Bertram C. S.
1L5U3,, J3.Sc., It.*.0., JT,E^,

on Dreams just published (Dreams. By Henri Bergson, Translated, with an introduction, by Edwin E. Slosson. London: Fisher Unwin. 1914. 2s. 6d. net). According to the writer the dream is the image of
one's mind in a disinterested condition, not, even though Tin Witt ir

materialism of the Victorian period has much to do with the vogue which Bergson's works have obtained, but in no small respect also do they owe their popularity to the ease and gracefulness of their language and the persuasive manner in which their arguments are brought forward. Of none of his books is this more true than of the charming essay


doubt the

fact that there


a great

and growing







IM INSTITUTE OF 10 L STUDIES FFB201932 English Edition^ 1914 (All rights reserved] .

upon latter it with some indulgence . as failure Joseph and Daniel found it to be . The wise man among the ancients was preeminently the interpreter of dreams. to give satisfaction in this respect led to banishment from court or death. if the with pure contempt. The the of history ability to interpret successfully or plausibly BEFORE dawn was the quickest road to royal favour. we look a dream book. the chances are that it will turn out either an astrological treatise or If the former. For we know .INTRODUCTION mankind was engaged in the study of dreaming. When a scholar laboriously translates a cuneiform tablet dug up from a Babylonian mound it where has lain buried for five thousand years or more.

taken for selfish the spirit of charlatanry. grown That to nothing. a comfortable living out of the poorer rarely classes. and the dreams made a decent at any rate. and the speed of thought. the beginning of the present century. But the to psychologist paid attention dreams except incidentally in his study of imagery. has a matter of energetic study and of fiery controversy the world The cause of this revival of interest is . so long ignored. in all sell Dream books to in preters of cheap editions. assoBut ciation. now a change has come over the spirit of the times. Out of oneiromancy has astronomy. at least was substantially true up languages continued interor. while the study of dreams has proved as unprofitable as the dreamOut of astrology grew ing of them. led at length to physical science. suddenly become over. The subject of the signi- ficance of dreams.6 INTRODUCTION though underreasons and pursued in that the study of the stars.

04- . have been preying upon his mind. whenever they get a chance.INTRODUCTION the 7 new point of view brought forward Professor Bergson in the paper which by is here made accessible to the EnglishThis is the idea that we reading public. but have. for these memories are by no means inert. a life and purpose of their and strive to rise into consciousness own. can explore the unconscious substratum of our mentality. who cure cases of hysteria by inducing the patient to to give expression the secret anxieties and emotions which. our memories are packed away under pressure like steam in a boiler. To use as it Professor Bergson's striking metaphor. even into the semi -consciousness of a dream. unknown to him. That this is more than a mere metaphor has been proved by Professor Freud and others of the Vienna school. the storehouse of our memories. by means of dreams. and the dream is their escape valve. were. The clue to these disturbing thoughts is generally obtained in dreams or similar states of .

impossible to believe that the subconsciousness of every one of us contains It is nothing but the foul and monstrous speci- mens which they dredge up from the mental depths of their neuropathic patients and exhibit with such pride. and expresses desires or fears to which we refuse ordinarily to admit consciousness. intruders slip In this the hands past him in of fanatical Freudians theory has developed the wildest extravagances. and the voluminous literature of psycho-analysis contains much that seems to the as the stuff layman quite as absurd which fills the shilling dream book. Bergson's view seems to me truer as .8 INTRODUCTION According to the relaxed consciousness. watchman is A stationed at the gate of consciousness to keep them back. either because they are painful or because they are repugnant to our moral nature. but sometimes these unwelcome disguise. It is symbolic. Freudians a dream always means something. but never what it appears to mean.

the redoubtable Tyltyl unlocks the cage where are conchildhood. There may be nightmares down cellar. which. the good as well as the evil. the pleasant certainly together with the unpleasant. as we thought as a child. though they fade and die in when brought into the light of to common day. that we keep stored away somewhere all our memories. Maeterlinck.INTRODUCTION it is 9 more agreeable. scene of his fairy play. knew this trick of our When in the Palace of Night. nightmares and all other evil he shuts the door in time to imaginings fined the . but lives everlastingly. after apples take down a light and slam the door quickly on coming up. keep them and then opens another revealing a lovely garden full of blue birds. The new science of to encourage him continue his dreams the is giving a deeper significance trite wish " 1 of It " Good-night and pleasant dreams means sweet sanity . too. yet search for the Blue Bird that never fades. dodge them when we went that is. but even in those days we knew how to .

and mental pure thoughts and goodwill to all men. and the effect of his eloquence of delivery sonality. During the present generation chemistry American people . When Professor Berg- son visited the United States two years ago the lecture -rooms of Columbia University. Professor Bergson's theory of dreaming here set forth in untechnical language. message was enhanced by his and charm of perThe pragmatic character of his as is philosophy appeals to the genius of the shown by the influence of the teaching of William James and John Dewey. like those of the College de France. of his With the main philosophy the Englishreading public is better acquainted than features with any other contemporary system. fits into particular niche in his general system of philosophy as well as does his a little book on Laughter.10 INTRODUCTION health. whose point of view in this respect resembles Bergson's. were packed to the doors. for his books have sold even more rapidly here than in France.

