The Reality of Dreams

At dawn after a long February night, I had a dream that ended with the following sound image:

A wide river with a completely still surface is damned by a weir. In the middle of it, there is a sluice – the only thing I can see at that point. High, seething waves are rushing through the sluice, carrying away a tangle of old metal that spins across them as if it were wood. Big pieces of rotten girders and heavy chains bump into each other, making one hell of a row.

At that very moment I woke up and, through the window of my sixthfloor flat, I could hear the faint clank of a tin dustbin from which dustmen were dumping rubbish into their lorry.

I went to a doctor-psychoanalyst I knew to ask him to analyse my dream. I also immediately included an explanation of the sound I had heard while waking up. The psychoanalyst reacted to my explanation by shaking his head and making a gesture of refusal; committed to the principles of his school, he considered all my possible sensory perceptions and the entire “somatic material” of dreams so inferior that – in Freud's words – he could not change anything of the actual essence of a dream, which always lies in wish-fulfillment._1 Hence I was subjected to an examination based on the method of free association, during which all that complicated “oneiric work” prescribed to dreams by the Freudian system was gradually applied so as to confirm at the end what was completely clear to the psychoanalytic oneirocritic before he had even begun with my anamnesis: that I have been imprisoned since my early childhood in polymorphous perversions, that I am also a victim of narcissism that I have never liberated myself from the fatal captivity of the Oedipus complex and earl infantile fear of castration.

Even if we are able to restrain ourselves for the time being from arguing about particularities, and even if we are willing to admit that what is usually called the "human soul" hides from others, as well as from itself, a wide range of vices and reluctant wishes, we would still want to know how, in this particular case, the dream transformed all or some of the desires suppressed by shame into an at least partially innocent image of old metal, clanking in its fantastic spin through the sluice. Of course, every psychoanalyst will be willing to admit that the noise under my window was not completely meaningless for the origin of my dream; undoubtedly, he will point out at the same time – in line with Freud's Interpretation of Dreams – that this somatic stimulus could have triggered thousands of other oneiric images and that it is necessary to explain the mechanism which processed this stimulus precisely into this and not some other image.

Indeed, it is necessary to explain this. To explain the oneiric mechanism – all its non-transparent layers, in its entirety as well as all its parts – is the inherent task of every scientific analysis of dreams. The naïve question of why I had precisely this dream today, develops into a complicated problem for scientific research: the task of finding out all the determinants that in this particular case contributed to the emergence of the dream and its images. Being part of the dream imagery, these determinants do not always manifest themselves in their own distinct form; for example, if one determinant of the above-mentioned dream had indeed been the sonic perception of a metallic row, the same sound effect then appeared in my dream in considerably altered form and in an impossibly fantastic framework. I was lucky that, after I had woken up, I realized the real cause of my dream image; when, however, this opportunity for verification is lacking, and when it is therefore possible only to draw a conclusion retroactively based on the observed effect of a possible cause, it is necessary to have a somewhat more reliable concept about how “a dream works,” i.e. how particular determining components are transformed in the consciousness of a dreaming person into the final form of dream images.

Adherents to psychoanalysis are nonetheless convinced that the truth about all this was revealed to the world already a half century ago in Sigmund Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. Let us immediately point out that one who has never been, at least for a while, captivated by the magic of this hook, representing an epoch in modern psychology, should not deal with problems of dreams at all – he probably does not have the intellectual potential for it. He could have been put off by Freud's enthusiasm for unmasking, about which one of his opponents said that it is a “clearly dialectical cunning attempt to rob people of all, but really all ideals”; it would seem then that he is not without some moral prejudices and these comic glasses of illusion will not allow him to see clearly in those fields in which the unfulfilled fantasy reigns.

The issue of sexual symbolism is vast and complex. It is not possible to conveniently narrow it down to oneiric symbolism, and it is not advisable to complicate it by trying to interpret it precisely where access to it is made more difficult by the non-transparent character of dreams. Such a start could serve only those who like to fish in troubled waters; others should rather tackle the problem from its clearer side, which is revealed to us during our life while we are awake.

When we wish our friends a Happy New Year, we send them cards with images of toadstools, pinecones, little chimneysweeps, and horse- shoes. Let us admit without any futile argumentation that these are all sexual, phallic or possibly vaginal symbols. Does it mean that with this type of greeting you "in fact" intended to send images of male and female genitals, but only your moral and ethical principles caused you to send implied symbols of them instead? Or to put it differently: did your "subconscious" want to send perfectly indecent images but your own inner "censorship" interfered in order to reduce this demonstration of your suppressed desire to such a degree that, as a possible compromise between your libido and your civilized manners, you are able to send only a masked representation of sexual organs?

