ampère_ who swims in the stream of the electric current.
In so far as they are helpful in the understanding of our observation,
they are by no means to be despised. I should like to assure you that
these crude assumptions go far in approximating the actual
situation--the two rooms, the watchman on the threshold between the two,
and consciousness at the end of the second room in the role of an
onlooker. I should also like to hear you admit that our
designations--_unconscious_, _fore-conscious_, and _conscious_ are much
less likely to arouse prejudice, and are easier to justify than others
that have been used or suggested--such as _sub-conscious_,
_inter-conscious_, _between-conscious_, etc.

This becomes all the more important to me if you should warn me that
this arrangement of the psychic apparatus, such as I have assumed in the
explanation of neurotic symptoms, must be generally applicable and must
hold for normal functioning as well. In that, of course, you are right.
We cannot follow this up at present, but our interest in the psychology
of the development of the symptom must be enormously increased if
through the study of pathological conditions we have the prospect of
finding a key to the normal psychic occurrences which have been so well

You will probably recognize what it is that supports our assumptions
concerning these two systems and their relation to consciousness. The
watchman between the unconscious and the fore-conscious is none other
than the censor under whose control we found the manifest dream to
obtain its form. The residue of the day's experiences, which we found
were the stimuli which set off the dream, are fore-conscious materials
which at night, during sleep, had come under the influence of
unconscious and suppressed wishes. Borne along by the energy of the
wish, these stimuli were able to build the latent dream. Under the
control of the unconscious system this material was worked over, went
through an elaboration and displacement such as the normal psychic life
or, better said, the fore-conscious system, either does not know at all
or tolerates only exceptionally. In our eyes the characteristics of each
of the two systems were betrayed by this difference in their
functioning. The dependent relation between the fore-conscious and the
conscious was to us only an indication that it must belong to one of the
two systems. The dream is by no means a pathological phenomenon; it may
appear in every healthy person under the conditions of sleep. Any
assumption as to the structure of the psychic apparatus which covers the
development of both the dream and the neurotic symptom has also an
undeniable claim to be taken into consideration in any theory of normal
psychic life.

So much, then, for suppression. It is, however, only a prerequisite for
the evolution of the symptom. We know that the symptom serves as a
substitute for a process kept back by suppression. Yet it is no simple
matter to bridge this gap between the suppression and the evolution of
the substitute. We have first to answer several questions on other
aspects of the problem concerning the suppression and its
substantiation: What kind of psychological stimuli are at the basis of
the suppression; by what forces is it achieved; for what motives? On
these matters we have only one insight that we can go by. We learned in
the investigation of resistance that it grows out of the forces of the
"I," in other words from obvious and latent traits of character. It must
be from the same traits also that suppression derived support; at least
they played a part in its development. All further knowledge is still
withheld from us.

A second observation, for which I have already prepared, will help us
further at this point. By means of analysis we can assign one very
general purpose to the neurotic symptom. This is of course nothing new
to you. I have already shown it to you in the two cases of neuroses.
But, to be sure, what is the significance of two cases! You have the
right to demand that it be shown to you innumerable times. But I am
unable to do this. Here again your own experience must step in, or your
belief, which may in this matter rely upon the unanimous account of all

You will remember that in these two cases, whose symptoms we subjected
to searching investigation, the analysis introduced us to the most
intimate sexual life of these patients. In the first case, moreover, we
could identify with unusual clearness the purpose or tendency of the
symptoms under investigation. Perhaps in the second case it was
slightly covered by another factor--one we will consider later. Now, the
same thing that we saw in these two examples we would see in all other
cases that we subjected to analysis. Each time, through analysis, we
would be introduced to the sexual wishes and experiences of the patient,
and every time we would have to conclude that their symptoms served the
same purpose. This purpose shows itself to be the satisfaction of sexual
wishes; the symptoms serve as a sexual satisfaction for the patient,
they are a substitute for such satisfactions as they miss in reality.

Recall the compulsive act of our first patient. The woman longs for her
intensely beloved husband, with whom she cannot share her life because
of his shortcoming and weaknesses. She feels she must remain true to
him, she can give his place to no one else. Her compulsive symptom
affords her that for which she pines, ennobles her husband, denies and
corrects his weaknesses,--above all, his impotence. This symptom is
fundamentally a wish-fulfillment, exactly as is a dream; moreover, it is
what a dream not always is, an erotic wish-fulfillment. In the case of
our second patient you can see that one of the component purposes of her
ceremonial was the prevention of the intercourse of her parents or the
hindrance of the creation of a new child thereby. You have perhaps also
guessed that essentially she strove to put herself in the place of her
mother. Here again we find the removal of disturbances to sexual
satisfaction and the fulfillment of personal sexual wishes. We shall
soon turn to the complications of whose existence we have given you
several indications.

I do not want to make reservations as to the universal applicability of
these declarations later on, and therefore I wish to call to your
attention the fact that everything that I say here about suppression,
symptom-development and symptom-interpretation has been learned from
three types of neuroses--anxiety-hysteria, conversion-hysteria, and
compulsion-neuroses--and for the time being is relevant to these forms
only. These three conditions, which we are in the habit of combining
into one group under the name of "_transference neuroses_," also limit
the field open to psychoanalytic therapy. The other neuroses have not
been nearly so well studied by psychoanalysis,--in one group, in fact,
the impossibility of therapeutic influence has been the reason for the
neglect. But you must not forget that psychoanalysis is still a very
young science, that it demands much time and care in preparation for it,
that not long ago it was still in the cradle, so to speak. Yet at all
points we are about to penetrate into the understanding of those other
conditions which are not transference neuroses. I hope I shall still be
able to speak to you of the developments that our assumptions and
results have undergone by being correlated with this new material, and
to show you that these further studies have not led to contradictions
but rather to the production of still greater uniformity. Granted that
everything, then, that has been said here, holds good for the three
transference neuroses, allow me to add a new bit of information to the
evaluation of its symptoms. A comparative investigation into the causes
of the disease discloses a result that may be confined into the formula:
in some way or other these patients fell ill through _self-denial_ when
reality withheld from them the satisfaction of their sexual wishes. You
recognize how excellently well these two results are found to agree. The
symptoms must be understood, then, as a substitute satisfaction for that
which is missed in life.

To be sure, there are all kinds of objections possible to the
declaration that neurotic symptoms are substitutes for sexual
satisfaction. I shall still go into two of them today. If you yourself
have analytically examined a fairly large number of neurotics you will
perhaps gravely inform me that in one class of cases this is not at all
applicable, the symptoms appear rather to have the opposite purpose, to
exclude sexual satisfaction, or discontinue it. I shall not deny the
correctness of your interpretation. The psychoanalytic content has a
habit of being more complicated than we should like to have it. Had it
been so simple, perhaps we should have had no need for psychoanalysis to
bring it to light. As a matter of fact, some of the traits of the
ceremonial of our second patient may be recognized as of this ascetic
nature, inimical to sexual satisfaction; for example, the fact that she
removes the clocks, which have the magic qualities of preventing nightly
erections, or that she tries to prevent the falling and breaking of
vessels, which symbolizes a protection of her virginity. In other cases
of bed-ceremonials which I was able to analyze, this negative character
was far more evident; the ceremonial might consist throughout of
protective regulations against sexual recollections and temptations. On
the other hand, we have often discovered in psychoanalysis that
opposites do not mean contradictions. We might extend our assertion and
say the symptoms purpose either a sexual satisfaction or a guard against
it; that in hysteria the positive wish-fulfillment takes precedence,
while in the compulsion neuroses the negative, ascetic characteristics
have the ascendancy. We have not yet been able to speak of that aspect
of the mechanism of the symptoms, their two-sidedness, or polarity,
which enables them to serve this double purpose, both the sexual
satisfaction and its opposite. The symptoms are, as we shall see,
compromise results, arising from the integration of two opposed
tendencies; they represent not only the suppressed force but also the
suppressing factor, which was originally potent in bringing about the
negation. The result may then favor either one side or the other, but
seldom is one of the influences entirely lacking. In cases of hysteria,
the meeting of the two purposes in the same symptom is most often
achieved. In compulsion-neuroses, the two parts often become distinct;
the symptom then has a double meaning, it consists of two actions, one
following the other, one releasing the other. It will not be so easy to
put aside a further misgiving. If you should look over a large number of
symptom-interpretations, you would probably judge offhand that the
conception of a sexual substitute-satisfaction has been stretched to its
utmost limits in these cases. You will not hesitate to emphasize that
these symptoms offer nothing in the way of actual satisfaction, that
often enough they are limited to giving fresh life to sensations or
phantasies from some sexual complex. Further, you will declare that the
apparent sexual satisfaction so often shows a childish and unworthy
character, perhaps approximates an act of onanism, or is reminiscent of
filthy naughtiness, habits that are already forbidden and broken in
childhood. Finally, you will express your surprise that one should
designate as a sexual satisfaction appetites which can only be described
as horrible or ghastly, even unnatural. As to these last points, we
shall come to no agreement until we have submitted man's sexual life to
a thorough investigation, and thus ascertained what one is justified in
calling sexual.



_The Sexual Life of Man_

One might think we could take for granted what we are to understand by
the term "sexual." Of course, the sexual is the indecent, which we must
not talk about. I have been told that the pupils of a famous
psychiatrist once took the trouble to convince their teacher that the
symptoms of hysteria very frequently represent sexual matters. With this
intention they took him to the bedside of a woman suffering from
hysteria, whose attacks were unmistakable imitations of the act of
delivery. He, however, threw aside their suggestion with the remark, "a
delivery is nothing sexual." Assuredly, a delivery need not under all
circumstances be indecent.

I see that you take it amiss that I jest about such serious matters. But
this is not altogether a jest. In all seriousness, it is not altogether
easy to define the concept "sexual." Perhaps the only accurate
definition would be everything that is connected with the difference
between the two sexes; but this you may find too general and too
colorless. If you emphasize the sexual act as the central factor, you
might say that everything is sexual which seeks to obtain sensual
excitement from the body and especially from the sexual organs of the
opposite sex, and which aims toward the union of the genitals and the
performance of the sexual act. But then you are really very close to the
comparison of sexual and indecent, and the act of delivery is not
sexual. But if you think of the function of reproduction as the nucleus
of sexuality you are in danger of excluding a number of things that do
not aim at reproduction but are certainly sexual, such as onanism or
even kissing. But we are prepared to realize that attempts at definition
always lead to difficulties; let us give up the attempt to achieve the
unusual in our particular case. We may suspect that in the development
of the concept "sexual" something occurred which resulted in a false
disguise. On the whole, we are quite well oriented as to what people
call sexual.

The inclusion of the following factors in our concept "sexual" amply
suffices for all practical purposes in ordinary life: the contrast
between the sexes, the attainment of sexual excitement, the function of
reproduction, the characteristic of an indecency that must be kept
concealed. But this is no longer satisfactory to science. For through
careful examinations, rendered possible only by the sacrifices and the
unselfishness of the subjects, we have come in contact with groups of
human beings whose sexual life deviates strikingly from the average. One
group among them, the "perverse," have, as it were, crossed off the
difference between the sexes from their program. Only the same sex can
arouse their sexual desires; the other sex, even the sexual parts, no
longer serve as objects for their sexual desires, and in extreme cases,
become a subject for disgust. They have to that extent, of course,
foregone any participation in reproduction. We call such persons
homosexual or inverted. Often, though not always, they are men and women
of high physical, intellectual and ethical development, who are affected
only with this one portentous abnormality. Through their scientific
leaders they proclaim themselves to be a special species of mankind, "a
third sex," which shares equal rights with the two other sexes. Perhaps
we shall have occasion to examine their claims critically. Of course
they are not, as they would like to claim, the "elect" of humanity, but
comprise just as many worthless second-rate individuals as those who
possess a different sexual organization.

At any rate, this type among the perverse seek to achieve the same ends
with the object of their desires as do normal people. But in the same
group there exists a long succession of abnormal individuals whose
sexual activities are more and more alien to what seems desirable to the
sensible person. In their manifold strangeness they seem comparable only
to the grotesque freaks that P. Breughel painted as the temptation of
Saint Anthony, or the forgotten gods and believers that G. Flaubert
pictures in the long procession that passes before his pious penitent.
This ill-assorted array fairly clamors for orderly classification if it
is not to bewilder our senses. We first divide them, on the one hand,
into those whose sexual object has changed, as is the case with
homosexualists, and, on the other, those whose sexual aim has changed.
Those of the first group have dispensed with the mutual union of the
genital organs, and have, as one of the partners of the act, replaced
the genitals by another organ or part of the body; they have thus
overcome both the short-comings of organic structure and the usual
disgust involved. There are others of this group who still retain the
genitals as their object, but not by virtue of their sexual function;
they participate for anatomic reasons or rather by reason of their
proximity. By means of these individuals we realize that the functions
of excretion, which in the education of the child are hushed away as
indecent, still remain capable of drawing complete sexual interest on
themselves. There are still others who have relinquished the genitals
entirely as an objective, have raised another part of the body to serve
as the goal of their desire; the woman's breast, the foot, the tress of
hair. There are also the fetishists, to whom the body part means
nothing, who are gratified by a garment, a piece of white linen, a shoe.
And finally there are persons who seek the whole object but with certain
peculiar or horrible demands: even those who covet a defenseless corpse
for instance, which they themselves must criminally compel to satisfy
their desire. But enough of these horrors.

Foremost in the second grouping are those perverted ones who have placed
as the end of their sexual desire performances normally introductory or
preparatory to it. They satisfy their desire by their eyes and hands.
They watch or attempt to watch the other individual in his most intimate
doings, or uncover those portions of their own bodies which they should
conceal in the vague expectation of being rewarded by a similar
procedure on the other person's part. Here also belong the enigmatic
sadists, whose affectionate strivings know no other goal than to cause
their object pain and agony, varying all the way from humiliating
suggestions to the harshest physical ill-treatment. As if to balance the
scale, we have on the other hand the masochists, whose sole satisfaction
consists in suffering every variety of humiliation and torture, symbolic
and real, at the hands of the beloved one. There are still others who
combine and confuse a number of these abnormal conditions. Moreover, in
both these groups there are those who seek sexual satisfaction in
reality, and others who are content merely to imagine such
gratification, who need no actual object at all, but can supplant it by
their own fantastic creations.

There can be not the least doubt that the sexual activities of these
individuals are actually found in the absurdities, caprices and horrors
that we have examined. Not only do they themselves conceive them as
adequate substitutes, but we must recognize that they take the same
place in their lives that normal sex gratification occupies in ours, and
for which they bring the same sacrifices, often incommensurate with
their ends. It is perfectly possible to trace along broad lines as well
as in detail in what way these abnormalities follow the normal procedure
and how they diverge from it. You will also find the characteristic of
indecency which belongs to the sexual act in these vagaries, only that
it is therein magnified to the disreputable.

Ladies and gentlemen, what attitude are we to assume to these unusual
varieties of sex gratification? Nothing at all is achieved by the mere
expression of indignation and personal disgust and by the assurance that
we do not share these lusts. That is not our concern. We have here a
field of observation like any other. Moreover, the evasion that these
persons are merely rarities, curiosities, is easily refuted. On the
contrary, we are dealing with very frequent and widespread phenomena.
If, however, we are told that we must not permit them to influence our
views on sexual life, since they are all aberrations of the sexual
instinct, we must meet this with a serious answer. If we fail to
understand these abnormal manifestations of sexuality and are unable to
relate them to the normal sexual life, then we cannot understand normal
sexuality. It is, in short, our unavoidable task to account
theoretically for all the potentialities of the perversions we have gone
over and to explain their relation to the so-called normal sexuality.

A penetrating insight due to Ivan Bloch and two new experimental results
will help us in this task. Bloch takes exception to the point of view
which sees in a perversion a "sign of degeneration"; he proves that such
deviations from the aim of the sexual instinct, such loose relations to
the object of sexuality, have occurred at all times, among the most
primitive and the most highly civilized peoples, and have occasionally
achieved toleration and general recognition. The two experimental
results were obtained in the course of psychoanalytic investigations of
neurotics; they will undoubtedly exert a decided influence on our
conceptions of sexual perversion.

We have stated that the neurotic symptoms are substitutions for sexual
satisfactions, and I have given you to understand that the proof of this
assertion by means of the analysis of symptoms encounters many
difficulties. For this statement is only justifiable if, under the term
"sexual satisfactions," we include the so-called perverse sexual ends,
since with surprising frequency we find symptoms which can be
interpreted only in the light of their activity. The claim of rareness
made by the homosexualists or the inverted immediately collapses when we
learn that in the case of no single neurotic do we fail to obtain
evidence of homosexual tendencies, and that in a considerable number of
symptoms we find the expression of this latent inversion. Those who call
themselves homosexualists are the conscious and manifest inverts, but
their number is as nothing before the latent homosexualists. We are
forced to regard the desire for an object of one's own sex as a
universal aberration of erotic life and to cede increasing importance to
it. Of course the differences between manifest homosexuality and the
normal attitude are not thus erased; their practical importance
persists, but their theoretic value is greatly decreased. Paranoia, a
disturbance which cannot be counted among the transference-neuroses,
must in fact be assumed as arising regularly from the attempt to ward
off powerful homosexual tendencies. Perhaps you will recall that one of
our patients under her compulsive symptoms acted the part of a man,
namely that of her own estranged husband; the production of such
symptoms, impersonating the actions of men, is very common to neurotic
women. Though this cannot be ascribed directly to homosexuality, it is
certainly concerned with its prerequisites.

You are probably acquainted with the fact that the neurosis of hysteria
may manifest its symptoms in all organic systems and may therefore
disturb all functions. Analysis shows that in these symptoms there are
expressed all those tendencies termed perverse, which seek to represent
the genitals through other organs. These organs behave as substitute
genitals; through the study of hysteric symptoms we have come to the
conclusion that aside from their functional activities, the organs of
the body have a sexual significance, and that the performance of their
functions is disturbed if the sexual factor claims too much attention.
Countless sensations and innervations, which appear as symptoms of
hysteria, in organs apparently not concerned with sexuality, are thus
discovered as bound up with the fulfillment of perverse sexual desires
through the transference of sex instincts to other organs. These
symptoms bring home to us the extent to which the organs used in the
consumption of food and in excretion may become the bearers of sexual
excitement. We see repeated here the same picture which the perversions
have openly and unmistakably lain before us; in hysteria, however, we
must make the detour of interpreting symptoms, and in this case the
perverse sexual tendencies must be ascribed not to the conscious but to
the unconscious life of the individual.

Among the many symptoms manifested in compulsion neurosis, the most
important are those produced by too powerful sadistic tendencies, i.e.,
sexual tendencies with perverted aim. These symptoms, in accordance with
the structure of compulsion neurosis, serve primarily as a rejection of
these desires, or they express a struggle between satisfaction and
rejection. In this struggle, the satisfaction is never excessively
curtailed; it achieves its results in the patient's behavior in a
roundabout way, by preference turning against his own person in
self-inflicted torture. Other forms of neurosis, characterized by
intensive worry, are the expression of an exaggerated sexualization of
acts that are ordinarily only preparatory to sexual satisfactions; such
are the desires to see, to touch, to investigate. Here is thus explained
the great importance of the fear of contact and also of the compulsion
to wash. An unbelievably large portion of compulsion acts may, in the
form of disguised repetitions and modifications, be traced back to
onanism, admittedly the only uniform action which accompanies the most
varied flights of the sexual imagination.

It would cost me very little effort to interweave far more closely the
relation between perversion and neurosis, but I believe that what I have
said is sufficient for our purposes. We must avoid the error of
overestimating the frequency and intensity of perverse inclinations in
the light of these interpretations of symptoms. You have heard that a
neurosis may develop from the denial of normal sexual satisfactions.
Through this actual denial the need is forced into the abnormal paths
of sex excitement. You will later obtain a better insight into the way
this happens. You certainly understand, that through such "_collateral_"
hindrance, the perverse tendencies must become more powerful than they
would have been if no actual obstacle had been put in the way of a
normal sexual satisfaction. As a matter of fact, a similar influence may
be recognized in manifest perversions. In many cases, they are provoked
or motivated by the fact that too great difficulties stand in the way of
normal sexual satisfactions, owing to temporary circumstances or to the
permanent institutions of society. In other cases, to be sure, the
perverse tendencies are entirely independent of such conditions; they
are, as it were, the normal kind of sexual life for the individual in

Perhaps you are momentarily under the impression that we have confused
rather than clarified the relation between normal and perverse
sexuality. But keep in mind this consideration. If it is true that a
hindrance or withholding of normal sexual satisfaction will bring out
perverse tendencies in persons who have not previously shown them, we
must assume that these persons must have harbored tendencies akin to
perversities--or, if you will, perversities in latent form. This brings
us to the second experimental conclusion of which I spoke, namely, that
psychoanalytic investigation found it necessary to concern itself with
the sexual life of the child, since, in the analysis of symptoms,
reminiscences and ideas reverted to the early years of childhood.
Whatever we revealed in this manner was corroborated point by point
through the direct observation of children. The result was the
recognition that all inclinations to perversion have their origin in
childhood, that children have tendencies toward them all and practice
them in a measure corresponding to their immaturity. Perverse sexuality,
in brief, is nothing more than magnified infantile sexuality divided
into its separate tendencies.

Now you will certainly see these perversions in another light and no
longer ignore their relation to the sexual life of man, at the cost, I
do not doubt, of surprises and incongruities painful to your emotions.
At first you will undoubtedly be disposed to deny everything--the fact
that children have something which may be termed sexual life, the truth
of our observations and the justification of our claim to see in the
behavior of children any relation to what is condemned in later years
as perversity. Permit me first to explain to you the cause of your
reluctance and then to present to you the sum of our observations. It is
biologically improbable, even absurd, to assume that children have no
sexual life--sexual excitements, desires, and some sort of
satisfaction--but that they develop it suddenly between the ages of
twelve and fourteen. This would be just as improbable from the viewpoint
of biology as to say that they were not born with genitals but developed
them only in the period of puberty. The new factor which becomes active
in them at the time is the function of reproduction, which avails itself
for its own purposes of all the physical and psychic material already
present. You commit the error of confusing sexuality with reproduction
and thereby block the road to the understanding of sexuality, and of
perversions and neuroses as well. This error is a prejudice. Oddly
enough its source is the fact that you yourselves were children, and as
children succumbed to the influence of education. One of the most
important educational tasks which society must assume is the control,
the restriction of the sexual instinct when it breaks forth as an
impulse toward reproduction; it must be subdued to an individual will
that is identical with the mandates of society. In its own interests,
accordingly, society would postpone full development until the child has
reached a certain stage of intellectual maturity, for education
practically ceases with the complete emergence of the sexual impulse.
Otherwise the instinct would burst all bounds and the work of culture,
achieved with such difficulty, would be shattered. The task of
restraining this sexuality is never easy; it succeeds here too poorly
and there too well. The motivating force of human society is
fundamentally economic; since there is not sufficient nourishment to
support its members without work on their part, the number of these
members must be limited and their energies diverted from sexual activity
to labor. Here, again, we have the eternal struggle for life that has
persisted from prehistoric times to the present.

Experience must have shown educators that the task of guiding the sexual
will of the new generation can be solved only by influencing the early
sexual life of the child, the period preparatory to puberty, not by
awaiting the storm of puberty. With this intention almost all infantile
sex activities are forbidden to the child or made distasteful to him;
the ideal goal has been to render the life of the child asexual. In the
course of time it has really come to be considered asexual, and this
point of view has actually been proclaimed by science. In order not to
contradict our belief and intentions, we ignore the sexual activity of
the child--no slight thing, at that--or are content to interpret it
differently. The child is supposed to be pure and innocent, and whoever
says otherwise may be condemned as a shameless blasphemer of the tender
and sacred feelings of humanity.

The children are the only ones who do not join in carrying out these
conventions, who assert their animal rights, who prove again and again
that the road to purity is still before them. It is strange that those
who deny the sexuality of children, do not therefore slacken in their
educational efforts but rather punish severely the manifestations of the
very thing they maintain does not exist, and call it "childish
naughtiness." Theoretically it is highly interesting to observe that the
period of life which offers most striking evidence against the biased
conception of asexual childhood, is the time up to five or six years of
age; after that everything is enveloped by a veil of amnesia, which is
rent apart only by thorough scientific investigation; it may previously
have given way partially in certain forms of dreams.

Now I shall present to you what is most easily recognizable in the
sexual life of the child. At first, for the sake of convenience let me
explain to you the conception of the libido. Libido, analogous to
hunger, is the force through which the instinct, here the sex instinct
(as in the case of hunger it is the instinct to eat) expresses itself.
Other conceptions, such as sexual excitement and satisfaction, require
no elucidation. You will easily see that interpretation plays the
greatest part in disclosing the sexuality of the suckling; in fact you
will probably cite this as an objection. These interpretations proceed
from a foundation of analytic investigation that trace backwards from a
given symptom. The suckling reveals the first sexual impulses in
connection with other functions necessary for life. His chief interest,
as you know, is directed toward the taking in of food; when it has
fallen asleep at its mother's breast, fully satisfied, it bears the
expression of blissful content that will come back again in later life
after the experience of the sexual orgasm. That of course would be too
slight evidence to form the basis of a conclusion. But we observe that
the suckling wishes to repeat the act of taking in food without actually
demanding more food; he is therefore no longer urged by hunger. We say
he is sucking, and the fact that after this he again falls asleep with a
blissful expression shows us that the act of sucking in itself has
yielded him satisfaction. As you know, he speedily arranges matters so
that he cannot fall asleep without sucking. Dr. Lindner, an old
pediatrist in Budapest, was the first one to ascertain the sexual nature
of this procedure. Persons attending to the child, who surely make no
pretensions to a theoretic attitude, seem to judge sucking in a similar
manner. They do not doubt that it serves a pleasurable satisfaction,
term it naughty, and force the child to relinquish it against his will,
and if he will not do so of his own accord, through painful measures.
And so we learn that the suckling performs actions that have no object
save the obtaining of a sensual gratification. We believe that this
gratification is first experienced during the taking in of food, but
that he speedily learns to separate it from this condition. The
gratification can only be attributed to the excitation of the mouth and
lips, hence we call these parts of the body _erogenous zones_ and the
pleasure derived from sucking, _sexual_. Probably we shall have to
discuss the justification of this name.

If the suckling could express himself, he would probably recognize the
act of sucking at his mother's breast as the most important thing in
life. He is not so far wrong, for in this one act he satisfies two great
needs of life. With no small degree of surprise we learn through
psychoanalysis how much of the physical significance of this act is
retained through life. The sucking at the mother's breast becomes the
term of departure for all of sexual life, the unattained ideal of later
sex gratification, to which the imagination often reverts in times of
need. The mother's breast is the first object for the sexual instinct; I
can scarcely bring home to you how significant this object is for
centering on the sexual object in later life, what profound influence it
exerts upon the most remote domains of psychic life through evolution
and substitution. The suckling, however, soon relinquishes it and fills
its place by a part of his own body. The child sucks his thumb or his
own tongue. Thereby he renders himself independent of the consent of the
outer world in obtaining his sensual satisfactions, and moreover
increases the excitement by including a second zone of his body. The
erogenous zones are not equally satisfactory; it is therefore an
important experience when, as Dr. Lindner puts it, the child while
touching his own body discovers the especially excitable genitals, and
so finds the way from sucking to onanism.

Through the evaluation of sucking we become acquainted with two decisive
characteristics of infantile sexuality. It arises in connection with the
satisfaction of great organic needs and behaves _auto-erotically_, that
is to say, it seeks and finds it objects on its own body. What is most
clearly discernible during the taking in of food is partially repeated
during excretion. We conclude that the nursling experiences pleasure
during the excretion of urine and the contents of the intestine and that
he soon strives to arrange these acts in a way to secure the greatest
possible amount of satisfaction by the corresponding excitement of the
erogenous membrane zones. Lou Andreas, with her delicate perceptions,
has shown how at this point the outer world first intervenes as a
hindrance, hostile to the child's desire for satisfaction--the first
vague suggestion of outer and inner conflicts. He may not let his
excretions pass from him at a moment agreeable to him, but only when
other persons set the time. To induce him to renounce these sources of
satisfaction, everything relating to these functions is declared
indecent and must be concealed. Here, for the first time, he is to
exchange pleasure for social dignity. His own relation to his excretions
is originally quite different. He experiences no disgust toward his
faeces, values them as a part of his body from which he does not part
lightly, for he uses them as the first "present" he can give to persons
he esteems particularly. Even after education has succeeded in
alienating him from these tendencies, he transfers the evaluation of the
faeces to the "present" and to "money." On the other hand, he appears to
regard his achievements in urination with especial pride.

I know that you have been wanting to interrupt me for a long time and to
cry: "Enough of these monstrosities! Excretion a source of sexual
gratification that even the suckling exploits! Faeces a valuable
substance! The anus a sort of genital! We do not believe it, but we
understand why children's physicians and pedagogues have decidedly
rejected psychoanalysis and its results." No, you have merely forgotten
that it was my intention to present to you infantile sexuality in
connection with the facts of sexual perversion. Why should you not know
that in the case of many grown-ups, homosexuals as well as
heterosexuals, the locus of intercourse is transferred from the normal
to a more remote portion of the body. And that there are many
individuals who confess to a pleasurable sensation of no slight degree
in the emptying of the bowels during their entire lives! Children
themselves will confirm their interest in the act of defecation and the
pleasure in watching the defecation of another, when they are a few
years older and capable of giving expression to their feelings. Of
course, if these children have previously been systematically
intimidated, they will understand all too well the wisdom of preserving
silence on the subject. As for the other things that you do not wish to
believe, let me refer you to the results of analysis and the direct
observation of children, and you will realize that it is difficult not
to see these things or to see them in a different light. I do not even
object to making the relation between child-sexuality and sexual
perversion quite obvious to you. It is really only natural; if the child
has sexual life at all, it must necessarily be perverse, because aside
from a few hazy illusions, the child does not know how sexuality gives
rise to reproduction. The common characteristic of all perversions, on
the other hand, is that they have abandoned reproduction as their aim.
We term sexual activity perverse when it has renounced the aim of
reproduction and follows the pursuit of pleasure as an independent goal.
And so you realize that the turning point in the development of sexual
life lies in its subjugation to the purpose of reproduction. Everything
this side of the turning point, everything that has given up this
purpose and serves the pursuit of pleasure alone, must carry the term
"perverse" and as such be regarded with contempt.

Permit me, therefore, to continue with my brief presentation of
infantile sexuality. What I have told you about two organic systems I
could supplement by a discussion of all the others. The sexual life of
the child exhausts itself in the exercise of a series of partial
instincts which seek, independently of one another, to gain satisfaction
from his own body or from an external object. Among these organs the
genitals speedily predominate. There are persons who continue the
pursuit of satisfaction by means of their own genitals, without the aid
of another genital or object, uninterruptedly from the onanism of the
suckling to the onanism of necessity which arises in puberty, and even
indefinitely beyond that. The theme of onanism alone would occupy us for
a long period of time; it offers material for diverse observations.

In spite of my inclination to shorten the theme, I must tell you
something about the sexual curiosity of children. It is most
characteristic for child sexuality and significant for the study of
neurotic symptoms. The sexual curiosity of children begins very early,
sometimes before the third year. It is not connected with the
differences of sexes, which means nothing to the child, since the boy,
at any rate, ascribes the same male genital to both sexes. When the boy
first discovers the primary sexual structure of the female, he tries at
first to deny the evidence of his senses, for he cannot conceive a human
being who lacks the part of his body that is of such importance to him.
Later he is terrified at the possibility revealed to him and he feels
the influence of all the former threats, occasioned by his intensive
preoccupation with his little organ. He becomes subject to the
domination of the castration complex, the formation of which plays an
important part in the development of his character, provided he remains
healthy; of his neurosis, if he becomes diseased; of his resistance, if
he is treated analytically. We know that the little girl feels injured
on account of her lack of a large, visible penis, envies the boy his
possession, and primarily from this motive desires to be a man. This
wish manifests itself subsequently in neurosis, arising from some
failure in her role as a woman. During childhood, the clitoris of the
girl is the equivalent of the penis; it is especially excitable, the
zone where auto-erotic satisfaction is achieved. In the transition to
womanhood it is most important that the sensations of the clitoris are
completely transferred at the right time to the entrance of the vagina.
In cases of so-called sexual anesthesia of women the clitoris has
obstinately retained its excitability.

The sexual interest of children generally turns first to the mystery of
birth--the same problem that is the basis of the questions asked by the
sphinx of Thebes. This curiosity is for the most part aroused by the
selfish fear of the arrival of a new child. The answer which the
nursery has ready for the child, that the stork brings children, is
doubted far more frequently than we imagine, even by very young
children. The feeling that he has been cheated out of the truth by
grown-ups, contributes greatly to the child's sense of solitude and to
his independent development. But the child is not capable of solving
this problem unaided. His undeveloped sexual constitution restricts his
ability to understand. At first he assumes that children are produced by
a special substance in one's food and does not know that only women can
bear children. Later he learns of this limitation and relinquishes the
derivation of children from food--a supposition retained in the
fairy-tale. The growing child soon notices that the father plays some
part in reproduction, but what it is he cannot guess. If, by chance, he
is witness of a sexual act, he sees in it an attempt to subjugate, a
scuffle, the sadistic miscomprehension of coitus; he does not however
relate this act immediately to the evolution of the child. When he
discovers traces of blood on the bedsheets or on the clothing of his
mother, he considers them the proof of an injury inflicted by the
father. During the latter part of childhood, he imagines that the sexual
organ of the man plays an important part in the evolution of children,
but can ascribe only the function of urination to that part of his body.

From the very outset children unite in believing that the birth of the
child takes place through the anus; that the child therefore appears as
a ball of faeces. After anal interests have been proven valueless, he
abandons this theory and assumes that the navel opens or that the region
between the two breasts is the birthplace of the child. In this way the
curious child approaches the knowledge of sexual facts, which, clouded
by his ignorance, he often fails to see. In the years prior to puberty
he generally receives an incomplete, disparaging explanation which often
causes traumatic consequences.

