16 Dream Interpretation

CHAPTER 16

Dream Interpretation

From the earliest time of which we have any detailed knowledge, dreams have been regarded as repositories of hidden messages, and their interpretation has been a matter of great interest. Hidden information is presumably information that is not available, or at least not readily available, elsewhere, and since the closed door that the human race has always had the greatest desire to penetrate is the one that leads to the future, one of the most popular ideas has been that dreams provide a means of foretelling future events.

In order to discover the hidden meaning, one must find the plan of concealment, and the general belief has been that dreams accomplish this by representing the true meaning in the form of symbols. Most present-day investigators have abandoned the hope of extracting any information about the future from dream analysis, but they have retained the conception that the perceived content of a dream is a symbolic representation of its true meaning. “The dream-content is, as it were, presented in hieroglyphics, whose symbols must be translated, one-by-one, into the language of the dream-thoughts,”248 says Freud. Hall puts it in this manner: “Careful investigators have come to the conclusion that there are some symbols which have pretty much the same meanings or referents for every dreamer.”249

In view of the prevalence of this opinion, one of the most significant aspects of the results obtained from the dream study described in the preceding chapter is that they show no trace of symbolism. Some of the objects or actions currently considered to be symbolic were present in my recorded dreams, but in all cases, it could easily be seen that they were present in their ordinary significance, not as symbols of something else. The snake that I saw in one dream was not a symbol; it was a memory of a rather spectacular snake that I saw in a television program a few hours earlier. The gun that appeared in another dream was not a symbol; it was a direct memory of a gun that played a prominent part in a mystery story that I had just laid down before retiring. In the dream record, “I was holding a rather peculiar long gun. It seemed more like a museum piece than a modern weapon.” In the book, the gun was a collector’s item that could well have had a place in a museum.

It is evident from the results of this study that symbols play no part in my dreams under relatively calm living conditions. This does not guarantee that they are also absent from the dreams of others under similar conditions, but it does create a rather strong presumption to that effect, particularly since much of my work deals with abstractions and symbols, and I would seem to be among those most likely to utilize symbolism in dreams if anyone does. The question as to whether I, or others, employ symbolism under highly emotional conditions also remains open, but here again, it seems quite improbable that operation under stress would change the basic nature of the dream process.

While the results of this dream study actually demonstrate the absence of symbolism only under a limited range of conditions, this amount of negative evidence is highly significant because it is completely in agreement with the conclusions reached in the two preceding chapters with respect to the mechanism of dreaming. These findings, which show that dreams are products of the normal operation of the memory system during sleep, cut the ground out from under the “symbol” hypothesis. The dream is constructed from themes already in the system, and it is elaborated with details drawn from the memory storage by means of the association process. It has some unfamiliar aspects because it is a product of memory only, with none of the participation by the thinking mechanism that characterizes the conscious activities of the mind, but there is no distortion or disguise involved. The dream is an enigma only to the person who is looking for something that is not there.

All of the theories of dream symbolism, from those of the early-day prophets and soothsayers to those of the modern psychologists and psychoanalysts, rest entirely on the assumption that the dreams must have some meaning of consequence. Since no such meaning is manifest in the dreams as they are experienced, it follows from the assumed premises that the meaning must be disguised in some manner, and the use of symbols for this purpose is a hypothesis that has been proposed. It has no factual basis. The present-day theories of dream symbolism have no more empirical support than the prophetic theories that have been abandoned to the pseudo-scientists. The mere fact that someone like Freud arrives at a conclusion as to the meaning of a dream that satisfies him, or that appears plausible to others, does not prove anything. The interpretation is still an untested hypothesis. The symbolic interpretation of dreams is simply assumption piled upon assumption.

Furthermore, the memory mechanism, as we know it from conscious experience, operates by means of straightforward association of items that have some common feature. There is no disguise or distortion involved. In order to account for the concealment of the true meaning of dreams by means of symbolism, it would therefore be necessary to assume the existence of an additional mechanism of some kind. There is no physical indication of any such mechanism. Nor do the proponents of the “concealment” or “symbolism” hypothesis seem to have given any consideration to the question as to what purpose a concealment process would serve if an appropriate mechanism did exist. There is no need for any special means of concealing the existence or the meaning of dreams from other persons. The dreamer has full control over the release of the information in any event. He can withhold any or all of it, or alter it arbitrarily, as he sees fit. In fact, only a tiny fraction of the dreams that occur are ever brought to the attention of others, and many of these are heavily censored by the dreamer. Thus, the only purpose of a concealment process, if it existed, would be to hide the meaning of the dream from the dreamer himself. This is the purpose implied by the prevailing opinion that the significance of the dream can only be ascertained with the aid of an interpreter.