That is how psychoanalysis perceives it. For my part, I am convinced that anybody who is not blinded by doctrine will immediately react with two obvious questions.

First question: if it is really as psychoanalysis claims, why do we want to send pictures of genitals together with our New Year's wishes? And the second question: Along with toadstools and horseshoes, the same cards usually have images of four-leaf clovers, sprigs of mistletoe, twigs of green spruce with a burning candle and a piglet – are these all sexual symbols as well?

Let us advise the psychoanalysts not to bother endlessly with their well-known expositions on the themes of spruce and candles. Smarter - to modify Talleyrand's bon mot – than Freud, smarter than Rank, smarter than Stekel and Jung is M. Tout-le-monde: and this "Mr. Every- body" understands quite well, although he may not fully register it consciously, that four-leaf clovers stand for luck, because it is very rare to find one in a clover patch; that, in the middle of the nature's winter death, sprigs of mistletoe or green needles bring us the hope for its resurrection, which is part of our life as well; that a candle, the same candle that might somewhere else or in some other time be a phallic symbol, is burning on the green tree during the longest winter nights as an expression of our wish for "the light to flare up in the dark" and for more light and warmth to return to our everyday life with the solstice.

This is the only reason that we send, together with our New Year's wishes, pictures of green twigs, burning candles and four-leaf clovers, no matter whether we are fully aware of it or it is just an indistinct feeling: we send them as our wishes for a better, happier life at the threshold of the new year. And similarly, through images of toadstools or horseshoes as implied symbols of genitals, we send the same wish expressed in a pictorial parable of life-giving organs.

On ridges in the middle of fields we often encounter a calvary. Is it really necessary to argue that each one of them has an explicitly phallic shape? It has; only the blind can fail to notice it. But what comes next? Does this explain it all? There remains one more question: why do all these phalluses stand in our fields? They symbolize the male organ, of course; people have been building them next to their fields from time immemorial, but they do not do it in order to release their suppressed desires through compromise between their suppressed libido and suppressive censorship; they do it because they perceive it as a means to secure a good crop: a hyperbolic priapism symbolizes for them the life-giving potency that should be transferred into the surrounding soil.

The same can be said about horseshoes nailed to doors by superstitious people. This is undoubtedly a vaginal symbol; but do not imagine, for goodness sake, that you have explained everything with this simple discovery! No, you haven't; it is still necessary to understand that this symbol was hung here to protect the house and its inhabitants against imaginary forces of destruction and that it can only function as protection because female genitals are in the most literal sense the source of life: their power has, in a transparent materialised form, the function of protecting against the "universal evil" of death, as well as against all that has the flavour of death.

After these few preliminary, generally oriented comments, we may now proceed to the central problem of symbolism, which can be defined as follows: if a person perceives in reproductive organs an objectivistic power of life, which he wants to employ in his battle for life, why does he – if not always, then at least very often – use them as more or less inexplicit implications or more or less non-transparent analogies and allegories – in a word, as symbols, instead of in nature or in naturalistically precise images?

The answer of psychoanalysis is well known: it is because our moral censorship pushes libidinous tendencies deep into our unconsciousness, and the symbol is the result of this "intrapsychic" conflict. In this line of thought, according to Ferenczi, a symbol is a certain type of comparison in which “one element of the equation is pushed into unconsciousness."_2 Freud himself, who, in this case as well as in all other cases, searches for the possibility of genetic interpretation, offers the following explanation: “What is today interconnected symbolically might have been equated through conceptual and verbal identity in primeval times. The symbolic relationship seems to be the remnants and the indication of past existing identity._3

This frightful "initial identity", brought up by Freud with many hypothetical cautels, appears in numerous psychoanalytical tracts as a steadfastly observed fact that documents once more the grey abstractness – shut up in psychiatric clinics and isolated from everyday life conditions – which reflects the tragic predicament of psychoanalytical theories.