You have probably heard that the conception "sexual" is unduly expanded
by psychoanalysis in order that it may maintain the hypothesis that all
neuroses are due to sexual causes and that the meaning of the symptoms
is sexual. You are now in a position to judge whether or not this
expansion is unjustifiable. We have expanded the conception sexual only
to include the sexual life of children and of perverse persons. That is
to say, we have reëstablished its proper boundaries. Outside of
psychoanalysis sexuality means only a very limited thing: normal sexual
life in the service of reproduction.



_Development of the Libido and Sexual Organizations_

I am under the impression that I did not succeed in convincing you of
the significance of perversions for our conception of sexuality. I
should therefore like to clarify and add as much as I can.

It was not only perversions that necessitated an alteration of our
conception of sexuality, which aroused such vehement contradiction. The
study of infantile sexuality did a great deal more along that line, and
its close correspondence to the perversions became decisive for us. But
the origin of the expressions of infantile sexuality, unmistakable as
they are in later years of childhood, seem to be lost in obscurity.
Those who disregard the history of evolution and analytic coherence,
will dispute the potency of the sexual factor and will infer the agency
of generalized forces. Do not forget that as yet we have no generally
acknowledged criterion for identifying the sexual nature of an
occurrence, unless we assume that we can find it in a relation to the
functions of reproduction, and this we must reject as too narrow. The
biological criteria, such as the periodicities of twenty-three and
twenty-eight days, suggested by W. Fliess, are by no means established;
the specific chemical nature which we can possibly assume for sexual
occurrences is still to be discovered. The sexual perversions of adults,
on the other hand, are tangible and unambiguous. As their generally
accepted nomenclature shows, they are undoubtedly sexual in character;
whether we designate them as signs of degeneration, or otherwise, no one
has yet had the courage to place them outside the phenomena of sex. They
alone justify the assertion that sexuality and reproduction are not
coincident, for it is clear that all of them disavow the goal of

This brings me to an interesting parallel. While "conscious" and
"psychic" were generally considered to be identical, we had to make an
essay to widen our conception of the "psychic" to recognize as psychic
something that was not conscious. Analogously, when "sexual" and
"related to reproduction" (or, in shorter form, "genital") has been
generally considered identical, psychoanalysis must admit as "sexual"
such things as are not "genital," things which have nothing to do with
reproduction. It is only a formal analogy, but it does not lack a deeper

But if the existence of sexual perversions is such a compelling
argument, why has it not long ago had its effect, and settled the
question? I really am unable to say. It appears to be because the sexual
perversions are subject to a peculiar ban that extends even into theory,
and stands in the way of their scientific appreciation. It seems as if
no one could forget that they are not only revolting, but even
unnatural, dangerous; as if they had a seductive influence and that at
bottom one had to stifle a secret envy of those who enjoyed them. As the
count who passes judgment in the famous Tannhauser parody admits:

    "And in the mount of Venus, his honor slipped his mind,
     It's odd that never happens to people of our kind."

Truthfully speaking, the perverts are rather poor devils who atone most
bitterly for the satisfaction they attain with such difficulty.

What makes the perverse activity unmistakably sexual, despite all the
strangeness of its object, is that the act in perverse satisfaction most
frequently is accompanied by a complete orgasm, and by an ejaculation of
the genital product. Of course, this is only true in the case of adults;
with children orgasms and genital excretions are hardly possible; they
are replaced by rudiments which, again, are not recognized as truly

In order to complete the appreciation of sexual perversions, I have
something to add. Condemned as they are, sharply as they are contrasted
with the normal sexual activity, simple observation shows that rarely is
normal sex-life entirely free from one or another of the perverse
traits. Even the kiss can be claimed to be perverse, for it consists in
the union of two erogenous mouth zones in place of the respective
genitals. But no one outlaws it as perverse, it is, on the contrary,
admitted in theatrical performances as a modified suggestion of the
sexual act. This very kissing may easily become a complete perversion
if it results in such intensity that it is immediately followed by an
emission and orgasm--a thing that is not at all unusual. Further, we can
learn that handling and gazing upon the object becomes an essential
prerequisite to sexual pleasure; that some, in the height of sexual
excitation, pinch and bite, that the greatest excitation is not always
called forth in lovers by the genitals, but rather by other parts of the
body, and so forth. There is no sense in considering persons with single
traits of this kind abnormal, and counting them among the perverts.
Rather, we recognize more and more clearly that the essential nature of
perversion does not consist in overstepping the sexual aim, nor in a
substitution for the genitals, not even in the variety of objects, but
simply in the exclusiveness with which these deviations are carried out
and by means of which the sexual act that serves reproduction is pushed
aside. When the perverse activities serve to prepare or heighten the
normal sexual act, they are really no longer perversions. To be sure,
the chasm between normal and perverse sexuality is practically bridged
by such facts. The natural result is that normal sexuality takes its
origin from something existing prior to it, since certain components of
this material are thrown out and others are combined in order to make
them subject to a new aim--that of reproduction.

Before we make use of our knowledge of perversions to concentrate anew
and with clearer perspective on the study of infantile sexuality, I must
call your attention to an important difference between the two. Perverse
sexuality is as a rule extraordinarily centralized, its whole action is
directed toward one, usually an isolated, goal. A partial instinct has
the upper hand. It is either the only one that can be demonstrated or it
has subjected the others to its purposes. In this respect there is no
difference between normal and perverse sexuality other than that the
ruling partial instincts, and with them the sexual goals, are different.
In the one case as well as in the other there is, so to say, a well
organized tyranny, excepting that here one family and there another has
appropriated all the power to itself. Infantile sexuality, on the other
hand, is on the whole devoid of such centralization and organization,
its individual component impulses are of equal power, and each
independently goes in search of the acquisition of pleasurable
excitement. The lack as well as the presence of centralization fit in
well with the fact that both the perverse and the normal sexuality
originated from the infantile. There are also cases of perverse
sexuality that have much more similarity with the infantile, where,
independently of one another, numerous partial instincts have forced
their way, insisted on their aims, or rather perpetuated them. In these
cases it is more correct to speak of infantilism of sexual life than of

Thus prepared we can consider a question which we certainly shall not be
spared. People will say to us: "Why are you so set on including within
sexuality those manifestations of childhood, out of which the sexual
later develops, but which, according to your own admission, are of
uncertain origin? Why are you not satisfied rather with the
physiological description, and simply say that even in the suckling one
may notice activities, such as sucking objects or holding back
excrements, which show us that he strives towards an _organic pleasure_?
In that way you would have avoided the estranging conception of sexual
life in the tiniest child." I have nothing to say against organic
pleasure; I know that the most extreme excitement of the sexual union is
only an organic pleasure derived from the activity of the genitals. But
can you tell me when this organic pleasure, originally not
differentiated, acquires the sexual character that it undoubtedly does
possess in the later phases of development? Do you know more about the
"organic pleasure" than about sexuality? You will answer, the sexual
character is acquired when the genitals begin to play their role; sexual
means genital. You will even reject the contrary evidence of the
perversions by confronting me with the statement that in most
perversions it is a matter of achieving the genital orgasm, although by
other means than a union of the genitals. You would really command a
much better position if you did not regard as characteristic of the
sexual that untenable relation to reproduction seen in the perversions,
if you replaced it by activity of the genitals. Then we no longer differ
very widely; the genital organs merely replace other organs. What do you
make of the numerous practices which show you that the genitals may be
represented by other organs in the attainment of gratification, as is
the case in the normal kiss, or the perverse practices of "fast life,"
or the symptoms of hysteria? In these neuroses it is quite usual for
stimulations, sensations and innervations, even the process of erection,
which is localized in the genitals, to be transferred to other distant
parts of the body, so that you have nothing to which you can hold as
characteristics of the sexual. You will have to decide to follow my
example and expand the designation "sexual" to include the strivings of
early childhood toward organic pleasure.

Now, for my justification, I should like you to give me the time for two
more considerations. As you know, we call the doubtful and indefinable
pleasure activities of earliest childhood sexual because our analysis of
the symptoms leads us to them by way of material that is undeniably
sexual. We admit that it need not for that reason in itself be sexual.
But take an analogous case. Suppose there were no way to observe the
development of two dicotyledonous plants from their seeds--the apple
tree and the bean. In both cases, however, imagine it possible to follow
their evolution from the fully developed plant backwards to the first
seedling with two leaf-divisions. The two little leaves are
indistinguishable, in both cases they look exactly alike. Shall I
conclude from this that they really are the same and that the specific
differences between an apple tree and bean plant do not appear until
later in the history of the plant? Or is it biologically more correct to
believe that this difference is already present in the seedling,
although the two little leaves show no differences? We do the same thing
when we term as sexual the pleasure derived from the activities of the
suckling. Whether each and every organic enjoyment may be called sexual,
or if besides the sexual there is another that does not deserve this
name, is a matter I cannot discuss here. I know too little about organic
pleasure and its conditions, and will not be at all surprised if the
retrogressive character of the analysis leads us back finally to a
generalized factor.

One thing more. You have on the whole gained very little for what you
are so anxious to maintain, the sexual purity of the child, even when
you can convince me that the activities of the suckling had better not
be called sexual. For from the third year on, there is no longer any
doubt concerning the presence of a sexual life in the child. At this
time the genitals already begin to become active; there is perhaps
regularly a period of infantile masturbation, in other words, a
gratification by means of the genitals. The psychic and social
expressions of the sexual life are no longer absent; choice of an
object, affectionate preference for certain persons, indeed, a leaning
toward one of the two sexes, jealousy--all these have been established
independently by unprejudiced observation, prior to the advent of
psychoanalysis, and confirmed by every careful observer. You will say
that you had no doubt as to the early awakening of affection, you will
take issue only with its sexual nature. Children between the ages of
three and eight have already learned to hide these things, but if you
look sharply you can always gather sufficient evidence of the "sexual"
purpose of this affection. What escapes you will be amply supplied by
investigation. The sexual goals of this period of life are most
intimately connected with the contemporaneous sexual theories, of which
I have given you some examples. The perverse nature of some of these
goals is the result of the constitutional immaturity of the child, who
has not yet discovered the goal of the act of copulation.

From about the sixth or the eighth year on a pause in, and reversion of,
sexual development is noticeable, which in the cases that reach the
highest cultural standard deserves the name of a latent period. The
latent period may also fail to appear and there need not be an
interruption of sexual activity and sexual interests at any period. Most
of the experiences and impulses prior to the latent period then fall
victim to the infantile amnesia, the forgetting we have already
discussed, which cloaks our earliest childhood and makes us strangers to
it. In every psychoanalysis we are confronted with the task of leading
this forgotten period of life back into memory; one cannot resist the
supposition that the beginning of sexual life it contains furnishes the
motive for this forgetting, namely, that this forgetting is a result of

The sexual life of the child shows from the third year that it has much
in common with that of the adult; it is distinguished from the latter,
as we already know, by the lack of stable organization under the primacy
of the genitals, by the unavoidable traits of perversion, and,
naturally, by the far lesser intensity of the whole impulse.
Theoretically the most interesting phases of the sexual development or,
as we would rather say, the libido-development, so far as theory is
concerned, lie back of this period. This development is so rapidly gone
through that perhaps it would never have been possible for direct
observation to grasp its fleeting pictures. Psychoanalytic investigation
of the neuroses has for the first time made it possible to discover more
remote phases of the libido-development. These are, to be sure, nothing
but constructions, but if you wish to carry on psychoanalysis in a
practical way you will find that they are necessary and valuable
constructions. You will soon understand why pathology may disclose
conditions which we would have overlooked in the normal object.

We can now declare what form the sexual life of the child takes before
the primacy of the genitals is established. This primacy is prepared in
the first infantile epoch prior to the latent period, and is
continuously organized from puberty on. There is in this early period a
sort of loose organization, which we shall call _pre-genital_. In the
foreground of this phase, however, the partial instincts of the genitals
are not prominent, rather the _sadistic_ and _anal_. The contrast
between _masculine_ and _feminine_ plays no part as yet, its place is
taken by the contrast between _active_ and _passive_, which we may
designate as the forerunner of sexual polarity, with which it is later
fused. That which appears masculine to us in the activity of this phase,
observed from the standpoint of the later genital stage, is the
expression of an instinct to mastery, which may border on cruelty.
Impulses with passive goals attach themselves to the erogenous zone of
the rectal opening. Most important at this time, curiosity and the
instinct to watch are powerful. The genital really takes part in the
sexual life only in its role as excretory organ for the bladder. Objects
are not lacking to the partial impulses of this period, but they do not
necessarily combine into a single object. The sadistico-anal
organization is the step antecedent to the phase of genital primacy. A
more penetrating study furnishes proof how much of this is retained for
the later and final form, and in what ways its partial instincts are
forced into line under the new genital organization. Back of the
sadistico-anal phase of libido-development, we get a view of an earlier,
even more primitive phase of organization, in which the erogenous
mouth-zone plays the chief role. You may surmise that the sexual
activity of sucking belongs to it, and may wonder at the intuition of
the ancient Egyptians, whose art characterized the child, as well as
the god Horus, with the finger in his month. Abraham only recently
published material concerning the traces which this primitive oral phase
has left upon the sexual life of later years.

I can surmise that these details about sexual organization have burdened
your mind more than they have informed you. Perhaps I have again gone
into detail too much. But be patient; what you have heard will become
more valuable through the uses to which it is later put. Keep well in
mind the impression that sexual life, as we call it, the function, of
the libido, does not make its appearance as a completed whole, nor does
it develop in its own image, but goes through a series of successive
phases which are not similar to each other. In fact, it is a
developmental sequence, like that from the grub to the butterfly. The
turning point of the development is the subordination of all sexual
partial-instincts to the primacy of the genitals, and thereby the
subjection of sexuality to the function of reproduction. Originally it
is a diffused sexual life, one which consists of independent activities
of single partial instincts which strive towards organic gratification.
This anarchy is modified by approaches to pre-genital organization,
first of all the sadistico-anal phase, prior to this the oral phase,
which is perhaps the most primitive. Added to this there are the various
processes, as yet not well known, which carry over one organization
level to the later and more advanced phase. The significance, for the
understanding of the neuroses, of the long evolutionary path of the
libido which carries it over so many grades we shall discuss on another

Today we shall look at another angle of the development, namely the
relation of the partial instinct to the object. We shall make a hurried
survey of this development in order to spend more time upon a relatively
later product. Some of the components of the sex instincts have had an
object from the very beginning and hold fast to it; such are the
instinct to mastery (sadism), curiosity, and the impulse to watch. Other
impulses which are more clearly attached to specific erogenous zones of
the body have this object only in the beginning, as long as they adhere
to the functions which are not sexual; they release this object when
they free themselves from these non-sexual functions. The first object
of the oral component of the sexual impulse is the mother's breast,
which satisfies the hunger of the infant. By the act of sucking, the
erotic component which is also satisfied by the sucking becoming
independent, it gives up the foreign object and replaces it by some part
of its own body. The oral impulse becomes _auto-erotic_, just as the
anal and other erogenous impulses are from the very beginning. Further
development, to express it most briefly, has two goals--first, to give
up auto-eroticism, and, again, to substitute for the object of one's own
body a foreign object; second, to unify the different objects into a
single impulse, replace them by a single object. To be sure, that can
happen only if this single object is itself complete, a body similar to
one's own. Nor can it be consummated without leaving behind as useless a
large number of the auto-erotic instinctive impulses.

The processes of finding the object are rather involved, and have as yet
had no comprehensive exposition. For our purpose, let us emphasize the
fact that when the process has come to a temporary cessation in the
childhood years, before the latent period, the object it has found is
seen to be practically identical with the first object derived from its
relation to the object of the oral pleasure impulse. It is, if not the
mother's breast, the mother herself. We call the mother the first
_object of love_. For we speak of love when we emphasize the psychic
side of sex-impulses, and disregard or for a moment wish to forget the
fundamental physical or "sensual" demands of the instincts. At the time
when the mother becomes the object of love, the psychic work of
suppression which withdraws the knowledge of a part of his sexual goal
from his consciousness has already begun in the child. The selection of
the mother as the object of love involves everything we understand by
the Oedipus complex which has come to have such great significance in
the psychoanalytic explanation of neuroses, and which has had no small
part in arousing opposition to psychoanalysis.

Here is a little experience which took place during the present war: A
brave young disciple of psychoanalysis is a doctor at the German front
somewhere in Poland, and attracts the attention of his colleagues by the
fact that he occasionally exercises an unexpected influence in the case
of a patient. Upon being questioned he admits that he works by means of
psychoanalysis and is finally induced to impart his knowledge to his
colleagues. Every evening the physicians of the corps, colleagues and
superiors, gather in order to listen to the inmost secrets of analysis.
For a while this goes on nicely, but after he has told his audience of
the Oedipus-complex, a superior rises and says he does not believe it,
that it is shameful for the lecturer to tell such things to them, brave
men who are fighting for their fatherland, and who are the fathers of
families, and he forbade the continuation of the lectures. This was the

Now you will be impatient to discover what this frightful
Oedipus-complex consists of. The name tells you. You all know the Greek
myth of King Oedipus, who is destined by the fates to kill his father,
and take his mother to wife, who does everything to escape the oracle
and then does penance by blinding himself when he discovers that he has,
unknowingly, committed these two sins. I trust many of you have
yourselves experienced the profound effect of the tragedy in which
Sophocles handles this material. The work of the Attic poet presents the
manner in which the deed of Oedipus, long since accomplished, is finally
brought to light by an artistically prolonged investigation,
continuously fed with new evidence; thus far it has a certain similarity
to the process of psychoanalysis. In the course of the dialogue it
happens that the infatuated mother-wife, Jocasta, opposes the
continuation of the investigation. She recalls that many men have
dreamed that they have cohabited with their mothers, but one should lay
little stress on dreams. We do not lay little stress on dreams, least of
all typical dreams such as occur to many men, and we do not doubt that
this dream mentioned by Jocasta is intimately connected with the strange
and frightful content of the myth.

It is surprising that Sophocles' tragedy does not call forth much
greater indignation and opposition on the part of the audience, a
reaction similar to, and far more justified, than the reaction to our
simple military physician. For it is a fundamentally immoral play, it
dispenses with the moral responsibility of men, it portrays godlike
powers as instigators of guilt, and shows the helplessness of the moral
impulses of men which contend against sin. One might easily suppose that
the burden of the myth purposed accusation against the gods and Fate,
and in the hands of the critical Euripides, always at odds with the
gods, it would probably have become such an accusation. But there is no
trace of this in the work of the believer Sophocles. A pious sophistry
which asserts that the highest morality is to bow to the will of the
gods, even if they command a crime, helps him over the difficulty. I do
not think that this moral constitutes the power of the drama, but so far
as the effect goes, that is unimportant; the listener does not react to
it, but to the secret meaning and content of the myth. He reacts as
though through self-analysis he had recognized in himself the
Oedipus-complex, and had unmasked the will of the gods, as well as the
oracle, as sublime disguises of his own unconsciousness. It is as though
he remembered the wish to remove his father, and in his place to take
his mother to wife, and must be horrified at his own desires. He also
understands the voice of the poet as if it were telling him: "You revolt
in vain against your responsibility, and proclaim in vain the efforts
you have made to resist these criminal purposes. In spite of these
efforts, you are guilty, for you have not been able to destroy the
criminal purposes, they will persist unconsciously in you." And in that
there is psychological truth. Even if man has relegated his evil
impulses to the unconscious, and would tell himself that he is no longer
answerable for them, he will still be compelled to experience this
responsibility as a feeling of guilt which he cannot trace to its

It is not to be doubted for a moment that one may recognize in the
Oedipus-complex one of the most important sources for the consciousness
of guilt with which neurotics are so often harassed. But furthermore, in
a study of the origins of religion and morality of mankind which I
published in 1913, under the title of _Totem and Taboo_, the idea was
brought home to me that perhaps mankind as a whole has, at the beginning
of its history, come by its consciousness of guilt, the final source of
religion and morality, through the Oedipus-complex. I should like to say
more on this subject, but perhaps I had better not. It is difficult to
turn away from this subject now that I have begun speaking of it, but we
must return to individual psychology.

What does direct observation of the child at the time of the selection
of its object, before the latent period, show us concerning the
Oedipus-complex? One may easily see that the little man would like to
have the mother all to himself, that he finds the presence of his
father disturbing, he becomes irritated when the latter permits himself
to show tenderness towards the mother, and expresses his satisfaction
when the father is away or on a journey. Frequently he expresses his
feelings directly in words, promises the mother he will marry her. One
may think this is very little in comparison with the deeds of Oedipus,
but it is actually enough, for it is essentially the same thing. The
observation is frequently clouded by the circumstance that the same
child at the same time, on other occasions, gives evidence of great
tenderness towards its father; it is only that such contradictory, or
rather, _ambivalent_ emotional attitudes as would lead to a conflict in
the case of an adult readily take their place side by side in a child,
just as later on they permanently exist in the unconscious. You might
wish to interpose that the behavior of the child springs from egoistic
motives and does not justify the setting up of an erotic complex. The
mother provides for all the necessities of the child, and it is
therefore to the child's advantage that she troubles herself for no one
else. This, too, is correct, but it will soon be clear that in this, as
in similar situations, the egoistic interest offers only the opportunity
upon which the erotic impulse seizes. If the little one shows the most
undisguised sexual curiosity about his mother, if he wants to sleep with
her at night, insists upon being present while she is dressing, or
attempts to caress her, as the mother can so often ascertain and
laughingly relates, it is undoubtedly due to the erotic nature of the
attachment to his mother. We must not forget that the mother shows the
same care for her little daughter without achieving the same effect, and
that the father often vies with her in caring for the boy without being
able to win the same importance in his eyes as the mother. In short, it
is clear that the factor of sex-preference cannot be eliminated from the
situation by any kind of criticism. From the standpoint of egoistic
interest it would merely be stupid of the little fellow not to tolerate
two persons in his services rather than only one.

I have, as you will have noticed, described only the relation of the boy
to his father and mother. As far as the little girl is concerned, the
process is the same with the necessary modifications. The affectionate
devotion to the father, the desire to set aside the mother as
superfluous and to take her place, a coquetry which already works with
all the arts of later womanhood, give such a charming picture,
especially in the baby girl, that we are apt to forget its seriousness,
and the grave consequences which may result from this infantile
situation. Let us not fail to add that frequently the parents themselves
exert a decisive influence over the child in the wakening of the Oedipus
attitude, in that they themselves follow a sex preference when there are
a number of children. The father in the most unmistakable manner shows
preference for the daughter, while the mother is most affectionate
toward the son. But even this factor cannot seriously undermine the
spontaneous character of the childish Oedipus-complex. The
Oedipus-complex expands and becomes a family-complex when other children
appear. It becomes the motive force, revived by the sense of personal
injury, which causes the child to receive its brothers and sisters with
aversion and to wish to remove them without more ado. It is much more
frequent for the children to express these feelings of hatred than those
arising from the parent-complex. If such a wish is fulfilled, and death
takes away the undesired increase in the family, after a short while we
may discover through analysis what an important experience this death
was for the child, even though he had not remembered it. The child
forced into second place by the birth of a little brother or sister, and
for the first time practically isolated from his mother, is loathe to
forgive her for this; feelings which we would call extreme bitterness in
an adult are aroused in him and often become the basis of a lasting
estrangement. We have already mentioned that sexual curiosity with all
its consequences usually grows out of these experiences of the child.
With the growing up of these brothers and sisters the relation to them
undergoes the most significant changes. The boy may take his sister as
the object for his love, to replace his faithless mother; situations of
dangerous rivalry, which are of vast importance for later life, arise
even in the nursery among numerous brothers who court the affection of a
younger sister. A little girl finds in her older brother a substitute
for her father, who no longer acts towards her with the same affection
as in former years, or she takes a younger sister as a substitute for
the child that she vainly wished of her father.

Such things, and many more of a similar character, are shown by the
direct observation of children and the consideration of their vivid
childish recollections, which are not influenced by the analysis. You
will conclude, among other things, that the position of a child in the
sequence of his brothers and sisters is of utmost importance for the
entire course of his later life, a factor which should be considered in
every biography. In the face of these explanations that are found with
so little effort, you will hardly recall without smiling the scientific
explanations for the prohibition of incest. What inventions! By living
together from early childhood the sexual attraction must have been
diverted from these members of the family who are of opposite sex, or a
biological tendency against in-breeding finds its psychic equivalent in
an innate dread of incest! In this no account is taken of the fact that
there would be no need of so unrelenting a prohibition by law and
morality if there were any natural reliable guards against the
temptation of incest. Just the opposite is true. The first choice of an
object among human beings is regularly an incestuous one, in the man
directed toward the mother and sister, and the most stringent laws are
necessary to prevent this persisting infantile tendency from becoming
active. Among the primitive races the prohibitions against incest are
much more stringent than ours, and recently Th. Reik showed in a
brilliant paper that the puberty-rites of the savages, which represent a
rebirth, have the significance of loosing the incestuous bonds of the
boy to his mother, and of establishing the reconciliation with the

Mythology teaches that incest, apparently so abhorred by men, is
permitted to the gods without further thought, and you may learn from
ancient history that incestuous marriage with his sister was holy
prescript for the person of the ruler (among the ancient Pharaohs and
the Incas of Peru). We have here a privilege denied the common herd.

Incest with his mother is one of the sins of Oedipus, patricide the
other. It might also be mentioned that these are the two great sins
which the first social-religious institution of mankind, totemism,
abhors. Let us turn from the direct observation of the child to analytic
investigation of the adult neurotic. What does analysis yield to the
further knowledge of the Oedipus-complex? This is easily told. It shows
the patient up in the light of the myth; it shows that each of these
neurotics was himself an Oedipus or, what amounts to the same thing,
became a Hamlet in the reaction to the complex. To be sure, the analytic
representation of the Oedipus-complex enlarges upon and is a coarser
edition of the infantile sketch. The hatred of the father, the
death-wish with regard to him, are no longer timidly suggested, the
affection for the mother recognizes the goal of possessing her for a
wife. Dare we really accredit these horrible and extreme feelings to
those tender childhood years, or does analysis deceive us by bringing in
some new element? It is not difficult to discover this. Whenever an
account of past events is given, be it written even by a historian, we
must take into account the fact that inadvertently something has been
interpolated from the present and from intervening times into the past;
so that the entire picture is falsified. In the case of the neurotic it
is questionable whether this interpolation is entirely unintentional or
not; we shall later come to learn its motives and must justify the fact
of "imagining back" into the remote past. We also easily discover that
hatred of the father is fortified by numerous motives which originate in
later times and circumstances, since the sexual wishes for the mother
are cast in forms which are necessarily foreign to the child. But it
would be a vain endeavor to explain the whole of the Oedipus-complex by
"imagining back," and as related to later times. The infantile nucleus
and more or less of what has been added to it continues to exist and may
be verified by the direct observation of the child.

The clinical fact which we meet with in penetrating the form of the
Oedipus-complex as established by analysis, is of the greatest practical
importance. We learn that at the period of puberty, when the sexual
instinct first asserts its demands in full strength, the old incestuous
and familiar objects are again taken up and seized anew by the libido.
The infant's choice of an object was feeble, but it nevertheless set the
direction for the choice of an object in puberty. At that time very
intense emotional experiences are brought into play and directed towards
the Oedipus-complex, or utilized in the reaction to it. However, since
their presuppositions have become unsupportable, they must in large part
remain outside of consciousness. From this time on the human individual
must devote himself to the great task of freeing himself from his
parents, and only after he has freed himself can he cease to be a child,
and become a member of the social community. The task confronting the
son consists of freeing himself from his libidinous wishes towards his
mother and utilizing them in the quest for a really foreign object for
his love. He must also effect a reconciliation with his father, if he
has stayed hostile to him, or if in the reaction to his infantile
opposition he has become subject to his domination, he must now free
himself from this pressure. These tasks are set for every man; it is
noteworthy how seldom their solution is ideally achieved, i.e., how
seldom the solution is psychologically as well as socially correct.
Neurotics, however, find no solution whatever; the son remains during
his whole life subject to the authority of his father, and is not able
to transfer his libido to a foreign sexual object. Barring the
difference in the specific relation, the same fate may befall the
daughter. In this sense the Oedipus-complex is correctly designated as
the nucleus of the neurosis.

You can imagine how rapidly I am reviewing a great number of conditions
which are associated with the Oedipus-complex, of practical as well as
of theoretical importance. I cannot enter upon their variations or
possible inversions. Of its less immediate relations I only wish to
indicate the influence which the Oedipus-complex has been found to exert
on literary production. In a valuable book, Otto Rank has shown that the
dramatists of all times have taken their materials principally from the
Oedipus-and incest-complexes, with their variations and disguises.
Moreover, we will not forget to mention that the two guilty wishes of
Oedipus were recognized long before the time of psychoanalysis as the
true representatives of the unrestrained life of impulses. Among the
writings of the encyclopedist Diderot we find a famous dialogue, _The
Nephew of Ramau_, which no less a person than Goethe has translated into
German. In this you may read the remarkable sentence: "_If the little
savage were left to himself he would preserve all his imbecility, he
would unite the passions of a man of thirty to the unreasonableness of
the child in the cradle; he would twist his father's neck and bed with
his mother_."

There is also one other thing of which I must needs speak. The
mother-wife of Oedipus shall not have reminded us of the dream in vain.
Do you still remember the result of our dream analysis, that the wishes
out of which the dream is constructed so frequently are of a perverse,
incestuous nature, or disclose an enmity toward near and beloved
relatives the existence of which had never been suspected? At the time
we did not trace the sources of these evil impulses. Now you may see
them for yourselves. They represent the disposition made in early
infancy of the libidinous energy, with the objects, long since given up
in conscious life, to which it had once clung, which are now shown at
night to be still present and in a certain sense capable of activity.
But since all people have such perverse, incestuous and murderous
dreams, and not the neurotics alone, we may conclude that even those who
are normal have passed through the same evolutionary development,
through the perversions and the direction of the libidio toward the
objects of the Oedipus-complex. This, then, is the way of normal
development, upon which the neurotics merely enlarge. They show in
cruder form what dream analysis exposes in the healthy dreamer as well.
Accordingly here is one of the motives which led us to deal with the
study of the dream before we considered the neurotic symptom.



_Theories of Development and Regression--Etiology_

We have learned that the libidio goes through an extensive development
before it can enter the service of reproduction in a way which may be
regarded as normal. Now I wish to present to you what importance this
fact possesses for the causation of neuroses.

I believe we are in harmony with the teachings of general pathology in
assuming that this development involves two dangers, inhibition and
regression. In other words, with the universal tendency of biological
processes toward variation, it must necessarily happen that not all
preparatory phases of a given function are equally well passed through
or accomplished with comparable thoroughness. Certain components of a
function may be permanently held back in an early stage of development
and the complete development is therefore retarded to a certain extent.

Let us seek analogies for these processes from other fields. If a whole
people leaves its dwellings to seek a new home, as frequently happened
in the early periods of the history of mankind, their entire number will
certainly not reach the new destination. Setting aside other losses,
small groups or associations of these wandering peoples would stop on
the way, and, while the majority passes on, they would settle down at
these way-stations. Or, to seek a more appropriate comparison: You know
that in the most highly evolved mammals, the male seminal glands, which
originally are located in the far depths of the abdominal cavity, begin
to wander during a certain period of intra-uterine life until they reach
a position almost immediately under the skin of the pelvic extremity. In
the case of a number of male individuals, one of the paired glands may
as a result of this wandering remain in the pelvic cavity, or may be
permanently located in the canal through which both glands must pass in
their journey, or finally the canal itself may stay open permanently
instead of growing together with the seminal glands after the change of
position has taken place normally. When, as a young student, I was doing
my first piece of scientific research under the direction of von Brücke,
I was working on the dorsal nerve-roots in the spinal cord of a small
fish very archaic in form. I discovered that the nerve ganglia of these
roots grow out from large cells which lie in the grey matter of the
dorsal column, a condition no longer true of other vertebrates. But I
soon discovered that such nerve cells are found outside the grey matter
all the way to the so-called spinal ganglion of the dorsal root. From
this I concluded that the cells of this group of ganglia had traveled
from the spinal cord to the roots of the nerves. This same result is
attested by embryology. In this little fish, however, the entire path of
the journey was traceable by the cells that had remained behind. Closer
observation will easily reveal to you the weak points of these
comparisons. Therefore let me simply say that with reference to every
single sexual impulse, I consider it possible for several of its
components to be held back in the earlier stages of development while
other components have worked themselves out to completion. You will
realize that we think of every such impulse as a current continuously
driving on from the very beginning of life, and that our resolving it
into individual movements which follow separately one upon the other is
to a certain extent artificial. Your impression that these concepts
require further clarification is correct, but an attempt would lead to
too great digression. Before we pass on, however, let us agree to call
this arrest of a partial impulse in an early stage of development, a
_fixation_ of the instinct.

_Regression_ is the second danger of this development by stages. Even
those components which have achieved a degree of progress may readily
turn backward to these earlier stages. Having attained to this later and
more highly developed form, the impulse is forced to a regression when
it encounters great external difficulties in the exercise of its
function, and accordingly cannot reach the goal which will satisfy its
strivings. We can obviously assume that fixation and regression are not
independent of each other. The stronger the fixations in the process of
development prove to be, the more readily will the function evade
external difficulties by a regression back to those fixations, and the
less capable will the fully developed function be to withstand the
hindrances that stand in the way of its exercise. Remember that if a
people in its wandering has left large groups at certain way-stations,
it is natural for those who have gone on to return to these stations if
they are beaten or encounter a mighty foe. The more they have left on
the way, however, the greater is their chance of defeat.

For your comprehension of the neuroses it is necessary to keep in mind
this connection between fixation and regression. This will give you a
secure hold upon the question of the cause of neuroses--of the etiology
of neuroses--which we shall soon consider.