He upon the chance bounty of is beginning consciously to adapt means to ends and to plan for the future even in the field of politics. drugs and foods. overlord stage. He has opened up the atom and finds in it a microcosm more complex than the solar He beholds the elements meltsystem. He drives the lightning through the air and with the product feeds his crops. remodelling it in accordance with his ever-varying needs and increasing ambitions. to suit his tastes. instead of depending nature. This modern man. of the Man is mineral. ing with fervent heat. and making. and he turns their rays to the healing of his sores. He makes the desert to blossom as the rose.INTRODUCTION criptive to 11 and biology have passed from the desthe the creative becoming vegetable. finds Paley's watch as little to his mind as Lucretius's blind flow of . and animal kingdoms. He is learning to make gems and perfumes. He treats the earth as his habitation. contriving. planning. and out of the sea he draws forth dry land.

To minds temperament it is no wonder that Bergson's Creative Evolution came with the force of an inspiration. of vitality. personality Bergson has been reluctant to commit . yet finally in some way or other forces it to its will. Men felt themselves akin to this upward elan impulse. for he finds of this it not invalid but inadequate. and ever strives toward the increase . which. this vital. and would extend experimentally as far as it will go.12 INTRODUCTION A universe wound up once for all and doing nothing thereafter but mark time is as incomprehensible to him as a universe that never had a mind of its own atoms. The idea of eternal recurrence does not frighten him as it did Nietzsche. for he feels it to be impossible. mentality. The mechanistic interpretation of natural the last phenomena developed during century he accepts at its full value. and knows no difference between past and future. struggling the ages with the intractable throughout ness of inert matter.

the . to prolong the remembrance If one could see all that takes place in movements. In opening address before the Society. The role membrance of the brain is to bring back the re- one would find that that which takes place there corresponds to a small part in the interior of the brain.INTRODUCTION 13 himself on the question of immortality. only of the extracts bral life of the life mind. The cererepresentation to the mental life what the movements the is of the baton of a conductor are to the The brain. he discussed the question of telepathy. of The brain simply from the capable of life is mind that which is in movement. May 28. quote from the report the London Times in of an action. then. which allows the mind It is to adjust itself exactly to circumstances. his of persistence of This at least we might the from recent acceptance his presidency of the British Society for Psychical Re- search. and in that connection he explained his theory of the relation of mind and brain I : in the follow- ing language. 1913. He even goes so far as that to think it possible we may personal find experimental after infer evidence death. but he of late has become quite convinced of it. that Symphony.

It was published 8. to render its action more efficacious. dreams.14 INTRODUCTION life. 1901. mental alienation are nothing else. the foundation of the theory of dreams which Professor Bergson first presented in a lecture before the Institut psychologique. however slightly. An English transla- . and to form a vague fringe around the distinct recollections. manage nevertheless to appear also. Certain useless recollections. scientifique of June 1901. abnormal cases. ranged. in the March Revue 26. the fitted to the circumstances mind is no longer Many forms of in regard to the is memory. This is what we observe . but that there should yet be around those perceptions a fringe of vague perceptions. It would not be at all surprising if perceptions of the organs of our senses. This conception of mental action forms. Those would be precisely the cases with which psychical research would deal. where the role of the brain useless part of our past in order to allow only the useful remembrances to appear. as will be seen. useful perceptions. organ of attention to Should it become de- it wanders. were the result of a selection or of a canalization worked by the organs of our senses in the interest of our action. capable of becoming more distinct in extraordinary. or dream rememto mask the brances. But from this it results that one of the roles of the brain is to limit the vision of the mind.

also. however. several psychologists. a to theory which has since been adopted by In this address. which he. revised 15 by the author and printed in The Independent of October 23 and 30. that He showed. he set forth the idea. so far as I know.INTRODUCTION tion. was the is first sleep a state of formulate. not so unlike the ordinary of perception as had been hitherto process supposed. Both use sense impressions as dreaming crude material to be moulded and defined by the aid of memory images. lie in the general reader the explanation it gives him of the cause of some of his . here appears for the book form. Its chief interest for will. was brought first into consideration for the time the idea that the self may go through different degrees of tension a theory referred to in his Matter and Memory. too. is in the first place. Here. first 1913. time in In this essay Professor Bergson made several contributions to our knowledge of dreams. that disinterestedness.

and so come to an understanding of the vagaries of that mysterious and inseparable companion. his dream-self. He may by practice become the interpreter of his own visions.16 familiar INTRODUCTION dreams. . EDWIN E SLOSSON.

obscure. raises so many questions of all kinds. to dis- pense with preamble. I speak to them and I hear what there is no one there and they answer I have not It is all as if real spoken. then 17 2 . order it to be treated in a complete manner development that I shall and ask your permission all requires such a long we have so little space. chological. to to set aside unessentials. seem to . and . A dream is there I perceive objects I there see men nothing . and go at once to the heart of the question. difficult. things and real persons were there. is this. some psyothers physiological and metain physical .DREAMS THE is subject which it I have to discuss here so complex.

sometimes. there? on has disappeared. First.18 DREAMS all waking persons and happen ? But. a this black background. little by little. many things. to our mean. with certain people.. is it I true that there is nothing there not presented a certain sense material to our eyes. But tion. etc. in general. How does is first. sleep as well as during waiting? Close the eyes and look attentively at what goes on in the field of our vision. just give the requisite effort of atten- and you will distinguish. both this things. on the contrary. spots of many colours. ears. ing. slowly and sedately. that they see nothing. sometimes very dull. during. Upon black background occasionally brilliant points which come and go. rising and descendMore often. Many persons questioned on this point would say that nothing goes on. No wonder at this. so brilliant that reality can- . for a certain amount of practice is necessary to be able to observe oneself satisfactorily. to our touch.

not compare with


These spots spread and shrink, changing form and colour, Someconstantly displacing one another.

change sometimes again it
tiginous rapidity.




slow and gradual, a whirlwind of verall

Whence comes






psychologists have studied " of colours. Ocular spectra,"


play coloured

phosphenes," such are the names that they have given to the phenomenon.