Let us first compare with it the very straightforward experience of a hungry prisoner: a snow-covered mound covered with yellow grass vividly reminds him of a plate of mashed potatoes. There was no need for his ancient ancestors to "initially identify" earth with mashed potatoes; it was enough that his empty stomach forced him to subordinate all his thoughts and ideas to the excruciating need for food. If he had been full and felt hunger only for love, the shape of the same mound could have produced the equally vivid association of a female crotch in his consciousness, because there would already have been a different physiological need selectively influencing his associative processes. When you disregard the impact of our physiological needs on our organism, you will be likely – no, you will be obliged – to resort to psychoanalytical myths about primitive man, who allegedly identified "in actuality" or "conceptually" what his cultural offspring associate only "symbolically". Even in our times you can still hear this old witty song in the Czech countryside:

Oh, I, poor maiden,
What have I done,
By not letting my little field
Be ploughed up –

Why does this song refer to female genitals as a "little field" and to sexual intercourse as "plowing"? Maybe it is because people connected these two sets of associations during the New Stone Age. Let their ashes rest in peace: you must certainly understand that this witty ditty would immediately lose its entire emotional charge, all its magic, if you wish, if the poor maiden complained expressly about the fact that she "has not yet experienced coitus." The same can be said about numerous other witty expressions of a similar nature; they can all achieve a strong emotional effect simply by de-automatising the common expression into a metaphor. This does not serve the ignorant any longer, as it does in the case of every standard statement of a relationship between subject and predicate; it assists the wise person: it speaks through a riddle which is transparent enough to be puzzled out with ease but still allegorical enough to give you the same pleasure when presenting it to others as when solving its half-hidden meaning yourself.

This age-old and eternally new intellectual entertainment allows us to participate in the role of the wise, who give a clue or to whom the clue is being given; the act of constructing or noticing the punch line gives us the pleasure of a transient sense of grandeur; at least for a moment it elevates us in our own eyes to the level of Solomon.

Through this simple form of metaphorical expression, it is possible to intensify the emotional impact of any statement that can provoke us emotionally simply by its content – that is, primarily all statements of an erotic nature. Try to think of the most frequently used expressions for sexual organs and sexual acts you know, or read the extensive account of them in Kraus' Anthropophyteia: you will soon see that the vast majority of them are more or less witty metaphors. These metaphors, which, through their ever-new images, de-automatise again and again ordinary or everyday expressions, have an intense emotional effect; they have their own magic – even for those of us who no longer believe in magic. If we believed in magic, we would think of using this emotional magic of metaphor in cases in which we could find no other option but to employ magic means.

An Australian medicine man would certainly find at least a puddle of water in the most parched region if he needed it to perform his magic to bring rain; in reality he does not use water but sand, which he throws into the air and lets fall back on the ground while reciting various spells – this is somewhat reminiscent of rain, but much less so than in if he had used water for his magic. There is no Freudian "initial identity" of water with sand in this, but an intense and candid feeling for the fact that an image has a greater emotional impact than banal reality. Australian aborigines continuously flog huge, long stones during their group rituals in order to "whip up" edible caterpillars and to make the highest possible number of them hatch. The shape of these long stones reminds them of a huge caterpillar, and this image-based association is for Australian primitives "a guarantee" of the magical effect of their action. In fact, a calvary in the middle of fields or a horseshoe on a door performs the same function in a much higher evolutionary stage, precisely because they are simulacra, not naturalistically exact representations. Since suggestion is emotionally more effective than explicit illustrations, the symbolic suggestion of a life-giving organ or life-giving act is "more magical" than its realistic representation and, accordingly, a toadstool is a protective amulet and a chimneysweep brings luck. And we, the people of the twentieth century, still yield to the magic of metaphor, at least when a poet is able to create it for us: the statement that day is dawning does not touch us emotionally, but the expression "the little fire of the day has begun to blaze"_4 creates the mood of a summer morning in its poetic affect.