For the present we have still to discuss various aspects of regression.
With the knowledge you have gained concerning the development of the
function of libido, you must expect two kinds of regression: incestuous
return to the first libidinous objects and return of the entire sexual
organization to an earlier stage of development. Both occur in the
transference neuroses and play an important part in its mechanism.
Especially is the return to the first incestuous objects of libido a
feature that the neurotic exhibits with positively tiresome regularity.
We could say far more about regression of libido if we took into
consideration another group of neuroses: neurotic narcism. But we cannot
do this now. These conditions give us a clue to other stages of
development of the function of libido, which have not been mentioned
previously, and correspondingly show new kinds of regression. But I
think the most important task before me at this point is to warn you not
to confuse _regression_ and _suppression_, and aid you to see clearly
the connection between the two processes. Suppression, as you know, is
the process by which an act capable of becoming conscious, in other
words, an act that belongs to the fore-conscious system, is rendered
unconscious and accordingly is thrust back into the unconscious system.
Similarly we speak of suppression when the unconscious psychic act never
has been admitted into the adjoining fore-conscious system but is
arrested by the censor at the threshold. Kindly observe that the
conception of suppression has nothing to do with sexuality. It describes
a purely psychological process, which could better be characterized by
terming it _localized_. By that we mean that it is concerned with the
spatial relationships within the psyche, or if we drop this crude
metaphor, with building up the psychological apparatus out of separate,
psychic systems.

Through these comparisons we observe that up to this point we have not
used the word regression in its general, but in a very special sense. If
you accord it the general meaning of return from a higher to a lower
stage of development you must include suppression as a form of
regression, for suppression may also be described as the reversion to an
earlier and lower stage in the development of a psychic act. Only in
regard to suppression, this tendency to revert is not necessarily
involved, for when a psychic act is held back in the early unconscious
stage we also term it suppression in a dynamic sense. Suppression is a
localized and dynamic conception, regression purely descriptive. What up
this point we have called regression and considered in its relation to
fixation, was only the return of libido to former stages of its
development. The nature of this latter conception is entirely distinct
and independent of suppression. We cannot call the libido regressions
purely psychical processes and do not know what localization in the
psychological apparatus we should assign to them. Even though the libido
exerts a most powerful influence on psychic life, its organic
significance is still the most conspicuous.

Discussions of this sort, gentlemen, are bound to be somewhat dry. To
render them more vivid and impressive, let us return to clinical
illustrations. You know that hysteria and compulsion-neurosis are the
two chief factors in the group of transference neuroses. In hysteria,
libidinous return to primary, incestuous sexual objects is quite
regular, but regression to a former stage of sexual organization very
rare. In the mechanism of hysteria suppression plays the chief part. If
you will permit me to supplement our previous positive knowledge of this
neurosis by a constructive suggestion, I could describe the state of
affairs in this manner: the union of the partial instincts under the
domination of the genitals is accomplished, but its results encounter
the opposition of the fore-conscious system which, of course, is bound
up with consciousness. Genital organization, therefore, may stand for
the unconscious but not for the fore-conscious. Through this rejection
on the part of the fore-conscious, a situation arises which in certain
aspects is similar to the condition existing before the genitals had
attained their primacy. Of the two libido regressions, the regression to
a former stage of sexual organization is by far the more conspicuous.
Since it is lacking in hysteria and our entire conception of the
neuroses is still too much dominated by the study of hysteria which
preceded it in point of time, the meaning of libido regression became
clearer to us much later than that of repression. Let us be prepared to
widen and change our attitude still more when we consider other
narcistic neuroses besides compulsion-neurosis and hysteria in our

In contrast to this, regression of libido in compulsion-neurosis turns
back most conspicuously to the earlier sadistico-anal organization,
which accordingly becomes the most significant factor expressed by the
symptoms. Under these conditions the love impulse must mask itself as a
sadistic impulse. The compulsion idea must therefore be reinterpreted.
Isolated from other superimposed factors, which though they are not
accidental are also indispensable, it no longer reads: "I want to murder
you"; rather it says "I want to enjoy you in love." Add to this, that
simultaneously regression of the object has also set in, so that this
impulse is invariably directed toward the nearest and dearest persons,
and you can imagine with what horror the patient thinks of these
compulsion ideas and how alien they appear to his conscious perception.
In the mechanism of these neuroses, suppression, too, assumes an
important part, which it is not easy to explain in a superficial
discussion of this sort. Regression of the libido without suppression
would never result in neurosis but would finally end in perversion. This
makes it obvious that suppression is the process most characteristic of
neurosis, and typifies it most perfectly. Perhaps I shall at some future
time have the opportunity of presenting to you our knowledge of the
mechanism of perversions and then you will see that here also things do
not work themselves out as simply as we should best like to construe

You will most readily reconcile yourself with these elucidations of
fixation and regression, when you consider them as a preface to the
investigation of the etiology of neuroses. Towards this I have only
advanced a single fact: that people become neurotically ill when the
possibility of satisfying their libido is removed, ill with "denial," as
I expressed myself, and that their symptoms are the substitutes for the
denied gratification. Of course, that does not mean that every denial of
libidinous satisfaction makes every person neurotic, but merely that in
all cases known of neurosis, the factor of denial was traceable. The
syllogism therefore cannot be reversed. You also understand, I trust,
that this statement is not supposed to reveal the entire secret of the
etiology of neurosis, but only emphasizes an important and indispensable

Now, we do not know, in the further discussion of this statement,
whether to emphasize the nature of denial or the individuality of the
person affected by it. Denial is very rarely complete and absolute; to
cause a pathological condition, the specific gratification desired by
the particular person in question must be withheld, the certain
satisfaction of which he alone is capable. On the whole there are many
ways of enduring abstinence from libidinous gratification without
succumbing to a neurosis by reason thereof. Above all we know of people
who are able to endure abstinence without doing themselves injury; they
are not happy under the circumstances, they are filled with yearning,
but they do not become ill. Furthermore, we must take into consideration
that the impulses of the sex instinct are extraordinarily _plastic_, if
I may use that term in this connection. One thing may take the place of
the other; one may assume the other's intensity; if reality refuses the
one gratification, the satisfaction of another may offer full
compensation. The sexual impulses are like a network of communicating
channels filled with fluids; they are this in spite of their subjugation
to the primacy of the genitals, though I realize it is difficult to
unite these two ideas in one conception. The component impulses of
sexuality as well as the total sexual desire, which represents their
aggregate, show a marked ability to change their object, to exchange it,
for instance, for one more easily attainable. This displacement and the
readiness to accept substitutes must exert powerful influences in
opposition to the pathological effect of abstinence. Among these
processes which resist the ill effects of abstinence, one in particular
has won cultural significance. Sexual desire relinquishes either its
goal of partial gratification of desire, or the goal of desire toward
reproduction, and adopts another aim, genetically related to the
abandoned one, save that it is no longer sexual but must be termed
social. This process is called "sublimation," and in adopting this
process we subscribe to the general standard which places social aims
above selfish sexual desires. Sublimation is, as a matter of fact, only
a special case of the relation of sexual to non-sexual desires. We shall
have occasion to talk more about this later in another connection.

Now your impression will be that abstinence has become an insignificant
factor, since there are so many methods of enduring it. Yet this is not
the case, for its pathological power is unimpaired. The remedies are
generally not sufficient. The measure of unsatisfied libido which the
average human being can stand is limited. The plasticity and freedom of
movement of libido is by no means retained to the same extent by all
individuals; sublimation can, moreover, never account for more than a
certain small fraction of the libido, and finally most people possess
the capacity for sublimation only to a very slight degree. The most
important of these limitations clearly lies in the adaptability of the
libido, as it renders the gratification of the individual dependent upon
the attainment of only a very few aims and objects. Kindly recall that
incomplete development of the libido leaves extensive and possibly even
numerous libido fixations in earlier developmental phases of the
processes of sexual organization and object-finding, and that these
phases are usually not capable of affording a real gratification. You
will then recognize libido fixation as the second powerful factor which
together with abstinence constitutes the causative factors of the
illness. We may abbreviate schematically and say that libido fixation
represents the internal disposing factor, abstinence the accidental
external factor of the etiology of neurosis.

I seize the opportunity to warn you of taking sides in a most
unnecessary conflict. In scientific affairs it is a popular proceeding
to emphasize a part of the truth in place of the whole truth and to
combat all the rest, which has lost none of its verity, in the name of
that fraction. In this way various factions have already separated out
from the movement of psychoanalysis; one faction recognizes only the
egoistic impulses and denies the sexual, another appreciates the
influence of objective tasks in life, but ignores the part played by the
individual past, and so on. Here is occasion for a similar antithesis
and subject for dispute: are neuroses _exogenous_ or _endogenous_
diseases, are they the inevitable results of a special constitution or
the product of certain harmful (traumatic) impressions; in particular,
are they called forth by libido fixation (and the sexual constitution
which goes with this) or through the pressure of forbearance? This
dilemma seems to me no whit wiser than another I could present to you:
is the child created through the generation of the father or the
conception of the mother? Both factors are equally essential, you will
answer very properly. The conditions which cause neuroses are very
similar if not precisely the same. For the consideration of the causes
of neuroses, we may arrange neurotic diseases in a series, in which two
factors, sexual constitution and experience, or, if you wish,
libido-fixation and self-denial, are represented in such a way that one
increases as the other decreases. At one end of the series are the
extreme cases, of which you can say with full conviction: These persons
would have become ill because of the peculiar development of their
libido, no matter what they might have experienced, no matter how gently
life might have treated them. At the other end are cases which would
call forth the reversed judgment, that the patients would undoubtedly
have escaped illness if life had not thrust certain conditions upon
them. But in the intermediate cases of the series, predisposing sexual
constitution and subversive demands of life combine. Their sexual
constitution would not have given rise to neurosis if the victims had
not had such experiences, and their experiences would not have acted
upon them traumatically if the conditions of the libido had been
otherwise. Within this series I may grant a certain preponderance to the
weight carried by the predisposing factors, but this admission, too,
depends upon the boundaries within which you wish to delimit

Allow me to suggest that you call such series _complementary series_. We
shall have occasion to establish other series of this sort.

The tenacity with which the libido clings to certain tendencies and
objects, the so-called _adhesiveness_ of the libido, appears to us as an
independent factor, individually variable, the determining conditions of
which are completely unknown to us, but the importance of which for the
etiology of the neuroses we can no longer underestimate. At the same
time we must not overestimate the closeness of this interrelation. A
similar adhesiveness of the libido occurs--for unknown reasons--in
normal persons under various conditions, and is a determining factor in
the perverse, who are in a certain sense the opposite of nervous. Before
the period of psychoanalysis, it was known (Binet) that the anamnesia of
the perverse is often traced back to an early impression--an abnormality
in the tendency of the instinct or its choice of object--and it is to
this that the libido of the individual has clung for life. Frequently it
is hard to say how such an impression becomes capable of attracting the
libido so intensively. I shall give you a case of this kind which I
observed myself. A man, to whom the genital and all other sex stimuli of
woman now mean nothing, who in fact can only be thrown into an
irresistible sexual excitation by the sight of a shoe on a foot of a
certain form, is able to recall an experience he had in his sixth year,
which proved decisive for the fixation of his libido. One day he sat on
a stool beside his governess, who was to give him an English lesson. She
was an old, shriveled, unbeautiful girl with washed-out blue eyes and a
pug nose, who on this day, because of some injury, had put a velvet
slipper on her foot and stretched it out on a footstool; the leg itself
she had most decorously covered. After a diffident attempt at normal
sexual activity, undertaken during puberty, such a thin sinewy foot as
his governess' had become the sole object of his sexuality; and the man
was irresistibly carried away if other features, reminiscent of the
English governess, appeared in conjunction with the foot. Through this
fixation of the libido the man did not become neurotic but perverse, a
foot fetishist, as we say. So you see that, although exaggerated and
premature fixation of the libido is indispensable for the causation of
neuroses, its sphere of action exceeds the limits of neuroses
immeasurably. This condition also, taken by itself, is no more decisive
than abstinence.

And so the problem of the cause of neuroses seems to become more
complicated. Psychoanalytic investigation does, in fact, acquaint us
with a new factor, not considered in our etiological series, which is
recognized most easily in those cases where permanent well-being is
suddenly disturbed by an attack of neurosis. These individuals regularly
show signs of contradiction between their wishes, or, as we are wont to
say, indication of psychic _conflict_. A part of their personality
represents certain wishes, another rebels against them and resists
them. A neurosis cannot come into existence without such conflict. This
may seem to be of small significance. You know that our psychic life is
continually agitated by conflicts for which we must find a solution.
Certain conditions, therefore, must exist to make such a conflict
pathological. We want to know what these conditions are, what psychic
powers form the background for these pathological conflicts, what
relation the conflict bears to the causative factors.

I hope I shall be able to give you satisfactory answers to these
questions even if I must make them schematically brief. Self-denial
gives rise to conflict, for libido deprived of its gratification is
forced to seek other means and ends. A pathogenic conflict arises when
these other means and ends arouse the disfavor of one part of the
personality, and a veto ensues which makes the new mode of gratification
impossible for the time being. This is the point of departure for the
development of the symptoms, a process which we shall consider later.
The rejected libidinous desires manage to have their own way, through
circuitous byways, but not without catering to the objections through
the observance of certain symptom-formation; the symptoms are the new or
substitute satisfaction which the condition of self-denial has made

We can express the significance of the psychic conflict in another way,
by saying: the _outer_ self-denial, in order to become pathological,
must be supplemented by an _inner_ self-denial. Outer denial removes one
possibility of gratification, inner denial would like to exclude another
possibility, and it is this second possibility which becomes the center
of the ensuing conflict. I prefer this form of presentation because it
possesses secret content. It implies the probability that the inner
impediment found its origin in the prehistoric stage of human
development in real external hindrances.

What powers are these which interpose objections to libidinous desire,
who are the other parties to the pathological conflict? They are, in the
widest sense, the non-sexual impulses. We call them comprehensively the
"ego impulses"; psychoanalysis of transference neuroses does not grant
us ready access to their further investigation, but we learn to know
them, in a measure, through the resistance they offer to analysis. The
pathological struggle is waged between ego-impulses and sexual impulses.
In a series of cases it appears as though conflict could exist between
various purely sexual desires; but that is really the same thing, for of
the two sexual desires involved in the conflict, one is always
considerate of the ego, while the other demands that the ego be denied,
and so it remains a conflict between the ego and sexuality.

Again and again when psychoanalysis claimed that psychological event was
the result of sexual impulses, indignant protest was raised that in
psychic life there were other impulses and interests besides the sexual,
that everything could not be derived from sexuality, etc. Well, it is a
great pleasure to share for once the opinion of one's opponents.
Psychoanalysis never forgot that non-sexual impulses exist. It insisted
on the decided distinction between sexual and ego-impulses and
maintained in the face of every objection not that neuroses arise from
sexuality, but that they owe their origin to the conflict between
sexuality and the ego. Psychoanalysis can have no reasonable motive for
denying the existence or significance of ego-impulses, even though it
investigates the influence sexual impulses play in illness and in life.
Only it has been destined to deal primarily with sexual impulses,
because transference neuroses have furnished the readiest access to
their investigation, and because it had become obligatory to study what
others had neglected.

It does not follow, either, that psychoanalysis has never occupied
itself at all with the non-sexual side of personality. The very
distinction of the ego from sexuality has shown most clearly that the
ego-impulses also pass through a significant development, which is by no
means entirely independent of the development of the libido, nor does it
fail to exert a reaction upon it. To be sure, we know much less about
the evolution of the ego than about libido development, for so far only
the study of narcistic neuroses has promised to throw light on the
structure of the ego. There is extant the notable attempt of Ferenczi to
construct theoretically the stages of ego development, and furthermore
we already possess two fixed points from which to proceed in our
evolution of this development. We do not dream of asserting that the
libidinous interests of a person are from the outset opposed to the
interests of self-preservation; in every stage, rather, the ego will
strive to remain in harmony with its sexual organization at that time,
and accommodate itself thereto. The succession of the separate phases
of development of libido probably follows a prescribed program; but we
cannot deny that this sequence can be influenced by the ego, and that a
certain parallelism of the phases of development of the ego and the
libido may also be assumed. Indeed, the disturbance of this parallelism
could become a pathological factor. One of the most important insights
we have to gain is the nature of the attitude which the ego exhibits
when an intensive fixation of its libido is left behind in one stage of
its development. It may countenance the fixation and accordingly become
perverse or, what amounts to the same thing, become infantile. Or it may
be averse to this attachment of the libido, the result of which is that
wherever the libido is subject to _fixation_, there the ego undergoes

In this way we reach the conclusion that the third factor of the
etiology of neuroses is the tendency to _conflict_, upon which the
development both of the ego and libido are dependent. Our insight into
the causation of the neuroses has therefore been amplified. First, the
most generalized factor, self-denial, then the fixation of the libido,
by which it is forced into certain directions, and thirdly, the tendency
to conflict in the development of the ego, which has rejected libidinous
impulses of this kind. The state of affairs is therefore not so confused
and difficult to see through, as you may have imagined it to be in the
course of my explanation. But of course we are to discover that we have
not, as yet, reached the end. We must add still a new factor and further
analyze one we already know.

To show you the influence of ego development in the formation of a
conflict, and so to give an illustration of the causation of neuroses, I
should like to cite an example which, although it is entirely imaginary,
is not far removed from probability in any respect. Drawing upon the
title of a farce by Nestroy, I shall label this example "On the ground
floor and in the first story." The janitor lives on the ground floor,
while the owner of the house, a rich, distinguished man, occupies the
first story. Both have children, and we shall assume that the owner
permits his little daughter to play unwatched with the child of the
people. Then it may easily happen that the games of the children become
"naughty," that is, they assume a sexual character; they play "father
and mother," watch each other in the performance of intimate
performances and mutually stimulate their genitals. The janitor's
daughter, who, in spite of her five or six years of age, has had
occasion to make observations on the sexuality of adults, probably
played the part of the seducer. These experiences, even though they be
of short duration, are sufficient to set in motion certain sexual
impulses in both children, which continue in the form of onanism for
several years after the common games have ceased. So far the
consequences are similar; the final result will be very different. The
janitor's daughter will continue onanism possibly to the commencement of
her periods, abandon it then without difficulty, not many years later
find a lover, perhaps bear a child, choose this or that path of life,
which may likely enough make of her a popular artist who ends as an
aristocrat. Perhaps the outcome will be less brilliant, but at any rate
she will work out her life, free from neurosis, unharmed by her
premature sexual activity. Very different is the effect on the other
child. Even while she is very young she will realize vaguely that she
has done wrong. In a short while, perhaps only after a violent struggle,
she will renounce the gratification of onanism, yet still retain an
undercurrent of depression in her attitude. If, during her early
childhood, she chances to learn something about sexual intercourse, she
will turn away in explicable disgust and seek to remain innocent.
Probably she is at the time subjected anew to an irresistible impulse to
onanism, of which she does not dare to complain. When the time arrives
for her to find favor in the eyes of a man, a neurosis will suddenly
develop and cheat her out of marriage and the joy of life. When analysis
succeeds in gaining insight into this neurosis, it will reveal that this
well-bred, intelligent girl of high ideals, has completely suppressed
her sexual desires, but that unconsciously they cling to the meager
experiences she had with the friend of her childhood.

The difference of these two destinies, arising from the same experience,
is due to the fact that one ego has experienced development while the
other has not. The janitor's daughter in later years looks upon sexual
intercourse as the same natural and harmless thing it had seemed in her
childhood. The owner's daughter had experienced the influence of
education and had recognized its claims. Thus stimulated, her ego had
forged its ideals of womanly purity and lack of desire which, however,
could not agree with any sexual activity; her intellectual development
had made unworthy her interest in the woman's part she was to play. This
higher moral and intellectual evolution of her ego was in conflict with
the claims of her sexuality.

I should like to consider today one more point in the development of the
ego, partly because it opens wide vistas, partly because it will justify
the sharp, perhaps unnatural line of division we are wont to draw
between sexual and ego impulses. In estimating the several developments
of ego and of libido, we must emphasize an aspect which has not
frequently been appreciated heretofore. Both the ego and the libido are
fundamentally heritages, abbreviated repetitions of an evolution which
mankind has, in the course of long periods of time, traversed from
primeval ages. The libido shows its phylogenetic origin most readily, I
should say. Recall, if you please, that in one class of animals the
genital apparatus is closely connected with the mouth, that in another
it cannot be separated from the excretory apparatus, and in others it is
attached to organs of locomotion. Of all these things you will find a
most fascinating description in the valuable book of W. Bölsche. Animals
portray, so to speak, all kinds of perversions which have become set as
their permanent sexual organizations. In man this phylogenetic aspect is
partly clouded by the circumstance that these activities, although
fundamentally inherited, are achieved anew in individual development,
presumably because the same conditions still prevail and still continue
to exert their influence on each personality. I should say that
originally they served to call forth an activity, where they now serve
only as a stimulus for recollection. There is no doubt that in addition
the course of development in each individual, which has been innately
determined, may be disturbed or altered from without by recent
influences. That power which has forced this development upon mankind,
and which today maintains the identical pressure, is indeed known to us:
it is the same self-denial enforced by the realities--or, given its big
and actual name, _Necessity_, the struggle for existence, the ’Ανἁγχη.
This has been a severe teacher, but under him we have become potent. The
neurotics are those children upon whom this severity has had a bad
effect--but there is risk in all education. This appreciation of the
struggle of life as the moving force of development need not prejudice
us against the importance of "innate tendencies in evolution" if their
existence can be proved.

It is worth noting that sexual instincts and instincts of
self-preservation do not behave similarly when they are confronted with
the necessities of actuality. It is easier to educate the instincts of
self-preservation and everything that is connected with them; they
speedily learn to adapt themselves to necessity and to arrange their
development in accordance with the mandates of fact. That is easy to
understand, for they cannot procure the objects they require in any
other way; without these objects the individual must perish. The sex
instincts are more difficult to educate because at the outset they do
not suffer from the need of an object. As they are related almost
parasitically to the other functions of the body and gratify themselves
auto-erotically by way of their own body, they are at first withdrawn
from the educational influence of real necessity. In most people, they
maintain themselves in some way or other during the entire course of
life as those characteristics of obstinacy and inaccessibility to
influence which are generally collectively called unreasonableness. The
education of youth generally comes to an end when the sexual demands are
aroused to their full strength. Educators know this and act accordingly;
but perhaps the results of psychoanalysis will influence them to
transfer the greatest emphasis to the education of the early years, of
childhood, beginning with the suckling. The little human being is
frequently a finished product in his fourth or fifth year, and only
reveals gradually in later years what has long been ready within him.

To appreciate the full significance of the aforementioned difference
between the two groups of instincts, we must digress considerably and
introduce a consideration which we must needs call _economic_. Thereby
we enter upon one of the most important but unfortunately one of the
most obscure domains of psychoanalysis. We ask ourselves whether a
fundamental purpose is recognizable in the workings of our psychological
apparatus, and answer immediately that this purpose is the pursuit of
pleasurable excitement. It seems as if our entire psychological activity
were directed toward gaining pleasurable stimulation, toward avoiding
painful ones; that it is regulated automatically by the _principle of
pleasure_. Now we should like to know, above all, what conditions cause
the creation of pleasure and pain, but here we fall short. We may only
venture to say that pleasurable excitation _in some way_ involves
lessening, lowering or obliterating the amount of stimuli present in the
psychic apparatus. This amount, on the other hand, is increased by pain.
Examination of the most intense pleasurable excitement accessible to
man, the pleasure which accompanies the performance of the sexual act,
leaves small doubt on this point. Since such processes of pleasure are
concerned with the destinies of quantities of psychic excitation or
energy, we call considerations of this sort economic. It thus appears
that we can describe the tasks and performances of the psychic apparatus
in different and more generalized terms than by the emphasis of the
pursuit of pleasure. We may say that the psychic apparatus serves the
purpose of mastering and bringing to rest the mass of stimuli and the
stimulating forces which approach it. The sexual instincts obviously
show their aim of pleasurable excitement from the beginning to the end
of their development; they retain this original function without much
change. The ego instincts strive at first for the same thing. But
through the influence of their teacher, necessity, the ego instincts
soon learn to adduce some qualification to the principle of pleasure.
The task of avoiding pain becomes an objective almost comparable to the
gain of pleasure; the ego learns that its direct gratification is
unavoidably withheld, the gain of pleasurable excitement postponed, that
always a certain amount of pain must be borne and certain sources of
pleasure entirely relinquished. This educated ego has become
"reasonable." It is no longer controlled by the principle of pleasure,
but by the _principle of fact_, which at bottom also aims at pleasure,
but pleasure which is postponed and lessened by considerations of fact.

The transition from the pleasure principle to that of fact is the most
important advance in the development of the ego. We already know that
the sexual instincts pass through this stage unwillingly and late. We
shall presently learn the consequence to man of the fact that his
sexuality admits of such a loose relation to the external realities of
his life. Yet one more observation belongs here. Since the ego of man
has, like the libido, its history of evolution, you will not be
surprised to hear that there are "ego-regressions," and you will want to
know what role this return of the ego to former phases of development
plays in neurotic disease.



_The Development of the Symptoms_

In the layman's eyes the symptom shows the nature of the disease, and
cure means removal of symptoms. The physician, however, finds it
important to distinguish the symptoms from the disease and recognizes
that doing away with the symptoms is not necessarily curing the disease.
Of course, the only tangible thing left over after the removal of the
symptoms is the capacity to build new symptoms. Accordingly, for the
time being, let us accept the layman's viewpoint and consider the
understanding of the symptoms as equivalent to the understanding of the

The symptoms,--of course, we are dealing here with psychic (or
psychogenic) symptoms, and psychic illness--are acts which are
detrimental to life as a whole, or which are at least useless;
frequently they are obnoxious to the individual who performs them and
are accompanied by distaste and suffering. The principal injury lies in
the psychic exertion which they cost, and in the further exertion needed
to combat them. The price these efforts exact may, when there is an
extensive development of the symptoms, bring about an extraordinary
impoverishment of the personality of the patient with respect to his
available psychic energy, and consequently cripple him in all the
important tasks of life. Since such an outcome is dependent on the
amount of energy so utilized, you will readily understand that "being
sick" is essentially a practical concept. But if you take a theoretical
standpoint and disregard these quantitative relations, you can readily
say that we are all sick, or rather neurotic, since the conditions
favorable to the development of symptoms are demonstrable also among
normal persons.

As to the neurotic symptoms, we already know that they are the result of
a conflict aroused by a new form of gratifying the libido. The two
forces that have contended against each other meet once more in the
symptom; they become reconciled through the compromise of a symptom
development. That is why the symptom is capable of such resistance; it
is sustained from both sides. We also know that one of the two partners
to the conflict is the unsatisfied libido, frustrated by reality, which
must now seek other means for its satisfaction. If reality remains
inflexible even where the libido is prepared to take another object in
place of the one denied it, the libido will then finally be compelled to
resort to regression and to seek gratification in one of the earlier
stages in its organizations already out-lived, or by means of one of the
objects given up in the past. Along the path of regression the libido is
enticed by fixations which it has left behind at these stages in its

Here the development toward perversion branches off sharply from that of
the neuroses. If the regressions do not awaken the resistance of the
ego, then a neurosis does not follow and the libido arrives at some
actual, even if abnormal, satisfaction. The ego, however, controls not
alone consciousness, but also the approaches to motor innervation, and
hence the realization of psychic impulses. If the ego then does not
approve this regression, the conflict takes place. The libido is locked
out, as it were, and must seek refuge in some place where it can find an
outlet for its fund of energy, in accordance with the controlling
demands for pleasurable gratification. It must withdraw from the ego.
Such an evasion is offered by the fixations established in the course of
its evolution and now traversed regressively, against which the ego had,
at the time, protected itself by suppressions. The libido, streaming
back, occupies these suppressed positions and thus withdraws from before
the ego and its laws. At the same time, however, it throws off all the
influences acquired under its tutelage. The libido could be guided so
long as there was a possibility of its being satisfied; under the double
pressure of external and internal denial it becomes unruly and harks
back to former and more happy times. Such is its character,
fundamentally unchangeable. The ideas which the libido now takes over in
order to hold its energy belong to the system of the unconscious, and
are therefore subject to its peculiar processes, especially elaboration
and displacement. Conditions are set up here which are entirely
comparable to those of dream formation. Just as the latent dream, the
fulfillment of a wish-phantasy, is first built up in the
unconsciousness, but must then pass through conscious processes before,
censored and approved, it can enter into the compromise construction of
the manifest dream, so the ideas representing the libido in the
unconscious must still contend against the power of the fore-conscious
ego. The opposition that has arisen against it in the ego follows it
down by a "counter-siege" and forces it to choose such an expression as
will serve at the same time to express itself. Thus, then, the symptom
comes into being as a much distorted offshoot from the unconscious
libidinous wish-fulfillment, an artificially selected ambiguity--with
two entirely contradictory meanings. In this last point alone do we
realize a difference between dream and symptom development, for the only
fore-conscious purpose in dream formation is the maintenance of sleep,
the exclusion from consciousness of anything which may disturb sleep;
but it does not necessarily oppose the unconscious wish impulse with an
insistent "No." Quite the contrary; the purpose of the dream may be more
tolerant, because the situation of the sleeper is a less dangerous one.
The exit to reality is closed only through the condition of sleep.

You see, this evasion which the libido finds under the conditions of the
conflict is possible only by virtue of the existing fixations. When
these fixations are taken in hand by the regression, the suppression is
side-tracked and the libido, which must maintain itself under the
conditions of the compromise, is led off or gratified. By means of such
a detour by way of the unconscious and the old fixations, the libido has
at last succeeded in breaking its way through to some sort of
gratification, however extraordinarily limited this may seem and however
unrecognizable any longer as a genuine satisfaction. Now allow me to add
two further remarks concerning this final result. In the first place, I
should like you to take note of the intimate connection between the
libido and the unconscious on the one hand, and on the other of the ego,
consciousness, and reality. The connection that is evidenced here,
however, does not indicate that originally they in any way belong
together. I should like you to bear continually in mind that everything
I have said here, and all that will follow, pertains only to the symptom
development of hysterical neurosis.

Where, now, can the libido find the fixations which it must have in
order to force its way through the suppressions? In the activities and
experiences of infantile sexuality, in its abandoned component-impulses,
its childish objects which have been given up. The libido again returns
to them. The significance of this period of childhood is a double one;
on the one hand, the instinctive tendencies which were congenital in the
child first showed themselves at this time; secondly, at the same time,
environmental influences and chance experiences were first awakening his
other instincts. I believe our right to establish this bipartite
division cannot be questioned. The assertion that the innate disposition
plays a part is hardly open to criticism, but analytic experience
actually makes it necessary for us to assume that purely accidental
experiences of childhood are capable of leaving fixations of the libido.
I do not see any theoretical difficulties here. Congenital tendencies
undoubtedly represent the after-effects of the experiences of an earlier
ancestry; they must also have once been acquired; without such acquired
characters there could be no heredity. And is it conceivable that the
inheritance of such acquired characters comes to a standstill in the
very generation that we have under observation? The significance of
infantile experience, however, should not, as is so often done, be
completely ignored as compared with ancestral experiences or those of
our adult years; on the contrary, they should meet with an especial
appreciation. They have such important results because they occur in the
period of uncompleted development, and because of this very fact are in
a position to cause a traumatic effect. The researches on the mechanics
of development by Roux and others have shown us that a needle prick into
an embryonic cell mass which is undergoing division results in most
serious developmental disturbances. The same injury to a larva or a
completed animal can be borne without injury.

The libido fixation of adults, which we have referred to as
representative of the constitutional factor in the etiological
comparison of the neuroses, can be thought of, so far as we are
concerned, as divisible into two separate factors, the inherited
disposition and the tendency acquired in early childhood. We know that a
schematic representation is most acceptable to the student. Let us
combine these relations as follows:

                              Disposition as             accidental
  Cause of the                determined by              experiences
    neurosis           ==     libido fixation     +      (traumatic
           |                                                  |
     Sexual constitution                             Infantile experience
  (pre-historic experience)

The hereditary sexual constitution provides us with manifold tendencies,
varying with the special emphasis given one or the other component of
the instinct, either individually or in combination. With the factor of
infantile experience, there is again built up a complementary series
within the sexual constitution which is perfectly comparable with our
first series, namely, the gradations between disposition and the chance
experiences of the adult. Here again we find the same extreme cases and
similar relations in the matter of substitution. At this point the
question becomes pertinent as to whether the most striking regressions
of the libido, those which hark back to very early stages in sexual
organization, are not essentially conditioned by the hereditary
constitutional factor. The answer to this question, however, may best be
put off until we are in a position to consider a wider range in the
forms of neurotic disease.

Let us devote a little time to the consideration of the fact that
analytic investigation of neurotics shows the libido to be bound up with
the infantile sexual experiences of these persons. In this light they
seem of enormous importance for both the life and health of mankind.
With respect to therapeutic work their importance remains undiminished.
But when we do not take this into account we can herein readily
recognize the danger of being misled by the situation as it exists in
neurotics into adopting a mistaken and one-sided orientation toward
life. In figuring the importance of the infantile experiences we must
also subtract the influences arising from the fact that the libido has
returned to them by regression, after having been forced out of its
later positions. Thus we approach the opposite conclusion, that
experiences of the libido had no importance whatever in their own time,
but rather acquired it at the time of regression. You will remember that
we were led to a similar alternative in the discussion of the

A decision on this matter will hardly be difficult for us. The statement
is undoubtedly correct that the hold which the infantile experiences
have on the libido--with the pathogenic influences this involves--is
greatly augmented by the regression; still, to allow them to become
definitive would nevertheless be misleading. Other considerations must
be taken into account as well. In the first place, observation shows, in
a way that leaves no room for doubt, that infantile experiences have
their particular significance which is evidenced already during
childhood. There are, furthermore, neuroses in children in which the
factor of displacement in time is necessarily greatly minimized or is
entirely lacking, since the illness follows as an immediate consequence
of the traumatic experience. The study of these infantile neuroses keeps
us from many dangerous misunderstandings of adult neuroses, just as the
dreams of children similarly serve as the key to the understanding of
the dreams of adults. As a matter of fact, the neuroses of children are
very frequent, far more frequent than is generally believed. They are
often overlooked, dismissed as signs of badness or naughtiness, and
often suppressed by the authority of the nursery; in retrospect,
however, they may be easily recognized later. They occur most frequently
in the form of _anxiety hysteria_. What this implies we shall learn upon
another occasion. When a neurosis breaks out in later life, analysis
regularly shows that it is a direct continuation of that infantile
malady which had perhaps developed only obscurely and incipiently.
However, there are cases, as already stated, in which this childish
nervousness continues, without any interruption, as a lifelong
affliction. We have been able to analyze a very few examples of such
neuroses during childhood, while they were actually going on; much more
often we had to be satisfied with obtaining our insight into the
childhood neurosis subsequently, when the patient is already well along
in life, under conditions in which we are forced to work with certain
corrections and under definite precautions.

