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At the end of this dream, which is clearly charged with anxiety, the dreamer falls out of bed. This is a fresh representation of childbirth. Analytic investigation of the fear of heights, of the dread of an impulse to throw oneself out of the window, has doubtless led you all to the same conclusion.

Who then is the man, by whom the dreamer wishes to have a child, or of whose likeness she would like to be the mother? She often tried to see his face, but the dream never allowed her to; the man had to remain incognito. We know from countless analyses what this concealment means, and the conclusion we should base on analogy is verified by another statement of the dreamer’s. Under the influence of paraldehyde she once recognized the face of the man in the dream as that of the hospital physician who was treating her, and who meant nothing more to her conscious emotional life. The original thus never divulged its identity, but this impression of it in ‘transference’ establishes the conclusion that earlier it must always have been her father. Ferenczi is perfectly right in pointing out that these ‘dreams of the unsuspecting’ are valuable sources of information, as confirming the conjectures of analysis. Our dreamer was the eldest of twelve children; how often must she have suffered the pangs of jealousy and disappointment when it was not she but her mother who obtained from her father the child she longed for!

Our dreamer quite correctly supposed that her first memories of childhood would be of value in the interpretation of her early and recurrent dream. In the first scene, before she was one year old, as she was sitting in her perambulator she saw two horses beside her, one looking at her. This she described as her most vivid experience; she had the feeling that it was a human being. This was a feeling which we can understand only if we assume that the two horses represented, in this case as so often, a married couple, father and mother. It was, as it were, a flash of infantile totemism. If we could, we should ask the writer whether the brown horse who looked at her so humanly could not be recognized by its colouring as her father. The second recollection was associatively connected with the first through the same ‘understanding’ gaze. Taking the little bird in her hand, however, reminds the analyst, who has prejudices of his own, of a feature in the dream in which the woman’s hand was in contact with another phallic symbol.

The next two memories belong together; they make still slighter demands on the interpreter. The mother crying out during her confinement reminded the daughter directly of the pigs squealing when they were being killed and put her into the same frenzy of pity. But we may also conjecture that this was a violent reaction against an angry death-wish directed at the mother.

With these indications of tenderness for her father, of contact with his genitals, and of death-wishes against her mother, the outline of the female Oedipus complex is sketched in. Her long retention of her ignorance of sexual matters, and her frigidity at a later period bear out these suppositions. The writer of the letter became potentially - and at times no doubt actually - a hysterical neurotic. The forces of life have, for her own happiness, carried her along with them. They have awakened in her the sexual feelings of a woman and brought her the joys of motherhood, and the capacity to work. But a portion of her libido still clings to its points of fixation in childhood; she still dreams the dream that throws her out of bed and punishes her for her incestuous object-choice by ‘not inconsiderable injuries’.

And now an explanation, given in writing by a doctor who was a stranger to her, was expected to effect what all the most important experiences of her later life had failed to do! Probably a regular analysis continued for a considerable time would have succeeded in this. As things were, I was obliged to content myself with writing to her that I was convinced she was suffering from the after-effects of a strong emotional tie binding her to her father and from a corresponding identification with her mother, but that I did not myself expect that this explanation would help her. Spontaneous cures of neurosis usually leave scars behind, and these become painful again from time to time. We are very proud of our art if we achieve a cure through psycho-analysis, yet here too we cannot always prevent the formation of a painful scar as an outcome.