In what sense can we understand an oneiric symbol? Goethe's definition of a symbol is well known: "This is true symbolism: where the particular represents the general, not as a dream or shadow, but as a vivid direct expression of the impenetrable." According to H. Pongs,_5 a symbol is "a sensual sign, encompassing something non-sensual, spiritual or emotional." A similar interpretation was held by the symbolists in poetry and the fine arts; thus Octave Mirbeau, seeing a drawing by Félicien Rops, could declare with delight: "This woman, what a miraculous symbol of sin!" When C. G. Jung speaks of "symbols of libido," he is approaching the psychoanalytical standpoint, where the Freudian "unconsciousness" replaces Goethe's "impenetrable" and. Pongs' "non-sensual." A bit more modest is Rank and Sach's contribution, when they see in the symbol "a tendency to move from what is conceptual toward what is explicit."_6 Here, as probably in all other cases, Freud himself is again more sober than his heterodox pupils; it is not, however, possible to agree with his proposition that "the dream uses symbolism for the masked articulation of our own latent ideas."_7 I am dealing here only with sexual and oneiric symbols, and it is important to state firmly that they do not function as articulations or replacements of explicit concreteness for an implicit abstraction, no matter whether we label that which is "implicit" as "general," "impenetrable," "conceptual," an "idea," "consciousness," or "libido"; every sexual dream symbol is an abbreviation of a parable, both constituents of which stand on the same level of concreteness and explicitness. Convex objects can symbolize male, concave objects female organs – all those knives, revolvers, blocks of wood, boxes, purses, drawers etc. etc. are neither more concrete, nor more explicit than the organs which they symbolize. And piercing, banging, plowing and so forth can symbolize a sexual act that is neither more abstract, nor more general than the images through which it is symbolized. Every sexual oneiric symbol is only a metaphor, "a small poetic flower" (Jean Paul) that grew out of a provocatively noticeable resemblance between two equally explicit and equally concrete objects or acts; none of them symbolizes "love," "family relationships" or even "death," as is often claimed by Freud's pupils in their fabrications.

Love is in fact a great magician and under the pressure of sexual emotions we can perceive not only every woman as Helen, but also every hollow as a vagina, every bulge as a virile member, and the most innocent activity as a sexual act. But this is precisely why it is completely pointless and somewhat comical to create a kind of catalogue of sexual symbols; in fact, it is clear in advance what could be included in it. There is a need for something else: distinctive methods, a kind of a differential diagnosis in oneiric symptomathology that would determine what we may consider as a sexual symbol in each particular dream image.


Does Sleep, the brother of Death, serve us a sip of water from Lethe before bearing us into the kingdom of dreams? To this day many people are astonished that in their dreams they can forget about events from previous days that have deeply affected their fates; and many of them have been morally upset by inconceivable cruelty that helped them in their dreams to come to terms with the loss of their closest ones, or with other experiences that had shattered them completely only the day before. More than a hundred years ago, the British physiologist Burdach_8 made the very general assertion that "dreams can never contain experiences from everyday life, with all its troubles and delights, with all its pleasures and pains; the purpose of a dream rather lies in liberating us from them"; a half century later, Strümpell_9 repeated basically the same conviction, although without its teleological climax, when stating that "in our dreams we almost entirely lose the memory of the arranged content of our consciousness while awake." To this day, the same opinion, i.e. that our dreams are in fact always based on "what has never happened," has appeared in numerous variations among laymen as well as specialists.

On the other hand, an equally persistent opinion assumes that every dream is a visualization of memories, an evocation of our past. We find it in ancient times in Lucretia and Cicero, in the modern era with Maury and others, and Delgade, in his idiosyncratic manner, incorporated it into his dream theory. There are also those whose position takes into account both these extreme standpoints, such as Hildebrand,_10 for whom a dream creates, so to speak, a kind of dialectical unity of opposites: "on one hand, there is a strict separation of the dream from the real and true life while, on the other hand, there exists a constant interconnection between them, a constant dependency of one on the other"; André Breton has more recently supported this particular point of Hildebrand's._11

This approach, when it is free from its aphoristic stiffness, best corresponds to empirically determinable conditions. Concerning the dependency of waking life and silent experiences of dreams in the "joined vessels" of wakefulness and dreaming, one has to admit that it has broad boundaries, within which it oscillates from practical insignificance all the way to implacable urgency: here, as in numerous other manifestations of human creativity, it all depends on the level of safety in which man lives.


Under ordinary circumstances, our waking life is liberated each morning from dependency on the oneiric experiences of the previous night.

But what about the dependency of dreams on wakefulness? How interrelated can waking experiences be with our night visions?

Prince Charles Joseph de Ligne, a profligate cavalier, hero of the Seven-Year War, diplomat and poet, to whom it was granted to survive the chivalrous age as well as the Great Revolution, expressed himself in his experienced old age on this theme with a Voltairean irony: "Every gentlemen in love writes every day to his beloved that he dreamt about her. That is not true. I do not know whether they write this because their day-time thoughts about the pleasures of life are exhausted, but it is clear, however, that our dreams feature exclusively indifferent things and phenomena we have hardly seen or heard of. I would not feel too bad for having to part with a woman for the night if I could spend it in her arms in my dreams."_12 The fact that nothing has changed until the present day, when the psychoanalysts are so keen on the oneiric fulfillment of wishes, is demonstrated by the already completely non-ironic attitude of André Breton: "One who has ever loved in his life cannot help mourning over the conspiracy of silence and night which spreads over his beloved in sleep, when the spirit of the sleeper is exclusively concerned with entirely meaningless matters."_13