Secondly, we must admit that the universal regression of the libido to
the period of childhood would be inexplicable if there were nothing
there which could exert an attraction for it. The fixation which we
assume to exist towards specific developmental phases, conveys a meaning
only if we think of it as stabilizing a definite amount of libidinous
energy. Finally, I am able to remind you that here there exists a
complementary relationship between the intensity and the pathogenic
significance of the infantile experiences to the later ones which is
similar to that studied in previous series. There are cases in which the
entire causal emphasis falls upon the sexual experiences of childhood,
in which these impressions take on an effect which is unmistakably
traumatic and in which no other basis exists for them beyond what the
average sexual constitution and its immaturity can offer. Side by side
with these there are others in which the whole stress is brought to bear
by the later conflicts, and the emphasis the analysis places on
childhood impressions appears entirely as the work of regression. There
are also extremes of "retarded development" and "regression," and
between them every combination in the interaction of the two factors.

These relations have a certain interest for that pedagogy which assumes
as its object the prevention of neuroses by an early interference in the
sexual development of the child. So long as we keep our attention fixed
essentially on the infantile sexual experiences, we readily come to
believe we have done everything for the prophylaxis of nervous
afflictions when we have seen to it that this development is retarded,
and that the child is spared this type of experience. Yet we already
know that the conditions for the causation of neuroses are more
complicated and cannot in general be influenced through one single
factor. The strict protection in childhood loses its value because it is
powerless against the constitutional factor; furthermore, it is more
difficult to carry out than the educators imagine, and it brings with it
two new dangers that cannot be lightly dismissed. It accomplishes too
much, for it favors a degree of sexual suppression which is harmful for
later years, and it sends the child into life without the power to
resist the violent onset of sexual demands that must be expected during
puberty. The profit, therefore, which childhood prophylaxis can yield is
most dubious; it seems, indeed, that better success in the prevention of
neuroses can be gained by attacking the problem through a changed
attitude toward facts.

Let us return to the consideration of the symptoms. They serve as
substitutes for the gratification which has been forborne, by a
regression of the libido to earlier days, with a return to former
development phases in their choice of object and in their organization.
We learned some time ago that the neurotic is held fast somewhere in his
past; we now know that it is a period of his past in which his libido
did not miss the satisfaction which made him happy. He looks for such a
time in his life until he has found it, even though he must hark back to
his suckling days as he retains them in his memory or as he reconstructs
them in the light of later influences. The symptom in some way again
yields the old infantile form of satisfaction, distorted by the
censoring work of the conflict. As a rule it is converted into a
sensation of suffering and fused with other causal elements of the
disease. The form of gratification which the symptom yields has much
about it that alienates one's sympathy. In this we omit to take into
account, however, the fact that the patients do not recognize the
gratification as such and experience the apparent satisfaction rather as
suffering, and complain of it. This transformation is part of the
psychic conflict under the pressure of which the symptom must be
developed. What was at one time a satisfaction for the individual must
now awaken his antipathy or disgust. We know a simple but instructive
example for such a change of feeling. The same child that sucked the
milk with such voracity from its mother's breast is apt to show a strong
antipathy for milk a few years later, which is often difficult to
overcome. This antipathy increases to the point of disgust when the
milk, or any substituted drink, has a little skin over it. It is rather
hard to throw out the suggestion that this skin calls up the memory of
the mother's breast, which was once so intensely coveted. In the
meantime, to be sure, the traumatic experience of weaning has

There is something else that makes the symptoms appear remarkable and
inexplicable as a means of libidinous satisfaction. They in no way
recall anything from which we normally are in the habit of expecting
satisfaction. They usually require no object, and thereby give up all
connection with external reality. We understand this to be a result of
turning away from fact and of returning to the predominance of
pleasurable gratification. But it is also a return to a sort of
amplified autoeroticism, such as was yielded the sex impulse in its
earliest satisfactions. In the place of a modification in the outside
world, we have a physical change, in other words, an internal reaction
in place of an external one, an adjustment instead of an activity.
Viewed from a phylogenetic standpoint, this expresses a very significant
regression. We will grasp this better when we consider it in connection
with a new factor which we are still to discover from the analytic
investigation of symptom development. Further, we recall that in symptom
formation the same processes of the unconscious have been at work as in
dream formation--elaboration and displacement. Similarly to the dream,
the symptom represents a fulfillment, a satisfaction after the manner of
the infantile; by the utmost elaboration this satisfaction can be
compressed into a single sensation or innervation, or by extreme
displacement it may be restricted to a tiny element of the entire
libidinous complex. It is no wonder that we often have difficulties in
recognizing in the symptom the libidinous satisfaction which we
anticipate and always find verified.

I have indicated that we must still become familiar with a new factor.
It is something really surprising and confusing. You know that by
analysis of the symptoms we arrive at a knowledge of the infantile
experiences upon which the libido is fixated and out of which the
symptoms are formed. Well, the surprising thing is this, that these
infantile scenes are not always true. Indeed, in the majority of cases
they are untrue, and in some instances they are directly contrary to
historical truth. You see that this discovery, as no other, serves
either to discredit the analysis which has led to such a result, or to
discredit the patients upon whose testimony the analysis, as well as the
whole understanding of neuroses, is built up. In addition there is
something else utterly confusing about it. If the infantile experiences,
revealed by analysis, were in every case real, we should have the
feeling of walking on sure ground; if they were regularly falsified,
disclosed themselves as inventions or phantasies of the patients, we
should have to leave this uncertain ground and find a surer footing
elsewhere. But it is neither the one nor the other, for when we look
into the matter we find that the childhood experiences which are
recalled or reconstructed in the course of the analysis may in some in
some instances be false, in others undeniably true, and in the majority
of cases a mixture of truth and fiction. The symptoms then are either
the representation of actual experiences to which we may ascribe an
influence in the fixation of the libido, or the representation of
phantasies of the patient which, of course, can be of no etiological
significance. It is hard to find one's way here. The first foothold is
given perhaps by an analogous discovery, namely, that the same scattered
childhood memories that individuals always have had and have been
conscious of prior to an analysis may be falsified as well, or at least
may contain a generous mixture of true and false. Evidence of error very
seldom offers difficulties, and we at least gain the satisfaction of
knowing that the blame for this unexpected disappointment is not to be
laid at the door of analysis, but in some way upon the patients.

After reflecting a bit we can easily understand what is so confusing in
this matter. It is the slight regard for reality, the neglect to keep
fact distinct from phantasy. We are apt to feel insulted that the
patient has wasted our time with invented tales. There is an enormous
gap in our thinking between reality and invention and we accord an
entirely different valuation to reality. The patient, too, takes this
same viewpoint in his normal thinking. When he offers the material
which, by way of the symptom, leads back to the wish situations which
are modeled upon the childhood experiences, we are at first, to be sure,
in doubt whether we are dealing with reality or with phantasy. Later
certain traits determine this decision; we are confronted with the task
of acquainting the patient with them. This can never be accomplished
without difficulty. If at the outset we tell him that he is going to
reveal phantasies with which he has veiled his childhood history, just
as every people weaves myths around its antiquity, we notice (to our
comfort) that his interest in the further pursuit of the subject
suddenly diminishes. He, too, wants to discover realities, and despises
all "notions." But if until this is accomplished we allow him to believe
that we are investigating the actual occurrences of his childhood, we
run the risk of later being charged with error and with our apparent
gullibility. For a long time he is unable to reconcile himself to the
idea of considering phantasy and reality on equal terms and he tends,
with reference to the childish experiences to be explained, to neglect
for the time being the difference between the real and the imaginary.
And yet this is obviously the only correct attitude toward these
psychological products because they are, in a sense, real. It is a fact
that the patient is able to create such phantasies for himself, and this
is of scarcely less importance for his neurosis than if he had really
undergone the experience which he imagines. These phantasies possess
_psychological_ reality in contrast to _physical_ reality, and so we
gradually come to understand that _in the realm of neuroses the
psychological reality is the determining factor_.

Among the experiences which recur continually in the early history of
neurotics and, in fact, are never lacking, some are of particular
significance and accordingly I consider them worthy of special
treatment. I shall enumerate a few examples of this species: observation
of the parental intercourse, seduction by an adult, and the threat of
castration. It would be a grievous error to assume that physical reality
can never be accorded them; this may often be proved beyond doubt by the
testimony of adult relatives. So, for example, it is not at all unusual
if the little boy who begins to play with his penis, and does not yet
know that one must conceal this, is threatened by his parents or nurse
with the cutting off of the organ or the guilty hand. Parents often
admit upon questioning that they thought they had done the right thing
by this intimidation; many individuals retain a correct, conscious
memory of these threats, especially if it has occurred in later
childhood. When the mother or some other woman makes the threat she
usually delegates the responsibility of executing it to the father or to
the doctor. In the famous _Struwelpeter_ by the pediatrist Hoffman, of
Frankfort, rhymes which owe their popularity to his very fine
understanding of the sexual and other complexes of childhood, you find a
milder substitute for castration in the cutting off of the thumbs as a
punishment for insistent sucking. But it is highly improbable that the
threat of castration is actually made as often as it occurs in the
analyses of neurotics. We are content to understand that the child
imaginatively constructs this threat for himself from suggestions, from
the knowledge that auto-erotic satisfaction is forbidden, and from the
impression of castration he has received in discovering the female
genital. It is, moreover, in no way impossible that the little child, so
long as he is not credited with any understanding or memory, will, even
in families outside the proletariat, become a witness to the sexual act
between his parents or some other group-ups, and it cannot be disproved
that the child _subsequently_ understands this impression, and may react
upon it. But when this intercourse is described with minute details
which could hardly have been observed, or if it turns out to be, as it
so frequently does, an intercourse which was not face to face, _more
ferarum_, there is no longer any doubt that this phantasy is derived
from the observation of the intercourse of animals (dogs) and the
unsatisfied curiosity of the child in his period of puberty. The
greatest feat of the imagination is the phantasy of having witnessed the
coitus of the parents while still unborn in the mother's womb. Of
especial interest is the phantasy of having been seduced, because so
often it is not a phantasy at all, but a real memory. But luckily it is
not real so often as first appears from the results of analysis.
Seduction by older children, or children of the same age, is much more
frequent than seduction by adults, and if, in the case of little girls,
the father quite regularly appears as the seducer in the occurrences
which they relate, neither the fantastic nature of this accusation nor
its motive can be doubted. The child as a rule covers the autoerotic
period of his sexual activity, where there has been no actual seduction,
with the seduction-phantasy. He spares himself the shame of onanism by
imagining the presence of an object for his desires in that early
period. As a matter of fact, you must not be misled in attributing
sexual misuse of the child by its nearest male relatives solely and
always to phantasy. Most analysts have probably treated cases in which
such relations were real and could be proved beyond doubt, with the
qualification that in such cases they belong to the later years of
childhood and were transposed to an earlier time.

We cannot avoid the impression that such experiences of childhood are in
some way necessary to the neurosis, that they are claimed by its iron
rule. If they exist in reality, then well and good, but if reality has
withheld them they are constructed from suggestions and supplemented by
the imagination. The result is the same, and to this day we have been
unable to trace any difference in the results, whether fancy or fact
played the larger part in these childish occurrences. Here again we
encounter one of the complementary relationships so frequently met with;
it is, to be sure, the most estranging of all those we have become
acquainted with. Whence comes the need for these phantasies, and the
material for them? There can be no doubt as to the sources of the
impulse, but we must explain why the same phantasies are always created
with the same content. I have an answer in readiness which I know you
will think very far-fetched. I am of the opinion that these _primal
phantasies_--so I should like to term these, and certainly some others
also--are a phylogenetic possession. In them the individual reaches out
beyond his own life, into the experiences of antiquity, where his own
experience has become all too rudimentary. It seems very possible to me
that everything which is obtained during an analysis in the guise of
phantasy, the seduction of children, the release of sexual excitement by
watching parental intercourse, the threat of castration--or rather
castration itself--were once realities in the primeval existence of
mankind and that the imaginative child is merely filling in the gaps of
individual truth with prehistoric truth. We have again and again
suspected that the psychology of neuroses stores up more of the
antiquities of human development than all other sources.

What we have just discussed makes it necessary for us to enter further
into the origin and significance of that mental activity that is called
imagination. As you well know, it enjoys universal esteem, although we
have never clearly understood its place in the psychic life. I have this
much to say about it. As you know, the ego of man is slowly educated by
the influence of external necessity to an appreciation of reality and a
pursuit of the principle of reality, and must therefore renounce
temporarily or permanently various objects and goals of its strivings
for satisfaction, sexual and otherwise. But renunciation of
gratification has always been difficult for man. He cannot accomplish it
without something in the nature of compensation. Accordingly he has
reserved for himself a psychological activity wherein all these
abandoned sources of pleasures and means of pleasurable gratification
are granted a further existence, a form of existence in which they are
freed from the requirements of reality and what we like to call the test
of reality. Every impulse is soon transformed into the form of its own
fulfillment. There is no doubt that dwelling on the imagined fulfillment
of a given wish affords some satisfaction, although the realization that
it is unreal is unobscured. In the activity of the imagination, man
enjoys that freedom from external compulsion that he has long since
renounced. He has made it possible to be alternately a pleasure-seeking
animal and a reasoning human being. He finds that the scant satisfaction
that he can force out of reality is not enough. "There is no getting
along without auxiliary-constructions," Th. Fontaine once said. The
creation of the psychic realm of fancy has its complete counterpart in
the establishment of "preserves" and "conservation projects" in those
places where the demands of husbandry, traffic and industry threaten
quickly to change the original face of the earth into something
unrecognizable. The national reserves maintain this old condition of
things, which otherwise has everywhere been regretfully sacrificed to
necessity. Everything may grow and spread there as it will, even that
which is useless and harmful. The psychic realm of phantasy is such a
reservation withdrawn from the principles of reality.

The best known productions of phantasy are the so-called "day dreams,"
which we already know, pictured satisfactions of ambitious, of covetous
and erotic wishes, which flourish the more grandly the more reality
admonishes them to modesty and patience. There is unmistakably shown in
them the nature of imaginative happiness, the restoration of the
independence of pleasurable gratification from the acquiescence of
reality. We know such day dreams are nuclei and models for the dreams of
night. The night dream is essentially nothing but a day dream, distorted
by the nocturnal forms of psychological activity, and made available by
the freedom which the night gives to instinctive impulses. We have
already become acquainted with the idea that a day dream is not
necessarily conscious, that there are also unconscious day dreams. Such
unconscious day dreams are as much the source of night dreams as of
neurotic symptoms.

The significance of phantasy for the development of symptoms will become
clear to you by the following: We have said that in a case of
renunciation, the libido occupies regressively the positions once
abandoned by it, to which, nevertheless, it has clung in certain ways.
We shall neither retract this statement nor correct it, but we shall
insert a missing link. How does the libido find its way to these points
of fixation? Well, every object and tendency of the libido that has been
abandoned, is not abandoned in every sense of the word. They, or their
derivatives, are still held in presentations of the phantasy, with a
certain degree of intensity. The libido need only retire to the
imagination in order to find from them the open road to all suppressed
fixations. These phantasies were happy under a sort of tolerance, there
was no conflict between them and the ego, no matter how acute the
contrast, so long as a certain condition was observed--a condition
_quantitative_ in nature that is now disturbed by the flowing back of
the libido to the phantasies. By this addition the accumulation of
energy in the phantasies is heightened to such a degree that they become
assertive and develop a pressure in the direction of realization. But
that makes a conflict between them and the ego inevitable. Whether
formerly conscious or unconscious, they now are subject to suppression
by the ego and are victims to the attraction of the unconscious. The
libido wanders from phantasies now unconscious to their sources in
unconsciousness, and back to its own points of fixation.

The return of the libido to phantasy is an intermediate step on the road
to symptom development and well deserves a special designation. C. G.
Jung coined for it the very appropriate name of _introversion_, but
inappropriately he also lets it stand for other things. Let us therefore
retain the idea that introversion signifies the turning aside of the
libido from the possibilities of actual satisfaction and the excessive
accumulation of the phantasies hitherto tolerated as harmless. An
introvert is not yet a neurotic, but he finds himself in a labile
situation; he must develop symptoms at the next dislocation of forces,
if he does not find other outlets for his pent-up libido. The intangible
nature of neurotic satisfaction and the neglect of the difference
between imagination and reality are already determined by arrest in the
phase of introversion.

You have certainly noticed that in the last discussions I have
introduced a new factor into the structure of the etiological chain,
namely, the quantity, the amount of energy that comes under
consideration. We must always take this factor into account. Purely
qualitative analysis of the etiological conditions is not sufficient.
Or, to put it in another way, a _dynamic_ conception alone of these
psychic processes is not enough; there is need of an _economic_
viewpoint. We must say to ourselves that the conflict between two
impulses is not released before certain occupation-intensities have been
reached, even though the qualitative conditions have long been potent.
Similarly, the pathogenic significance of the constitutional factors is
guided by how much _more_ of a given component impulse is present in the
predisposition over and above that of another; one can even conceive the
predispositions of all men to be qualitatively the same and to be
differentiated only by these quantitative conditions. The quantitative
factor is no less important for the power of resistance against neurotic
ailments. It depends upon _what amount_ of unused libido a person can
hold freely suspended, and upon _how large a fraction_ of the libido he
is able to direct from the sexual path to the goal of sublimation. The
final goal of psychological activity, which may be described
qualitatively as striving towards pleasure-acquisition and avoidance of
unpleasantness, presents itself in the light of economic considerations
as the task of overcoming the gigantic stimuli at work in the
psychological apparatus, and to prevent those obstructions which cause

So much I wanted to tell you about symptom development in the neuroses.
Yes, but do not let me neglect to emphasize this especially: everything
I have said here relates to the symptom development in hysteria. Even in
compulsion neuroses, which retain the same fundamentals, much is found
that is different. The counter-siege directed against the claims of the
instincts, of which we have spoken in connection with hysteria, press to
the fore in compulsion neuroses, and control the clinical picture by
means of so-called "reaction-formations." The same kind and more
far-reaching variations are discoverable among the other neuroses, where
the investigations as to the mechanism of symptom development have in no
way been completed.

Before I leave you today I should like to have your attention for a
while for an aspect of imaginative life which is worthy of the most
general interest. For there is a way back from imagination to reality
and that is--art. The artist is an incipient introvert who is not far
from being a neurotic. He is impelled by too powerful instinctive needs.
He wants to achieve honor, power, riches, fame and the love of women.
But he lacks the means of achieving these satisfactions. So like any
other unsatisfied person, he turns away from reality, and transfers all
his interests, his libido, too, to the elaboration of his imaginary
wishes, all of which might easily point the way to neurosis. A great
many factors must combine to present this termination of his
development; it is well known how often artists especially suffer from a
partial inhibition of their capacities through neurosis. Apparently
their constitutions are strongly endowed with an ability to sublimize
and to shift the suppression determining their conflicts. The artist
finds the way back to reality in this way. He is not the only one who
has a life of imagination. The twilight-realm of phantasy is upheld by
the sanction of humanity and every hungry soul looks here for help and
sympathy. But for those who are not artists, the ability to obtain
satisfaction from imaginative sources is very restricted. Their
relentless suppressions force them to be satisfied with the sparse day
dreams which may become conscious. If one is a real artist he has more
at his disposal. In the first place, he understands how to elaborate his
day dreams so that they lose their essentially personal element, which
would repel strangers, and yield satisfaction to others as well. He also
knows how to disguise them so that they do not easily disclose their
origin in their despised sources. He further possesses the puzzling
ability of molding a specific material into a faithful image of the
creatures of his imagination, and then he is able to attach to this
representation of his unconscious phantasies so much pleasurable
gratification that, for a time at least, it is able to outweigh and
release the suppressions. If he is able to accomplish all this, he makes
it possible for others, in their return, to obtain solace and
consolation from their own unconscious sources of gratification which
had become inaccessible. He wins gratitude and admiration for himself
and so, by means of his imagination, achieves the very things which had
at first only an imaginary existence for him: honor, power, and the love
of women.



_Ordinary Nervousness_

In our last discussion we accomplish a difficult task. Now I shall
temporarily leave our subject and address myself to you.

For I know quite well that you are dissatisfied. You thought that an
introduction to psychoanalysis would be quite a different matter. You
expected to hear vivid illustrations instead of theories. You will tell
me that when I gave you the illustration of "on the ground floor in the
first story," you had grasped something of the causation of neurosis,
only of course this should have been a real observation and not an
imaginary story. Or, when in the beginning I described two symptoms (not
imaginary also, let us hope) whose analysis revealed a close connection
with the life of the patient, you first came to grasp the meaning of the
symptoms and you hoped that I would proceed in the same way. Instead I
have given you theories--lengthy, difficult to see in perspective and
incomplete, to which something new was constantly being added. I worked
with conceptions that I had not previously presented to you, abandoned
descriptive for dynamic conceptions, and these in turn for economic
ones. I made it hard for you to understand how many of the artificial
terms I made use of still carry the same meaning and are used
interchangeably only for the sake of euphony. Finally, I allowed broad
conceptions to pass in review before you: the principles of pleasure and
of fact and their phylogenetically inherited possession; and then,
instead of introducing you to definite facts, I allowed them to become
increasingly vague till they seemed to fade into dim distances.

Why did I not begin my introduction to the theory of neurosis with the
facts that you yourselves know about nervousness, with something that
has always aroused your interest, with the peculiar temperament of
nervous people, their incomprehensible reactions to external influences,
to human intercourse, their irritability, their uselessness? Why did I
not lead you step by step from the understanding of simple, everyday
forms to the problems of mysterious and extreme manifestations of

I cannot even say that you are wrong. I am not so infatuated with my art
of representation as to see some special attraction in every blemish. I
myself believe that I could have proceeded differently, to your better
advantage, and this indeed had been my intention. But one cannot always
carry out one's sensible intentions. The nature of the subject matter
issues its own commands, and easily modifies our plans. Even so usual a
performance as the organization of well-known material is not entirely
subject to the particular purposes of the author. It forms itself as it
will and later one wonders why it turned out so and not otherwise.

Probably one of the reasons is that the title, _A General Introduction
to Psychoanalysis_, no longer applies to this part, which deals with the
neuroses. The introduction to psychoanalysis is found in the study of
errors and the dream; the theory of neurosis is psychoanalysis itself. I
do not think that in so short a time I could have given you a knowledge
of the theory of neurosis other than in concentrated form. It was
necessary to present to you connectedly the meaning and interpretation
of the symptoms, their external and internal conditions and their
bearing on the mechanism of symptom formation. This I have attempted to
do; it is practically the nucleus of the material that modern
psychoanalysis is able to offer. We had to say quite a good deal
concerning the libido and its development, and something as well
concerning the development of the ego. The introduction had already
prepared you for the presuppositions of our technique, for the large
aspects of the unconscious and of suppression (resistance). In a
subsequent lecture you will learn from what points psychoanalysis
proceeds organically. For the present I have not sought to hide from you
the fact that all our results are based on the study of a single group
of nervous affections, the so-called transference neuroses. Though you
have gained no positive knowledge and have not retained every detail,
still I hope that you have a fair picture of the methods, the problems
and the results of psychoanalysis.

I have assumed that it was your wish for me to begin my presentation of
neuroses with a description of nervous behavior, the nature of neurotic
suffering, and the way in which the nervous meet the conditions of their
illness and adapt themselves to these. Such subject matter is certainly
interesting and well worth knowing. It is moreover not very hard to
handle, yet it is not wise to begin with its consideration. There is
danger of not discovering the unconscious, of overlooking the great
significance of the libido, of judging all conditions as they appear to
the ego of the nervous person. It is obvious that this ego is neither a
reliable nor an impartial authority. For this very ego is the force that
denies and suppresses the unconscious; when the unconscious is
concerned, how then could we expect justice to be done? The rejected
claims of sexuality stand first in the line of these suppressions; it is
natural that from the standpoint of the ego we can never learn their
extent and significance. As soon as we attain to the point of view of
suppression, we are sufficiently warned not to make one of the
contending factions, above all not to make the victor judge of the
struggle. We are prepared to find that the testimony of the ego may lead
us astray. If one is to believe the evidence of the ego, it would appear
to have been active all along, all its symptoms would have been actively
willed and formed. Yet we know that it has passively allowed a great
deal to occur, a fact which it subsequently seeks to conceal and to
palliate. To be sure, it does not always attempt this; in the case of
the symptoms of compulsion neurosis it must admit that it is being
opposed by something alien, which it can resist only with difficulty.

Whoever does not heed these warnings not to mistake the prevarications
of the ego for truth, has clear sailing; he avoids all the resistances
which oppose the psychoanalytic emphasis upon the unconscious, on
sexuality, and on the passiveness of the ego. He will assert with Alfred
Adler that the "nervous character" is the cause instead of the result of
the neurosis, but he will not be able to explain a single detail of
symptom formation or to interpret a single dream.

You will ask: Is it not possible to do justice to the part the ego plays
in nervousness and in symptom formation without crudely neglecting the
factors revealed by psychoanalysis? I answer you: Surely it must be
possible and at some time or other it will take place; but the methods
by which we organize the work of psychoanalysis do not favor our
beginning with just this task. We can foresee the time when this task
will claim the attention of psychoanalysis. There are forms of neuroses,
the so-called narcistic neuroses, in which the ego is far more deeply
involved than in anything we have studied heretofore. The analytic
investigation of these conditions will enable us to judge reliably and
impartially the part that the ego plays in neurotic illness.

One of the relations which the ego bears to its neurosis is so obvious
that it must be considered at the very outset. In no case does it seem
to be absent, and it is most clearly recognizable in the traumatic
neuroses, conditions which we do not as yet clearly understand. You must
know that in the causation and mechanisms of all possible forms of
neurosis, the same factors are active again and again; it is only the
emphasis that is shifted from one to the other of these factors in
symptom formation. The members of a company of actors each have certain
parts to play--hero, villain, confidant, etc.--yet each will select a
different drama for his benefit. Thus the phantasies which undergo
conversion into symptoms are especially easy to detect in hysteria;
compulsion neuroses are essentially dominated by the reactionary
formations, or counter-seizures of the ego; what we designate as
_secondary elaboration_ in dreams dominates paranoia in the form of
delusions, etc.

In traumatic neuroses, particularly if they are caused by the horrors of
war, we are especially impressed by a selfish ego-impulse which seeks
protection and personal advantage. This in itself is not a sufficient
cause for illness, but it can favor its beginning and also feed its
needs once it has been established. This motive serves to protect the
ego from the dangers whose imminence precipitated the disease, and does
not permit convalescence until the recurrence of these dangers seems
impossible, or until compensation has been obtained for the danger that
has been undergone.

But the ego betrays similar interest in the origin and maintenance of
all other neuroses. We have already said that the ego suffers the
symptom to exist, because one of its phases gratifies the egoistic
tendency toward suppression. Besides, the ending of the conflict by
means of symptom development is the path of least resistance, and a
most convenient solution for the principle of pleasure. Through symptom
formation the ego is undoubtedly spared a severe and unpleasant inner
task. There are cases where even the physician must admit that the
resolution of the conflict into neurosis is the most harmless outcome
and one most easily tolerated by society. Do not be surprised, then, to
learn that occasionally even the physician takes the part of the illness
he is battling against. He does not have to restrict himself to the role
of the fanatic warrior for health in all situations of life. He knows
that the world contains not only neurotic misery, but also real,
incurable suffering. He knows that necessity may even require a human
being to sacrifice his health, and he learns that by this sacrifice on
the part of one individual untold wretchedness may be spared for many
others. So if we say that the neurotic escapes the conflict _by taking
refuge in illness_, we must admit that in some cases this escape is
justifiable, and the physician who has diagnosed the state of affairs
will retire silently and tactfully.

But let us not consider these special cases in our further discussion.
In average cases the ego, by having recourse to neurosis, obtains a
certain inner _advantage from the disease_. Under certain conditions of
life, there may also be derived a tangible external advantage, more or
less valuable in reality. Let me direct your attention to the most
frequent occurrences of this sort. Women who are brutally treated and
mercilessly exploited by their husbands almost always adopt the evasion
of the neurosis, provided that their predisposition permits this. This
usually follows when the woman is too cowardly or too virtuous to seek
secret solace in the arms of another, or when she dare not separate from
her husband in the face of all opposition, when she has no prospect of
maintaining herself or of finding a better husband and especially when
her sexual emotions still bind her to this brutal man. Her illness
becomes a weapon in her struggle with him, one that she can use for
self-protection and misuse for purposes of vengeance. She probably dare
not complain of her marriage, but she can complain of her illness. The
doctor becomes her assistant. She forces her inconsiderate husband to
spare her, to attend to her wishes, to permit her absence from the house
and thus free her from the oppressions of her married life. Wherever
such external or accidental gain through illness is considerable and
can find no substitute in fact, you can prophesy that the possibility of
influencing neurosis through therapy is very slight.

You will tell me that what I have said about the advantage gained from
the disease speaks entirely for the hypothesis I have rejected, namely,
that the ego itself wills and creates the neurosis. Just a moment! It
probably does not mean more than that the ego passively suffers the
neurosis to exist, which it is unable to prevent anyway. It makes the
most of the neurosis, if anything can be made of it at all. This is only
one side of the question, the advantageous side. The ego is willing to
endure the advantages of the neurosis, but there are not only
advantages. As a rule it soon appears that the ego has made a poor deal
in accepting the neurosis. It has paid too high a price for the
mitigation of the conflict; and the sensations of suffering which the
symptoms bring with them are perhaps every bit as bad as the agonies of
conflict, usually they cause even greater discomfort. The ego wants to
rid itself of the pain of the symptoms without relinquishing the gain of
illness, and that is impossible. Thus the ego is discovered as by no
means so active as it had thought itself to be, and this we want to keep
in mind.

If you were to come into contact with neurotics as a physician, you
would soon cease to expect that those who complain most woefully of
their illness are the ones who will oppose its therapy with the least
resistance or who will welcome any help. On the contrary, you would
readily understand that everything contributing to the advantage derived
from the disease will strengthen the resistance to the suppression and
heighten the difficulty of the therapy. We must also add another and
later advantage to the gain of illness which is born with the symptom.
If a psychic organization, such as this illness, has persisted for a
long time, it finally behaves as an independent unit, it expresses
something like self-preservation, attains a kind of _modus vivendi_
between itself and other parts of psychic life, even those that are
fundamentally hostile to it. And occasions will probably arise where it
can prove again to be both useful and valuable, by which it will attain
a _secondary function_, which gives strength to its existence. Instead
of an illustration from pathology take a striking example from everyday
life. An efficient workman who earns his living is crippled for his
occupation by some disaster; his work is over for him. After a while,
however, he receives a small accident insurance, and learns to exploit
his injury by begging. His new existence, though most undesirable, is
based upon the very thing that robbed him of his former maintenance. If
you could cure his defect, he would be without a means of subsistence,
he would have no livelihood. The question would arise: Is he capable of
resuming his former work? That which corresponds to such secondary
exploitation of illness in neurosis we may add to the primary benefit
derived therefrom and may term it a _secondary_ advantage of disease.

In general I should like to warn you not to underestimate the practical
significance of the advantage from illness and yet not to be too much
impressed by it theoretically. Aside from the previously recognized
exceptions, I am always reminded of Oberländer's pictures on "the
intelligence of animals" which appeared in the _Fliegende Blätter_. An
Arab is riding a camel on a narrow path cut through a steep mountain
side. At a turn of the trail he is suddenly confronted by a lion who
makes ready to spring. He sees no way out, on one side the precipice, on
the other the abyss; retreat and flight--both are impossible; he gives
himself up as lost. Not so the camel. He leaps into the abyss with his
rider--and the lion is left in the lurch. The help of neurosis is as a
rule no kinder to the rider. It may be due to the fact that the
settlement of the conflict through symptom development is nevertheless
an automatic process, not able to meet the demands of life, and for
whose sake man renounces the use of his best and loftiest powers. If it
were possible to choose, it were indeed best to perish in an honorable
struggle with destiny.

I still owe you further explanation as to why, in my presentation of the
theory of neurosis, I did not proceed from ordinary nervousness as a
starting point. You may assume that, had I done this, the proof of the
sexual origin of neurosis would have been more difficult for me, and so
I refrained. There you are mistaken. In transference neurosis we must
work at interpretations of the symptoms to arrive at this conclusion. In
the ordinary forms of the so-called true neuroses, however, the
etiological significance of sexual life is a crude fact open to
observation. I discovered it twenty years ago when I asked myself one
day why we regularly barred out questions concerning sexual activity in
examining nervous patients. At that time I sacrificed my popularity
among my patients to my investigations, yet after a brief effort I could
state that no neurosis, no true neurosis at least, is present with a
normal sexual life. Of course, this statement passes too lightly over
the individual differences, it is unclear through the vagueness with
which it uses the term "normal," but even to-day it retains its value
for purposes of rough orientation. At that time I reached the point of
drawing comparisons between certain forms of nervousness and sexual
abnormalities, and I do not doubt that I could repeat the same
observations now, if similar material were at my disposal. I frequently
noticed that a man who contented himself with incomplete sexual
gratification, with manual ononism, for instance, would suffer from a
true neurosis, and that this neurosis would promptly give way to another
form, if another sexual regime no less harmful were substituted. From
the change in the condition of the patient I was able to guess the
change in the mode of his sexual life. At that time I learned to hold
obstinately to my conjectures until I had overcome the patient's
prevarications and had forced him to confirm my suppositions. To be
sure, then he preferred to consult other physicians who did not inquire
so insistently into his sexual life.