The little series of reminiscences must engage our attention for a while longer. I have stated elsewhere that such scenes of childhood are ‘screen memories’ selected at a later period, put together, and not infrequently falsified in the process. This subsequent remodelling serves a purpose that is sometimes easy to guess. In our case one can almost hear the writer’s ego glorifying or soothing itself by means of this series of recollections. ‘I was from infancy a particularly noble and compassionate creature. I learnt quite early that animals have souls as we have, and could not endure cruelty to animals. The sins of the flesh were far from me and I preserved my chastity till late in life.’ With declarations such as these she was loudly contradicting the inferences that we have to make about her early childhood on the basis of our analytical experience, namely, that she had an abundance of premature sexual impulses and violent feelings of hatred for her mother and her younger brothers and sisters. (Besides the genital significance I have just assigned to it, the little bird may also be a symbol of a child, like all small animals; her recollection thus accentuated very insistently the fact that this small creature had the same right to exist as she herself.) Hence the short series of recollections furnishes a very nice example of a mental structure with a twofold aspect. Viewed superficially, we may find in it the expression of an abstract idea, here, as usually, with an ethical reference. In Silberer’s nomenclature the structure has an anagogic content. On deeper investigation it reveals itself as a chain of phenomena belonging to the region of the repressed life of the instincts - it displays its psycho-analytic content. As you know, Silberer, who was among the first to issue a warning to us not to lose sight of the nobler side of the human soul, has put forward the view that all or nearly all dreams permit such a twofold interpretation, a purer, anagogic one beside the ignoble, psycho-analytic one. This is, however, unfortunately not so. On the contrary, an over-interpretation of this kind is rarely possible. To my knowledge no valid example of such a dream-analysis with a double meaning has been published up to the present time. But observations of this kind can often be made upon the series of associations that our patients produce during analytic treatment. On the one hand the successive ideas are linked by a line of association which is plain to the eye, while on the other hand you become aware of an underlying theme which is kept secret but which at the same time plays a part in all these ideas. The contrast between the two themes that dominate the same series of ideas is not always one between the lofty anagogic and the low psycho-analytic, but one rather between offensive and respectable or indifferent ideas - a fact that easily explains why such a chain of associations with a twofold determination arises. In our present example it is of course not accidental that the anagogic and the psycho-analytic interpretations stood in such a sharp contrast to each other; both related to the same material, and the later trend was no other than that of the reaction-formations which had been erected against the disowned instinctual impulses.

But why do we look for a psycho-analytic interpretation at all instead of contenting ourselves with the more accessible anagogic one? The answer to this is linked up with many other problems - with the existence in general of neurosis and the explanations it inevitably demands - with the fact that virtue does not reward a man with as much joy and strength in life as one would expect, as though it brought with it too much of its origin (our dreamer, too, had not been well rewarded for her virtue), and with other things which I need not discuss before this audience.

So far, however, we have completely neglected the question of telepathy, the other point of interest for us in this case; it is time to return to it. In a sense we have here an easier task than in the case of Herr H. With a person who so easily and so early in life lost touch with reality and replaced it by the world of phantasy, the temptation is irresistible to connect her telepathic experiences and ‘visions’ with her neurosis and to derive them from it, although here too we should not allow ourselves to be deceived as to the cogency of our own arguments. We shall merely be replacing what is unknown and unintelligible by possibilities that are at least comprehensible.

On August 22, 1914, at ten o’clock in the morning, our correspondent experienced a telepathic impression that her brother, who was at the time on active service, was calling, ’Mother! Mother!’; the phenomenon was purely acoustic, it was repeated shortly after, but nothing was seen. Two days later she saw her mother and found her much depressed because the boy had announced himself to her with a repeated call of ’Mother! Mother!’ She immediately remembered the same telepathic message, which she had experienced at the same time, and as a matter of fact some weeks later it was established that the young soldier had died on that day at the hour in question.

It cannot be proved, but also cannot be disproved, that instead of this, what happened was the following. Her mother told her one day that her son had sent a telepathic message; whereupon the conviction at once arose in her mind that she had had the same experience at the same time. Such illusions of memory arise in the mind with a compelling force which they draw from real sources; but they turn psychical reality into material reality. The strength of the illusion lies in its being an excellent way of expressing the sister’s proneness to identify herself with her mother. ‘You are anxious about the boy, but I am really his mother, and his cry was meant for me; I had this telepathic message.’ The sister would naturally firmly reject our attempt at explanation and would hold to her belief in the authenticity of her experience. But she could not do otherwise. She would be bound to believe in the reality of the pathological effect so long as the reality of its unconscious premises were unknown to her. Every such delusion derives its strength and its unassailable character from having a source in unconscious psychical reality. I note in passing that it is not incumbent on us here to explain the mother’s experience or to investigate its authenticity.6