In the days when dreams were thought to be messages in code originating from some metaphysical source, the idea that the code could be deciphered only by specially trained individuals was not unreasonable. But now that this idea has been abandoned, and it is conceded that dreaming is a purely physiological process, it should not take much reflection to dispose of this farfetched concealment hypothesis. It is simply absurd to suggest that evolution would have gone to all the trouble of producing a special mechanism for the purpose of concealing information from the individual himself. Surely there is no selection pressure favoring survival of the ignorant. Even without the new information contributed by this present work, it should be clear that the symbolic interpretation of dreams is too far divorced from reality to be entitled to serious consideration. The findings reported in Chapter 15 merely reinforce this conclusion. The “dream books” that are so popular these days will have to be classified with the “horoscopes” of the astrologers as nonsense—perhaps entertaining nonsense for those who are not taken in by the elaborate manner in which it is packaged. The symbolism envisioned by Freud and the “careful investigators” mentioned by Hall has no more foundation than that of the dream books. It, too, is nonsense.

An equally conspicuous feature of the results that I obtained from my dream study is the absence of any indication of the “wish-fulfillment” which looms so large in the conventional wisdom in this area. “When the work of interpretation has been completed the dream can be recognized as a wish-fulfillment,”250 Freud tells us unequivocally. But even in the example that he cites in beginning his discussion of “The Dream as Wish-Fulfillment” there is no fulfillment. “If I succeed in appeasing my thirst by means of the dream that I am drinking, I need not wake up in order to satisfy that thirst,” he says, and if he could show such an effect, he would have proved his point. But he immediately admits that “the need for water to quench the thirst cannot be satisfied by a dream.”251 His statement that “the dream takes the place of action” is thus contradicted by his own example. But this dream of his is entirely consistent with my finding that a stimulus from the circulating memory, or, as in this case, from the physiological mechanism, calls forth by association, an appropriate memory from storage to create a synthetic experience.

Instead of wish fulfillment, what we have here is a memory of a satisfying experience called forth by a stimulus associated with such an experience. The difference is not particularly striking, but it is nevertheless significant. The dream itself does not satisfy. Freud keeps admitting this, even though at the same time he insists that each dream is wish fulfillment. In reporting “a series of dreams which are based on the longing to go to Rome,” he asserts, “It is obvious that I am trying in vain to see in my dreams a city which I have never seen in my waking life.”252 “Trying in vain” can hardly be equated with “fulfillment.” This, again, is simply a memory theme, elaborated into a synthetic experience. During the day, something reminded Freud of his desire to see Rome. The theme “a visit to Rome” then carried over into his circulating memory and initiated a dream. There is no hidden meaning and no need for an interpretation.

A memory of an experienced event results in a dream in which the desired result is attained, with or without the same setting and personnel as in the actual experience. A memory of an anticipation is likely to initiate the same kind of a dream. But a memory of a frustration, or a wish that, like Freud’s desire to visit Rome, is considered unlikely to be fulfilled, results in a dream in which the desired result is not attained. In each case, the imageless thought of the dream theme includes the sensation either of attaining or not attaining the objective. Those who have no confidence in their ability to reach their objectives during their waking hours will not reach them in their dreams either, unless they can invest their daydreams with enough verisimilitude to deceive their memories into accepting them as real experiences.

The role of memory is even more clearly emphasized by the dreams that originate from those items in the circulating system that are concerned with its principal purpose: the reminding function. No less than five of the “personal experience” class of dreams recorded during my study originated from memories that I deliberately impressed on the circulating system in the form “I must remember to do so-and-so the first thing in the morning.” I cannot determine from the available information whether every such command addressed to the memory system before retiring resulted in a dream, as this relationship was not recognized until the dream records were analyzed. I do know, however, that there were only three occasions during the month on which it was necessary for me to rise before my usual hour to take care of such self-imposed responsibilities, and in every one of these “alarm clock” instances, the matter with which I was to deal in the morning became the theme of a dream. This experience is a strong indication that any instructions given to the memory to be retained overnight are reflected in dream themes, as would be expected from the theory developed in the preceding pages.