At that time it did not escape my notice that the origin of the disease
could not always be traced back to sexual life; sexual abnormality would
cause the illness in one person, while another would fall ill because he
had lost his fortune or had suffered an exhausting organic disease. We
gained insight into this variation by means of the interrelations
between the ego and the libido, and the more profound our insight
became, the more satisfactory were the results. A person begins to
suffer from neurosis when his ego has lost the capacity of accommodating
the libido. The stronger the ego, the easier the solution of the
problem; a weakening of the ego from any cause whatsoever has the same
effect as a superlative increase of the claims of the libido. There are
other and more intimate relations between the ego and the libido which I
shall not discuss, as we are not concerned with them here. To us it is
of enlightening significance that in every case, regardless of the way
in which the illness was caused, the symptoms of neurosis were opposed
by the libido and thus gave evidence for its abnormal use.

Now, however, I want to draw your attention to the difference between
the symptoms of the true neuroses and the psychoneuroses, the first
group of which, the transference neurosis, has occupied us considerably.
In both cases the symptoms proceed from the libido. They are accordingly
abnormal uses of it, substitutes for gratification. But the symptoms of
the true neurosis--such as pressure in the head, sensations of pain,
irritability of an organ, weakening or inhibition of a function--these
have no meaning, no psychic significance. They are manifested not only
in the body, as for instance hysteric symptoms, but are in themselves
physical processes whose creation is devoid of all the complicated
psychic mechanism with which we have become acquainted. They really
embody the character that has so long been attributed to the
psychoneurotic symptom. But how can they then correspond to uses of the
libido, which we have come to know as a psychological force? That is
quite simple. Let me recall one of the very first objections that was
made to psychoanalysis. It was stated that psychoanalysis was concerned
with a purely psychological theory of neurotic manifestations; that this
was a hopeless outlook since psychological theories could never explain
illness. The objectors chose to forget that the sexual function is
neither purely psychic nor merely somatic. It influences physical as
well as psychic life. In the symptoms of the psychoneuroses we have
recognized the expression of a disturbance in psychic processes. And so
we shall not be surprised to discover that the true neuroses are the
direct somatic consequences of sexual disturbances.

The medical clinic gives us a valuable suggestion (observed by many
research workers) for the comprehension of the true neuroses. In all the
details of their symptomatology, and as well in their characteristic
power to influence all organic systems and all functions, the true
neuroses reveal a marked similarity to the conditions of those diseases
which originate through the chronic influence of foreign poisons and as
well through their acute diminution; with conditions prevalent in
intoxication and abstinence. The two groups of conditions are brought
still closer together by the relation of intermediate conditions, which,
following M. Basedowi, we have learned to attribute to the influence of
toxic substances, but of toxins, however, which are not introduced into
the body from without, but arise in its own metabolism. These analogies,
I think, lead us directly to the consideration of these neuroses as
disturbances in sexual metabolism. It may be that more sexual toxins are
produced than the individual can dispose of, or that inner, even psychic
conditions, stand in the way of the proper elaboration of these
substances. The language of the people has always favored such
assumptions as to the nature of sexual desires. It calls love an
"intoxication"; it will have love-madness aroused through potions, and
thus sees the motive force removed, as it were, to the outer world. For
the rest, the phrase "sexual metabolism" or "chemism of sexuality" is a
chapter-head without content. We know nothing about it and cannot even
decide whether we are to assume two sexual substances, the male and the
female, or, if there is only _one_ sexual toxin, which to consider the
carrier of all the stimulating power of the libido. The structure of
psychoanalysis that we have erected is really only a superstructure
which at some future time must be placed upon its organic foundation;
but what this is we do not know as yet.

Psychoanalysis is characterized as a science, not by reason of the
subject matter it handles but by the technique it employs. This can be
employed in dealing with the history of civilization, the science of
religion or mythology, as well as with the theory of neurosis, without
altering its character. The revealing of the unconscious in psychic life
is all it aims to accomplish. The problems of the true neuroses, whose
symptoms probably originate in direct toxic damage, yield no point of
attack to psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis can do little for their
elucidation, and must leave the task to biological-medical research.
Perhaps you understand now why I did not choose to organize my material
differently. If I had given to you an _Introduction to the Theory of the
Neuroses_ as you wished, it would unquestionably have been correct to
proceed from the simple forms of the true neuroses to those complex
illnesses caused by a disturbance of the libido. In discussing the true
neuroses I would have had to bring together the facts we have gleaned
from various quarters and present what we think we know of them. Only
later, under the psychoneuroses, would psychoanalysis have been
discussed as the most important technical aid for insight into these
conditions. I had, however, intended and announced _A General
Introduction to Psychoanalysis_, and it seemed to me more important to
give you an idea of psychoanalysis than to present certain positive
facts about neuroses; and so I could not place the true neuroses into
the foreground, for they prove sterile for the purposes of
psychoanalysis. I believe that I have made the wiser choice for you,
since psychoanalysis deserves the interest of every educated person
because of its profound hypotheses and far-reaching connections. The
theory of neurosis, on the other hand, is a chapter of medicine like any

You are, however, justified in expecting some interest on our part in
the true neuroses. Because of their intimate connection with
psychoneuroses we find this decidedly necessary. I shall tell you then
that we distinguish three pure forms of true neuroses: _neurasthenia_,
_anxiety neurosis_ and _hypochondria_. Even this classification has not
remained uncontradicted. The terms are all widely used, but their
connotation is vague and uncertain. Besides, there are in this world of
confusion physicians who object to any distinctions between
manifestations, any emphasis of clinical detail, who do not even
recognize the separation of true neuroses and psychoneuroses. I think
they have gone too far and have not chosen the road which leads to
progress. The types of neuroses we have mentioned occur occasionally in
pure form; more often they are blended with one another or with a
psychoneurotic condition. This need not discourage us to the extent of
abandoning the task of distinction. Think of the difference between the
study of minerals and that of ores in mineralogy. Minerals are described
as individuals; frequently of course they occur as crystals, separated
sharply from their surroundings. Ores consist of an aggregate of
minerals which have coalesced not accidentally, but as a result of the
conditions of their origin. We understand too little of the process of
development of neuroses, to create anything similar to the study of
ores. But we are surely working in the right direction when we isolate
the known clinical factors, comparable to the separate minerals, from
the great mass.

A noteworthy connection between the symptoms of the true neuroses and
the psychoneuroses adds a valuable contribution to our knowledge of
symptom formation in the latter. The symptom in the true neuroses is
frequently the nucleus and incipient stage of development of the
psychoneurotic symptom. Such a connection is most easily observed
between neurasthenia and the transference neuroses, which are termed
conversion hysteria, between anxiety neurosis and anxiety hysteria, but
also between hypochondria and paraphrenia (dementia praecox and
paranoia), forms of neuroses of which we shall speak subsequently. Let
us take as an illustration the hysteric headache or backache. Analysis
shows that through elaboration and displacement this pain has become the
gratification substitute for a whole series of libidinous phantasies or
reminiscences. But once upon a time this pain was real, a direct sexual
toxic symptom, the physical expression of libidinous excitation. We do
not wish to assert, by any means, that all hysteric symptoms can be
traced to such a nucleus, but it is true that this is frequently the
case, and that all influences upon the body through libidinous
excitation, whether normal or pathological, are especially significant
for the symptom development in hysteria. They play the part of the grain
of sand which the mollusc has enveloped in mother-of-pearl. In the same
way passing signs of sexual excitation, which accompany the sexual act,
are used by psychoneurosis as the most convenient and appropriate
material for symptom formation.

A similar procedure is of diagnostic and therapeutic interest
especially. Persons who are disposed to be neurotic, without suffering
from a flourishing neurosis, frequently set in motion the work of
symptom development as the result of an abnormal physical change--often
an inflammation or an injury. This development rapidly makes the symptom
given by reality the representative of the unconscious phantasies that
had been lurking for an opportunity to seize upon a means of expression.
In such a case the physician will try different ways of therapy. Either
he will try to do away with the organic basis without bothering about
its noisy neurotic elaboration, or he will struggle with the neurosis
brought out by the occasion, and ignore its organic cause. The result
will justify now one, now the other method of procedure; no general laws
can be laid down for such mixed cases.



_Fear and Anxiety_

Probably you will term what I told you about ordinary nervousness in my
last lecture most fragmentary and unsatisfactory information. I know
this, and I think you were probably most surprised that I did not
mention fear, which most nervous people complain of and describe as
their greatest source of suffering. It can attain a terrible intensity
which may result in the wildest enterprises. But I do not wish to fall
short of your expectations in this matter. I intend, on the contrary, to
treat the problem of the fear of nervous people with great accuracy and
to discuss it with you at some length.

Fear itself needs no introduction; everyone has at some time or other
known this sensation or, more precisely, this effect. It seems to me
that we never seriously inquired why the nervous suffered so much more
and so much more intensely under this condition. Perhaps it was thought
a matter of course; it is usual to confuse the words "nervous" and
"anxious" as though they meant the same thing. That is unjustifiable;
there are anxious people who are not nervous, and nervous people who
suffer from many symptoms, but not from the tendency to anxiety.

However that may be, it is certain that the problem of fear is the
meeting point of many important questions, an enigma whose complete
solution would cast a flood of light upon psychic life. I do not claim
that I can furnish you with this complete solution, but you will
certainly expect psychoanalysis to deal with this theme in a manner
different from that of the schools of medicine. These schools seem to be
interested primarily in the anatomical cause of the condition of fear.
They say the medulla oblongata is irritated, and the patient learns that
he is suffering from neurosis of the nervus vague. The medulla
oblongata is a very serious and beautiful object. I remember exactly how
much time and trouble I devoted to the study of it, years ago. But today
I must say that I know of nothing more indifferent to me for the
psychological comprehension of fear, than knowledge of the nerve passage
through which these sensations must pass.

One can talk about fear for a long time without even touching upon
nervousness. You will understand me without more ado, when I term this
fear _real_ fear in contrast to _neurotic_ fear. Real fear seems quite
rational and comprehensible to us. We may testify that it is a reaction
to the perception of external danger, viz., harm that is expected and
foreseen. It is related to the flight reflex and may be regarded as an
expression of the instinct of self-preservation. And so the occasions,
viz., the objects and situations which arouse fear, will depend largely
on our knowledge of and our feeling of power over the outer world. We
deem it quite a matter of course that the savage fears a cannon or an
eclipse of the sun, while the white man, who can handle the instrument
and prophesy the phenomenon, does not fear these things. At other times
superior knowledge promulgates fear, because it recognizes the danger
earlier. The savage, for instance, will recoil before a footprint in the
woods, meaningless to the uninstructed, which reveals to him the
proximity of an animal of prey; the experienced sailor will notice a
little cloud, which tells him of a coming hurricane, with terror, while
to the passenger it seems insignificant.

After further consideration, we must say to ourselves that the verdict
on real fear, whether it be rational or purposeful, must be thoroughly
revised. For the only purposeful behavior in the face of imminent danger
would be the cool appraisal of one's own strength in comparison with the
extent of the threatening danger, and then decide which would presage a
happier ending: flight, defense, or possibly even attack. Under such a
proceeding fear has absolutely no place; everything that happens would
be consummated just as well and better without the development of fear.
You know that if fear is too strong, it proves absolutely useless and
paralyzes every action, even flight. Generally the reaction against
danger consists in a mixture of fear and resistance. The frightened
animal is afraid and flees. But the purposeful factor in such a case is
not fear but flight.

We are therefore tempted to claim that the development of fear is never
purposeful. Perhaps closer examination will give us greater insight into
the fear situation. The first factor is the expectancy of danger which
expresses itself in heightened sensory attention and in motor tension.
This expectancy is undoubtedly advantageous; its absence may be
responsible for serious consequences. On the one hand, it gives rise to
motor activity, primarily to flight, and on a higher plane to active
defense; on the other hand, it gives rise to something which we consider
the condition of fear. In so far as the development is still incipient,
and is restricted to a mere signal, the more undisturbed the conversion
of the readiness to be afraid into action the more purposeful the entire
proceeding. The readiness to be afraid seems to be the purposeful
aspect; evolution of fear itself, the element that defeats its own

I avoid entering upon a discussion as to whether our language means the
same or distinct things by the words anxiety, fear or fright. I think
that anxiety is used in connection with a condition regardless of any
objective, while fear is essentially directed toward an object. Fright,
on the other hand, seems really to possess a special meaning, which
emphasizes the effects of a danger which is precipitated without any
expectance or readiness of fear. Thus we might say that anxiety protects
man from fright.

You have probably noticed the ambiguity and vagueness in the use of the
word "anxiety." Generally one means a subjective condition, caused by
the perception that an "evolution of fear" has been consummated. Such a
condition may be called an emotion. What is an emotion in the dynamic
sense? Certainly something very complex. An emotion, in the first place,
includes indefinite motor innervations or discharges; secondly, definite
sensations which moreover are of two kinds, the perception of motor
activities that have already taken place, and the direct sensations of
pleasure and pain, which give the effect of what we call its feeling
tone. But I do not think that the true nature of the emotion has been
fathomed by these enumerations. We have gained deeper insight into some
emotions and realize that the thread which binds together such a complex
as we have described is the repetition of a certain significant
experience. This experience might be an early impression of a very
general sort, which belongs to the antecedent history of the species
rather than to that of the individual. To be more clear: the emotional
condition has a structure similar to that of an hysterical attack; it is
the upshot of a reminiscence. The hysteric attack, then, is comparable
to a newly formed individual emotion, the normal emotion to an hysteria
which has become a universal heritage.

Do not assume that what I have said here about emotions is derived from
normal psychology. On the contrary, these are conceptions that have
grown up with and are at home only in psychoanalysis. What psychology
has to say about emotions--the James-Lange theory, for instance--is
absolutely incomprehensible for us psychoanalysts, and cannot be
discussed. Of course, we do not consider our knowledge about emotions
very certain; it is a preliminary attempt to become oriented in this
obscure region. To continue: We believe we know the early impression
which the emotion of fear repeats. We think it is birth itself which
combines that complex of painful feelings, of a discharge of impulses,
of physical sensations, which has become the prototype for the effect of
danger to life, and is ever after repeated within us as a condition of
fear. The tremendous heightening of irritability through the
interruption of the circulation (internal respiration) was at the time
the cause of the experience of fear; the first fear was therefore toxic.
The name anxiety--angustial--narrowness, emphasizes the characteristic
tightening of the breath, which was at the time a consequence of an
actual situation and is henceforth repeated almost regularly in the
emotion. We shall also recognize how significant it is that this first
condition of fear appeared during the separation from the mother. Of
course, we are convinced that the tendency to repetition of the first
condition of fear has been so deeply ingrained in the organism through
countless generations, that not a single individual can escape the
emotion of fear; not even the mythical Macduff who was "cut out of his
mother's womb," and therefore did not experience birth itself. We do not
know the prototype of the condition of fear in the case of other
mammals, and so we do not know the complex of emotions that in them is
the equivalent of our fear.

Perhaps it will interest you to hear how the idea that birth is the
source and prototype of the emotion of fear, happened to occur to me.
Speculation plays the smallest part in it; I borrowed it from the native
train of thought of the people. Many years ago we were sitting around
the dinner table--a number of young physicians--when an assistant in the
obstetrical clinic told a jolly story of what had happened in the last
examination for midwives. A candidate was asked what it implied if
during delivery the foeces of the newborn was present in the discharge
of waters, and she answered promptly "the child is afraid." She was
laughed at and "flunked." But I silently took her part and began to
suspect that the poor woman of the people had, with sound perception,
revealed an important connection.

Proceeding now to neurotic fear, what are its manifestations and
conditions? There is much to be described. In the first place we find a
general condition of anxiety, a condition of free-floating fear as it
were, which is ready to attach itself to any appropriate idea, to
influence judgment, to give rise to expectations, in fact to seize any
opportunity to make itself felt. We call this condition "expectant fear"
or "anxious expectation." Persons who suffer from this sort of fear
always prophesy the most terrible of all possibilities, interpret every
coincidence as an evil omen, and ascribe a dreadful meaning to all
uncertainty. Many persons who cannot be termed ill show this tendency to
anticipate disaster. We blame them for being over-anxious or
pessimistic. A striking amount of expectant fear is characteristic of a
nervous condition which I have named "anxiety neurosis," and which I
group with the true neuroses.

A second form of fear in contrast to the one we have just described is
psychologically more circumscribed and bound up with certain objects or
situations. It is the fear of the manifold and frequently very peculiar
phobias. Stanley Hall, the distinguished American psychologist, has
recently taken the trouble to present a whole series of these phobias in
gorgeous Greek terminology. They sound like the enumeration of the ten
Egyptian plagues, except that their number exceeds ten, by far. Just
listen to all the things which may become the objects of contents of a
phobia: Darkness, open air, open squares, cats, spiders, caterpillars,
snakes, mice, thunder-storms, sharp points, blood, enclosed spaces,
crowds, solitude, passing over a bridge, travel on land and sea, etc. A
first attempt at orientation in this chaos leads readily to a division
into three groups. Some of the fearful objects and situations have
something gruesome for normal people too, a relation to danger, and so,
though they are exaggerated in intensity, they do not seem
incomprehensible to us. Most of us, for instance, experience a feeling
of repulsion in the presence of a snake. One may say that snakephobia is
common to all human beings, and Charles Darwin has described most
impressively how he was unable to control his fear of a snake pointing
for him, though he knew he was separated from it by a thick pane of
glass. The second group consists of cases which still bear a relation to
danger, but this is of a kind which we are disposed to belittle rather
than to overestimate. Most of the situation-phobia belong here. We know
that by taking a railroad journey we entail greater chance of disaster
than by staying at home. A collision, for instance, may occur, or a ship
sink, when as a rule we must drown; yet we do not think of these
dangers, and free from fear we travel on train and boat. We cannot deny
that if a bridge should collapse at the moment we are crossing it, we
would fall into the river, but that is such a rare occurrence that we do
not take the danger into account. Solitude too has its dangers and we
avoid it under certain conditions; but it is by no means a matter of
being unable to suffer it for a single moment. The same is true for the
crowd, the enclosed space, the thunder-storm, etc. It is not at all the
content but the intensity of these neurotic phobias that appears strange
to us. The fear of the phobia cannot even be described. Sometimes we
almost receive the impression that the neurotic is not really afraid of
the same things and situations that can arouse fear in us, and which he
calls by the same name.

There remains a third group of phobias which is entirely unintelligible
to us. When a strong, adult man is afraid to cross a street or a square
of his own home town, when a healthy, well-developed woman becomes
almost senseless with fear because a cat has brushed the hem of her
dress or a mouse has scurried through the room--how are we to establish
the relation to danger that obviously exists under the phobia? In these
animal phobias it cannot possibly be a question of the heightening of
common human antipathies. For, as an illustration of the antithesis,
there are numerous persons who cannot pass a cat without calling and
petting it. The mouse of which women are so much afraid, is at the same
time a first class pet name. Many a girl who has been gratified to have
her lover call her so, screams when she sees the cunning little creature
itself. The behavior of the man who is afraid to cross the street or the
square can only be explained by saying that he acts like a little child.
A child is really taught to avoid a situation of this sort as dangerous,
and our agoraphobist is actually relieved of his fear if some one goes
with him across the square or street.

The two forms of fear that have been described, free-floating fear and
the fear which is bound up with phobias, are independent of one another.
The one is by no means a higher development of the other; only in
exceptional cases, almost by accident, do they occur simultaneously. The
strongest condition of general anxiety need not manifest itself in
phobias; and persons whose entire life is hemmed in by agoraphobia can
be entirely free of pessimistic expectant fear. Some phobias, such as
the fear of squares or of trains, are acquired only in later life, while
others, the fear of darkness, storms and animals, exist from the very
beginning. The former signify serious illness, the latter appear rather
as peculiarities, moods. Yet whoever is burdened with fear of this
second kind may be expected to harbor other and similar phobias. I must
add that we group all these phobias under _anxiety hysteria_, and
therefore regard it as a condition closely related to the well-known
conversion hysteria.

The third form of neurotic fear confronts us with an enigma; we loose
sight entirely of the connection between fear and threatening danger.
This anxiety occurs in hysteria, for instance, as the accompaniment of
hysteric symptoms, or under certain conditions of excitement, where we
would expect an emotional manifestation, but least of all of fear, or
without reference to any known circumstance, unintelligible to us and to
the patient. Neither far nor near can we discover a danger or a cause
which might have been exaggerated to such significance. Through these
spontaneous attacks we learn that the complex which we call the
condition of anxiety can be resolved into its components. The whole
attack may be represented by a single intensively developed symptom,
such as a trembling, dizziness, palpitation of the heart, or tightening
of breath; the general undertone by which we usually recognize fear may
be utterly lacking or vague. And yet these conditions, which we
describe as "anxiety equivalents," are comparable to anxiety in all its
clinical and etiological relations.

Two questions arise. Can we relate neurotic fear, in which danger plays
so small a part or none at all, to real fear, which is always a reaction
to danger? And what can we understand as the basis of neurotic fear? For
the present we want to hold to our expectations: "Wherever there is
fear, there must be a cause for it."

Clinical observation yields several suggestions for the comprehension of
neurotic fear, the significance of which I shall discuss with you.

1. It is not difficult to determine that expectant fear or general
anxiety is closely connected with certain processes in sexual life, let
us say with certain types of libido. Utilization, the simplest and most
instructive case of this kind, results when persons expose themselves to
frustrated excitation, viz., if their sexual excitation does not meet
with sufficient relief and is not brought to a satisfactory conclusion,
in men, during the time of their engagement to marry, for instance, or
in women whose husbands are not sufficiently potent or who, from
caution, execute the sexual act in a shortened or mutilated form. Under
these circumstances libidinous excitement disappears and anxiety takes
its place, both in the form of expectant fear and in attacks and anxiety
equivalents. The cautious interruption of the sexual act, when practiced
as the customary sexual regime, so frequently causes the anxiety
neurosis in men, and especially in women, that physicians are wise in
such cases to examine primarily this etiology. On innumerable occasions
we have learned that anxiety neurosis vanishes when the sexual misuse is

So far as I know, the connection between sexual restraint and conditions
of anxiety is no longer questioned even by physicians who have nothing
to do with psychoanalysis. But I can well imagine that they do not
desist from reversing the connection and saying that these persons have
exhibited a tendency to anxiety from the outset and therefore practice
reserve in sexual matters. The behavior of women whose sexual conduct is
passive, viz., is determined by the treatment of the husband,
contradicts this supposition. The more temperamental, that is, the more
disposed toward sexual intercourse and capable of gratification is the
woman, the more will she react to the impotence of the man, or to the
_coitus interruptus_, by anxiety manifestations. In anaesthetic or only
slightly libidinous women, such misuse will not carry such consequences.

Sexual abstinence, recommended so warmly by the physicians of to-day,
has the same significance in the development of conditions of anxiety
only when the libido, to which satisfactory relief is denied, is
sufficiently strong and not for the most part accounted for by
sublimation. The decision whether illness is to result always depends
upon the quantitative factors. Even where character formation and not
disease is concerned, we easily recognize that sexual constraint goes
hand in hand with a certain anxiety, a certain caution, while
fearlessness and bold daring arise from free gratification of sexual
desires. However much these relations are altered by various influences
of civilization, for the average human being it is true that anxiety and
sexual constraint belong together.

I have by no means mentioned all the observations that speak for the
genetic relation of the libido to fear. The influence on the development
of neurotic fear of certain phases of life, such as puberty and the
period of menopause, when the production of libido is materially
heightened, belongs here too. In some conditions of excitement we may
observe the mixture of anxiety and libido and the final substitution of
anxiety for libido. These facts give us a twofold impression, first that
we are concerned with an accumulation of libido, which is diverted from
its normal channel, second that we are working with somatic processes.
Just how anxiety originates from the libido we do not know; we can only
ascertain that the libido is in abeyance, and that we observe anxiety in
its place.

2. We glean a second hint from the analysis of the psychoneuroses,
especially of hysteria. We have heard that in addition to the symptoms,
fear frequently accompanies this condition; this, however, is free
floating fear, which is manifested either as an attack or becomes a
permanent condition. The patients cannot tell what they are afraid of
and connect their fear, through an unmistakable secondary elaboration,
with phobias nearest at hand; death, insanity, paralysis. When we
analyze the situation which gave rise to the anxiety or to symptoms
accompanied by it, we can generally tell which normal psychologic
process has been omitted and has been replaced by the phenomenon of
fear. Let me express it differently: we reconstruct the unconscious
process as though it had not experienced suppression and had continued
its way into consciousness uninterruptedly. Under these conditions as
well this process would have been accompanied by an emotion, and we now
learn with surprise that when suppression has occurred the emotion
accompanying the normal process has been replaced by fear, regardless of
its original quality. In hysteric conditions of fear, its unconscious
correlative may be either an impulse of similar character, such as fear,
shame, embarrassment or positive libidinous excitation, or hostile and
aggressive emotion such as fury or rage. Fear then is the common
currency for which all emotional impulses can be exchanged, provided
that the idea with which it has been associated has been subject to

3. Patients suffering from compulsive acts are remarkably devoid of
fear. They yield us the data for our third point. If we try to hinder
them in the performance of their compulsive acts, of their washing or
their ceremonials, or if they themselves dare to give up one of their
compulsions, they are seized with terrible fear that again exacts
obedience to the compulsion. We understand that the compulsive act had
veiled fear and had been performed only to avoid it. In compulsion
neurosis then, fear, which would otherwise be present, is replaced by
symptom development. Similar results are yielded by hysteria. Following
the process of suppression we find the development, either of anxiety
alone or of anxiety and symptom development, or finally a more complete
symptom development and no anxiety. In an abstract sense, then, it would
be correct to say that symptoms are formed only to evade development of
fear, which otherwise could not be escaped. According to this
conception, fear is seen to occupy the center of the stage in the
problems of neurosis.

Our observations on anxiety neuroses led to the conclusion that when the
libido was diverted from its normal use and anxiety thus released, it
occurred on the basis of somatic processes. The analyses of hysteria and
compulsion neuroses furnish the correlative observations that similar
diversion with similar results may also be the consequence of a
constraint of psychic forces. Such then is our knowledge of the origin
of neurotic fear; it still sounds rather vague. But as yet I know no
path that would lead us further. The second task we have set ourselves
is still more difficult to accomplish. It is the establishment of a
connection between neurotic fear, which is misused libido, and real
fear, which is a reaction to danger. You may believe that these things
are quite distinct and yet we have no criterion for distinguishing the
sensations of real and neurotic fear.

The desired connection is brought about by presupposing the antithesis
of the ego to libido that is so frequently claimed. We know that the
development of fear is the ego's reaction to danger, the signal for
preparation for flight, and from this we are led to believe that in
neurotic fear the ego attempts to escape the claims of its libido, and
treats this inner danger as though it came from without. Accordingly our
expectation that where there is fear there must be something to be
afraid of, is fulfilled. But the analogy admits of further application.
Just as the attempt to flee external danger is relieved by standing
one's ground, and by appropriate steps toward defense, so the
development of neurotic fear is arrested as fast as the symptom
develops, for by means of it the fear is held in check.

Our difficulties in understanding now lie elsewhere. The fear, which
represents flight of the ego before the libido, is supposed to have
sprung from the libido itself. That is obscure and warns us not to
forget that the libido of a person belongs fundamentally to him and
cannot confront him as an external force. The localized dynamics of fear
development are still unintelligible; we do not know what psychic
energies are released or from what psychic systems they are derived. I
cannot promise to solve this problem, but we still have two trails to
follow which lead us to direct observations and analytic investigation
which can aid our speculations. We turn to the origin of fear in the
child, and to the source of neurotic fear which attaches itself to

Fear in children is quite common and it is very hard to tell whether it
is neurotic or real fear. Indeed, the value of this distinction is
rendered questionable by the behavior of children. On the one hand we
are not surprised that the child fears all strange persons, new
situations and objects, and we explain this reaction very easily by his
weakness and ignorance. We ascribe to the child a strong disposition to
real fear and would consider it purposeful if this fear were in fact a
heritage. Herein the child would only repeat the behavior of prehistoric
man and of the primitive man of today who, on account of his ignorance
and helplessness, fears everything that is new, and much that is
familiar, all of which can no longer inspire us with fear. If the
phobias of the child were at least partially such as might be attributed
to that primeval period of human development, this would tally entirely
with our expectations.

On the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that not all children are
equally afraid, and that those very children who express particular
timidity toward all possible objects and situations subsequently prove
to be nervous. Thus the neurotic disposition reveals itself by a decided
tendency to real fear; anxiety rather than nervousness appears to be
primary. We therefore arrive at the conclusion that the child (and later
the adult) fears the power of his libido because he is anxious in the
face of everything. The derivation of anxiety from the libido is hence
put aside. Any investigation of the conditions of real fear consistently
leads to the conclusion that consciousness of one's own weakness and
helplessness--inferiority, in the terminology of A. Adler--when it is
able to persist from childhood to maturity, is the cause underlying the

This sounds so simple and convincing that it has a claim upon our
attention. To be sure, it would result in our shifting the basis of
nervousness. The persistence of the feeling of inferiority, and its
prerequisite condition of anxiety and its subsequent development of
symptoms, is so firmly established that it is rather the exceptional
case, when health is the outcome, which requires an explanation. What
can be learned from careful observation of the fear of children? The
little child is primarily afraid of strange people; situations wax
important only because they involve people, and objects become
influential much later. But the child does not fear these strange
persons because he attributes evil intentions to them, because he
compares his weakness with their strength or recognizes them as
dangerous to his existence, his safety and freedom from pain. Such a
child, suspicious, afraid of the aggressive impulse which dominates the
world, would prove a sad theoretic construction. The child is afraid of
a stranger because he is adjusted to a dear, beloved person, his
mother. His disappointment and longing are transformed into fear, his
unemployed libido, which cannot yet be held suspended, is diverted by
fear. It cannot be termed a coincidence that this situation, which is a
typical example of all childish fear, is a repetition of the first
condition of fear during birth, viz., separation from the mother.

The first situation phobias of children are darkness and solitude; the
former often persists throughout life; common to both is the absence of
the dear nurse, the mother. I once heard a child, who was afraid of the
dark, call into an adjoining room, "Auntie, talk to me, I am afraid."
"But what good will that do you? You cannot see me!" Whereupon the child
answered, "If someone speaks, it is brighter." The yearning felt in
darkness is converted into the fear of darkness. Far from saying that
neurotic fear is only a secondary, a special case of real fear, we
observe in little children something that resembles the behavior of real
fear and has in common with neurotic fear, this characteristic feature:
origin from unemployed libido. The child seems to bring very little real
fear into the world. In all situations which may later become the
conditions of phobias, on elevations, narrow bridges across water, on
railroad and boat trips, the child exhibits no fear. And the more
ignorant he is, the less fear he feels. It would be most desirable to
have a greater heritage of such life-preservative instincts; the task of
supervision, which is to hinder him from exposing himself to one danger
after another, would be lessened. In reality the child at first
overestimates his powers and behaves fearlessly because he does not
recognize dangers. He will run to the water's edge, mount the window
sill, play with fire or with sharp utensils, in short, he will do
everything that would harm him and alarm his guardians. The awakening of
real fear is the result of education, since we may not permit him to
pass through the instructive experience himself.

If there are children who meet this education to fear half way, and who
discover dangers of which they have not been warned, the explanation
suffices that their constitution contains a greater measure of
libidinous need or that they have been spoiled early through libidinous
gratification. No wonder that those persons who are nervous in later
life are recruited from the ranks of these children. We know that the
creation of neurosis is made easy by the inability to endure a
considerable amount of pent-up libido for any length of time. You see
that here too we must do justice to the constitutional factor, whose
rights we never wish to question. We fight shy of it only when others
neglect all other claims for this, and introduce the constitutional
factor where it does not belong according to the combined results of
observation and analysis, or where it must be the last consideration.

Let us extract the sum of our observations on the anxiety of children:
Infantile fear has very little to do with real fear, but is closely
related to the neurotic fear of adults. It originates in unemployed
libido and replaces the object of love that is lacking by an external
object or situation.

Now you will be glad to hear that the analysis of phobias cannot teach
much more that is new. The same thing occurs in them as in the fear of
children; unemployed libido is constantly being converted into real fear
and so a tiny external danger takes the place of the demands of the
libido. This coincidence is not strange, for infantile phobias are not
only the prototypes but the direct prerequisite and prelude to later
phobias, which are grouped with the anxiety hysterias. Every hysteria
phobia can be traced to childish fear of which it is a continuation,
even if it has another content and must therefore receive a different
name. The difference between the two conditions lies in their mechanism.
In the adult the fact that the libido has momentarily become useless in
the form of longing, is not sufficient to effect the transformation of
fear into libido. He has long since learned to maintain such libido in a
suspended state or to use it differently. But when the libido is part of
a psychic impulse which has experienced suppression, similar conditions
to those of the child, who cannot distinguish the conscious from the
unconscious, are reëstablished. The regression to infantile phobia is
the bridge where the transformation of libido into fear is conveniently
effected. We have, as you know, spoken a great deal about suppression,
but we have always followed the fate of the conception that was to be
suppressed, because this was easier to recognize and to present. We have
always omitted from our consideration what happened to the emotion that
clung to the suppressed idea; and only now we learn that whatever
quality this emotion might have manifested under normal conditions, its
fate is a transformation into fear. This transformation of emotion is by
far the more important part of the suppression process. It is not so
easy to discuss, because we cannot assert the existence of unconscious
emotions in the same sense as unconscious ideas. With one difference, an
idea remains the same whether it is conscious or unconscious; we can
give an account of what corresponds to an unconscious idea. But an
emotion is a release and must be judged differently from an idea.
Without a deeper reflection and clarification of our hypotheses of
psychic processes, we cannot tell what corresponds to its unconscious
stage. We cannot undertake this here. But we want to retain the
impression we have gained, that the development of anxiety is closely
connected with the unconscious system.