They explain

slight modiwhich occur ceaselessly in the circulation, or by the pressure that


by the





upon the







But the explanation of the phenomenon and the name that is given
optic nerve.




occurs universally




say at once


principal material of

dreams, on."



which we shape our as dreams are made

Thirty or forty years ago, Maury and, about the same

M. Alfred time, M.



d'Hervey, of St. Denis, had observed that




coloured spots and moving date, fix themselves, take on definite outlines, the outlines of the objects

asleep these forms consoli-

and of the But persons which people our dreams. this is an observation to be accepted with caution, since it emanates from psychologists already half asleep. More recently an American psychologist, Professor Ladd, of Yale, has devised a more rigorous method,




It consists in requires a sort of training. the habit on awakening in the acquiring

of keeping the eyes closed and retaining for some minutes the dream that is fading from the field of vision and soon


would doubtless have faded from

that of

objects of

Then one sees the figures and the dream melt away little by

phosphenes, identifying themselves with the coloured spots that the eye

really perceives One reads, for


the lids are closed.



example, a newspaper One awakens and the dream.








only a white with black marks here and there spot that is the reality. Or our dream takes
definite outlines are erased,

upon the open sea round about us the ocean spreads its waves of yellowish grey with here and there a crown of white







lost in


and half grey, sown with brilliant points. The spot was there, the brilliant points were there. There was really presented to our perceptions, in sleep, a visual dust, and it was this dust which served for the fabrication
of our dreams.

Will this alone suffice




ing the sensation of sight, we ought to add to these visual sensations which we


call internal all

those which continue

come to us from an external source. The eyes, when closed, still distinguish light from shade, and even, to a certain
from one another. These sensations of light, emanating from without, are at the bottom of many of our
extent, different lights

finds himself transported to the midst of the fountain in the public square . to Toulon. Bertrand dreams that he is in the marine He infantry where he formerly served. He He wakes with a rays of light lantern which toward M bed in passing.22 DREAMS A if dreams. scenes. dream dominated by the image of fire. a sleeper. which his is on fire. his me M. " to cite to you two observations of theatre of Tissie B on this subject: Leon dreams that the is Alexandria the on fire whole place. Permit the idea of a burning building. suggest to the slumber is not too deep. to Loriet. part terrible start . the flame lights up All of a sudden he . to Constantinople. etc. a line of fire runs along the chains which connect the great posts placed around the margin. to Crimea. takes Then he in finds himself in Paris at the exposition. candle abruptly lighted in the for room example. will. his eyes catch the projected by the dark the night nurse flashes goes to Fort -de -France. He .

A. Very different are those which are suggested by a mild and continuous light like that of the moon. leap sees lightning. for .DREAMS 23 He from the mouths of cannon. he hears thunder. lapped in perpetual slumber. he was wakes with a start. caressing the eyes of the evoked before him virginal appa- not suppose that such might have been the origin in antiquity of the fable of Endymion Endymion the May we shepherd. he takes part in a combat in which he sees fire wakened by a flash of light projected from the dark lantern of the night nurse." Such are often the dreams provoked by a bright and sudden light. Like B. ritions. moon. this image melted into that of the full moon which darted its rays upon him.. It is a curious thing that one might cite other examples of dreams where the rays of the sleeper. Krauss tells how one day on awakening he perceived that he was extending his arm toward what in his dream appeared to him to be the Little by little image of a young girl.

but which are Besides clearly distinguished in sleep. etc. cries. the with of love while he have are spoken the visual sensations. into conversation. sleeps I goddess Selene. according to circumstances.24 DREAMS the is ? whom moon. Immediately he dreamt that he heard the tocsin and took part in the events of June 1848. difficult to isolate and perceive while awake. when once asleep. Such observations and experiences . to that we continue. music. hear external sounds. The creaking to of crackling of the fire. They role. First. that smitten is. furniture. auditory But the principal sensations nevertheless play a ones. the such are the sounds which come ear of the sleeper and which the to the dream converts. sensations of buzzing. of tinkling. the ear has also its internal sensations. the rain beating against the window. of whistling. the wind playing its chromatic scale in the chimney. singing. Scissors were struck against the tongs in the ears of Alfred Maury while he slept.

above all. us to hear sounds in a dream. The phenomenon is easily enough in It is in general necessary for explained. nevertheless. then. a dream would find it hard to we when we manufacture sonority. numerous. To whom has it not happened as M. to dream a whole conversavisual than we think. But let us hasten to say that sounds do not play in our dreams so Our dreams important a role as colours. Max Simon has remarked to talk in a dream with a certain person.DREAMS are 25 . There is much more sensations to of touch than about say about the those of . He was a simple exchange of thought between them. tion. nothing has been heard. and even more are. a very clear conversation. visual. From nothing can make nothing. that he has not spoken. And are not provided with sonorous material. that his interlocutor has not uttered a single word. all of a sudden. that it which. a singular phenomenon strikes the attention of the and perceives that he does not speak. dreamer.

