In the above cases the symbolism is of some interest. The association of water with birth finds many parallels in mythology. This is natural, forj the sources of mythology and the sources of the1 dream are similar.
Dr. Jung has compared the reductive method to an analysis of the bricks and mortar that compose a cathedral in order to account for the reason of its existence. We might add another illustration. A theory of painting might be evolved based on the chemicals lying on each canvas. Thus you might say that, on analysis, pictures contain lead, chromium, iron, copper, and cobalt. You might then group the pictures in a gallery according to the amount of one or other that they contain, and thus seek to explain their differences. Dreams handled by this reductive method lead to the conclusion that they have certain basic and unvarying elements, just as pictures have certain basic pigments. Dreams often contain objects such as sticks, lamp-posts, church-spires, masts, pillars, tall-hats, trees, lamps, pipes, funnels, umbrellas, candlesticks, nails, guns, and pillar-boxes. Now, all these objects have a quality in common. They are longer than they are broad. We might therefore say that all these objects when they occur in dreams have a similar significance. We could say that their significance was phallic. This theory would then correspond to the views of that school of psychology which has grown up round the teachings of Freud. The analysis of a dream according to this method will always lead in the same direction. Like the chemical analysis of a picture, it will invariably discover certain ingredients.
By the constructive method of association, the opportunities of interpretation are greatly increased. Through it one escapes as it were from a confined space into a region of wide issues. The disadvantages consist in the fact that interpretations become more speculative. They can always be adapted, in some degree, to satisfy the dreamer or the interpreter. That is inevitable. The same may be said of the ordinary method of interpreting pictures in a gallery. The advantages of the reductive method consist in the fact that, within its narrow limits, it gives a definite and absolutely final result. If you say that a picture of the dawn consists of ten grains of chromium and thirty grains of lead, then that is quite definite and final. And if you say that a dream of two top-hats consists of two phallic symbols, then that is also definite and final. You come, so to speak, to a dead end. You are operating on one level of values and you have only one point of view. In the case of the pictures, while it is quite true that they could not have been painted without pigments, you can only see art as an arrangement of chemicals. And however seriously people may argue with you, you have only to point to the picture and ask them whether they deny that this patch is chromium or that patch lead. If they still argue, you can say that they refuse to see your point of view because of some inner resistance. But if you say this, you must remember that they have an equal right to say that you cannot see their point of view because of some inner resistance.
Let us consider for a moment the dream of the two top-hats. The first part of the dream ran as follows ; "I was returning from the country to the town and had an idea that I had been wasting my time. The streets were dark and there was a light rain falling. I had two top-hats and was endeavouring to protect them from the rain. These two top-hats gave me great trouble. I could only keep one at a time out of the rain, and if I put one under my coat the other became wet, and when I put the wet one under, it became ruffed up. The idea crossed my mind that it was absurd to bring back two top-hats from the country, and I wondered what on earth I was doing with top-hats at all." Now, the first associations made by the dreamer to the top-hats were (1) going to church on Sundays, (2) his professional work. We might, then, from the constructive point of view, say that one top-hat stood for all that is contained in the idea of going to church on Sunday in the dreamer's mind. The dreamer said that he went to church to please certain people, and that his professional work had caused him to take a view of life which did not quite coincide with orthodox teachings. He found difficulty in reconciling what he thought were his duties to his relations and his personal desire for honesty. At the time of the dream he was about to return from the country, where he had been having a prolonged holiday, to resume his work. How, from the constructive point of view, can we apply this dream to the dreamer ? Let us examine the second part of the dream; "I walked on wondering what I should do, and then thought I'd better take a Tube train so as to protect my hats. I turned a corner of the street and came upon an open space where I met a beggar. He was a very cheerful and robust-looking beggar, and he wore a cap. He did not ask me for anything, but I offered him sixpence, which he took with a smile and went on. I continued my search for a Tube, juggling with my hats and feeling very annoyed that I had given the beggar sixpence, because I realized that it was unnecessary."
In reflecting upon this part of the dream, the dreamer remarked that the beggar was in a better position than he himself was, because he wore a cap. Now we might take the two top-hats as symbols of two contradictory and possibly artificial sides of the dreamer's life, which handicap him. His discomfort is contrasted with the freedom of the beggar. The beggar on the high-road is independent and presumably ready for all weathers. The dreamer finds himself unprepared for even a light rain and confused by reason of the burden of having two top-hats—that is, probably, two unadjusted sides to his life. I think I have said enough to indicate that this dream handled along these constructive lines gives promise of an interpretation of greater practical value to the dreamer than an analysis by the reductive method which would reduce the whole dream to the sexual level. But it would be a mistake to think that dreams are innocent of sexuality.