I said that the transformation into fear, rather a discharge in the form
of fear, is the immediate fate of suppressed libido. Not the only or
final fate, I must add. These neuroses are accompanied by processes that
strive to restrain the development of fear, and succeed in various ways.
In phobias, for instance, two phases of the neurotic process can be
clearly distinguished. The first effects the suppression of libido and
its transition to fear, which is joined to an external danger. The
second consists in building up all those precautions and safety devices
which are to prevent contact with this danger which is dealt with as an
external fact. Suppression corresponds to the ego's flight from the
libido, which it regards dangerous. The phobia is comparable to a
fortification against outer danger, which is represented by the much
feared libido. The weakness of the phobias' system of defense lies in
the fact that the fort has been strengthened from without and has
remained vulnerable within. The projection of peril from the libido into
the environment is never very successful. In other neuroses, therefore,
other systems of defense are used against the possibility of fear
development. That is an interesting aspect of the psychology of
neurosis. Unfortunately its study would lead us to digress too far, and
presupposes a more thorough and special knowledge of the subject. I
shall add only one thing more. I have already spoken to you of the
counter siege by which the ego imprisons the suppression and which it
must maintain permanently for the suppression to subsist. The task of
this counter siege is to carry out diverse forms of defense against the
fear development which follows the suppression.

To return to the phobias, I may now say that you realize how
insufficient it would be to explain only their content, to be interested
only in knowing that this or that object or situation is made the
subject of a phobia. The content of the phobia has about the same
importance for it as the manifest dream facade has for the dream. With
some necessary restrictions, we admit that among the contents of the
phobias are some that are especially qualified to be objects of fear
through phylogenetic inheritance, as Stanley Hall has emphasized. In
harmony with this is the fact that many of these objects of fear can
establish connections with danger only by symbolic relations.

And so we are convinced of the central position that the problem of fear
assumes in the questions of the neurotic psychology. We are deeply
impressed with how closely the development of fear is interwoven with
the fate of the libido and the unconscious system. There is only one
disconnected point, one inconsistency in our hypothesis: the
indisputable fact that real fear must be considered an expression of the
ego's instincts of self-preservation.



_The Libido Theory and Narcism_

Repeatedly in the past and more recently we have dealt with the
distinction between the ego instincts and the sexual instincts. At
first, suppression taught us that the two may be flatly opposed to each
other, that in the struggle the sexual instincts suffer apparent defeat
and are forced to obtain satisfaction by other regressive methods, and
so find the compensation for defeat in their invulnerability. After that
we learned that at the outset both have a different relation to the
educator, Necessity, so that they do not develop in the same manner and
do not enter into the same relationship with the principle of reality.
We come to realize that the sexual instincts are much more closely
allied to the emotional condition of fear than the ego instincts. This
result appears incomplete only in one respect, which, however, is most
important. For further evidence we shall mention the significant fact
that non-satisfaction of hunger and thirst, the two most elementary
instincts of self-preservation, never result in their reversal into
anxiety, while the transformation of unsatisfied libido into fear is, as
we have heard, one of the best known and most frequently observed

No one can contest our perfect justification in separating the ego from
sexual instincts. It is affirmed by the existence of sexual desire,
which is a very special activity of the individual. The only question
is, what significance shall we give to this distinction, how decisive is
it? The answer will depend upon the results of our observations; on how
far the sexual instincts, in their psychological and somatic
manifestations, behave differently from the others that are opposed to
them; on how important are the consequences which result from these
differences. We have, of course, no motive whatever for insisting upon
a certain intangible difference in the character of the two groups of
instincts. Both are only designations of the sources of energy of the
individual. The discussion as to whether they are fundamentally of the
same or of a different character, and if the same, when it was that they
separated from one another, cannot profit by the conceptions, but must
deal rather with the underlying biological facts. At present we know
very little about this, and even if we knew more it would not be
relevant to our analytic task.

Obviously, we should gain slight profit if, following the example of
Jung, we were to emphasize the original unity of all instincts, and were
to call the energy expressed in all of them "libido." Since the sexual
function cannot be eliminated from psychic life by any device, we are
forced to speak of sexual and asexual libido. As in the past, we rightly
retain the name libido for the instincts of sexual life.

I believe, therefore, that the question, how far the justifiable
distinction of the instincts of sex and of self-preservation may be
carried, is of little importance for psychoanalysis; and psychoanalysis
is moreover not competent to deal with it. From a biological standpoint
there are, to be sure, various reasons for believing that this
distinction is significant. Sexuality is the only function of the living
organism which extends beyond the individual and sees to his kinship
with the species. It is undeniable that its practice does not always
benefit the individual as do his other performances. For the price of
ecstatic pleasures it involves him in dangers which threaten his life
and frequently cause death. Probably peculiar metabolic processes,
different from all others, are required to maintain a part of the
individual life for its progeny. The individual who places himself in
the foreground and regards his sexuality as a means to his gratification
is, from a biological point of view, only an episode in a series of
generations, a transient appendage to a germ-plasm which is virtually
endowed with immortality, just as though he were the temporary partner
in a corporation which continues to persist after his death.

For psychoanalytic explanation of neuroses, however, there is no need to
enter upon these far-reaching implications. By separate observation of
the sexual and the ego instincts, we have gained the key to the
understanding of transference-neuroses. We were able to trace them back
to the fundamental situation where the sexual instinct and the instinct
of self-preservation had come in conflict with one another, or
biologically although not so accurately, expressed where the part played
by the ego, that of independent individuality, was opposed to the other,
that of a link in a series of generations. Only human beings are capable
of such conflict, and therefore, taken all in all, neurosis is the
prerogative of man, and not of animals. The excessive development of his
libido and the elaboration of a varied and complicated psychic life thus
made possible, appear to have created the conditions prerequisite for
conflict. It is clear that these conditions are also responsible for the
great progress that man has made beyond his kinship with animals. The
capacity for neurosis is really only the reverse side of his talents and
gifts. But these are only speculations, which divert us from our task.

Until now we worked with the impulse that we can distinguish the ego and
the sexual instincts from one another by their manifestations. We could
do this without difficulty in the transference neuroses. We called the
accumulation of energy which the ego directed towards the object of its
sexual striving libido and all others, which proceeded from the
instincts of self-preservation, interest. We were able to achieve our
first insight into the workings of psychic forces by observing the
accumulation of the libido, its transformations and its final destiny.
The transference neuroses furnished the best material for this. But the
ego, composed from various organizations, their construction and
functioning, remained hidden and we were led to believe that only the
analysis of other neurotic disturbances would raise the veil.

Very soon we began to extend these psychoanalytic conceptions to other
conditions. As early as 1908, K. Abraham asserted, after a discussion
with me, that the principal characteristic of dementia praecox (which
may be considered one of the psychoses) is _that there is no libidinous
occupation of objects_ (_The Psycho-sexual Differences between Hysteria
and Dementia Praecox_). But then the question arose, what happens to the
libido of the demented, which is diverted from its objects? Abraham did
not hesitate to give the answer, "It is turned back upon the ego, and
_this reflected turning back is the source of the megalomania_ in
dementia praecox." This hallucination of greatness is exactly comparable
to the well-known over-estimation of the objects habitual to lovers. So,
for the first time, we gained an understanding of psychotic condition by
comparing it with the normal course of love.

These first interpretations of Abraham's have been maintained in
psychoanalysis, and have become the basis of our attitude towards the
psychoses. Slowly we familiarized ourselves with the idea that the
libido, which we find attached to certain objects, which expresses a
striving to attain gratification from these objects, may also forsake
them and put in their place the person's own ego. Gradually these ideas
were developed more and more consistently. The name for this placing of
the libido--narcism--was borrowed from one of the perversions described
by P. Naecke. In it the grown individual lavishes upon his own body all
the affection usually devoted to some foreign sex object.

We reflected that if such a fixation of libido on one's own body and
person instead of on some external object exists, this cannot be an
exceptional or trivial occurrence. It is much more probable that this
narcism is the general and original condition, out of which the love for
an object later develops, without however necessarily causing narcism to
disappear. From the evolutionary history of object-libido we remembered
that in the beginning many sex instincts seek auto-erotic gratification,
and that this capacity for auto-eroticism forms the basis for the
retardation of sexuality in its education to conformity with fact. And
so, auto-eroticism was the sexual activity of the narcistic stage in the
placing of the libido.

To be brief: We represented the relation of the ego-libido to the
object-libido in a way which I can explain by an analogy from zoology.
Think of the simplest forms of life, which consist of a little lump of
protoplasmic substance which is only slightly differentiated. They
stretch out protrusions, known as pseudopia, into which the protoplasm
flows. But they can withdraw these protrusions and assume their original
shape. Now we compare the stretching out of these processes with the
radiation of libido to the objects, while the central mass of libido can
remain in the ego, and we assume that under normal conditions ego-libido
can be changed into object-libido, and this can again be taken up into
the ego, without any trouble.

With the help of this representation we can now explain a great number
of psychic conditions, or to express it more modestly, describe them, in
the language of the libido theory; conditions that we must accredit to
normal life, such as the psychic attitude during love, during organic
sickness, during sleep. We assumed that the conditions of sleep rest
upon withdrawal from the outer world and concentration upon the wish to
sleep. The nocturnal psychic activity expressed in the dream we found in
the service of a wish to sleep and, moreover, governed by wholly
egoistic motives. Continuing in the sense of libido theory: sleep is a
condition in which all occupations of objects, the libidinous as well as
the egoistic, are given up, and are withdrawn into the ego. Does this
not throw a new light upon recovery during sleep, and upon the nature of
exhaustion in general? The picture of blissful isolation in the
intra-uterine life, which the sleeper conjures up night after night,
thus also completes the picture from the psychic side. In the sleeper
the original condition of libido division is again restored, a condition
of complete narcism in which libido and ego-interest are still united
and live indistinguishably in the self-sufficient ego.

We must observe two things: First, how can the conceptions of narcism
and egoism be distinguished? I believe narcism is the libidinous
complement of egoism. When we speak of egoism we mean only the benefits
to the individual; if we speak of narcism we also take into account his
libidinous satisfaction. As practical motives the two can be followed up
separately to a considerable degree. One can be absolutely egoistic, and
still have strong libidinous occupation of objects, in so far as the
libidinous gratification by way of the object serves the needs of the
ego. Egoism will then take care that the striving for the object results
in no harm to the ego. One can be egoistic and at the same time
excessively narcistic, i.e., have very slight need of an object. This
need may be for direct sexual satisfaction or even for those higher
desires, derived from need, which we are in the habit of calling love as
opposed to sensuality. In all of these aspects, egoism is the
self-evident, the constant, and narcism the variable element. The
antithesis of egoism, _altruism_, is not the same as the conception of
libidinous occupation of objects. Altruism differs from it by the
absence of desire for sexual satisfaction. But in the state of being
completely in love, altruism and libidinous occupation with an object
clash. The sex object as a rule draws upon itself a part of the narcism
of the ego. This is generally called "sexual over-estimation" of the
object. If the altruistic transformation from egoism to the sex object
is added, the sex object becomes all powerful; it has virtually sucked
up the ego.

I think you will find it a pleasant change if after the dry phantasy of
science I present to you a poetic representation of the economic
contrast between narcism and being in love. I take it from the
_Westostliche Divans_ of Goethe:

        Conqueror and serf and nation;
          They proclaim it joyously;
        Mankind's loftiest elation,
          Shines in personality.
        Life's enchantment lures and lingers,
          Of yourself is not afar,
        All may slip through passive fingers,
          If you tarry as you are.

        Never could I be thus ravished,
          Other thoughts are in my mind,
        All the gladness earth has lavished
          In Suleika's charms I find.
        When I cherish her, then only
          Dearer to myself I grow,
        If she turned to leave me lonely
          I should lose the self I know.
        Hatem's happiness were over,--
          But his changeling soul would glide
        Into any favored lover
          Whom she fondles at her side.

The second observation is supplementary to the dream theory. We cannot
explain the origin of the dream unless we assume that the suppressed
unconscious has achieved a certain independence of the ego. It does not
conform to the wish for sleep and retains its hold on the energies that
have seized it, even when all the occupations with objects dependent
upon the ego have been released for the benefit of sleep. Not until then
can we understand how this unconscious can take advantage of the
nocturnal discontinuance or deposition of the censor, and can seize
control of fragments left over from the day to fashion a forbidden dream
wish from them. On the other hand, it is to the already existing
connections with these supposed elements that these fragments owe a part
of the resistance directed against the withdrawal of the libido, and
controlled by the wish for sleep. We also wish to supplement our
conception of dream formation with this trait of dynamic importance.

Organic diseases, painful irritations, inflammation of the organs create
a condition which clearly results in freeing the libido of its objects.
The withdrawn libido again finds itself in the ego and occupies the
diseased part of the part. We may even venture to assert that under
these conditions the withdrawal of the libido from its objects is more
conspicuous than the withdrawal of egoistic interest from the outside
world. This seems to open the way to an understanding of hypochondria,
where an organ occupies the ego in a similar way without being diseased,
according to our conception. I shall resist the temptation of continuing
along this line, or of discussing other situations which we can
understand or represent through the assumption that the object libido
travels to the ego. For I am eager to meet two objections, which I know
are absorbing your attention. In the first place, you want to call me to
account for my insistence upon distinguishing in sleep, in sickness and
in similar situations between libido and interest, sexual instincts and
ego instincts, since throughout the observations can be explained by
assuming a single and uniform energy, which, freely mobile, occupies now
the object, now the ego, and enters into the services of one or the
other of these impulses. And, secondly, how can I venture to treat the
freeing of libido from its object as the source of a pathological
condition, since such transformation of object-libido into
ego-libido--or more generally, ego-energy--belongs to the normal, daily
and nightly repeated occurrences of psychic dynamics?

The answer is: Your first objection sounds good. The discussion of the
conditions of sleep, of sickness and of being in love would in
themselves probably never have led to a distinction between ego-libido
and object-libido, or between libido and interest. But you do not take
into account the investigations from which we have set out, in the
light of which we now regard the psychic situations under discussion.
The necessity of distinguishing between libido and interest, that is,
between sexual instincts and those of self-preservation, is forced upon
us by our insight into the conflict out of which the transference
neuroses emerge. We can no longer reckon without it. The assumption that
object-libido can change into the ego-libido, in other words, that we
must reckon with an ego-libido, appeared to us the only possible one
wherewith to solve the riddle of the so-called narcistic neuroses--for
instance, dementia praecox--or to justify the similarities and
differences in a comparison of hysteria and compulsion. We now apply to
sickness, sleep and love that which we found undeniably affirmed
elsewhere. We may proceed with such applications as far as they will go.
The only assertion that is not a direct refutation of our analytic
experience is that libido remains libido whether it is directed towards
objects or toward the ego itself, and is never transferred into egoistic
interest, and vice-versa. But this assertion is of equal weight with the
distinction of sex and ego instincts which we have already critically
appraised, and which we will maintain from methodological motives until
it may possibly be disproved.

Your second objection, too, raises a justified question, but it points
in a wrong direction. To be sure the retreat of object-libido into the
ego is not purely pathogenic; we see that it occurs each time before
going to sleep, only to be released again upon awaking. The little
protoplasmic animal draws in its protrusions, only to send them out
again on a later occasion. But it is quite another matter when a
specific, very energetic process compels the withdrawal of libido from
the object. The libido has become narcistic and cannot find its way back
to the object, and this hindrance to the mobility of the libido
certainly becomes pathogenic. It appears that an accumulation of
narcistic libido cannot be borne beyond a certain point. We can imagine
that the reason for occupation with the object is that the ego found it
necessary to send out its libido in order not to become diseased because
it was pent up. If it were our plan to go further into the subject of
dementia praecox, I would show you that this process which frees the
libido from the objects and bars the way back to them, is closely
related to the process of suppression, and must be considered as its
counterpart. But above all you would recognize familiar ground, for the
conditions of these processes are practically identical, as far as we
can now see, with those of suppression. The conflict appears to be the
same, and to take place between the same forces. The reason for a result
as different as, for instance, the result in hysteria, can be found only
in a difference of dispositions. The vulnerable point in the libido
development of these patients lies in another phase; the controlling
fixation, which, as you will remember, permits the breach resulting in
the formation of symptoms, is in another place probably in the stage of
primitive narcism, to which dementia praecox returns in its final stage.
It is noteworthy that for all the narcistic neuroses, we must assume
fixation points of the libido which reach back into far earlier phases
of development than in cases of hysteria or compulsion neuroses. But you
have heard that the conceptions obtained in our study of transference
neuroses are sufficient to orient us in the narcistic neuroses, which
present far greater practical difficulties. The similarities are
considerable; it is fundamentally the same field of observation. But you
can easily imagine how hopeless the explanations of these conditions,
which belong to psychiatry, appear to him who is not equipped for this
task with an analytic knowledge of transference neuroses.

The picture given by the symptoms of dementia praecox, which, moreover,
is highly variable, is not exclusively determined by the symptoms. These
result from forcing the libido away from the objects and accumulating it
in the ego in the form of narcistic libido. A large space is occupied by
other phenomena, which result from the impulses of the libido to regain
the objects, and so show an attempt toward restitution and healing.
These symptoms are in fact the more conspicuous, the more clamorous;
they show an unquestionable similarity to those of hysteria, or less
often to those of compulsion neurosis, and yet they are different in
every respect. It appears that in dementia praecox the libido in its
endeavor to return to the objects, i.e., to the images of the objects,
really captures something, but only their shadows--I mean, the verbal
images belonging to them. This is not the place to discuss this matter,
but I believe that these reversed impulses of the libido have permitted
us an insight into what really determines the difference between a
conscious and an unconscious representation.

I have now brought you into the field where we may expect the further
progress of analytic work. Since we can now employ the conception of
ego-libido, the narcistic neuroses have become accessible to us. We are
confronted with the problem of finding a dynamic explanation of these
conditions and at the same time of enlarging our knowledge of psychic
life by an understanding of the ego. The ego psychology, which we strive
to understand, must not be founded upon introspective data, but rather,
as in the libido, upon analysis of the disturbances and decompositions
of the ego. When this greater task is accomplished we shall probably
disparage our previous knowledge of the fate of the libido which we
gained from our study of the transference neuroses. But there is still
much to be said in this matter. Narcistic neuroses can scarcely be
approached by the same technique which served us in the transference
neuroses. Soon you will hear why. After forging ahead a little in the
study of narcistic neuroses we always seem to come to a wall which
impedes progress. You know that in the transference neuroses we also
encountered such barriers of resistance, but we were able to break them
down piece by piece. In narcistic neuroses the resistance is
insuperable; at best we are permitted to cast a curious glance over the
wall to spy out what is taking place on the other side. Our technical
methods must be replaced by others; we do not yet know whether or not we
shall be able to find such a substitute. To be sure, even these patients
furnish us with ample material. They do say many things, though not in
answer to our questions, and for the time being we are forced to
interpret these utterances through the understanding we have gained from
the symptoms of transference neuroses. The coincidence is sufficiently
great to assure us a good beginning. How far this technique will go,
remains to be seen.

There are additional difficulties that impede our progress. The
narcistic conditions and the psychoses related to them can only be
solved by observers who have schooled themselves in analytic study of
transference neuroses. But our psychiatrists do not study psychoanalysis
and we psychoanalysts see too few psychiatric cases. A race of
psychiatrists that has gone through the school of psychoanalysis as a
preparatory science most first grow up. The beginnings of this are now
being made in America, where many leading psychiatrists explain the
teachings of psychoanalysis to their students, and where many owners of
sanatoriums and directors of institutes for the insane take pains to
observe their patients in the light of these teachings. But even here we
have occasionally been successful in casting a glance over the narcistic
wall and I shall tell you a few things that we think we have discovered.

The disease of paranoia, chronic systematic insanity, is given a very
uncertain position by the attempts at classification of present-day
psychiatry. There is no doubt of its close relationship to dementia
praecox. I once was so bold as to propose that paranoia and dementia
praecox could be classed together under the common name of paraphrenia.
The types of paranoia are described according to their content as:
megalomania, the mania of persecution, eroto mania, mania of jealousy,
etc. From psychiatry we do not expect attempts at explanation. As an
example of such an attempt, to be sure an antiquated and not entirely
valid example, I might mention the attempt to develop one symptom
directly out of another by means of an intellectual rationalization, as:
the patient who primarily believes he is being persecuted draws the
conclusion from this persecution that he must be an extraordinarily
important personality and thus develops megalomania. In our analytical
conception megalomania is the immediate outcome of exaggeration of the
ego, which results from the drawing-in of libidinous occupation with
objects, a secondary narcism as a recurrence of the originally early
infantile form. In cases of the mania of persecution we have noticed a
few things that lead us to follow a definite track. In the first place,
we observed that in the great majority of cases the persecutor was of
the same sex as the persecuted. This could still be explained in a
harmless way, but in a few carefully studied cases it was clearly shown
that the person of the same sex, who was most loved in normal times,
became the persecutor after the malady set in. A further development is
made possible by the fact that one loved person is replaced by another,
according to familiar affinities, e.g., the father by the teacher or the
superior. We concluded from such ever-increasing experiences, that
paranoia persecutoria is the form in which the individual guards himself
against a homosexual tendency that has become too powerful. The change
from affection to hate, which notoriously may take the form of serious
threats against the life of the loved and hated person, expresses the
transformation of libidinous impulse into fear, which is a regularly
recurring result of the process of suppression. As an illustration I
shall cite the last case in which I made observations on this subject. A
young physician had to be sent away from his home town because he had
threatened the life of the son of a university professor, who up to that
time had been his best friend. He ascribed truly devilish intentions to
his erstwhile friend and credited him with power of a demon. He was to
blame for all the misfortunes that had in recent years befallen the
family of the patient, for all his personal and social ill-luck. But
this was not enough. The wicked friend, and his father the professor,
had been the cause of the war and had called the Russians into the land.
He had forfeited his life a thousand times and our patient was convinced
that with the death of the culprit all misfortune would come to an end.
And yet his old affection for his friend was so great that it had
paralyzed his hand when he had had the opportunity of shooting down the
enemy at close quarters. In my short consultations with the patient, I
discovered that the friendship between the two dated back to early
school-life. Once at least the bonds of friendship had been
over-stepped; a night spent together had been the occasion for complete
sexual intercourse. Our patient never felt attracted to women, as would
have been natural to his age or his charming personality. At one time he
was engaged to a beautiful and distinguished young girl, but she broke
off the engagement because she found so little affection in her fiancé.
Years later his malady broke out just at that moment when for the first
time he had succeeded in giving complete gratification to a woman. When
this woman embraced him, full of gratitude and devotion, he suddenly
felt a strange pain which cut around his skull like a sharp incision.
His later interpretation of this sensation was that an incision such as
is used to expose a part of the brain had been performed upon him, and
since his friend had become a pathological anatomist, he gradually came
to the conclusion that he alone could have sent him this last woman as a
temptation. From that time on his eyes were also opened to the other
persecutions in which he was to be the victim of the intrigues of his
former friend.

But how about those cases where the persecutor is not of the same sex as
the persecuted, where our explanation of a guard against homosexual
libido is apparently contradicted? A short time ago I had occasion to
investigate such a case and was able to glean corroboration from this
apparent contradiction. A young girl thought she was followed by a man,
with whom she had twice had intimate relations. She had, as a matter of
fact, first laid these maniacal imputations at the door of a woman, whom
we may consider as having played the part of a mother-substitute in her
psychic life. Only after the second meeting did she progress to the
point of diverting this maniacal idea from the woman and of transferring
it to the man. The condition that the persecutor must be of the same sex
was also originally maintained in this instance. In her claim before the
lawyer and the physician, this patient did not mention this first stage
of her mania, and this caused the appearance of a contradiction to our
theory of paranoia.

Homosexual choice of object is originally more natural to narcism than
the heterosexual. If it is a matter of thwarting a strong and
undesirable homosexual impulse, the way back to narcism is made
especially easy. Until now I have had very little opportunity of
speaking to you about the fundamental conditions of love-life, so far as
we know them, and now I cannot make up for lost time. I only want to
point out that the choice of an object, that progress in the development
of the libido which comes after the narcistic stage, can proceed
according to two different types--either according to the _narcistic_
type, which puts a very similar personality in the place of the personal
ego, or according to the _dependent_ type, which chooses those persons
who have become valuable by satisfying needs of life other than as
objects of the libido. We also accredit a strong fixation of the libido
to the narcistic type of object-choice when there is a disposition
toward manifest homosexuality.

You will recall that in our first meeting of this semester I told you
about the case of a woman who suffered from the mania of jealousy. Since
we are so near the end you certainly will be glad to hear the
psychoanalytic explanation of a maniacal idea. But I have less to say
about it than you expect. The maniacal idea as well as the compulsion
idea cannot be assailed by logical arguments or actual experience. This
is explained by their relation to the unconscious, which is represented
by the maniacal idea or the compulsion idea, and held down by whichever
is effective. The difference between the two is based upon respective
localization and dynamic relations of the two conditions.

As in paranoia, so also in melancholia, of which, moreover, very
different clinical forms are described. We have discovered a point of
vantage which will yield us an insight into the inner structure of the
condition. We realize that the self-accusations with which these
melancholic patients torture themselves in the most pitiless way, really
apply to another person, namely, the sex object which they have lost, or
which through some fault has lost value for them. From this we may
conclude that the melancholic has withdrawn his libido from the object.
Through a process which we designate as "narcistic identification" the
object is built up within the ego itself, is, so to say, projected upon
the ego. Here I can give you only a descriptive representation, as yet
without reference to the topical and dynamic relations. The personal ego
is now treated in the same manner as the abandoned object, and suffers
all the aggression and expressions of revenge which were planned for the
object. Even the suicidal tendencies of melancholia are more
comprehensible when we consider that this bitterness of the patient
falls alike on the ego itself and on the object of its love and hate. In
melancholia as well as in other narcistic conditions a feature of
emotional life is strikingly shown which, since the time of Bleuler, we
have been accustomed to designate as _ambivalence_. By this we mean that
hostile and affectionate feelings are directed against one and the same
person. I have, in the course of these discussions, unfortunately not
been in a position to tell you more about this emotional ambivalence.

We have, in addition to narcistic identification, an hysterical
identification as well, which moreover has been known to us for a much
longer time. I wish it were possible to determine clearly the difference
between the two. Of the periodic and cyclic forms of melancholia I can
tell you something that you will certainly be glad to hear, for it is
possible, under favorable circumstances--I have twice had the
experience--to prevent these emotional conditions (or their antitheses)
by means of analytic treatment in the free intervals between the
attacks. We learn that in melancholia as well as in mania, it is a
matter of finding a special way for solving the conflict, the
prerequisites for which entirely coincide with those of other neuroses.
You can imagine how much there still is for psychoanalysis to learn in
this field.

I told you, too, that we hoped to gain a knowledge of the structure of
the ego, and of the separate factors out of which it is built by means
of the analysis of narcistic conditions. In one place we have already
made a beginning. From the analysis of the maniacal delusion of being
watched we concluded that in the ego there is really an agent which
continually watches, criticizes and compares the other part of the ego
and thus opposes it. We believe that the patient imparts to us a truth
that is not yet sufficiently appreciated, when he complains that all his
actions are spied upon and watched, all his thoughts recorded and
criticized. He errs only in transferring this distressing force to
something alien, outside of himself. He feels the dominance of a factor
in his ego, which compares his actual ego and all of its activities to
an _ideal ego_ that he has created in the course of his development. We
also believe that the creation of this ideal ego took place with the
purpose of again establishing that self-satisfaction which is bound up
with the original infantile narcism, but which since then has
experienced so many disturbances and disparagements. In this
self-observing agent we recognize the ego-censor, the conscience; it is
the same factor which at night exercises dream-censorship, and which
creates the suppressions against inadmissible wish-impulses. Under
analysis in the maniacal delusion of being watched it reveals its origin
in the influence of parents, tutors and social environment and in the
identification of the ego with certain of these model individuals.

These are some of the conclusions which the application of
psychoanalysis to narcistic conditions has yielded us. They are
certainly all too few, and they often lack that accuracy which can only
be acquired in a new field with the attainment of absolute familiarity.
We owe them all to the exploitation of the conception of ego-libido or
narcistic libido, by the aid of which we have extended to narcistic
neuroses those observations which were confirmed in the transference
neuroses. But now you will ask, is it possible for us to succeed in
subordinating all the disturbances of narcistic conditions and the
psychoses to the libido theory in such a way that in every case we
recognize the libidinous factor of psychic life as the cause of the
malady, and never make an abnormality in the functioning of the
instincts of self-preservation answerable? Ladies and gentlemen, this
conclusion does not seem urgent to me, and above all not ripe for
decision. We can best leave it calmly to the progress of the science. I
should not be surprised to find that the power to exert a pathogenic
influence is really an exclusive prerogative of the libidinous impulses,
and that the libido theory will celebrate its triumphs along the whole
line from the simplest true neurosis to the most difficult psychotic
derangement of the individual. For we know it to be a characteristic of
the libido that it is continually struggling against subordinating
itself to the realities of the world. But I consider it most probable
that the ego instincts are indirectly swept along by the pathogenic
excitations of the libido and forced into a functional disturbance.
Moreover, I cannot see any defeat for our trend of investigation when we
are confronted with the admission that in difficult psychoses the ego
impulses themselves are fundamentally led astray; the future will teach
us--or at least it will teach you. Let me return for one moment more to
fear, in order to eliminate one last ambiguity that we have left. We
have said that the relation between fear and the libido, which in other
respects seems clearly defined, does not fit in with the assumption that
in the face of danger real fear should become the expression of the
instinct of self-preservation. This, however, can hardly be doubted. But
suppose the emotion of fear is not contested by the egoistic ego
impulse, but rather by the ego-libido? The condition of fear is in all
cases purposeless and its lack of purpose is obvious when it reaches a
higher level. It then disturbs the action, be it flight or defense,
which alone is purposeful, and which serves the ends of
self-preservation. If we accredit the emotional component of actual fear
to the ego-libido, and the accompanying activity to the egoistic
instinct to self-preservation, we have overcome every theoretical
difficulty. Furthermore, you do not really believe that we flee
_because_ we experience fear? On the contrary, we first are afraid _and
then_ take to flight from the same motive that is awakened by the
realization of danger. Men who have survived the endangering of their
lives tell us that they were not at all afraid, they only acted. They
turned the weapon against the wild animal, and that was in fact the most
purposeful thing to do.




We are nearing the close of our discussions, and you probably cherish
certain expectations, which shall not be disappointed. You think, I
suppose, that I have not guided you through thick and thin of
psychoanalytic subject matter to dismiss you without a word about
therapy, which furnishes the only possibility of carrying on
psychoanalysis. I cannot possibly omit this subject, for the observation
of some of its aspects will teach you a new fact, without which the
understanding of the diseases we have examined would be most incomplete.

I know that you do not expect any guidance in the technique of
practising analysis for therapeutic purposes. You wish to know only
along what general lines psychoanalytic therapy works and approximately
what it accomplishes. And you have an undeniable right to know this. I
shall not actually tell you, however, but shall insist that you guess it

Only think! You know everything essential, from the conditions which
precipitate the illness to all the factors at work within. Where is
there room for therapeutic influence? In the first place, there is
hereditary disposition; we do not speak of it often because it is
strongly emphasized from another quarter, and we have nothing new to say
about it. But do not think that we underestimate it. Just because we are
therapeutists, we feel its power distinctly. At any rate, we cannot
change it; it is a given fact which erects a barrier to our efforts. In
the second place, there is the influence of the early experiences of
childhood, which are in the habit of becoming sharply emphasized under
analysis; they belong to the past and we cannot undo them. And then
everything that we include in the term "actual forbearance"--misfortunes
of life out of which privations of love arise, poverty, family discord,
unfortunate choice in marriage, unfavorable social conditions and the
severity of moral claims. These would certainly offer a foothold for
very effectual therapy. But it would have to be the kind of therapy
which, according to the Viennese folk-tale, Emperor Joseph practiced:
the beneficial interference of a potentate, before whose will men bow
and difficulties vanish. But who are we, to include such charity in the
methods of our therapy? Poor as we are, powerless in society, forced to
earn our living by practicing medicine, we are not even in a position to
treat free of charge those patients who are unable to pay, as physicians
who employ other methods of treatment can do. Our therapy is too long
drawn-out, too extended for that. But perhaps you are still holding to
one of the factors already mentioned, and think that you have found a
factor through which our influence may be effective. If the restrictions
of morality which are imposed by society have a share in the privation
forced upon the patient, treatment might give him the courage, or
possibly even the prescription itself, to cross these barriers, might
tell him how gratification and health can be secured in the renunciation
of that ideal which society has held up to us but often disregards. One
grows healthy then, by giving one's sexuality full reign. Such analytic
treatment, however, would be darkened by a shadow; it does not serve our
recognized morality. The gain to the individual is a loss to society.

But, ladies and gentlemen, who has misinformed you to this degree? It is
inconceivable that the advice to give one's sexuality full reign can
play a part in analytic therapy, if only from the circumstance we have
ourselves described, that there is going on within the patient a bitter
conflict between libidinous impulse and sexual suppression, between
sensual and ascetic tendencies. This conflict is not abolished by giving
one of these tendencies the victory over its opponent. We see that in
the case of the nervous, asceticism has retained the upper hand. The
consequence of this is that the suppressed sexual desire gains breathing
space by the development of symptoms. If, on the other hand, we were to
give the victory to sexuality, symptoms would have to replace the sexual
suppression, which has been pushed aside. Neither of the two decisions
can end the inner conflict, one part always remains unsatisfied. There
are only a few cases wherein the conflict is so labile, that a factor
such as the intervention of the physician could be decisive, and these
cases really require no analytic treatment. Persons who can be so much
influenced by a physician would have found some solution without him.
You know that when an abstinent young man decides upon illegitimate
sex-intercourse, or when an unsatisfied woman seeks compensation from
another man, they have generally not waited for the permission of a
physician, far less of an analyst, to do this.