The wish-fulfillment hypothesis is often extended to include the concept of some kind of an inner dream life free from the restrictions that apply during waking hours. An individual’s dream, says Lewis Mumford, is “an uninhibited expression of his inner self, releasing him from dull constraints and paralyzing compulsions.”253 Karl Menninger expresses the same general idea. “It has long been recognized,” he says, “that dreams represent in some way our forbidden wishes.”254 The results of the dream study give no support to this hypothesis. Indeed, the observed fact that dreams with unpleasant features greatly outnumber those of a pleasant nature is just about enough in itself to demolish such speculations. The dream is merely a replay of experience. The process that might deserve to be called an “uninhibited expression” is daydreaming, in which the individual exercises conscious direction to shape events to his liking.

In Freud’s thirst-initiated dream, the entire situation was simple, and his report, brief as it is, contains enough information to indicate its true character as a simple memory recall. Most dreams, however, cannot be understood without a reasonably detailed knowledge of the events in the life of the dreamer that took place during the preceding day. A good illustration of how essential it is to have this information is provided by one of the dreams recorded during my study. This dream consisted of three quite distinct parts. I had a clear memory of the first and last, while my recollection of the second was rather vague and confused. The original record of the first episode reads as follows:

I had experienced some kind of good fortune, the nature of which was not identified. It was evidently a matter of common knowledge, as just about everyone I passed stopped to talk to me, even those that I did not know. However, they did not seem to be congratulating me, nor did I feel any special satisfaction.

Those who regard dreams as prophetic would have no difficulty in interpreting this dream as a favorable omen. Those of the “wish-fulfillment” school could just as easily see it as a result of my desire for some kind of “good fortune,” although my apparent indifference to the outcome would have to be explained away in some fashion. When I examined the dream report several hours after recording it, in the course of my regular procedure, I could find nothing in the previous day’s events to which it seemed to have any relation. I therefore gave it a tentative classification as unexplained. Negative conclusions of this kind were necessarily only tentative at first, as the different themes of a dream frequently came from the same source. In one of the six-theme dreams, for instance, all six themes originated from separate, and easily identified, incidents in a book that I had been reading during the preceding evening. In other cases, the original dream theme is repeated with some modifications in another dream later in the night. These related dreams frequently furnish clues that clarify the earlier ones. In this instance, I went on to an examination of the second segment of the dream. I found that it was totally unrelated to the first, and was able to connect it with some news events that had made an impression on me. The record of the third segment, to which I then turned, was as follows:

An unidentified friend met me and wanted me to play some kind of a game with him. I agreed to do so. It was not any of the standard games with which I am acquainted, and had some complicated rules which he had to explain to me. While we were busy with the explanation, someone came in and tampered with the lights, causing them to become so dim that we could not continue.

No doubt those who work with symbols and hidden meanings could have a field day with “playing some kind of a game,” but I could easily see that it was a direct memory. The “unidentified friend” was one of the local supermarkets. The “game” they wanted me to play was a promotional feature they were starting that was called the “Cash King Game.” I “agreed to play” in the sense that I accepted one of the cards which were being handed out to purchasers. The “complicated rules” of the game were “explained” to me by that card. The dimming of the lights was the way in which the dream expressed the fact that some parts of the material on the card were in such fine print that I had to stop reading and get a magnifying glass before I could finish. Here we have pure memory, modified only by the generalizing that takes place in passing through the circulating memory system.

The easily found origin of this third theme of the dream then made the origin of the first theme clear. It was also drawn from the same source. The “good fortune” of the dream was the prize money to be distributed to the winners of the “game,” and the reason for my indifference was my realization that the odds against winning anything are astronomical. The reason for the separation between the two themes was that they were separated in time. Several hours elapsed between my first contact with the “game” and my perusal of the rules.

The futility of any attempt to interpret these two dream episodes without having a reasonably good knowledge of my activities during the preceding day is evident. The same can be said about almost all of the dreams included in the study. But when that knowledge is available, the dreams can be understood in a purely matter-of-fact way, without any esoteric or psychic implications. There is no need for symbols or wish-fulfillment hypotheses in the interpretation. Nor is there any deliberate distortion or concealment involved.

“Why is an interpretation necessary at all? Why does not the dream say directly what it means?”255 asks Freud. The conclusion he reaches is that the dreams are distorted “as a means of disguise.”256 But here again, the very dream that he cites as the first example to support his conclusions is readily understandable on the basis that it does “say directly what it means.”

