Now the figure at the top of the cliff is on firm ground, and may thus symbolize the forces of sane habit and custom that exist in the morphinist and from which he has departed over the edge of the cliff, but which still hold him back from disaster, although they are now shrunken. The attractive power of the morphia is not increasing, but the interest the morphinist takes in morphia is increasing ; that is, something in himself—a force, let us say— is increasingly passing over to find its most satisfactory expression in indulgence in morphia, and the force is being drawn out of the figure at the top of the cliff. A picture of the balance of interest in the morphinist is thus given, and the dream shows that the part of interest situated on the cliff-top is now being drawn increasingly over the precipice. A condition of strain is being set up, one stream of the interest seeking to go one way, and another resisting and being gradually weakened, as it were by deserters passing over to the other side.
The ultimately decisive factor in personality is shown as still able to cause the morphia interest to flow back to the old and safe position by a command addressed to those interests at the top of the cliff. This rather burdensome analysis, therefore, suggests that the ultimately decisive factor in personality can only work through a certain potential of interest. "To gain a new or old position an adequate outpost of interest must exist there already, and the self, by a command, can cause the flow of fresh interest to reinforce what was already there. The decisive factor in personality commands, and interest shifts its balance and an act of will is consummated. But one cannot work without the other. Thus to talk of will as free is only correct in so far as it can operate through the dispositions of interest. Interest, always attracted, always pushing out in every direction under its own impulse, may reach a spot where the decisive factor in personality will follow and summon more interest. Or upon interest some new position may be imposed (by education), and that may or may not be reinforced. But when there is no disposition of interest, the decisive factor cannot operate. When the figure on the cliff-top has wholly shrunk into the rope, all interest belonging to levels of safety will be gone, and then the decisive factor cannot by any command get back, as the mechanical considerations of the symbols show. The point of fixation will vanish and the rope come to an end, and man and rope will drop to another level of values.
I have given a possible explanation of the unconscious motive in the dream, and it is offered in a purely tentative spirit. The conclusion that could be drawn from it is that choice is a prerogative of self, but is limited by the field, or patterns, of the force that reveals itself as interest; and beyond that is totally ineffective. The patterns of interest are formed by education and by chance.
New patterns are also formed during a psychological analysis. It is upon these new patterns, and the patients' will to reinforce them, that treatment depends.