DREAMS but I must hasten. modify them or Often arrange them in their own way. We could talk for hours about the singular phenomena which result from the confused sensations of touch during sleep. in this our us dream through attire at moment it taking to the the street. I cite this dream because it is frequent. oneself flying through the air or floating in space. There is another which many of us must It consists of feeling have experienced. Once having had be quite sure that this it it dream. the we are lightly is Then. We are ourselves astonished in the drearn.26 hearing. is that we present ourselves simple the passers-by. will one may . but that gaze of never appears to astonish other people. These sensations mingling with the images which occupy our visual field. in the midst of the night the contact of our body with itself felt all at its light clothing makes if once and reminds us that clothed. without their appearing to be astonished by it. re- appear and every time that recurs the .

not believing yourself asleep. is on one side only fly.DREAMS dreamer reasons had before now real thing. nevertheless. ing the earth. if you undertake it immediately. but this time that the has certainly proved to me we may free ourselves from the law if of gravitation. the conclusion in is natural you are : floating space. You will see that you feel very clearly that your feet are not touch- And. you can analyse without difficulty. since you are not lying down and yet your feet do not feel the resist- ance of the that ground. It 27 ' in this way : I have is in a dream the illusion it of flying or floating. and that the sensation of effort for flight coincides with the real sensation given you by the pressure of your body ." this Now. Therefore. you make an at that this effort to And if you woke that moment you would the find side is one on which you are lying. you wake abruptly from it dream. you have lost sight of the fact that you are lying down. Notice this also panies the that when it levitation accom- flight.

mounting. in joined is to the illusion to of floating space. ing. effect its transformation into forms and colours. This feelfinally growing moment by moment.28 DREAMS This sensation of presagainst the bed. side by side and of unequal height. Max Simon tells of having a strange and somewhat painful dream. becomes a pure and simple sensation of effort and. so to speak. It is sufficient produce the dream. dissociated from its cause. he could not accomplish it. interesting to see that these sensations of pressure. one of two his legs He then perceived that folds was caught by the of the bedclothes in such a feet way levels that his were on different for was impossible him to and it bring them . M. which for some But reason or other he had to equalize. awakened him. He dreamt that he was confronted by two piles of golden coins. sure. to the level of and taking advantage of the luminous dust which fills it. This produced our visual field a feeling of extreme anguish.

of acuity. immanent V in the tactile sensations during sleep. as well distracted We live by practical action. which I at least. properly speaking. There is.DREAMS together. more particularly. It happens fre- quently that persons subject to laryngitis. One cannot imagine the degree of sharpness. More important still than the tactile sensations. tions deep-seated sensa- emanating from all points of the organism and. But sleep makes us retire They doubtless already exist during waking. a in this tendency to visualize themselves and enter form into the dream. . outside of ourselves. are the sensations which pertain to what is sometimes called internal touch. from the viscera. inequality. is the hypothesis propose) one or more yellow spots. But we are then into ourselves. 29 sensation of From this the visual field making an irruption into the and there encountering (such. which may be obtained during sleep by these interior sensations. expressed itself visually by the inequality of the two piles of gold pieces. then.

that philosophers like Schopenhauer have seen in the dream a reverberation. There are cited maladies and . More recently. as it were. We need not be astonished. dream that they are attacked by their affection and experience a disagreeable tingling on the side of their throat. and finally that physicians like Artigues have written treatises on the semeiological value of dreams. then. in the heart of consciousness. attacks of epilepsy. etc. M.. DREAMS etc. our organs the power of provoking a welldetermined kind of dream which represents it. When grave accidents. that is to say.. the method of making use of dreams for the diagnosis of certain maladies. symbolically . cardiac affections. awakened. they feel nothing more. which have been foreseen. and. as it were. prophesied in dreams.30 amygdalitis. and believe it an illusion but a few hours later the illusion becomes a reality. of perturbations emanating from the sympathetic nervous system and that psychologists like Schemer have attributed to each of . .

far from being narrowed during sleep at all points. Our senses conit tinue to be active. is on the contrary directions. of 31 whom we specific shown how have just spoken. and circulatory apparatus. in It us only confused impressions.DREAMS Tissie. often loses in energy. has dreams are connected with affections of the digestive. sense perception. it gains in extension. is true. that our senses are closed to external sensations. it is not necessary to believe. when we Thus our faculty of only for ourselves. what to field of operations. respiratory. I will summarize what I have just been When we are sleeping naturally. is extended. saying. They act. as has often been supposed. These impressions are the materials of our brings . but in compensation " " they embrace a host of subjective impressions which pass unperceived when we are awake for then we live in a world of perceptions common in to all men and live which reappear sleep. with less precision. in it at least in certain It its true that tension.

decision ? material us upon the indecision This form is our that memory Let note first the dream in Doubtless there general creates nothing. they do not suffice to produce them. because they are vague and indeterminate. literary. which deploy before us when our that of those eyes are closed. and I scientific production in only the well-known anecdote told of Tartini.32 DREAMS But they are only the materials. was trying to compose a sonata and the . or the fagade of a new house with dark blinds. may be cited some examples of artistic. never have well-defined contours. is Who will will choose of What its the form that imprint this . or any number ? of other things. To speak only play the principal role. will recall As he poser of the eighteenth century. the changing colours and forms. to the They may represent dreamer the page of a book. dreams. They do not suffice to produce thern. Here are black lines upon a white background. a violinist-com- dreams.

We distinguish tain between history and legend. But read the chapter carefully. who seized his violin and played with master hand the desired sonata. who is talent for analysis." endowed with a rare explains to us his least this author. able to find anything more than that of the contemporary English In a very curious novelist. " essay entitled A Chapter on Dreams. or at sketched in dreams. certain time in his to it You life will see that at a Stevenson had come be in an habitual psychical state where was very hard for him to say whether he was sleeping or waking. us under the name of But it "The Sonata. he went to sleep and he saw in a dream the devil. how stories have the most original of been composed.DREAMS 33 music remained recalcitrant. Stevenson. That appears to me to be the truth. should have auto-observations of cerNow I have not been authenticity. regard to such old cases. Tartini wrote It it out from has come to Devil's in memory when he woke. When the mind 3 ." is very to difficult.