Freud realized that this particular dream was related to a visit from a colleague during the preceding evening. This man, a personal friend, identified as R., informed Freud that he had learned that promotion to a professorship, which he had been actively seeking, was to be denied because of his religion. Freud recognized that his own ambitions for a similar promotion would likewise be frustrated if the same criterion was applied in his case. He records the dream in this manner:

  1. My friend R. is my uncle—I have great affection for him.
  2. I see before me his face somewhat altered. It seems to be elongated; a yellow beard, which surrounds it, is seen with peculiar distinctness.257

Freud says that he never had any feeling of affection for the uncle who was portrayed in the second of the recorded features of the dream, and that, although R. was a friend, the degree of affection in the dream was wholly inappropriate. He therefore concludes that he does not actually feel any affection for R. at all; that the exaggerated show of affection in the dream was a disguise, and that his “dream-thoughts” of R. were actually derogatory. In his dream, he believes, he was trying to portray R. as unworthy of promotion for reasons having nothing to do with religion, thus evading the natural conclusion that the reasons for rejecting R. would apply to him as well. He supports this by the recollection that another colleague N. was likely to be denied promotion because of an unproved criminal accusation. The whole convoluted process of reasoning leads to this conclusion:

If denominational considerations are a determining factor in the postponement of my two friends’ appointment, then my own appointment is likewise in jeopardy. But if I can refer the rejection of my two friends to other causes, which do not apply to my own case, my hopes are unaffected. This is the procedure followed by my dream; it makes one friend, R., a simpleton, and the other, N., a criminal. But since I am neither the one nor the other, there is nothing in common between us. I have a right to enjoy my appointment to the title of professor, and have avoided the distressing application to my own case of the information which the official gave to my friend R.258

In the light of the findings of this present work, what Freud has done is to put together a complicated structure of hypotheses and assumptions to explain what is actually nothing but a simple memory recall. The central theme of the experience, the discussion with friend R., was the role of religion, as Freud concedes. Inasmuch as the theme remains intact throughout the memory process culminating in the dream, the theme of the dream is also religion. Once this fact is recognized, the dream practically shouts its message. The “great affection” demonstrated in the dream was not for the uncle, for whom Freud had no appreciable affection. Nor was it for R., who was no more than a friend. Obviously, that great affection was for the religion. With this understanding, the non-verbal dream can easily be translated into words in this manner:

My friend R. has been denied appointment because of his religion. This is also my religion and that of my relatives, including my uncle Joseph. All of us have a deep affection for it.

Ironically, Freud disparages his own character in a wholly unnecessary manner in his interpretation of the dream. He paints himself as a scoundrel, one who has, in his own words, “degraded two respected colleagues in order to clear my own way to the professorship,” whereas a straightforward reading of the dream does him credit. In this dream, he is simply reaffirming his devotion to an ancient and honorable religion in spite of what it is costing him in the way of a lost promotion.

In this instance, and also in the “game” dream described earlier, the connection between the actual experience and the synthetic experience of the dream was evident because we had knowledge of both. It would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to determine the origin of either dream from the dream report alone. Yet this is the kind of thing that most dream interpretation tries to do. This is why symbols, distortion, concealment, and the like have to be postulated in order to arrive at any conclusions at all.

The need for interpretation arises only because it is assumed that dreams must have some profound significance. With only minor exceptions, Freud contends that “Whatever one dreams is either plainly recognizable as being psychically significant, or it is distorted and can be judged correctly only after complete interpretation, when it proves after all to be of psychic significance.”245 To the ancient prophets and soothsayers, dreams were phenomena that foretold future events; to the psychoanalysts of today, they are phenomena of “psychic significance.” Since neither of these characteristics is evident in the dream itself, one or the other is put into the dream in the process of interpretation. Whatever “psychic significance” is attributed to the dreams recorded in my study would obviously be spurious, since these dreams are clearly nothing but synthetic experiences initiated by memories carried forward from the events of the day. In direct contradiction to Freud’s assertion, they are primarily trivial items of no continuing significance. The theory of dreaming developed in the preceding pages indicates that this is a general situation; that all, or practically all, of the significance attributed to dreams by the interpreters is fictitious.