After this expression of sorrow, I would like to point out a somewhat different dejection, one that is felt by those who have been disappointed or outraged by the content of their dreams on the nights after the death of their dearest ones. The night after my mother died, I had a dream in which I was driving a car on the way to a new wedding with my own wife, walking around a swimming pool, picking up plums, hiding under a church tower from falling bombs, and, finally, touching the genitals of a fat woman in military trousers... Nothing more, nothing else, that was all I dreamt about that night. Indeed, I should have felt terribly ashamed, if those who believe in Nietzsche were right in claiming that nothing belongs to us more than our dreams: "Theme, form, time, actor, observer – all of this in those comedies is you yourself!" What a mirror would these dreams hold before us on nights like this one!


Forgetting is a purposeful function of our consciousness. Our memory – the sum of all recollectable traces – has a richly stratified structure: it stores ideas that are entirely exclusive and individualized, which stand as faithful reproductions of apperceived perceptive conglomerates in all their original chronological and spatial uniqueness. Those ideas that are at our disposal in our memory, which gradually lose their mimetic nature as they are progressively transformed into mere clichés, capture on various levels of typification only what was essential to our experiences; and then, finally, in the "deepest," most complex and most organized layers of our memory we find only completely typified ideas, free from all their previous hic et nunc, just as indistinct in detail as they are pronounced in their meaning. The effectiveness of this structure protects us from turning into Apollinaire's "icebergs of memory" - creatures completely unadjusted to life conditions for which a raw mass of faithfully fixed reproductions of previous perceptions would be of no use. According to a well-known proverb, two peas in a pod are alike; however, we would not recognize even a pea if we retained all relevant past perceptions, each unique in its spatial positioning, its distinctive atmosphere, and its relation to simultaneously apperceived objects – only with perfectly faithful reproductions of previous, equally unique perceptions. We may not be able to recall at all either the pea that we saw one summer morning lying among other peas in a pod, or the one we noticed in front of us on the table in a pod on the evening of Tuesday, October 7, 1947, or any other particular pea which we have ever seen; in order to be able to recognize a pea again in any new situation, our memory must contain the typified, generalized image of a pea. This does not mean only its mere appearance along the lines of Gestaltstheorie: in that case we could get confused by each imitation of a pea: neither does it mean, however, that we would have to have a completely exact and entirely abstract idea of a pea, backed up by its definition from comparative biology; nevertheless, it is necessary and sufficient that our memory should have its meaning at its disposal.


Meaning which is first created for us by our memory based on repeated perception is thus something between an idea and a perception; It is no longer exact, but not yet abstract; it has lost the indefiniteness of an idea, but not yet acquired the specificity of perception. It is no longer merely memory, for we cannot recognize any past experience in it: it is now part of our knowledge. This knowledge, this comprehension of meaning, thus forms the most complex "layer" of our memory, the most organized component of its structure, the result of an effective process of forgetting secondary details, the sum of traces of ideas, already dissociated and typified, with the help of which we are able to orientate ourselves within the uncontrollable stream of impulses that reaches us from the outside world. It is a sign of mental health when our memory continues to confront every perception that is at the centre of attention, starting always with the evocation of its meaning.


It is completely understandable that even our oneiric consciousness cannot, after all, reveal anything else to us but what has been once fixed by our individual memory. This fixation could have been very weak and imprecise; therefore it is necessary to have extraordinary hypermnesic states in order that the trace of sustained perception can be recalled, but even in such cases the trace presupposes the original perception. For example, if I had never seen a sluice, if I had never learnt anything about river weirs and the simple mechanism that enables boats and rafts to navigate through them, then my memory would not have stored any idea of a sluice, and I would never have been able to dream about one.

It is possible to apply Locke's sensualist axioms to oneiric consciousness; there is nothing in it that would not have been previously perceived by the senses. They nonetheless apply to dreams with the same limitations as to waking consciousness; that is, they irrefutably apply to every element of dreams, but not to the oneiric whole. In other words, even the most fantastic, extraordinary and astonishing dream chimeras, which could never have been the object of our sensory perception, are in fact always composed from basic elements stored in our memory and mediated by our senses. Of course, imagination is “only” combinations of remembered sensory impressions; however, these combinations are so varied that imagination is capable of building castles in the air with such a complex and pliant architecture that we do not notice its sensory building blocks, which, in any case, do not play an important role in the whole. An analytical search in this direction would never yield much; it would lead us instead into impossible labyrinths.