They may be very old memories. it In sleep. we are not really asleep. drawn from the most is obscure depths of our past often are. of broken memories which have fragments been picked up here and there and mingled by chance. or at least is that labours sleeps. almost unconOr they may be sciously. composing an incoherent and unrecognizable whole. in sleep which absorbs our whole personality. they may that be. . Before these bizarre assemblages of images which . properly speaking. that it is a dream. memories of objects we have perceived distractedly. part of ourselves which not the same as that which We cannot say. problem. then. while awake. to produce a living work of the imagination. memories and only memories which weave the web of our dreams.34 creates. But often we do not recognize them. I DREAMS would say when which certain is it is capable of giving the effort of organization and synthesis over a necessary to triumph a solve to difficulty. forgotten during waking hours.

and the whole surface and interior of his body. his ears. is the ! memory. occupying our mind in turn. and so on indefinitely. determined objects the vague and indistinct sensations that the dreamer receives from his eyes. our intelligence (which is far from surrendering the reasoning faculty during sleep. to fill tries the lacunae. I do not insist this point for the upon moment. demand in their turn a new But explanation.DREAMS 35 present no plausible significance. as has been asserted) seeks an explanation. that the formative power of the materials furnished to the the different senses. the dream by 1 power which con- verts into precise. in order to answer the question which I have propounded. In a waking state Memory we have indeed memories which appear and disappear. It fills them by calling memories which. presenting themselves often with the same deforma- up other tions and the same incoherences as the preceding. It is sufficient for me to say. But they are always memories which are .

in order to instruct him as to what he ought to do. In man memory but is doubtless less the it slave of action. The memories that we evoke while waking. and particular act orients in a certain direction the activity my memory. at a solid whole. are always connected with it in some way. d'Hervey on dreams I that beof cause am discussing this the subject of dreams. the book is of M.36 DREAMS our present occupation. Our memories. advantageous or injurious consequences which have formerly arisen in analogous circumstances. whose point is inserted precisely into our But behind the memories present action. there any given moment. form . recall at this moment . in any circumstance. our present I closely connected with our present situation. an animal? What the is the role of memory in It is to recall to him. so to speak. action. still sticks to it. however distant they may at first appear to be from the present action. which are concerned in our occupations and are revealed by means of it. a pyramid.

in all which previously has fixed and guided words. Then . first and that all that perceived. most felt. thought. but they do not even try to rise they know that it is impossible. thousands of stored below the scene illuminated by consciousYes. in that I am asleep.DREAMS are ness. preserved even to the details. infinitesimal and that we forget nothing. surindestructibly. But suppose that. willed. my memory suppose. have raised the trapdoor which has kept them beneath the I have taken . to the light. at a given moment. perhaps. and as a living and acting being. others. have to it . I become in disinterested in the the present action present situation. other these memories. awakening of our consciousness. I believe indeed that all our past life is there. we have from the vives But the memories in which are preserved these obscure depths are there in the state of invisible phantoms. perceiving that away the obstacle. something else to do than to occupy myself with them. in short. They aspire. that I. 37 others.

want to get through. among parts of the organism. arise from the they move. They rush together to the door which has been left ajar.38 floor DREAMS of . memories which aspire to fill the phantom themselves with colour. . in short with materiality. tionship with the present situation. with saw and heard around me. the memories which forced their way were those which could involve claims of rela- They all . more indecisive sounds which affect my ear. the only ones that succeed are those which can assimilate . more indistinct touches which are what I distributed over the surface of my body. but there are also the more numerous sensations which arise from the deepest So. which will be chosen? It is not hard to say. Now it is more vague images which occupy my sight. they pernight of unconsciousness a great dance macabre. with sonority. form in the But they cannot there are too many of them From the multitudes which are called. consciousness. Formerly. then. when I was awake. depths they rise.

DREAMS themselves with the colour-dust that 39 we perceive. Prince. have studied with such penetration and ingenuity. B. the effected philosopher Plotinus.) (1901) the logists. etc. the external and internal sensations that we catch. When published in Boston by Dr. but "psychodeutung) analysis" was far from having the development that it has to day. Left to her own forces she can never to life. but sketches them only. In a poetic page of the Enneades. (H. explains to us how men come Nature.. respond to the affective tone of our general sensibility. he says. and which. (See in particular the recent volumes of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. complete the task. Morton the above address was delivered work of Freud on dreams (Die Traumhad been already published. we have a dream. inhabit the world of In- where Author's note (1913). souls 1 On the other hand. is 1 When this union between the memory and the sensation. interpreter and continuator of Plato. Ideas.) . This would be the place " repressed especially will intervene those desires" which Freud and certain other psychoespecially in America. besides. sketches the living bodies.

I may compare to these detached souls the memories soul. The body. among all the bodies. and attracted. fascinated by the image. but airy and lifeless. and among these there are those which recognize themselves in some particular body. in the On obscurity of the unconthe other hand. It falls.40 DREAMS capable in themselves of acting. they float beyond space and beyond time. lets itself fall. coloured. vibrant and almost living. not even thinking of action. looking and the plunged scious. the soul hand which of nature. But. The memory is complete. . rises it toward complete the might give upon body and believing that it perceives its own image as in a mirror. our nocturnal these sensations resemble incomplete The sensation is warm. which does not come altogether viable from the life . The sensation wishes to find a form on which to mould the vagueness of its conbodies. and this fall is life. but vague. there are some which form specially respond by of their to the aspirations some souls particular souls .

