The dream, then, seems to arise out of individual interests, in that its component parts are people, events, and places that are familiar, but its method of combining these parts is distinctive and full of surprises. Looked at from this surface, it is a process that handles the individual's interests in an unexpected manner. Now what is unexpected approximates to what is not thought of, or not conscious. Therefore the dream is not only a product of unconscious activity in the sense that it is woven by something beyond conscious effort, but it is also a presentation of interests in a form that hitherto was unexpected and unthought-of : and so unconscious to the individual. This point requires to be made plain, and for this purpose I will cite some dream examples.
1. "I was staying in a large hotel on the coast. The hotel is one that I had often seen from the outside, but I have never lived there or even been inside. I was rather perplexed to find that it was really a cathedral that had been adapted to accommodate guests, and was chilly and uncomfortable. The manager was a priest with an ascetic face, and he carried a bell. The bell was the dinner-bell belonging to my old home. He rang the bell at intervals, and then pointed to a tablet on the wall. Some Latin inscription was on it which reminded me of an incident of my early school-days - when the headmaster flung a book at me because I used, in translating some passage, the term ' arable land' instead of something more poetical. Then I noticed the priest had become rather like the headmaster. He took me by the arm and spoke earnestly to me and pointed to the tablet again. I saw now three shining objects on it, like stars. These merged into one."
In the dream it will be seen how an entirely unexpected and unthought-of pattern of interests is produced. The new pattern is a presentation of interests in a form that was unthought-of, or unconscious to the individual; and it was woven by an activity of whose processes and machinery the dreamer was unconscious. It is worth while looking more closely at the dream. I have said that a dream seems to arise out of individual interests and that its component parts are familiar. This applies to the larger part of the majority of dreams. But there are sometimes curious and unfamiliar combinations, such as the three shining objects in the above example, and these link up with familiar interests only with difficulty. Like the new words that so often crop up in dreams, they constitute a kind of ideational neoplasm. Sometimes they are beyond solution. At other times—as in this case —there are certain hints surrounding them, that set up a train of interest, and so establish some mental relationships.
Now this dream, although so many interests seem confused and compressed in it, maintains outwardly a sort of coherence which we may compare to the outer form of the cartoon. And like the cartoon it has a certain neatness in its manner of symbolism. A bell in the hands of the priest is not unnatural. The dream adds to its significance by making it the dinner-bell belonging to the dreamer's old home.
By means of the tablet on the wall with its suggestion of a Latin inscription, a channel of interest is opened up reaching to schooldays, and this is then reinforced by a likeness to the headmaster becoming visible in the priest's face. There is also a kind of theme, based on contrasts, running through it. This is indicated at the opening by the fusion of the hotel with the cathedral. It is again suggested by the fact that the priest carries a dinner-bell. The hotel and the dinner-bell form natural associations, on one side, while the cathedral and the priest are related on the other side. The Latin inscription is associated by the dreamer with a certain failure to rise to an occasion in the past, a failure to translate a passage in sufficiently poetical language. This inscription is afterwards replaced by three shining stars, a symbolism that need not be discussed here, and they are pointed out by the priest-schoolmaster in an earnest manner.
In the dream, which I have given in the words of the dreamer, there are certain parts which make the dream and certain parts which belong to the dream as after-thoughts, or associations, and the whole constitutes the record as turned out by the memory. It is only natural, from what we have seen, that fringes of association should be added to the actual material of the dream, since the material is made up of individual interests and these ramify endlessly. But if an attempt is made to investigate the above dream more closely, a method now reveals itself. It is the method of association, which obtains in the cartoon, and not only forms the symbolism but is the key to the interpretation of the symbolism as well. Each element in the dream represents, as we have seen, a gateway leading into an avenue of interest. If the gateways be traversed by asking the dreamer to discuss, in the most candid manner, each incident and figure of his dream, then new significances begin to take shape. As an example I will give some observations made by the dreamer on two separate elements in the above dream ;
(a) The bell; "It does not ring now. I think it is cracked or lost. Its sound used to vibrate through the small house and I was never glad to hear it, as meals were more in the nature of a duty than a pleasure to me owing to family quarrels.. . ."
The symbol of the bell, therefore, is a gateway that leads up an avenue of unpleasant associations. It is also something more. It is connected, not with pleasure, but with duty. Now this symbol is in the hand of the priest with the ascetic face.
(b) The priest: " His face reminded me at first of Cardinal Newman. I had been reading Tolstoi's conversion (motive of dream), and thinking of Newman, and wondering who was the better man. ... I would not have liked to know either of them. . . . Tolstoi's home must have been uncomfortable in later years . . . (this forms a link with the bell and family quarrels at meals). Conversion, if it means making everyone uncomfortable, including yourself, seems to me a thing to avoid, . . . yet I know it is inevitable for some. My old headmaster was not ascetic-looking ... he was down on me because I was idle, and I feared him. . . . When I used that phrase ' arable land ' (connection with main motive—land capable of fresh cultivation) he raved and ended by saying I could do better if I tried. I remember that sentence very well, and the look of reproval, but I don't think I grasped (compare earnest manner of priest) my poetical lapse at all. It was a bit out of Virgil . . . I have forgotten all my Latin. ..." The symbol of the priest thus taps a considerable volume of thought, of which I have given a synopsis. It brings out the question of conversion—that is, a complete change in one's attitude towards life— and behind this a suggestion of individual inadequacy. It is not my intention to elaborate on the dream, but to use it only as an example of a method of approach, whereby a wider significance is given to the symbolism. The bearing of dreams on the individual will be considered more intimately in a later part of the book.
Another example may be cited here in order to Bhow the affinities that exist between the cartoon and the dream :
2. " I was in the presence of the King. He was about to confer some decoration on me. He pinned on my breast a medal which was either the V.C. or the D.S.O., but I noticed that the medal had upon it the word ' whip ' upside-down."
In this example the scene is exactly comparable to the atmosphere of a cartoon, and could be drawn as it stands. An important function is delineated, but an element of grotesqueness is introduced. Some associations given by the dreamer were as follows :
(a) Whip : "I had thrashed a native camp-follower the day before for a self-inflicted injury. The native struck himself with his brass feeding-bowl on the head and drew blood. ... I have no idea why the word should have been on the medal."
(6) The King ; " The presentation of the V.C. by the King is the highest honour one can obtain."
It is to the outward similarity between the method of presentation of the dream and the cartoon that attention is drawn. A cartoon that had as its object some shade of irony, some reflection on an otherwise excellent character, might assume a form that corresponded with this dream, the word which appeared reversed on the medal giving the clue to the nature of the irony intended.