The dead brother, however, was not only our correspondent’s imaginary child; he also represented a rival whom she had regarded with hatred from the time of his birth. By far the greater number of all telepathic intimations relate to death or the possibility of death; when patients under analysis keep telling us of the frequency and infallibility of their gloomy forebodings, we can with equal regularity show them that they are fostering particularly strong death-wishes in their unconscious against their nearest relations and have long been thus suppressing them. The patient whose history I related in 1909¹ was an example to the point; he was called a ‘carrion crow’ by his relations. But when this kindly and highly intelligent man - who has since himself perished in the war - began to make progress towards recovery, he himself gave me considerable assistance in clearing up his own psychological conjuring tricks. In the same way, the account given in our first correspondent’s letter, of how he and his three brothers had received the news of their youngest brother’s death as a thing they had long been inwardly aware of, appears to need no other explanation. The elder brothers would all have been equally convinced of the superfluousness of the youngest arrival.

Here is another of our dreamer’s ‘visions’ which will probably become more intelligible in the light of analytic knowledge. Women friends obviously had a great significance in her emotional life. Only recently the death of one of them was conveyed to her by a knocking at night on the bed of a room-mate in the sanatorium. Another friend had many years before married a widower with several (five) children. On the occasion of her visits to their house she regularly saw the apparition of a lady, who she could not help supposing was the husband’s first wife; this did not at first permit of confirmation, and only became a matter of certainty with her seven years later, on the discovery of a fresh photograph of the dead woman. This achievement in the way of a vision on the part of our correspondent had the same intimate dependence on the family complexes familiar to us as had her presentiment of her brother’s death. By identifying herself with her friend she could in the person of the latter find the fulfilment of her own wishes; for every eldest daughter of a numerous family builds up in her unconscious the phantasy of becoming her father’s second wife by the death of her mother. If the mother is ill or dies, the eldest daughter takes her place as a matter of course in relation to her younger brothers and sisters, and may even take over some part of the functions of the wife in respect to the father. The unconscious wish fills in the other part.

¹ ‘Notes upon a Case of Obsessional Neurosis’ 7 I am now almost at the end of what I wish to say. I might, however, add the observation that the instances of telepathic messages or productions which have been discussed here are clearly connected with emotions belonging to the sphere of the Oedipus complex. This may sound startling; I do not intend to give it out as a great discovery, however. I would rather revert to the result we arrived at through investigating the dream I considered first. Telepathy has no relation to the essential nature of dreams; it cannot deepen in any way what we already understand of them through analysis. On the other hand, psycho-analysis may do something to advance the study of telepathy, in so far as, by the help of its interpretations, many of the puzzling characteristics of telepathic phenomena may be rendered more intelligible to us; or other, still doubtful, phenomena may for the first time definitely be ascertained to be of a telepathic nature.

There remains one element of the apparently intimate connection between telepathy and dreams which is not affected by any of these considerations: namely, the incontestable fact that sleep creates favourable conditions for telepathy. Sleep is not, it is true, indispensable to the occurrence of telepathic processes - whether they originate in messages or in unconscious activity. If you are not already aware of this, you will learn it from the instance given by our second correspondent, of the young man’s message which came between nine and ten in the morning. We must add, however, that no one has a right to take exception to telepathic occurrences if the event and the intimation (or message) do not exactly coincide in astronomical time. It is perfectly conceivable that a telepathic message might arrive contemporaneously with the event and yet only penetrate to consciousness the following night during sleep (or even in waking life only after a while, during some pause in the activity of the mind). We are, as you know, of opinion that dream-formation itself does not necessarily wait for the onset of sleep before it begins. Often the latent dream-thoughts may have been being got ready during the whole day, till at night they find the contact with the unconscious wish that shapes them into a dream. But if the phenomenon of telepathy is only an activity of the unconscious mind, then, of course, no fresh problem lies before us. The laws of unconscious mental life may then be taken for granted as applying to telepathy.

Have I given you the impression that I am secretly inclined to support the reality of telepathy in the occult sense? If so, I should very much regret that it is so difficult to avoid giving such an impression. For in reality I have been anxious to be strictly impartial. I have every reason to be so, since I have no opinion on the matter and know nothing about it.8

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