In studying the situation, one essential point is generally overlooked,
that the pathogenic conflict of the neurotic must not be confused with
normal struggles between psychic impulses of which all have their root
in the same psychological soil. The neurotic struggle is a strife of
forces, one of which has attained the level of the fore-conscious and
the conscious, while the other has been held back in the unconscious
stage. That is why the conflict can have no outcome; the struggling
parties approach each other as little as in the well-known instance of
the polar-bear and the whale. A real decision can be reached only if
both meet on the same ground. To accomplish this is, I believe, the sole
task of therapy.

Moreover, I assure you that you are misinformed if you assume that
advice and guidance in the affairs of life is an integral part of the
analytic influence. On the contrary, we reject this role of the mentor
as far as possible. Above all, we wish to attain independent decisions
on the part of the patient. With this intention in mind, we require him
to postpone all vital resolutions such as choice of a career, marriage
or divorce, until the close of the treatment. You must confess that this
is not what you had imagined. It is only in the case of certain very
young or entirely helpless persons that we cannot insist upon the
desired limitation. Here we must combine the function of physician and
educator; we are well aware of the responsibility and behave with the
necessary precaution.

Judging from the zeal with which I defend myself against the accusation
that analytic treatment urges the nervous person to give his sexuality
full reign, you must not gather that we influence him for the benefit of
conventional morality. We are just as far removed from that. We are no
reformers, it is true, only observers, but we cannot help observing with
critical eyes, and we have found it impossible to take the part of
conventional sex morality, or to estimate highly the way in which
society has tried to regulate the problems of sexual life in practice.
We can prove to society mathematically that its code of ethics has
exacted more sacrifices than is its worth, and that its procedure rests
neither on veracity nor wisdom. We cannot spare our patients the task of
listening to this criticism. We accustom them to weigh sexual matters,
as well as others, without prejudice; and when, after the completion of
the cure, they have become independent and choose some intermediate
course between unrestrained sexuality and asceticism, our conscience is
not burdened by the consequences. We tell ourselves: whoever has been
successfully educated in being true to himself is permanently protected
against the danger of immorality, even if his moral standard diverges
from that of society. Let us, moreover, be careful not to overestimate
the significance of the problem of abstinence with respect to its
influence on neuroses. Only the minority of pathogenic situations of
forbearance, with a subsequent condition of pent-up libido, can be
resolved without more ado by such sexual intercourse as can be procured
with little trouble.

And so you cannot explain the therapeutic influence of psychoanalysis by
saying that it simply recommends giving full sway to sexuality. You must
seek another solution. I think that while I was refuting this
supposition of yours, one of my remarks put you on the right track. Our
usefulness consists in replacing the unconscious by the conscious, in
translating the unconscious into the conscious. You are right; that is
exactly it. By projecting the unconscious into the conscious, we do away
with suppressions, we remove conditions of symptom formation and
transform a pathogenic into a normal conflict which can be decided in
some way or other. This is the only psychic change we produce in our
patients; its extent is the extent of our helpfulness. Wherever no
suppression and no analogous psychic process can be undone, there is no
place for our therapy.

We can express the aim of our efforts by various formulae of rendering
the unconscious conscious, removing suppressions, filling out amnestic
gaps--it all amounts to the same thing. But perhaps this admission does
not satisfy you. You imagined that when a nervous person became cured
something very different happened, that after having been subjected to
the laborious process of psychoanalysis, he was transformed into a
different human being. And now I tell you that the entire result is only
that he has a little less of the unconscious, a little more of the
conscious within him. Well, you probably underestimate the significance
of such an inner change. The person cured of neurosis has really become
another human being. Fundamentally, of course, he has remained the same.
That is to say, he has only become what he might have been under the
most favorable conditions. But that is saying a great deal. When you
learn all that has to be done, the effort required to effect apparently
so slight a change in psychic life, the significance of such a
difference in the psychic realm will be credible to you.

I shall digress for a moment to ask whether you know what is meant by a
causal therapy? This name is given to the procedure which does not take
the manifestations of disease for its point of departure, but seeks to
remove the causes of disease. Is our psychoanalytical therapy causal or
not? The answer is not simple, but perhaps it will give us the
opportunity of convincing ourselves that this point of departure is
comparatively fruitless. In so far as analytical therapy does not
concern itself immediately with the removal of symptoms, it may be
termed causal. Yet in another respect, you might say this would hardly
follow. For we have followed the causal chain back far beyond the
suppressions to the instinctive tendencies and their relative intensity
as given by the constitution of the patient, and finally the nature of
the digression in the abnormal process of its development. Assume for a
moment that it were possible to influence these functions chemically, to
increase or to decrease the quantity of the libido that happens to be
present, to strengthen one impulse at the expense of another. This would
be causal therapy in its true sense and our analysis would have
furnished the indispensable preparatory work of reconnaissance. You know
that there is as yet no possibility of so influencing the processes of
the libido. Our psychic therapy interposes elsewhere, not exactly at
those sources of the phenomena which have been disclosed to us, but
sufficiently far beyond the symptoms, at an opening in the structure of
the disease which has become accessible to us by means of peculiar

What must we do in order to replace the unconscious by the conscious in
our patient? At one time we thought this was quite simple, that all we
had to do was to reconstruct the unconscious and then tell the patient
about it. But we already know this was a shortsighted error. Our
knowledge of the unconscious has not the same value as his; if we
communicate our knowledge to him it will not stand _in place of_ the
unconscious within him, but will exist _beside_ it, and only a very
small change will have been effected. We must rather think of the
unconscious as _localized_, and must seek it in memory at the point
where it came into existence by means of a suppression. This suppression
must be removed before the substitution of the conscious for the
unconscious can be successfully effected. How can such a suppression be
removed? Here our task enters a second phase. First to find the
suppression, then to remove the resistance by which this suppression is

How can we do away with resistance? In the same way--by reconstructing
it and confronting the patient with it. For resistance arises from
suppression, from the very suppression which we are trying to break up,
or from an earlier one. It has been established by the counter-attack
that was instigated to suppress the offensive impulse. And so now we do
the very thing we intended at the outset: interpret, reconstruct,
communicate--but now we do it in the right place. The counter-seizure of
the idea or resistance is not part of the unconscious but of the ego,
which is our fellow-worker. This holds true even if resistance is not
conscious. We know that the difficulty arises from the ambiguity of the
word "unconscious," which may connote either a phenomenon or a system.
That seems very difficult, but it is only a repetition, isn't it? We
were prepared for it a long time ago. We expect resistance to be
relinquished, the counter-siege to collapse, when our interpretation has
enabled the ego to recognize it. With what impulses are we able to work
in such a case? In the first place, the patient's desire to become well,
which has led him to accommodate himself to co-operate with us in the
task of the cure; in the second place, the help of his intelligence,
which is supported by the interpretation we offer him. There is no doubt
that after we have made clear to him what he may expect, the patient's
intelligence can identify resistances, and find their translation into
the suppressions more readily. If I say to you, "Look up into the sky,
you can see a balloon there," you will find it more readily than if I
had just asked you to look up to see whether you could discover
anything. And unless the student who for the first time works with a
microscope is told by his teacher what he may look for, he will not see
anything, even if it is present and quite visible.

And now for the fact! In a large number of forms of nervous illness, in
hysteria, conditions of anxiety and compulsion neuroses, one hypothesis
is correct. By finding the suppression, revealing resistance,
interpreting the thing suppressed, we really succeed in solving the
problem, in overcoming resistance, in removing suppression, in
transforming the unconscious into the conscious. While doing this we
gain the clearest impression of the violent struggle that takes place in
the patient's soul for the subjugation of resistance--a normal
psychological struggle, in one psychic sphere between the motives that
wish to maintain the counter-siege and those which are willing to give
it up. The former are the old motives that at one time effected
suppression; among the latter are those that have recently entered the
conflict, to decide it, we trust, in the sense we favor. We have
succeeded in reviving the old conflict of the suppression, in reopening
the case that had already been decided. The new material we contribute
consists in the first place of the warning, that the former solution of
the conflict had led to illness, and the promise that another will pave
the way to health; secondly, the powerful change of all conditions since
the time of that first rejection. At that time the ego had been weak,
infantile and may have had reason to denounce the claims of the libido
as if they were dangerous. Today it is strong, experienced and is
supported by the assistance of the physician. And so we may expect to
guide the revived conflict to a better issue than a suppression, and in
hysteria, fear and compulsion neuroses, as I have said before, success
justifies our claims.

There are other forms of illness, however, in which our therapeutic
procedure never is successful, even though the causal conditions are
similar. Though this may be characterized topically in a different way,
in them there was also an original conflict between the ego and libido,
which led to suppression. Here, too, it is possible to discover the
occasions when suppressions occurred in the life of the patient. We
employ the same procedure, are prepared to furnish the same promises,
give the same kind of help. We again present to the patient the
connections we expect him to discover, and we have in our favor the same
interval in time between the treatment and these suppressions favoring a
solution of the conflict; yet in spite of these conditions, we are not
able to overcome the resistance, or to remove the suppression. These
patients, suffering from paranoia, melancholia, and dementia praecox,
remain untouched on the whole, and proof against psychoanalytic therapy.
What is the reason for this? It is not lack of intelligence; we require,
of course, a certain amount of intellectual ability in our patients; but
those suffering from paranoia, for instance, who effect such subtle
combinations of facts, certainly are not in want of it. Nor can we say
that other motive forces are lacking. Patients suffering from
melancholia, in contrast to those afflicted with paranoia, are
profoundly conscious of being ill, of suffering greatly, but they are
not more accessible. Here we are confronted with a fact we do not
understand, which bids us doubt if we have really understood all the
conditions of success in other neuroses.

In the further consideration of our dealings with hysterical and
compulsion neurotics we soon meet with a second fact, for which we were
not at all prepared. After a while we notice that these patients behave
toward us in a very peculiar way. We thought that we had accounted for
all the motive forces that could come into play, that we had
rationalized the relation between the patient and ourselves until it
could be as readily surveyed as an example in arithmetic, and yet some
force begins to make itself felt that we had not considered in our
calculations. This unexpected something is highly variable. I shall
first describe those of its manifestations which occur frequently and
are easy to understand.

We see our patient, who should be occupying himself only with finding a
way out of his painful conflicts, become especially interested in the
person of the physician. Everything connected with this person is more
important to him than his own affairs and diverts him from his illness.
Dealings with him are very pleasant for the time being. He is especially
cordial, seeks to show his gratitude wherever he can, and manifests
refinements and merits of character that we hardly had expected to
find. The physician forms a very favorable opinion of the patient and
praises the happy chance that permitted him to render assistance to so
admirable a personality. If the physician has the opportunity of
speaking to the relatives of the patient he hears with pleasure that
this esteem is returned. At home the patient never tires of praising the
physician, of prizing advantages which he constantly discovers. "He
adores you, he trusts you blindly, everything you say is a revelation to
him," the relatives say. Here and there one of the chorus observes more
keenly and remarks, "It is a positive bore to hear him talk, he speaks
only of you; you are his only subject of conversation."

Let us hope that the physician is modest enough to ascribe the patient's
estimation of his personality to the encouragement that has been offered
him and to the widening of his intellectual horizon through the
astounding and liberating revelations which the cure entails. Under
these conditions analysis progressed splendidly. The patient understands
every suggestion, he concentrates on the problems that the treatment
requires him to solve, reminiscences and ideas flood his mind. The
physician is surprised by the certainty and depth of these
interpretations and notices with satisfaction how willingly the sick man
receives the new psychological facts which are so hotly contested by the
healthy persons in the world outside. An objective improvement in the
condition of the patient, universally admitted, goes hand in hand with
this harmonious relation of the physician to the patient under analysis.

But we cannot always expect to have fair weather. There comes a day when
the storm breaks. Difficulties turn up in the treatment. The patient
asserts that he can think of nothing more. We are under the impression
that he is no longer interested in the work, that he lightly passes over
the injunction that, heedless of any critical impulse, he must say
everything that comes to his mind. He behaves as though he were not
under treatment, as though he had closed no agreement with the
physician; he is clearly obsessed by something he does not wish to
divulge. This is a situation which endangers the success of the
treatment. We are distinctly confronted with a tremendous resistance.
What can have happened?

Provided we are able once more to clarify the situation, we recognize
the cause of the disturbance to have been intense affectionate
emotions, which the patient has transferred to the physician. This is
certainly not justified either by the behavior of the physician or by
the relations the treatment has created. The way in which this affection
is manifested and the goals it strives for will depend on the personal
affiliations of the two parties involved. When we have here a young girl
and a man who is still young we receive the impression of normal love.
We find it quite natural that a girl should fall in love with a man with
whom she is alone a great deal, with whom she discusses intimate
matters, who appears to her in the advantageous light of a beneficent
adviser. In this we probably overlook the fact that in a neurotic girl
we should rather presuppose a derangement in her capacity to love. The
more the personal relations of physician and patient diverge from this
hypothetical case, the more are we puzzled to find the same emotional
relation over and over again. We can understand that a young woman,
unhappy in her marriage, develops a serious passion for her physician,
who is still free; that she is ready to seek divorce in order to belong
to him, or even does not hesitate to enter into a secret love affair, in
case the conventional obstacles loom too large. Similar things are known
to occur outside of psychoanalysis. Under these circumstances, however,
we are surprised to hear women and girls make remarks that reveal a
certain attitude toward the problems of the cure. They always knew that
love alone could cure them, and from the very beginning of their
treatment they anticipated that this relationship would yield them what
life had denied. This hope alone has spurred them on to exert themselves
during the treatments, to overcome all the difficulties in communicating
their disclosures. We add on our own account--"and to understand so
easily everything that is generally most difficult to believe." But we
are amazed by such a confession; it upsets our calculations completely.
Can it be that we have omitted the most important factor from our

And really, the more experience we gain, the less we can deny this
correction, which shames our knowledge. The first few times we could
still believe that the analytic cure had met with an accidental
interruption, not inherent to its purpose. But when this affectionate
relation between physician and patient occurs regularly in every new
case, under the most unfavorable conditions and even under grotesque
circumstances; when it occurs in the case of the elderly woman, and is
directed toward the grey-beard, or to one in whom, according to our
judgment, no seductive attractions exist, we must abandon the idea of an
accidental interruption, and realize that we are dealing with a
phenomenon which is closely interwoven with the nature of the illness.

The new fact which we recognize unwillingly is termed _transference_. We
mean a transference of emotions to the person of the physician, because
we do not believe that the situation of the cure justifies the genesis
of such feelings. We rather surmise that this readiness toward emotion
originated elsewhere, that it was prepared within the patient, and that
the opportunity given by analytic treatment caused it to be transferred
to the person of the physician. Transference may occur as a stormy
demand for love or in a more moderate form; in place of the desire to be
his mistress, the young girl may wish to be adopted as the favored
daughter of the old man, the libidinous desire may be toned down to a
proposal of inseparable but ideal and platonic friendship. Some women
understand how to sublimate the transference, how to modify it until it
attains a kind of fitness for existence; others manifest it in its
original, crude and generally impossible form. But fundamentally it is
always the same and can never conceal that its origin is derived from
the same source.

Before we ask ourselves how we can accommodate this new fact, we must
first complete its description. What happens in the case of male
patients? Here we might hope to escape the troublesome infusion of sex
difference and sex attraction. But the answer is pretty much the same as
with women patients. The same relation to the physician, the same
over-estimation of his qualities, the same abandon of interest toward
his affairs, the same jealousy toward all those who are close to him.
The sublimated forms of transference are more frequent in men, the
direct sexual demand is rarer to the extent to which manifest
homosexuality retreats before the methods by which these instinct
components may be utilized. In his male patients more often than in his
women patients, the physician observes a manifestation of transference
which at first sight seems to contradict everything previously
described: a hostile or _negative_ transference.

In the first place, let us realize that the transference occurs in the
patient at the very outset of the treatment and is, for a time, the
strongest impetus to work. We do not feel it and need not heed it as
long as it acts to the advantage of the analysis we are working out
together. When it turns into resistance, however, we must pay attention
to it. Then we discover that two contrasting conditions have changed
their relation to the treatment. In the first place there is the
development of an affectionate inclination, clearly revealing the signs
of its origin in sexual desire which becomes so strong as to awaken an
inner resistance against it. Secondly, there are the hostile instead of
the tender impulses. The hostile feelings generally appear later than
the affectionate impulses or succeed them. When they occur
simultaneously they exemplify the ambivalence of emotions which exists
in most of the intimate relations between all persons. The hostile
feelings connote an emotional attachment just as do the affectionate
impulses, just as defiance signifies dependence as well as does
obedience, although the activities they call out are opposed. We cannot
doubt but that the hostile feelings toward the physician deserve the
name of transference, since the situation which the treatment creates
certainly could not give sufficient cause for their origin. This
necessary interpretation of negative transference assures us that we
have not mistaken the positive or affectionate emotions that we have
similarly named.

The origin of this transference, the difficulties it causes us, the
means of overcoming it, the use we finally extract from it--these
matters must be dealt with in the technical instruction of
psychoanalysis, and can only be touched upon here. It is out of the
question to yield to those demands of the patient which take root from
the transference, while it would be unkind to reject them brusquely or
even indignantly. We overcome transference by proving to the patient
that his feelings do not originate in the present situation, and are not
intended for the person of the physician, but merely repeat what
happened to him at some former time. In this way we force him to
transform his repetition into a recollection. And so transference, which
whether it be hostile or affectionate, seems in every case to be the
greatest menace of the cure, really becomes its most effectual tool,
which aids in opening the locked compartments of the psychic life. But I
should like to tell you something which will help you to overcome the
astonishment you must feel at this unexpected phenomenon. We must not
forget that this illness of the patient which we have undertaken to
analyze is not consummated or, as it were, congealed; rather it is
something that continues its development like a living being. The
beginning of the treatment does not end this development. When the cure,
however, first has taken possession of the patient, the productivity of
the illness in this new phase is concentrated entirely on one aspect:
the relation of the patient to the physician. And so transference may be
compared to the cambrium layer between the wood and the bark of a tree,
from which the formation of new tissues and the growth of the trunk
proceed at the same time. When the transference has once attained this
significance the work upon the recollections of the patient recedes into
the background. At that point it is correct to say that we are no longer
concerned with the patient's former illness, but with a newly created,
transformed neurosis, in place of the former. We followed up this new
edition of an old condition from the very beginning, we saw it originate
and grow; hence we understand it especially well, because we ourselves
are the center of it, its object. All the symptoms of the patient have
lost their original meaning and have adapted themselves to a new
meaning, which is determined by its relation to transference. Or, only
such symptoms as are capable of this transformation have persisted. The
control of this new, artificial neurosis coincides with the removal of
the illness for which treatment was sought in the first place, namely,
with the solution of our therapeutic problem. The human being who, by
means of his relations to the physician, has freed himself from the
influences of suppressed impulses, becomes and stays free in his
individual life, when the influence of the physician is subsequently

Transference has attained extraordinary significance, has become the
centre of the cure, in the conditions of hysteria, anxiety and
compulsion neuroses. Their conditions therefore are properly included
under the term transference neuroses. Whoever in his analytic experience
has come into contact with the existence of transference can no longer
doubt the character of those suppressed impulses that express
themselves in the symptoms of these neuroses and requires no stronger
proof of their libidinous character. We may say that our conviction that
the meaning of the symptoms is substituted libidinous gratification was
finally confirmed by this explanation of transference.

Now we have every reason to correct our former dynamic conception of the
healing process, and to bring it into harmony with our new discernment.
If the patient is to fight the normal conflict that our analysis has
revealed against the suppressions, he requires a tremendous impetus to
influence the desirable decision which will lead him back to health.
Otherwise he might decide for a repetition of the former issue and allow
those factors which have been admitted to consciousness to slip back
again into suppression. The deciding vote in this conflict is not given
by his intellectual penetration--which is neither strong nor free enough
for such an achievement--but only by his relation to the physician.
Inasmuch as his transference carries a positive sign, it invests the
physician with authority and is converted into faith for his
communications and conceptions. Without transference of this sort, or
without a negative transfer, he would not even listen to the physician
and to his arguments. Faith repeats the history of its own origin; it is
a derivative of love and at first requires no arguments. When they are
offered by a beloved person, arguments may later be admitted and
subjected to critical reflection. Arguments without such support avail
nothing, and never mean anything in life to most persons. Man's
intellect is accessible only in so far as he is capable of libidinous
occupation with an object, and accordingly we have good ground to
recognize and to fear the limit of the patient's capacity for being
influenced by even the best analytical technique, namely, the extent of
his narcism.

The capacity for directing libidinous occupation with objects towards
persons as well must also be accorded to all normal persons. The
inclination to transference on the part of the neurotic we have
mentioned, is only an extraordinary heightening of this common
characteristic. It would be strange indeed if a human trait so
wide-spread and significant had never been noticed and turned to
account. But that has been done. Bernheim, with unerring perspicacity,
based his theory of hypnotic manifestations on the statement that all
persons are open to suggestion in some way or other. Suggestibility in
his sense is nothing more than an inclination to transference, bounded
so narrowly that there is no room for any negative transfer. But
Bernheim could never define suggestion or its origin. For him it was a
fundamental fact, and he could never tell us anything regarding its
origin. He did not recognize the dependence of suggestibility upon
sexuality and the activity of the libido. We, on the other hand, must
realize that we have excluded hypnosis from our technique of neurosis
only to rediscover suggestion in the shape of transference.

But now I shall pause and let you put in a word. I see that an objection
is looming so large within you that if it were not voiced you would be
unable to listen to me. "So at last you confess that like the
hypnotists, you work with the aid of suggestion. That is what we have
been thinking for a long time. But why choose the detour over
reminiscences of the past, revealing of the unconscious, interpretation
and retranslation of distortions, the tremendous expenditure of time and
money, if the only efficacious thing is suggestion? Why do you not use
suggestion directly against symptoms, as the others do, the honest
hypnotists? And if, furthermore, you offer the excuse that by going your
way you have made numerous psychological discoveries which are not
revealed by direct suggestion, who shall vouch for their accuracy? Are
not they, too, a result of suggestion, that is to say, of unintentional
suggestion? Can you not, in this realm also, thrust upon the patient
whatever you wish and whatever you think is so?"

Your objections are uncommonly interesting, and must be answered. But I
cannot do it now for lack of time. Till the next time, then. You shall
see, I shall be accountable to you. Today I shall only end what I have
begun. I promised to explain, with the aid of the factor of
transference, why our therapeutic efforts have not met with success in
narcistic neuroses.

This I can do in a few words and you will see how simply the riddle can
be solved, how well everything harmonizes. Observation shows that
persons suffering from narcistic neuroses have no capacity for
transference, or only insufficient remains of it. They reject the
physician not with hostility, but with indifference. That is why he
cannot influence them. His words leave them cold, make no impression,
and so the mechanism of the healing process, which we are able to set
in motion elsewhere, the renewal of the pathogenic conflict and the
overcoming of the resistance to the suppression, cannot be reproduced in
them. They remain as they are. Frequently they are known to attempt a
cure on their own account, and pathological results have ensued. We are
powerless before them.

On the basis of our clinical impressions of these patients, we asserted
that in their case libidinous occupation with objects must have been
abandoned, and object-libido must have been transformed into ego-libido.
On the strength of this characteristic we had separated it from the
first group of neurotics (hysteria, anxiety and compulsion neuroses).
Their behavior under attempts at therapy confirms this supposition. They
show no neurosis. They, therefore, are inaccessible to our efforts and
we cannot cure them.



_Analytical Therapy_

You know our subject for today. You asked me why we do not make use of
direct suggestion in psychoanalytic therapy, when we admit that our
influence depends substantially upon transference, i.e., suggestion, for
you have come to doubt whether or not we can answer for the objectivity
of our psychological discoveries in the face of such a predominance of
suggestion. I promised to give you a comprehensive answer.

Direct suggestion is suggestion directed against the expression of the
symptoms, a struggle between your authority and the motives of the
disease. You pay no attention during this process to the motives, but
only demand of the patient that he suppress their expression in
symptoms. So it makes no difference in principle whether you hypnotize
the patient or not. Bernheim, with his usual perspicacity, asserted that
suggestion is the essential phenomenon underlying hypnotism, that
hypnotism itself is already a result of suggestion, is a suggested
condition. Bernheim was especially fond of practising suggestion upon a
person in the waking state, and could achieve the same results as with
suggestion under hypnosis.

What shall I deal with first, the evidence of experience or theoretic

Let us begin with our experiences. I was a pupil of Bernheim's, whom I
sought out in Nancy in 1889, and whose book on suggestion I translated
into German. For years I practised hypnotic treatment, at first by means
of prohibitory suggestions alone, and later by this method in
combination with investigation of the patient after the manner of
Breuer. So I can speak from experience about the results of hypnotic or
suggestive therapy. If we judge Bernheim's method according to the old
doctor's password that an ideal therapy must be rapid, reliable and not
unpleasant for the patient, we find it fulfills at least two of these
requirements. It can be carried out much more rapidly, indescribably
more rapidly than the analytic method, and it brings the patient neither
trouble nor discomfort. In the long run it becomes monotonous for the
physician, since each case is exactly the same; continually forbidding
the existence of the most diverse symptoms under the same ceremonial,
without being able to grasp anything of their meaning or their
significance. It is second-rate work, not scientific activity, and
reminiscent of magic, conjuring and hocus-pocus; yet in the face of the
interest of the patient this cannot be considered. The third requisite,
however, was lacking. The procedure was in no way reliable. It might
succeed in one case, and fail with the next; sometimes much was
accomplished, at other times little, one knew not why. Worse than this
capriciousness of the technique was the lack of permanency of the
results. After a short time, when the patient was again heard from, the
old malady had reappeared, or it had been replaced by a new malady. We
could start in again to hypnotize. At the same time we had been warned
by those who were experienced that by frequent repetitions of hypnotism
we would deprive the patient of his self-reliance and accustom him to
this therapy as though it were a narcotic. Granted that we did
occasionally succeed as well as one could wish; with slight trouble we
achieved complete and permanent results. But the conditions for such a
favorable outcome remained unknown. I have had it happen that an
aggravated condition which I had succeeded in clearing up completely by
a short hypnotic treatment returned unchanged when the patient became
angry and arbitrarily developed ill feeling against me. After a
reconciliation I was able to remove the malady anew and with even
greater thoroughness, yet when she became hostile to me a second time it
returned again. Another time a patient whom I had repeatedly helped
through nervous conditions by hypnosis, during the treatment of an
especially stubborn attack, suddenly threw her arms around my neck. This
made it necessary to consider the question, whether one wanted to or
not, of the nature and source of the suggestive authority.

So much for experience. It shows us that in renouncing direct suggestion
we have given up nothing that is not replaceable. Now let us add a few
further considerations. The practice of hypnotic therapy demands only a
slight amount of work of the patient as well as of the physician. This
therapy fits in perfectly with the estimation of neuroses to which the
majority of physicians subscribe. The physician says to the neurotic,
"There is nothing the matter with you; you are only nervous, and so I
can blow away all your difficulties with a few words in a few minutes."
But it is contrary to our dynamic conceptions that we should be able to
move a great weight by an inconsiderable force, by attacking it directly
and without the aid of appropriate preparations. So far as conditions
are comparable, experience shows us that this performance does not
succeed with the neurotic. But I know this argument is not unassailable;
there are also "redeeming features."

In the light of the knowledge we have gained from psychoanalysis we can
describe the difference between hypnotic and psychoanalytic suggestion
as follows: Hypnotic therapy seeks to hide something in psychic life,
and to gloss it over; analytic therapy seeks to lay it bare and to
remove it. The first method works cosmetically, the other surgically.
The first uses suggestion in order to prevent the appearance of the
symptoms, it strengthens suppression, but leaves unchanged all other
processes that have led to symptom development. Analytic therapy attacks
the illness closer to its sources, namely in the conflicts out of which
the symptoms have emerged, it makes use of suggestion to change the
solution of these conflicts. Hypnotic therapy leaves the patient
inactive and unchanged, and therefore without resistance to every new
occasion for disease. Analytic treatment places upon the physician, as
well as upon the patient, a difficult responsibility; the inner
resistance of the patient must be abolished. The psychic life of the
patient is permanently changed by overcoming these resistances, it is
lifted upon a higher plane of development and remains protected against
new possibilities of disease. The work of overcoming resistance is the
fundamental task of the analytic cure. The patient, however, must take
it on himself to accomplish this, while the physician, with the aid of
suggestion, makes it possible for him to do so. The suggestion works in
the nature of an _education_. We are therefore justified in saying that
analytic treatment is a sort of _after-education_.

I hope I have made it clear to you wherein our technique of using
suggestion differs therapeutically from the only use possible in
hypnotic therapy. With your knowledge of the relation between suggestion
and transference you will readily understand the capriciousness of
hypnotic therapy which attracted our attention, and you will see why, on
the other hand, analytic suggestion can be relied upon to its limits. In
hypnosis we depend on the condition of the patient's capacity for
transference, yet we are unable to exert any influence on this capacity.
The transference of the subject may be negative, or, as is most
frequent, ambivalent; the patient may have protected himself against
suggestion by very special adjustments, yet we are unable to learn
anything concerning them. In psychoanalysis we work with the
transference itself, we do away with the forces opposing it, prepare the
instrument with which we are to work. So it becomes possible to derive
entirely new uses from the power of suggestion; we are able to control
it, the patient does not work himself into any state of mind he pleases,
but in so far as we are able to influence him at all, we can guide the

Now you will say, regardless of whether we call the driving force of our
analysis transference or suggestion, there is still the danger that
through our influence on the patient the objective certainty of our
discoveries becomes doubtful. That which becomes a benefit to therapy
works harm to the investigation. This objection is most often raised
against psychoanalysis, and it must be admitted that even if it does not
hit the mark, it cannot be waved aside as stupid. But if it were
justified, psychoanalysis would be nothing more than an extraordinarily
well disguised and especially workable kind of treatment by suggestion,
and we may lay little weight upon all its assertions concerning the
influences of life, psychic dynamics, and the unconscious. This is in
fact the opinion held by our opponents; we are supposed especially to
have "balked into" the patients everything that supports the importance
of sexual experiences, and often the experiences themselves, after the
combinations themselves have grown up in our degenerate imaginations. We
can refute these attacks most easily by calling on the evidence of
experience rather than by resorting to theory. Anyone who has himself
performed a psychoanalysis has been able to convince himself innumerable
times that it is impossible thus to suggest anything to the patient.
There is no difficulty, of course, in making the patient a disciple of
any one theory, and thus causing him to share the possible error of the
physician. With respect to this he behaves just like any other person,
like a student, but he has influenced only his intelligence, not his
disease. The solving of his conflicts and the overcoming of his
resistances succeeds only if we have aroused in him representations of
such expectations as can agree with reality. What was inapplicable in
the assumptions of the physician falls away during the course of the
analysis; it must be withdrawn and replaced by something more nearly
correct. By employing a careful technique we seek to prevent the
occurrence of temporary results arising out of suggestion, yet there is
no harm if such temporary results occur, for we are never satisfied with
early successes. We do not consider the analysis finished until all the
obscurities of the case are cleared up, all amnestic gaps filled out and
the occasions which originally called out the suppressions discovered.
We see in results that are achieved too quickly a hindrance rather than
a furtherance of analytic work and repeatedly we undo these results
again by purposely breaking up the transference upon which they rest.
Fundamentally it is this feature which distinguishes analytical
treatment from the purely suggestive technique and frees analytic
results from the suspicion of having been suggested. Under every other
suggestive treatment the transference itself is most carefully upheld
and the influence left unquestioned; in analytic treatment, however, the
transference becomes the subject of treatment and is subject to
criticism in whatever form it may appear. At the end of an analytic cure
the transference itself must be abolished; therefore the effect of the
treatment, whether positive or negative, must be founded not upon
suggestion but upon the overcoming of inner resistances, upon the inner
change achieved in the patient, which the aid of suggestion has made

Presumably the creation of the separate suggestions is counteracted, in
the course of the cure, by our being continually forced to attack
resistances which have the ability to change themselves into negative
(hostile) transferences. Furthermore, let me call your attention to the
fact that a large number of results of analysis, otherwise perhaps
subject to the suspicion that they are products of suggestion, can be
confirmed from other unquestionable sources. As authoritative witnesses
in this case we refer to the testimony of dements and paranoiacs, who
are, naturally far removed from any suspicion of suggestive influence.
Whatever these patients can tell us about symbolic translations and
phantasies which have forced their way into their consciousness agrees
faithfully with the results of our investigations upon the unconscious
of transference-neurotics, and this gives added weight to the objective
correctness of our interpretations which are so often doubted. I believe
you will not go wrong if you give your confidence to analysis with
reference to these factors.

We now want to complete our statement concerning the mechanism of
healing, by including it within the formulae of the libido theory. The
neurotic is incapable both of enjoyment and work; first, because his
libido is not directed toward any real object, and second because he
must use up a great deal of his former energy to keep his libido
suppressed and to arm himself against its attacks. He would become well
if there could be an end to the conflict between his ego and his libido,
and if his ego could again have the libido at its disposal. The task of
therapy, therefore, consists of freeing the libido from its present
bonds, which have estranged it from the ego, and furthermore to bring it
once more into the service of the ego. Where is the libido of the
neurotics? It is easy to find; it is bound to the symptoms which at that
time furnish it with the only available substitute satisfaction. We have
to become master of the symptoms, and abolish them, which is of course
exactly what the patient asks us to do. To abolish the symptoms it
becomes necessary to go back to their origin, to renew the conflict out
of which they emerged, but this time with the help of motive forces that
were originally not available, to guide it toward a new solution. This
revision of the process of suppression can be accomplished only in part
by following the traces in memory of the occurrences which led to the
suppression. The decisive part of the cure is accomplished by means of
the relationship to the physician, the transference, by means of which
new editions of the old conflict are created. Under this situation the
patient would like to behave as he had behaved originally, but by
summoning all his available psychic power we compel him to reach a
different decision. Transference, then, becomes the battlefield on which
all the contending forces are to meet.