. The truth is that you see in each word and even in each member of a phrase only some letters enough for you to or even some characteristic marks. becomes a being with a life of its own. and They are drawn toward each other the phantom memory. The It then no mystery. to fill it. when you look your newspaper.DREAMS tours. just to enough permit you to divine the rest. The mechanism in of the dream is the same. . a dream. resembles the birth of all our percepbirth of a is dream tions. it. object. general.in short to realize . as that of normal perception. do you suppose that all the printed letters really come into your consciousness ? In that case the whole day would hardly be long read a paper. 41 The memory would obtain matter to ballast it. When you through read a book. When we what we perceive a real actually see the sensible matter of our perception is very little in comparison with what our memory adds to it. incarnated in the sensation which brings to it flesh and blood.

" etc. They began by determin- ing experimentally the time necessary for It was seeing one letter of the alphabet. tion. of the thirty or forty . then easy to arrange it so that the observer could not perceive more than eight or ten letters." Preface to the fourth edition. too short for had been written. " These experi- menters wrote or printed some formulas no admission. and did not know. But they took care to write the words incorrectly. Miiller. scheider in " and use. Then the was illuminated by the electric the observer to be able to perceive really all the letters. of course. that you think you see. changing and. The person who served as the subject of the experiment was Positively common placed before them. These sentences were exposed in a darkened room. omitting letters.42 DREAMS All of the rest. you really give yourself as an hallucina- There are numerous and decisive experiments which leave no doubt on this I will cite only those of Goldpoint. what inscription light for a very short time. above all. for example.

of course. this letter. on account of the general The ought characters which have really affected the eye have been utilized only to serve as an sense. to enter into the phrase. It is thus demonstrated that . these may be. projects the remembrance externally in an hallucinaIt is this remembrance.DREAMS letters 43 composing the formula. but there may be also absent either letters that we replaced by others or that have simply been omitted. that the observer appropriate has seen. discovering remembrance. however. i. letters.e. But that is not for us the most instructive point of this experiment. finding the formula to which these characters give a start toward realization. Thus an observer will see quite distinctly in full light a letter if which does not exist. not the words themselves. Usually. the This memory. and tory form. If the observer is asked what are the letters that he is sure of having seen. he read the entire phrase without difficulty. indication to the unconscious memory of the observer. the letters really written.

and by itself was in the this complete memory. It . an operation is continually going on which is of quite the same nature as that of the dream. of the partial realization that they find here and there in . to a certain extent. that : we is perceive. order to completely realize themselves Thus. Besides. This sketch appeals to the complete memory. We perceive merely a sketch of the object. which either unconscious or simply state. a shorter very much quicker done process than to see the thing itself. profits thought by the occathis sion to come out. but not of abstract divination. there are many interesting observations to be it made upon the conduct and memory images during this attitude of the operation.44 DREAMS rapid reading is in great part a work of divination. It is kind of a real hallucination. in the waking state and in the knowledge that we get of the real objects which surround us. inserted and fitted into It is frame. It is an externalization of memories which take advantage.

under more or less tension. but which resembled it in its different significance. it is as if they pressions. while the observer was perceived. Miinster. not common were isolated words phrases they taken by chance. were. This is : . of Miinsterberg. berg wrote the words correctly they . it Here again the word was exposed during be entirely Now. were then grouped to in families according their There earlier Miiller. which appear to me to confirm although they were made different for a very purpose.DREAMS is 45 not necessary to suppose that they are in our memory in a state of inert im- They are like the steam in a boiler. besides. some one looking spoke in his ear another word of a very the time too short for to what the observer declared that he happened had seen a word which was not the written word. relationship are experiments and resemblances. than those of Goldscheider and this hypothesis. At the moment when the perceived sketch calls them forth. at the written word.

" consolation. rail. begun to realize." The observer read tunnel.46 DREAMS its general form. and which besides recalled. and such is that of the dream. one hand. real both cases there are." " The written word was " Trieste and the " Verzweispoken word was the German " The observer read flung (despair). .). the word written tumult " and the word spoken was " railroad." Trost. trip. and the memory which succeeds in coming into consciousness is that which the actually present sensation had already (car. Such is the mechanism of true percepIn tion." pronounced was " 1 in the ear. it. on impressions organs of sense. wakened. by in his ear. and upon the other memories which encase themselves in the impression and the profit made upon by its vitality to return again to life. etc." which signifies " It is as if the word railroad. the word which was spoken For example. without our knowing of hopes conscious the realization " in a " crowd of memories which have some tionship rela- with idea of railroad But this is only a hope. " meaning.