Much of the so-called “fantastic” nature of dreams, aside from the results of the abrupt changes of theme and the lack of rational discrimination, likewise results from the fact that the investigator does not know, and the dreamer does not realize, or censors, what has been going on in his mind during the preceding waking interval. Again Freud supplies a very appropriate example. He reports a dream in which the dreamer “reaches a railway station just as a train is coming in. But then the platform moves toward the train, which stands still.”259 This, Freud says, is “an absurd inversion of the real state of affairs.” But it is not absurd to those who are familiar with physical theory. Sir Arthur Eddington, for example, uses this specific situation as an illustration of the application of the relativity theory. “Since velocity is relative,” he contends, “it does not matter whether we say that the train is moving at 60 miles an hour past the station or the station is moving at 60 miles an hour past the train.”260 Some of us do not accept this statement without adding a few qualifications, but when properly qualified, we do not find it absurd.

But since Freud did consider this dream an absurdity, he concluded that the inversion of the roles of train and station “is nothing more than an indication to the effect that something else in the dream must be inverted.” However, anyone who encounters Eddington’s statement, or something similar, for the first time can very well be sufficiently impressed by it to have a dream in just the form reported by Freud. Or such a dream could originate from any discussion of the relativity of motion—either Einstein’s theory or pre-Einstein concepts. I could easily have such a dream myself. The conclusion that there must be an inversion somewhere else in the dream is nothing but pure supposition contrived to account for a supposed incongruity that does not actually exist.

As noted in Chapter 15, I do not dream of things that are inherently absurd or incredible (although they may be combined in absurd ways because of the inability of the memory system to recognize incongruity). It is probable that this is the general rule. But my rejections are based on what I consider absurd, not on the judgment of any one who attempts to interpret my dreams. This, too, must be the general rule. If anyone believes in ghosts, he may very well dream of ghosts, even if I do not. Anyone who thinks, reads, or hears about relativity physics may dream of a station moving to meet a train, regardless of how absurd that may seem to Freud, or to any other dream interpreter.

The rather fortuitous fact that Freud gives us enough information to show that the illustrative examples he uses in three different applications are almost certainly direct memories rather than instances of the symbolism, wish fulfillment, distortion, and concealment that he employs in trying to interpret them lends strong support to the conclusions that I have reached from theory and from the analysis of my own dreams. Normal dreams, I find, are simply memories, altered in their details in most cases because of the nature of the memory process that is involved. In this I concur with what Hall says is now the prevailing opinion: “It is now thought that dreams are not primarily disguises for repressed wishes, but that they represent what is on the dreamer’s mind.”261 Hobson and McCarley, in a recent article, use language that is even closer to the findings of this work when they characterize dreaming as a “synthetic, constructive process, rather than a distorting one.”262

The significance of dreams, as seen in the light of the findings of this present investigation, can best be expressed by comparing the dream state to the idling of the motor of an automobile while the vehicle is stationary. In dreams, the memory apparatus is idling in a similar manner, maintaining continuity of operation without accomplishing any other useful purpose. This is a far cry from both the prophetic role seen by the ancient world and the “safety valve” concept proposed by Freud, but it is all that the evidence will support. This does not mean that there is nothing to be learned from dreams. Most diagnostic work on automobile motors is done under idling conditions, and the reasons for this procedure are applicable, at least in some degree, to the memory mechanism as well. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that those who are diagnosing the ailments of the human mind may find the idling period convenient for some of their investigations.

It might be concluded from what has been said in this and the three preceding chapters that the results of the present investigation are adverse to the essential claims of the psychoanalysts. This is not true, as a general proposition. On the contrary, these new results are entirely in agreement with Freud’s assertion that there is a continuing conflict between different aspects of each individual’s personality. The question as to whether this conflict is the cause of personality disorders, and the further question as to whether such disorders can be cured by exposing and treating the conflict, are outside the scope of this work, but in the light of the present findings, the contentions of the psychiatrists and psychoanalysts in these respects are plausible.

The finding that the individual components of dreams reproduce the original memories without the concealment or distortion envisioned by the psychoanalysts does not preclude departures from reality in the dreams of abnormal or troubled individuals, or in a lesser degree, those of some individuals who could be considered normal. But it points to the original memory as the location of the distortion rather than the dream. It is the memory that is subject to control. There is a certain degree of mental control over the NREM dreams, but most of these dreams have a matter-of-fact character that is not compatible with the “distortion” hypothesis. The distortions that the dream interpreters claim to find are primarily in the REM dreams which, according to theory, cannot be distorted by the dreamer because they are not subject to control. Memories, on the other hand, are notoriously inaccurate, and much of this inaccuracy is a product of the individual’s attitude. To a considerable degree, we see what we want to see and remember what we want to remember. Thus, even though the dreams merely reflect what is contained in the memory system, they do reveal some things about the production of these memories that may be just as useful to the analyst as the distortions for which he has hitherto been searching.