In my dream, for instance, which I mentioned at the beginning of this essay, an army is attacking the riverbanks and the floating girders and chains are producing one hell of a row. This dream image had nothing to do with any reproduction of real experience, and neither was it an echo of a book, film, or story; but in my waking reality I have certainly seen many girders, chains, weirs, sluices, rivers, riverbanks, and soldiers: what of it? It still remains to be explained how these heterogeneous elements were grouped together into a homogenously dramatized scene. I cannot even find an explanation in “free associations,” about which I am never sure whether they really direct me towards the dream impulses or, on the contrary, divert me towards immediate ideas with absolutely no relationship to the evocative factors of my dream.

If it is at all possible to speak of oneiric experience, then each one of us has probably experienced in his dreams all kinds of things that he has never experienced before or that he never could have experienced in empirical reality. I could never have seen metal chains floating in water; I could never have heard a cat speaking; I could never have flown high above the roofs like a bird: still, in my dreams I have experienced these things very vividly. Maury was guillotined in a dream; he could never have dreamt such a dream if he had previously lived through its content as tragic reality. Few of us have not been murdered many times in their dreams or, even more frequently, their lives have been threatened in ways that could not have been experienced before. It is simply one of the most general experiences that our dreams are not copies of our waking global experiences and that they often cannot possibly be so.

But what about the syntactical elements of oneiric images? Well, in my dream about the sluice, the whole scene does not correspond to anything l have ever seen; but, as for the weir, could I perhaps recognize it as a weir I knew? Could the sluice be a faithful copy of one I had once seen? Or did some of the raw metal pieces, as they kept rattling inside the sluice remind me of some girders, some chains from my concrete experience? My simple answer is: no. The dream was very lifelike and clear, I dreamt it immediately before waking up and I interpreted it immediately after waking up; I also submitted it to a detailed anamnesis and I can say responsibly that none of the elements of this oneiric image had a visual parallel in my memory; none of them was even a distant copy of any of my concrete perceptions.

You may object that I can exclude only fully apperceived perceptions, which, however, does not rule out the possibility that, in my memory, I had traces of subliminally perceived perceptions that arose through oneiric hypermnesis. In response I shall simply and truthfully state that the widest weirs I have had the opportunity to see in my life until now are those on the Vltava River, where it passes through Prague. However, the river in my dream was much wider than the Vltava River at its widest point, and the weir in my dream was also much longer and higher than the biggest weir in Prague. The sluice, seen in my dream in a practically impossible bird’s eye View, was also much bigger than any I could possibly have seen in real life. And, finally, the girders and chains in my dream were drifting through the sluice in impossible positions, so contradictory to all gravitational laws that, in such positions, I would never have been able to see them, or to store them in an unconscious perception. Positively speaking, for every syntactical component of this oneiric image, there was one general image in my memory: of a weir with a sluice "in general,” chains and girders "in general.” In this case, the dream did not recall traces of perceptions, but mnemonic dispositions of their typified meaning, dissociated from all concrete connections. On the other hand, the oneiric experience is infinite and a single dream image is like a drop in the ocean.I do not intend to deny that some oneiric details may be exact copies of real perception in its entire unique concreteness. I must, however, claim that, in my many years of experience, I do not know one single example of such faithful photographical reproduction. Yet it is easy to see that, at least in the vast majority of dreams, the concrete object-based or event-based components of oneiric images cannot be more than merely reminiscent of animate or inanimate objects and events of lived experience.

Translated by Petra Binková and Kirsten Lodge


Sigmund Freud: Die Traumdeutung, 1st edition, p. 158

Contributions to Psychoanalysis, p. 234

Ibid., p. 241

Jan Drda: Městečko na dlani, p. 66.

Das Bild in der Dichtung II, p. 1.

Ibid., p. 11.

Ibid., p. 241.

Die Physiologie als Erfahrungswissenschaft, p. 474.

Die Natur und Entstehung der Träume, p. 17.

Der Traum und seine Verwertung für‘s Leben, p. 8.

Les Vases communicantes, p. 22.

Quoted in Zeitschrift für ärztlichte psychoanalyse III, p. 249.

Ibid., p. 22.