Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Freud gets out of jail again

Freud was a great and tremendously interesting writer, but he could be pretty slippery. Below is a nice example:

  1. A contradiction to my theory of dream produced by another of my women patients (the cleverest of all my dreamers) was resolved more simply, but upon the same pattern: namely that the nonfulfillment of one wish meant the fulfillment of another. 
  2. One day I had been explaining to her that dreams are fulfillments of wishes. Next day she brought me a dream in which she was traveling down with her mother-in-law to the place in the country where they were to spend their holidays together.  Now I knew that she had violently rebelled against the idea of spending the summer near her mother-in-law and that a few days earlier she had successfully avoided the propinquity she dreaded by engaging rooms in a far distant resort.  And now her dream had undone the solution she had wished for;  was not this the sharpest contradiction of my theory that in dreams wishes are fulfilled? 
  3. No doubt;  and it was only necessary to follow the dreams logical consequence in order to arrive at its interpretation.  The dream showed that I was wrong.  Thus it was her wish that I might be wrong, and her dream showed that wish fulfilled (italics original).                                                                         Sigmund Freud, The Interpretations of Dreams (New York: Avon, 1966)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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