In the foregoing discussion of dream interpretation, we have been treating psychoanalysis merely as one of the prominent schools of psychology, the study of human behavior, and the amount of attention that has been given to the theories of Sigmund Freud is merely a result of the fact that dreams play a much larger part in his theories than in those of other schools of psychology, the behaviorist school, for example. But in formulating their theories, Freud and his followers have made some assumptions that have a bearing on the conflict between science and religion in present-day thought. Since this is one of the principal concerns of the present work, some further consideration of these points is in order before we leave the subject of psychoanalysis.

Personality disorders, according to Freud, are due to conflicts between different aspects of an individual’s psychic mechanisms. He identifies three of these: the id, the primitive animal-like aspect; the ego, the social aspect, developed by contact with the outer world; and the superego, which is commonly equated, somewhat roughly, with conscience. Disorders of certain types originate, he says, from conflicts between the id and the ego; others originate from conflicts between the ego and the superego.

The conclusions derived from theory and reported in the preceding pages are in general agreement with this picture. They differ from Freud’s theories in two significant respects. The lower level conflicts, we find, are not due to differences in objectives, as Freud assumes, but to differences between what the emotions prescribe as the proper actions for reaching the Sector 2 objectives and what reason indicates as the most effective procedures. According to our findings, the social contacts to which Freud attributes the difference in objectives that, in his opinion, are responsible for the conflicts between the id and the ego, do not actually alter the objectives. As pointed out in Chapter 13, they change the factors that enter into the determination of the most effective way of reaching those objectives, and since reason is more capable of reacting to such changes, they increase the likelihood of a conflict between emotion and reason.

Such conflicts are phenomena of the physical universe, and they have no direct relevance to the exploration of the metaphysical region that is being undertaken in this present work. But the upper-level conflicts, those which, in Freud’s terminology, pit the ego against the superego, are within the scope of our inquiry as they cannot be explained in purely physical terms. Unlike the situation at the lower level, where two recognizable physical mechanisms, emotion and reason, are involved, there is no known physical mechanism that can be identified with the superego, to the extent that this entity can be equated with conscience. Furthermore, the considerations discussed in Chapter 7 show that such a mechanism, one that is directed toward objectives other than survival of the individual and his species, cannot be produced by biological evolution, inasmuch as evolution is directed toward, and operates by means of, survival. Conscience and any related phenomena identified with the superego in Freud’s system therefore cannot be biological. As the development of thought in the preceding pages brings out, they are phenomena of Sector 3 associated with the biological structures.

In his capacity as a scientist, Freud was uncompromising. As expressed by Trueblood, “If scientism is a disease, Freud had it badly.”263 Since he did not realize that some of the features he attributed to the superego cannot be produced by evolution, he regarded this aspect of the personality as merely another physical level comparable to those that he designated as the id and the ego. This left no room for religion or metaphysical existence. He therefore repudiated religion, characterizing it as an illusion which impedes critical thinking and is detrimental to the best interests of the human race.264 In a sense, at least, he offered psychoanalysis as a substitute for religion.

But like so many other scientists, Freud was unable to divest himself of his deep-seated religious beliefs, and even though he kept them under cover as much as possible, they were perceptible to his followers. H. Faber notes that “[Erich] Fromm sees a ’religious’ core in Freud which goes back to the Jewish tradition,”265 and that Carl Jung interpreted Freud’s antipathy to mysticism “as meaning that Freud obviously felt himself to be threatened by an eruption of unconscious religious factors.”266 He was particularly interested in matters connected with the Jewish faith, and selected Moses as the subject of his last book. All of which confirms our reading of the dream in which he unintentionally revealed his “great affection” for the religion of his ancestors.

This religious awareness of which even the most rigid adherent of deterministic science cannot completely rid himself is a result of the dual nature of the flow of information into the human mind that was discussed in Chapter 11. While one stream carrying physical information comes in through the senses and gives rise to the understandings and beliefs of everyday life and of physical science, another stream carrying metaphysical information is simultaneously coming in through intuitive channels and giving rise to some degree of recognition of truths of a higher order.

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