I repeat? What are the psychological characteristics of the sleeping state? We a must distrust theories. what is 47 the essential differ- ence between perceiving and dreaming? What is sleep? I do not ask. in closing Some say the senses to outside things. difference. and it exercises itself as we have just seen on elements analogous to those of waking. that they provide us with . But we have shown that our senses continue to act during sleep. then. That I and. on sensations and memories and also in an analogous manner combines them.DREAMS But. Nevertheless we have on the one hand normal perception. logically. of course. that sleep consists in isolating oneself from the external world. is far from being settled. There are this great many of them on point. mind continues to exercise itself when we are asleep. how sleep can be is explained a special physioquestion. What is the . besides. and on the other the dream. for our ask what is sleep psychologically .

of most of our dreams. a dream we become no doubt indifferent to logic." and they talk of a kind of momentary I do not paralysis of the higher centres. indeed. can be nothing more than a bizarre reasoning which verges upon I recognize. when he strongly desires to explain it. In think that this is much more exact. that the mistake of the dreamer often in reasoning too much. that generally the logic of a dreamer is feeble enough and often re- . superior intellectual faculties are re- laxed in sleep. There might are dreams ness when we and even with reason with correctsubtlety. that our absurdity. To go to sleep is to stop the action say : of the superior faculties of the mind.48 the outline. at the risk of seeming paradoxical. his explanation. but not incapable of logic. intended to bind together incoherent images. He would avoid the absurdity if he would remain a is simple spectator of the procession of But images which compose his dream. * DREAMS or at least the point of Some departure. I almost say.

very difficult. out of a dream. It is closing of the senses.DREAMS 49 sembles a mere parody of logic. since ourselves in the we cannot analyse dream itself. personal experience. upon and as try to express by words what we experience This is in this passage. plished by forcing the attention. that he was 4 . that . we should from the watch waking. One must make the decisive experiment upon It is necessary that on coming oneself. the transition sleeping transition to follow closely as possible. any more than by the during sleep. but may be accom- Permit. Now the dreamer dreamed that he was speaking before an assembly. we characterize dreaming Something else is essential. and to tell of a recent dream as well as what was his own accomplished on coming out of the dream. We need an intimate contact with the facts. We need something more than theories. But one might say as much of all of our faculties then not by the abolition of reasoning. the writer to take an example from then.

. should turn to the dreaming ego. just reappearing. augmented. and finally there resounded from all parts timed " ! to a ! uniform " rhythm the cries. I shall not let ! . Well. murmur The murmur it became a muttering. during some instants I at least. a frightful tumult. torium a Then in the speech before a political midst of the audirose.50 DREAMS political making a assembly. which The waking and. Then it became a roar. hold it without letting it go. Out Out At that moment he wakened. A dog was baying in a neighbouring garden. is still there. Now. here was the infinitesimal moment which it is ! ! necessary to seize. I was doing nothing and this is just where you and I differ from barking. and with each one of his " Wow-wows " one of the cries of " Out " Out seemed to be identical. ego. ' You thought it have caught you at it was a crowd shouting and it was a dog ! go of you until you tell me just what you were " To which the dreaming ego doing " would answer.

and you bring this formidable mass of memories to converge upon a single point. then. You take your entire to That memory. tinually.DREAMS one another. Nay. to it 51 that in order You imagine hear a dog barking. siderable effort. coat pulls together the pieces of cloth that he adjusts to the shape of your body in order to pin them. an . all your accumulated experience. for between the memory you evoke and the crude sensation that you perceive there must not be the least discrepancy otherwise you would be just dreaming. without suspecting it. a conaccomplish. every You moment exert. you must obtain a perfect adherence. in exactly in the sounds you heard that one of your memories which is the most capable of such a way as to insert being adapted to it. you have nothing do. This adjustment you can only obtain by an effort of the memory and an effort of the perception. and to know that is a dog that barks. You is a great mistake. just as the tailor who is trying on a new that . con- of the day.

and with extreme delicacy. state But feel all this keeps you a of tension. I differ from you preThe effort cisely in that I do nothing. sensations. I . Common sense is very fatiguing. tions You choose among your since you reject from your consciousness a thousand subjective sensa- which come back in the night when your you sleep. is the and most essential condition of what called common in sense. even when you life Your in a think you are doing nothing. for at every minute you have to choose and every minute exclude.52 DREAMS effort. precision among memories. since suit you This exactly your present state. You and choose. but it fatigues you in the long run. repeat. choice which you continually accomplish. more than you the pressure of the atmosphere. life is enormous state a waking of labour. this adaptation. You any do not uninterrupted it at the feel moment. that you give without cessation I simply " So. ceaselessly first is reject all that do not renewed.

interested. to fit into the little circle that of dreams.DREAMS abstain from giving. A mother who sleeps by the side of her child will not stir at the sound of thunder. That is it is to live the normal psychical life. It is to will. Does she really sleep in regard to her child? We do not sleep in regard to what continues to interest us. to battle. to To One sleep is to become dis- which he becomes disinterested. As for the I dream. is what it is to be awake. but the sigh of the child will sleeps to the exact extent wake her. have you really any need that should explain it? It is the state into . ' You ask me what I it is I dream? will tell when you are awake. and you force me. I detach myself from Everything has become indifferent to me. by making me smaller and smaller. me That what It is you trace around your present action. I have become disinterested in everything. do when you what you do You take me. to life. 53 In place of attach- ing myself it. the that I me the totality of your past.

a separates In the state. if But let us we sum up which us a great many could let it talk briefly the essential difference dream from the waking dream the same faculties are exercised as during waking. but they are in a state of tension in the one case. task of normal psychology. the entire mental minus the . and almost unconsciously. the concentration of all that you have within you upon one and the same point. The dream life consists of the tension. when you no longer have the power to concentrate yourself upon a single point. And it would still tell other things freely. What needs much more to be explained is the marvellous mechanism by which at any moment your will obtains instantly. the point that But to explain this is the interests you.54 DREAMS which you naturally fall when you let yourself go. and of relaxation in the other." This is what the dreaming ego would say. when you have ceased to will. of the psychology of waking. for willing and waking are one and the same thing.

man.DREAMS effort. But I can only outIt depends line the scheme of this study. From this essential difference can be We can drawn a great many others. the order in which the memories present . that this But in order sound should be perceived as the barking of a dog. in the domain of the mind. we reason still. we remember still. To adjustment. All this can abound in the dream for abundance. does not mean effort. connect the sound of a barking dog with the memory of a crowd that murmurs and effort is the precision of shouts requires no effort. What requires an . which are : the incoherence of dreams. a positive effort must be made. It is this force that the dreamer lacks. 55 and the bodily movement. and. finally. that It is he and by that alone. especially upon three points. distinguished from the waking is by that. charactercome to understand the chief istics of the dream. We perceive still. the abolition of the sense of duration that often appears to be manifested in dreams.