The full strength of the libido, as well as the entire resistance
against it, is concentrated in this relationship to the physician; so it
is inevitable that the symptoms of the libido should be laid bare. In
place of his original disturbance the patient manifests the artificially
constructed disturbance of transference; in place of heterogeneous
unreal objects for the libido you now have only the person of the
physician, a single object, which, however, is also fantastic. The new
struggle over this object is, however, raised to the highest psychic
level with the aid of the physician's suggestions, and proceeds as a
normal psychic conflict. By avoiding a new suppression the estrangement
between the ego and the libido comes to an end, the psychic unity of the
personality is restored. When the libido again becomes detached from the
temporary object of the physician it cannot return to its former
objects, but is now at the disposal of the ego. The forces we have
overcome in the task of therapy are on the one hand the aversion of the
ego for certain directions of the libido, which had expressed itself as
a tendency to suppression, and on the other hand the tenacity of the
libido, which is loathe to leave an object which it has once occupied.

Accordingly the work of therapy falls into two phases: first, all the
libido is forced from the symptoms into the transference, and
concentrated there; secondly, the struggle over this new object is
carried on and the libido set free. The decisive change for the better
in this renewed conflict is the throwing out of the suppression, so that
the libido cannot this time again escape the ego by fleeing into the
unconscious. This is accomplished by the change in the ego under the
influence of the physician's suggestion. In the course of the work of
interpretation, which translates unconscious into conscious, the ego
grows at the expense of the unconscious; it learns forgiveness toward
the libido, and becomes inclined to permit some sort of satisfaction for
it. The ego's timidity in the face of the demands of the libido is now
lessened by the prospect of occupying some of the libido through
sublimation. The more the processes of the treatment correspond to this
theoretic description the greater will be the success of psychoanalytic
therapy. It is limited by the lack of mobility of the libido, which can
stand in the way of releasing its objects, and by the obstinate narcism
which will not permit the object-transference to effect more than just
so much. Perhaps we shall obtain further light on the dynamics of the
healing process by the remark that we are able to gather up the entire
libido which has become withdrawn from the control of the ego by drawing
a part of it to ourselves in the process of transference.

It is to be remembered that we cannot reach a direct conclusion as to
the disposition of the libido during the disease from the distributions
of the libido which are effected during and because of the treatment.
Assuming that we have succeeded in curing the case by means of the
creation and destruction of a strong father-transference to the
physician, it would be wrong to conclude that the patient had previously
suffered from a similar and unconscious attachment of his libido to his
father. The father-transference is merely the battlefield upon which we
were able to overcome the libido; the patient's libido had been
concentrated here from its other positions. The battlefield need not
necessarily have coincided with the most important fortresses of the
enemy. Defense of the hostile capital need not take place before its
very gates. Not until we have again destroyed the transference can we
begin to reconstruct the distribution of the libido that existed during
the illness.

From the standpoint of the libido theory we might say a last word in
regard to the dream. The dreams of neurotics, as well as their errors
and haphazard thoughts, help us in finding the meaning of the symptoms
and in discovering the disposition of the libido. In the form of the
wish fulfillment they show us what wish impulses have been suppressed,
and to what objects the libido, withdrawn from the ego, has been
attached. That is why interpretation of dreams plays a large role in
psychoanalytic treatment, and is in many cases, for a long time, the
most important means with which we work. We already know that the
condition of sleep itself carries with it a certain abatement of
suppressions. Because of this lessening of the pressure upon it, it
becomes possible for the suppressed impulse to create in the dream a
much clearer expression than the symptom can furnish during the day. So
dream-study is the easiest approach to a knowledge of the libidinous
suppressed unconscious which has been withdrawn from the ego.

Dreams of neurotics differ in no essential point from the dreams of
normal persons; you might even say they cannot be distinguished. It
would be unreasonable to explain the dreams of the nervous in any way
which could not be applied to the dreams of the normal. So we must say
the difference between neurosis and health applies only during the day,
and does not continue in dream life. We find it necessary to attribute
to the healthy numerous assumptions which have grown out of the
connections between the dreams and the symptoms of the neurotic. We are
not in a position to deny that even a healthy man possesses those
factors in his psychic life which alone make possible the development of
the dream and of the symptom as well. We must conclude, therefore, that
the healthy have also made use of suppressions and are put to a certain
amount of trouble to keep those impulses under control; the system of
their unconscious, too, conceals impulses which are suppressed, yet are
still possessed of energy, and _a part of their libido is also withdrawn
from the control of their ego_. So the healthy man is virtually a
neurotic, but dreams are apparently the only symptoms which he can
manifest. Yet if we subject our waking hours to a more penetrating
analysis we discover, of course, that they refute this appearance and
that this seemingly healthy life is shot through with a number of
trivial, practically unimportant symptom formations.

The difference between nervous health and neurosis is entirely a
practical one which is determined by the available capacity for
enjoyment and accomplishment retained by the individual. It varies
presumably with the relative proportion of the energy totals which have
remained free and those which have been bound by suppressions, and is
quantitative rather than qualitative. I do not have to remind you that
this conception is the theoretical basis for the certainty that neuroses
can be cured, despite their foundation in constitutional disposition.

This is accordingly what we may make out of the identity between the
dreams of the healthy and those of the neurotic for the definition of
health. As regards the dream itself, we must note further that we cannot
separate it from its relation to neurotic symptoms. We must recognize
that it is not completely defined as a translation of thoughts into an
archaic form of expression, that is, we must assume it discloses a
disposition of libido and of object-occupations which have actually
taken place.

We have about come to the end. Perhaps you are disappointed that I have
dealt only with theory in this chapter on psychoanalytic therapy, and
have said nothing concerning the conditions under which the cure is
undertaken, or of the successes which it achieves. But I shall omit
both. I shall omit the first because I had intended no practical
training in the practice of psychoanalysis, and I shall neglect the
second for numerous reasons. At the beginning of our talks I emphasized
the fact that under favorable circumstances we attain results which can
be favorably compared with the happiest achievements in the field of
internal therapy, and, I may add, these results could not have been
otherwise achieved. If I were to say more I might be suspected of
wishing to drown the voices of disparagement, which have become so loud,
by advertising our claims. We psychoanalysts have repeatedly been
threatened by our medical colleagues, even in open congresses, that the
eyes of the suffering public must be opened to the worthlessness of this
method of treatment by a statistical collection of analytic failures and
injuries. But such a collection, aside from the biased, denunciatory
character of its purpose, would hardly be able to give a correct picture
of the therapeutic values of analysis. Analytic therapy is, as you know,
still young; it took a long time to establish the technique, and this
could be done only during the course of the work and under the influence
of accumulating experience. As a result of the difficulties of
instruction the physician who begins the practice of psychoanalysis is
more dependent upon his capacity to develop on his own account than is
the ordinary specialist, and the results he achieves in his first years
can never be taken as indicative of the possibilities of analytic

Many attempts at treatment failed in the early years of analysis because
they were made on cases that were not at all suited to the procedure,
and which today we exclude by our classification of symptoms. But this
classification could be made only after practice. In the beginning we
did not know that paranoia and dementia praecox are, in their fully
developed phases, inaccessible, and we were justified in trying out our
method on all kinds of conditions. Besides, the greatest number of
failures in those first years were not due to the fault of the physician
or because of unsuitable choice of subjects, but rather to the
unpropitiousness of external conditions. We have hitherto spoken only of
internal resistances, those of the patient, which are necessary and may
be overcome. External resistances to psychoanalysis, due to the
circumstances of the patient and his environment, have little
theoretical interest, but are of great practical importance.
Psychoanalytic treatment may be compared to a surgical operation, and
has the right to be undertaken under circumstances favorable to its
success. You know what precautions the surgeon is accustomed to take: a
suitable room, good light, assistance, exclusion of relatives, etc. How
many operations would be successful, do you think, if they had to be
performed in the presence of all the members of the family, who would
put their fingers into the field of operation and cry aloud at every cut
of the knife? The interference of relatives in psychoanalytical
treatment is a very great danger, a danger one does not know how to
meet. We are armed against the internal resistances of the patient which
we recognize as necessary, but how are we to protect ourselves against
external resistance? It is impossible to approach the relatives of the
patient with any sort of explanation, one cannot influence them to hold
aloof from the whole affair, and one cannot get into league with them
because we then run the danger of losing the confidence of the patient,
who rightly demands that we in whom he confides take his part. Besides,
those who know the rifts that are often formed in family life will not
be surprised as analysts when they discover that the patient's nearest
relatives are less interested in seeing him cured than in having him
remain as he is. Where, as is so often the case, the neurosis is
connected with conflicts with members of the family, the healthy member
does not hesitate long in the choice between his own interest and that
of the cure of the patient. It is not surprising if a husband looks with
disfavor upon a treatment in which, as he may correctly suspect, the
register of his sins is unrolled; nor are we surprised, and surely we
cannot take the blame, when our efforts remain fruitless and are
prematurely broken off because the resistance of the husband is added to
that of the sick wife. We had only undertaken something which, under the
existing circumstance, it was impossible to carry out.

Instead of many cases, I shall tell you of just one in which, because of
professional precautions, I was destined to play a sad role. Many years
ago I treated a young girl who for a long time was afraid to go on the
street, or to remain at home alone. The patient hesitatingly admitted
that her phantasy had been caused by accidentally observing affectionate
relations between her mother and a well-to-do friend of the family. But
she was so clumsy--or perhaps so sly--as to give her mother a hint of
what had been discussed during the analysis, and changed her behavior
toward her mother, insisting that no one but her mother should protect
her against the fear of being alone, and anxiously barring the way when
her mother wished to leave the house. The mother had previously been
very nervous herself, but had been cured years before in a hydropathic
sanatorium. Let us say, in that institution she made the acquaintance of
the man with whom she was to enter upon the relationship which was able
to satisfy her in every respect. Becoming suspicious of the stormy
demands of the girl, the mother _suddenly_ realized the meaning of her
daughter's fear. She must have made herself sick to imprison her mother
and to rob her of the freedom she needed to maintain relations with her
lover. Immediately the mother made an end to the harmful treatment. The
girl was put into a sanatorium for the nervous and exhibited for many
years as "a poor victim of psychoanalysis." For just as long a period I
was pursued by evil slander, due to the unfavorable outcome of this
case. I maintained silence because I thought myself bound by the rules
of professional discretion. Years later I learned from a colleague who
had visited the institution, and had seen the agoraphobic girl there,
that the relationship between the mother and the wealthy friend of the
family was known all over town, and apparently connived at by the
husband and father. It was to this "secret" that our treatment had been

In the years before the war, when the influx of patients from all parts
made me independent of the favor or disfavor of my native city, I
followed the rule of not treating anyone who was not _sui juris_, was
not independent of all other persons in his essential relations of life.
Every psychoanalyst cannot do this. You may conclude from my warning
against the relatives of patients that for purposes of psychoanalysis we
should take the patients away from their families, and should limit this
therapy to the inmates of sanatoriums. I should not agree with you in
this; it is much more beneficial for the patients, if they are not in a
stage of great exhaustion, to continue in the same circumstances under
which they must master the tasks set for them during the treatment. But
the relatives ought not to counteract this advantage by their behavior,
and above all, they should not antagonize and oppose the endeavors of
the physician. But how are we to contend against these influences which
are so inaccessible to us! You see how much the prospects of a treatment
are determined by the social surroundings and the cultural conditions of
a family.

This offers a sad outlook indeed for the effectiveness of psychoanalysis
as a therapy, even if we can explain the great majority of our failures
by putting the blame on such disturbing external factors! Friends of
analysis have advised us to counterbalance such a collection of failures
by means of a statistical compilation on our part of our successful
cases. Yet I could not try myself to do this. I tried to explain that
statistics would be worthless if the collected cases were not
comparable, and in fact, the various neuroses which we have undertaken
to treat could, as a matter of fact, hardly be compared on the same
basis, since they differed in many fundamental respects. Besides, the
period of time over which we could report was too short to permit us to
judge the permanency of our cures, and concerning certain cases we could
not have given any information whatever. They related to persons who had
kept their ailments, as well as their treatment, secret, and whose cure
must necessarily be kept secret as well. The strongest hindrance,
however, lay in the knowledge that men behave most irrationally in
matters of therapy, and that we have no prospect of attaining anything
by an appeal to reason. A therapeutic novelty is received either with
frenzied enthusiasm, as was the case when Koch first made public his
tuberculin against tuberculosis, or it is treated with abysmal distrust,
as was the really blessed vaccination of Jenner, which even today
retains implacable opponents. There was a very obvious prejudice against
psychoanalysis. When we had cured a very difficult case we would hear it
said: "That is no proof, he would have become well by himself in all
this time." Yet when a patient who had already gone through four cycles
of depression and mania came into my care during a temporary cessation
in the melancholia, and three weeks later found herself in the
beginnings of a new attack, all the members of the family as well as the
high medical authorities called into consultation, were convinced that
the new attack could only be the result of the attempted analysis.
Against prejudice we are powerless; you see it again in the prejudices
that one group of warring nations has developed against the other. The
most sensible thing for us to do is to wait and allow time to wear it
away. Some day the same persons think quite differently about the same
things than before. Why they formerly thought otherwise remains the dark

It may be possible that the prejudice against psychoanalysis is already
on the wane. The continual spread of psychoanalytic doctrine, the
increase of the number of physicians in many lands who treat
analytically, seems to vouch for it. When I was a young physician I was
caught in just such a storm of outraged feeling of the medical
profession toward hypnosis, treatment by suggestion, which today is
contrasted with psychoanalysis by "sober" men. Hypnotism did not,
however, as a therapeutic agent, live up to its promises; we
psychoanalysts may call ourselves its rightful heirs, and we have not
forgotten the large amount of encouragement and theoretical explanation
we owe to it. The injuries blamed upon psychoanalysis are limited
essentially to temporary aggravation of the conflict when the analysis
is clumsily handled, or when it is broken off unfinished. You have heard
our justification for our form of treatment, and you can form your own
opinion as to whether or not our endeavors are likely to lead to lasting
injury. Misuse of psychoanalysis is possible in various ways; above all,
transference is a dangerous remedy in the hands of an unconscientious
physician. But no professional method of procedure is protected from
misuse; a knife that is not sharp is of no use in effecting a cure.

I have thus reached the end, ladies and gentlemen. It is more than the
customary formal speech when I admit that I am myself keenly depressed
over the many faults in the lectures I have just delivered. First of
all, I am sorry that I have so often promised to return to a subject
only slightly touched upon at the time, and then found that the context
has not made it possible to keep my word. I have undertaken to inform
you concerning an unfinished thing, still in the process of development,
and my brief exposition itself was an incomplete thing. Often I
presented the evidence and then did not myself draw the conclusion. But
I could not endeavor to make you masters of the subject. I tried only to
give you some explanation and stimulation.



Abel, C., 195

Abel, R., 148

Abraham, K., 284, 358

Abstinence, 299

Accidental and symptomatic acts, 42

Accumulated and combined errors, 37

Adler, A., 203, 330, 351

Agoraphobia, 227, 233

Alexander, dream of, 65

Altruism, 360

Ambivalence, 369

Amnesia, 244;
  childhood, 168;
  hysterical, 245;
  infantile, 245;
  of the neurotic, 244

Analyses of dreams, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 153

Analysis, experimental, dream for, 93

Analytical therapy, 372, 388

Andreas, Lou, 272

Anxiety, 340, 342;
  dream, 183;
  equivalents, 347;
  form of neurotic fear, 346;
  hysteria, 233, 259, 316, 346;
  hysteria, resistance in, 250;
  neurosis, 338, 344, 347

Anxious expectation, 344

Archaic remnants and infantilism in the dream, 167

Art, and the neurosis, 326

Association experiment, 86;
  free, 84

Auto-eroticism, 359

Back, George, 108

Basedowi, M., 336

Beheading symbol, 231

Bernheim, 81, 240, 385, 388

Binet, 302

Binz, 66

Birth of the hero, myths, 182

Birth, the source of fear, 343;
  symbols of, 132;
  theories of children, 274

Bleuler, 86, 369

Bloch, Ivan, 265

Bölsche, W., 307

Breuer, J., 221, 232, 241, 242, 253, 254, 388

Breughel, P., 263

Castration complex, 175

Censor, dream, 110

Charcot, 119

Child, sexual life of, 268, 281

Childhood amnesia, 168;
  dreams of, 101;
  egoism in, 171;
  experiences, phantasy in, 319;
  loss of memory for, 168;
  prophylaxis, 317

Children, fear in, 350;
  sexual curiosity of, 274

Children's dreams, 102;
  theories of birth, 274

Choice of an object, 368

Clinical problem, 244

Common elements of dreams, 67, 69, 75

Complex, castration, 175;
  family, 285;
  Oedipus, 174, 285;
  parent, 289

Compulsion neurosis, 222, 227, 259, 261, 267, 298, 326;
  fear in, 349;
  manifestations of, 222

Compulsion neurotics, resistance in, 250, 251;
  symptoms, analysis of, 224

Compulsive activity, meaning of, 239;
  acts, 223;
  washing as, 233

Condensation, 142

Conflict, role of, in neurosis, 302, 305

Conscious, definition of, 90

Conversion-hysteria, 259, 339

Criticism of dream, 194;
  of psychoanalysis, reasons for, 246

Darwin, Charles, 247, 345

Day dreams, 76, 105, 324

Death in dreams, 133;
  wishes, 169

Definition of psychoanalysis, 1

Delusion, 216

Dementia praecox, 339, 358, 363

Development and regression, theories of, 294

Diderot, 292

Difficulties of psychoanalysis, 2, 5

Disease, secondary advantage of, 334

Disguise-memories, 168

Displacement, 114, 144

Dream, the, 63;
  of Alexander, 65;
  anxiety, 183;
  approaches to study of, 82;
  archaic remnants and infantilism in the, 167;
  censor, 110;
  character of, 69;
  criticism of, 194;
  day, 76, 105;
  definition of, 67, 68;
  difficulties and preliminary approach to, 63;
  distortion in, 101, 110, 183;
  doubtful points concerning, 194;
  for experimental analysis, 93;
  hypothesis and technique of interpretation of, 78;
  infantile, 183;
  interpretation, rules to be observed in, 91, 92;
  manifest and latent content of, 90, 96;
  of a prisoner, 109;
  the reaction to sleep-disturbing stimuli, 70;
  stimuli in, 71, 73;
  symbolism in, 122

Dreams analysed, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 153;
  of childhood, 101;
  children's, 102;
  children's, elements of, 101-5;
  common elements of, 67, 69, 75;
  death in, 133;
  elaboration in, 74;
  examples of, 111;
  experimentally induced in, 71;
  of neurotics, 395;
  typical, 234;
  visual forms in, 75;
  wish fulfillment, 107;
  dream-work, 141;
  processes of, 142

Du prel, 108

Ego, development of, 304;
  impulses, 303;
  instincts, 356;
  psychology, 365;
  regressions, 310

Egoism, 360;
  in childhood, 171

Elements of children's dreams, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105

Erogenous zones, 271

Erotomania, 366

Errors, accumulated and combined, 37;
  forgetting names, 34;
  forgetting projects, 34;
  losing and mislaying objects, 36;
  misreading, 51;
  proved by further developments, 39;
  psychology of, 10, 23;
  repeated, 37;
  slips of the pen, 49;
  of the tongue, 16, 18;
  expectant fear, 344

Fact, principle of, 309

Family-complex, 289

Fear, 340, 342;
  in children, 350;
  in compulsion neurosis, 349;
  expectant, 344;
  in hysteria, 348;
  of the manifold, 344;
  neurotic, 341;
  anxiety, form of, 346;
  clinical observations on, 347;
  origin of, 350;
  and real fear, connection between, 350;
  real, 341;
  and neurotic fear, connection between, 350

Fechner, G. T., 69

Federn, P., 127

Ferenczi, 304

Fetichism, 302

Fetichists, 264

Fixation of the instinct, 295;
  traumatic, 236

Flaubert, G., 263

Fliess, W., 277

Fontaine, Th., 324

Fore-conscious, 256

Forgetting, defense against unpleasant recollections, 56;
  impressions and experiences, 56;
  names, 34, 55;
  plans, 52;
  projects, 34;
  proper names, 87

Free association, 84;
  name analysis by, 85

Free-floating fear, 344

Fright, 342

Hall, Stanley, 344, 355

Hildebrand, 71

Hoffman, 321

Homosexualists, 266

Homosexuality, 263

Hypnosis, 253, 386;
  psycho-therapy by, 253

Hypnotic and psychoanalytic suggestion, difference between, 390

Hypnotism, 81, 388

Hypochondria, 338, 339, 362

Hysteria, 233, 245, 246, 261, 266, 297;
  anxiety, 233, 316;
  conversion, 339;
  fear in, 348

Hysterical amnesias, 245;
  backache, 339;
  headache, 339;
  identification, 369;
  vomiting, 233

Illness as a defense, 332

Imago, 139

Incest, 176, 290

Infantile amnesias, 245;
  dream, 183;
  fear, 353;
  neurosis, 316;
  sexuality, 272, 279

Infantilism in the dream, archaic remnants and, 167

Inferiority, 351

Inhibition, 294

Instinct, fixation of, 295

Intellectual resistances, 251

Introversion, 325

Inversions, 149, 263

James-Lange theory of emotion, 343

Janet, P., 221

Jealousy, obsession of, 216

Jenner, 400

Jung, C. J., 86, 232, 325, 357

Koch, 400

Krauss, F. S., 134

Latent dream content, 90, 98

Leuret, 221

Levy, L., 133

Libido, 116, 270;
  development of, 277, 282;
  fixation, 300;
  regressions of, 297;
  theory, the, 356

Lichtenberg, 27

Lindner, 271

Losing and mislaying objects, 36, 57

Loss of memory for childhood, 168

Maeder, A., 39, 202

Mania of persecution, 366;
  of jealousy, 366

Manifest dream content, 90, 96

Masochists, 264

Maury, 66, 71

Mayer, 16

Mechanism of the tongue slip, 46

Megalomania, 366

Melancholia, 369

Memory gaps, 244;
  loss of, for childhood, 168

Meringer, 16

Misreading, 51

Mistakes, general observations on, 57

Myths, birth of the hero, 132

Name analysis by free association, 85

Naecke, P., 359

Narcism, 359, 360

Narcistic identification, 369;
  neuroses, 298, 365;
  and transference, 386

Negative transference, 383

Nervousness, fear and, 340;
  ordinary, 328

Nestroy, 305

Neurasthenia, 338, 339

Neurosis, anxiety, 344;
  art and, 326;
  common experiences in history of, 321;
  compulsion, 222;
  determining factor in, 321;
  development of symptoms of, 311;
  etiology of, 296;
  general theory of, 294;
  infantile, 316;
  narcistic, 298;
  schematic representation of cause of, 315;
  spontaneous, 237;
  symptoms of, 317;
  traumatic, 237;
  true, difference between the symptoms of, and the psychoneurosis, 336

Neurotic fear, anxiety form of, 346;
  clinical observations on, 347;
  manifestations of, 344;
  origin of, 350;
  and real fear, connection between, 350

Neurotic manifestations, psychoanalytic conception of, 211;
  symptoms, evolution of, 244;
  meaning of, 221;
  objections to interpretations of, 260

Neurotics, dreams of, 395

Nordenskjold, Otto, 107

Oberländer, 334

Object, choice of, 368

Obsession of jealousy, 216

Oedipus complex, 174, 285

Onanism, 272, 274

Organic pleasure, 280

Paranoia, 266, 339, 366

Paraphrenia, 339, 366

Parent-complex, 289

Pathological ritual, 228

Patricide, 290

Perverse, 263;
  sexuality, 268, 279

Perversions, sex, 175, 278

Pfister, 199

Phantasies, primal, 323

Phantasy in childhood experiences, 319;
  in children, 322

Phobias, 344;
  analysis of, 353;
  situation, in children, 352

Pleasure, principle of, 309

Pleasure-striving, 116

Pre-genital sexual organization, 283

Primal phantasies, 323

Principle of fact, 309;
  of pleasure, 309

Psychiatry, psychoanalysis and, 209;
  therapeutics of, 220

Psychic flight from unpleasantness, 55;
  process, meaning of, 23;
  definition of, 7;
  in sleeping and waking, differences between, 69

Psychoanalysis, definition of, 1;
  difficulties of, 2, 5;
  and psychiatry, 209;
  purpose of, 6;
  reasons for criticism of, 246;
  therapeutics of, 220

Psychoanalytic conception of neurotic manifestations, 211;
  suggestion, hypnotic and difference between, 390

Psychology of errors, 10

  difference between the symptoms of the true neurosis and, 336;
  true neurosis and, connection between symptoms of, 338

Psychotherapy by hypnosis, 253

Purpose of psychoanalysis, 6

Rank, O., 21, 108, 132, 139, 154, 175, 292

Reaction-formations, 326

Regression, 295, 296;
  of Libido, 297;
  theories of development and, 294

Reik, Th., 290

Repression, 255

Reproduction, 269;
  sexuality and, 277

Resistance, 92, 248;
  in anxiety hysteria, 250;
  in compulsion neurotics, 250, 251;
  external, 398;
  forms taken by, 250;
  internal, 398;
  intellectual, 251;
  in narcistic neurosis, 365

Ritual, pathological, 228;
  sleep, 227

Roux, 314

Sachs, Hanns, 139, 173

Sadistico-anal sexual organization, 283

Sadists, 264

Scherner, K. A., 124

Schirmer, 74

Schwind, 109

Secondary treatment, 151

Sex symbols, 126

Sex, the third, 263

Sexual curiosity of children, 274;
  definition of concept, 262;
  development, 284;
  instincts, 356;
  life of the child, 268, 281;
  life of man, 262;
  organizations, 277, 283;
  perversions, 175, 278

Sexuality, perverse, 268;
  and reproduction, 277

Siebault, 81

Silberer, V., 203

Situation-phobia, 345;
  phobias in children, 352

Sleep, definition of, 67;
  ritual, 227

Slips of the tongue, 16;
  effects of, 18;
  explanation of, 25, 46;
  general observations on, 48;
  of the pen, 49

Sperber, H., 138

Spontaneous neuroses, 237

Stekel, W., 203

Struwelpeter, 321

Sublimation, 8, 300

Substitute names, 87

Suggestibility, 386

Suggestion, 386, 388

Suppression, 46, 248, 256, 259, 296, 298

Symbol, 123;
  beheading, 231

Symbolism in the dream, 122;
  in every day life, 130

Symbols, 125, 126;
  of birth, 132;
  sex, 126

Symptomatic acts, accidental and, 42

Symptom-development, 259;
  interpretation, 259;
  purpose of, 258, 259

Symptoms, individual, 232, 234;
  meaning of, 221;
  of neurosis, development of, 311;
  neurotic, evolution of, 244;
  objections to interpretations of, 260;
  significance of phantasy for the development of, 324;
  typical, 233

System of the unconscious, fore-conscious and the conscious, 255-257

Technique in dream interpretation, 82

Therapy, analytical, 372

Therapeutics of psychiatry, 220;
  of psychoanalysis, 220

Third sex, 263

Tongue slip, mechanism of, 46, 49

Topophobia, 233

Transference, 25, 372, 379;
  narcistic neuroses and, 386;
  neuroses, 259, 339, 384

Translation of thoughts into visual images, 145

Traumatic fixation, 236;
  neuroses, 237

Trenck, 108

True neuroses, 338;
  and psychoneuroses, connection between symptoms of, 338;
  symptoms of, 336

Typical symptoms, 234

Unconscious, the, 236, 255;
  definition of, 90;
  psychological processes, 240

Vold, J. Mourly, 66, 127

Vomiting, hysterical, 233

von Brücke, 295

Wallace, 247

Washing, a compulsive act, 233

Wishes, death, 169

Wish fulfillment, 180;
  in dreams, 104, 107;
  negative, 261;
  positive, 261

Wundt school, 86

Zola, Emile, 224

Zurich school, 86

       *       *       *       *       *

The following typographical errors have been corrected by the etext

Resistance and Supression=>Resistance and Suppression

Dark Ages faithfully perserved things=>Dark Ages faithfully preserved

the dream anaylsis=>the dream analysis


crimes commited=>crimes committed

embryo in the amnotic fluid=>embryo in the amniotic fluid

Sublim Porte=>Sublime Porte

remote of these thoughs=>remote of these thoughts


archiac or regressive mode=>archaic or regressive mode

capitalist and the entrepeneur=>capitalist and the entrepreneur

By means of two selected illlustrations=>By means of two selected

and did not yet want to a prophet=>and did not yet want to be a prophet

fundamenal difference=>fundamental difference


sexual substitute-satsifaction=>sexual substitute-satisfaction

carry on psychonalaysis=>carry on psychoanalysis

with manual anonism=>with manual ononism

the educator, Nesessity=>the educator, Necessity

has been succssfully=>has been successfully

The physician forms a very favorable opinon=>The physician forms a very
favorable opinion


destroyed the transfrence=>destroyed the transference

read "Agamemnon" for "angenomen,"=>read "Agamemnon" for "angenommen,"

"Angenomen" is a verb, meaning "to accept."=>"Angenommen" is a verb,
meaning "to accept."

misprints, which are of ocurse to be considered as errors of the
typesetter.=>misprints, which are of course to be considered as errors
of the typesetter.

"Rückhaltos" means "unreservedly."=>"Rückhaltlos" means "unreservedly."



Oberlander, 334=>Oberländer, 334

       *       *       *       *       *


[1] "Fehl-leistungen."

[2] In the German, the correct announcement is, "Connetable schickt sein
Schwert zurück." The novice, as a result of the suggestion, announced
instead that "Komfortabel schickt sein Pferd zurück."

[3] "Aufstossen" instead of "anstossen."

[4] "Begleit-digen" compounded of "begleiten" and "beleidigen."

[5] "Briefkasten" instead of "Brütkasten."

[6] "Geneigt" instead of "geeignet."

[7] "Versuchungen" instead of "Versuche."

[8] "Aufgepatzt" instead of "aufgeputzt."

[9] "Angenommen" is a verb, meaning "to accept."

[10] The young man here said "aufzustossen" instead of "anzustossen."

[11] Prof. Freud here gives the two examples, quite untranslatable, of
"apopos" instead of "apropos," and "eischeiszwaibehen" instead of

[12] From C. G. Jung.

[13] From A. A. Brill.

[14] From B. Dattner.

[15] So also in the writings of A. Maeder (French), A. A. Brill
(English) J. Stärke (Dutch) and others.

[16] From R. Reitler.

[17] In the German Reichstag, November, 1908. "Rückhaltlos" means
"unreservedly." "Rückgratlos" means "without backbone."

[18] "Zum Vorschein bringen," means to bring to light. "Schweinereien"
means filthiness or obscurity. The telescoping of the two ideas,
resulting in the word "Vorschwein," plainly reveals the speaker's
opinion of the affair.

[19] The lady meant to say "Nach Hause," "to reach home." The word
"Hose" means "drawers." The preservating content of her hesitancy is
hereby revealed.

[20] The German reads, "bei meinen Versuchen an Mausen," which, through
the slip of the pen, resulted in "bei meinen Versuchen an Menschen."

[21] "Angenommen" is a verb, meaning "to accept."

[22] Josef Breuer, in the years 1880-1882. Cf. also my lectures on
psychoanalysis, delivered in the United States in 1909.

[23] The reader will recall the example: "things were re-filled."

[24] From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a narrow passage.

[25] Yes, the passage from Calais.

[26] "Vorzug." "Vom Bett hervorziehen."

[27] "Schränkt sich ein."

[28] In Germany tickets may be bought before the day of the performance
only upon additional payment, over and above the regular cost of the
ticket. This is called "Vorverkaufsgebühr."

[29] See frontispiece

[30] "steigen."

[31] "den Frauen nachsteigen," and "ein alter Steiger."

[32] "besitzen," to straddle.

[33] While revising these pages I chanced upon a newspaper article that
I quote here as an unexpected supplement to the above lines.



Mrs. Anna M. the wife of a soldier in the reserve accused Mrs.
Clementine C. of being untrue to her husband. The accusation reads that
Mrs. C. had carried on an illicit relationship with Karl M. while her
own husband was on the battlefield, from which he even sent her 70
Kronen a month. Mrs. C. had received _quite a lot of money_ from the
husband of the plaintiff, while she and her children had to live in
_hunger_ and in misery. Friends of her husband had told her that Mrs. C.
had visited inns with M. and had caroused there until late at night. The
accused had even asked the husband of the plaintiff before several
infantrymen whether he would not soon get a divorce from his "old woman"
and live with her. Mrs. C.'s housekeeper had also repeatedly seen the
husband of the plaintiff in her (Mrs. C.'s) apartment, in complete

Yesterday Mrs. C. _denied_ before a judge in Leopoldstadt that she even
knew M; there could be no question of intimate relation between them.

The witness, Albertine M., however, testified that Mrs. C. had kissed
the husband of the plaintiff and that she had surprised them at it.

When M. was called as a witness in an earlier proceeding he had denied
any intimate relation to the accused. Yesterday the judge received a
_letter_ in which the witness retracts the statement he made in the
first proceeding and _admits_ that he had carried on a love affair with
Mrs. C., until last June. He says that he only denied this relationship
in the former proceeding for the sake of the accused because before the
proceeding she had come to him and begged on her knees that he should
save her and not confess. "To-day," wrote the witness, "I felt impelled
to make a full confession to the court, since I have _broken my left
arm_ and this appears to me as the _punishment of God_ for my

The judge maintained the penal offense had already become null and void,
whereupon the plaintiff withdrew her accusation and the liberation of
the accused followed.

[34] This highly technical concept is explained in _The Interpretation
of Dreams_, Chap. VII, Sec. (b) pp. 422 et seq.

[35] The principal street of Vienna.

[36] I do not mention another obvious interpretation of this "3" in the
case of this childless woman, because it is not material to this

[37] Compare S. Freud, _Totem and Taboo_, 1913.

[38] E. Toulouse, Emile Zola--_Enquête medico-psychologique_, Paris,

[39] There are fagots and fagots.

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