It might be a host of other things besides. It might be a billiard-table with its balls. but. the Often it is at same the time. on the contrary.56 DREAMS themselves to the dreamer. characteristic of the dream not to demand of the The incoherence complete adjustment between the memory image and them. chase after Sometimes they attain it. some play between memories can suit the For example. to allow same white sensation. and we watch these extrautilizing the ordinary transformations. all capable of same sensation. different These memory images. And so the lawn becomes a the other. one after it. very different the sensation. and lawn be a billiard-table. me a dream seems to As it is easy enough to explain. there may a green spot with might be a lawn be in the field of vision points. . and altogether join will that these memory images then the sensation. contending for the sensations present where they are to be embodied. This spangled with white flowers. billiard-table.

confronted by these absurd visions.DREAMS From this 57 come those absurd it where an object remains as the same time becomes something else. : contested of late. seeks an explanais dreams and at tion and often . entire days. Our life attention to this external is and It social the great regulator of the succes- sion of our internal states. images is not at When we are awake we mysterious. seconds a dream can present to us a series of events which will occupy. live a life in common with our fellows. the example cited by Maury it has become classic. As I have just said. that is another In a few same cause. the mind. and although it has been M . in the the You know waking state. is like . number of analoit gous observations that through the literature this precipitation of the all found scattered But of dreams. I regard I because of the great as probable. thereby aggravates the incoherence As in effect for the abolition of the sense of time many of of our dreams.

58 the DREAMS balance wheel of a watch. It remains now to peculiar relaxation of explain how the mind in the the dream accounts by the dreamer rather for the preference given to one memory image equally capable of being inserted into the actual sensations. and that the internal duraby order that the inner tion fit exactly into the general duration of things. Acceleration is force in the I no more than abundance a sign of domain of the mind. repeat. There is a current prejudice to the effect others. It is this balance wheel which is lacking in the dream. the precision of adjustment that requires effort. which moderates and cuts into regular sections the undivided. and this is exactly what the dreamer lacks. This is preoccupied us sometimes true. in He is no longer capable of that attention to life which is necessary be regulated may the outer. almost instantaneous tension of the spring. . than that we dream mostly about have especially the events which during the day. It is.

it is because we hardly sleep. sleep filled with dreams of this kind would be a sleep from which we come out quite In normal sleep our dreams fatigued. concern themselves rather. street -car. and of Freud. dream about events of the same day. if. the idea of possible danger crossed my mind or even if my body instinctively had had I recoiled of without feeling my any having fear.DREAMS 59 But when the psychological life of the waking state thus prolongs itself into A sleep. which have the best chance of reappearing. Robert. been conscious . and not the objects which most important. I agree entirely on this point with the observation of W. with the thoughts which we have passed through rapidly or upon we have perceived almost If we without paying attention to them. stood beside the the street -car at the moment when passed. I I was waitBut ing track and did not run the least risk. it is the most insignificant facts. other things being equal. for a I was in the street. of Delage.

it are. dream is an ego that is relaxed the memories which it gathers most readily are the memories of relaxation and distraction. What is there of the astonishing about that ? The ego . I might dream that the invalid was cured. of profound fill The dreams which Sometimes. I watch at the bedside of an invalid whose condition is If at any moment. . the events which reappear by preference in the dream are those of which we have thought most distractedly. hopeless. It is true that in very profound slumber different. the dreams which forget. nevertheless. I had hoped against hope. as a general rule. this the law that regulates the reappearance of memories may be very We we we know almost nothing slumber. those which do not bear the mark of effort. more probably than that I should dream of the disease. perhaps without even being aware of it. In short. I should dream of the cure. in any case.60 DREAMS might dream that night that the car had run over my body.

are doubtless very old scenes. not only to study the mechanism of unconscious memory. seems to us that we It experience. scenes of youth or infancy that we live over then in all their details. indescribable. very peculiar that we And then is a feeling. it If is telepathy it influences that our dreams.DREAMS recover it 61 something of them." express this an opinion upon phenomena of but I cannot avoid attaching importance to the observations gathered by so rigorous a method and class. with a mood which' colours revive It them with infancy and youth is that fresh sensation of that we seek vainly to when awake. from have returned These afar in space and afar in time. strange. but to examine the more mysterious phenomena which are raised by " I do not dare psychical research. some with such indefatigable zeal by the Society for Psychical in this Research. upon this profound slumber that its psychology ought to direct efforts. quite likely profound slumber would .

wonderful discoveries await it there. as important perhaps as have been in the preceding centuries the discoveries of the That at physical and natural sciences. that will be the principal task of psychology in the century I do not doubt that which is opening. that for is it. But I repeat. threshold of the mystery. to labour in what I have just called the subsoil of consciousness. I cannot express an opinion I have gone forward upon this point. least is the promise which I make for it. I stop upon the the To explore most secret depths of the unconscious. with you as far as I can .62 DEEAMS have the greatest chance to manifest itself. the wish that in closing I have .





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