Lecture IV 16th November, 1934
We began last time, to speak of Adler, but before we continue to do so we will turn back to Freud, and I will give you a chart so that you may be quite clear about it.
Fixation through incest.
Neuroses – Symptoms – Allegories.
Freud’s starting point is childhood.
His whole psychology is built up on the results of this condition.
Its wishes, shocks and traumas result, according to him, in an incest fixation caused by the infantile rush to stay with the parents.
This wish is recognised as incompatible and is therefore repressed and through this repression it goes into the unconscious.
Freud regards these incest wishes as energies which work obscurely because their roots are in the unconscious and because the moral judgment is forever and again repressing them.
It is from these roots, by a process which Freud calls “conversion of the unconscious”, that neuroses and dream allegories (which Freud wrongly
calls dream symbols) spring.
It would be too sweeping a statement to s ay that everyone is neurotic, but there are symptoms, or at least small disturbances, to be noticed in everybody.
Adler also begins with childhood.
It is true that everything must have a beginning and that this beginning is usually early.
Adler looks forward and Freud looks back.
This is an important difference, for Adler thinks that you are discouraged before a task, rather than that you are looking
back longingly at the warm past.
According to Adler you are discouraged by the situation in which you find yourself as a child, and this is an incentive to go forward.
You do not desire to return to such conditions, but you shirk before the difficulties which you find on your way forward and seek to avoid them, and this leads to an inferiority.
Inferiority is laming and so leads to a neurosis or even a psychosis.
Inferiority is compensated somewhere by a “Grossenwahn” (a dream of superiority or even megalomania).
A young man, for instance, does badly at college; then a saving idea occurs to him: probably he is a misunderstood genius, and is not among the
right people or in the right place.
These thoughts are not often directly and openly thought, they are rather kept as a warm, comforting corner and we steal glances
at them from time to time.
This is over- compensation.
Many people spend a great deal of their time in this warm corner and foster all kinds of comforting ideas, even that they are the Messiah or that they are of noble birth and not the children of their real parents, and that one day a coach will appear to transport them to their ancestral castle!
It is also very consoling to read biographies of great men who were also considered stupid in their youth .
We comfort ourselves for our failures by thinking of the other side and how we could shine in the right circumstances.
This attitude leads to avoiding situations where the truth must become clear, and to a general shirking of life.
These fictions give a great insecurity to life, for we constantly give ourselves the “benefit of the doubt” and never see the outward situation as it really is.
This kind of person is very modest and retiring outwardly, but the inward feeling of superiority is increasing merrily.
We are all acquainted with the type of harmless, retiring individual who is overtaken by a fit of coughing at the softest part of an orchestral symphony; or he arrives late for a lecture (through adverse outer circumstances!) and falls over a footstool so that the entire audience looks at just that “poor little mouse”.
The “poor little mouse” is embarrassed, it is true, yet it was the “poor little mouse’s” own inner phantasy of being the centre of a large stage which arranged the whole thing from start to finish!
These things, when seen through psychology, present a totally different appearance to the generally accepted view.
People with this kind of psychology always find outer circumstances and other people to blame for everything.
If y o u mildly point out to them “Well after all you do count in the situation too, you are always there when these things happen
to you”, they simply will not see it.
According to Adler’s conception this is because their unconscious is a thing which they have arranged themselves for the purpose of only seeing
what they want to see.
We keep an unconscious, in fact, to see the mote in our brother’s eye and in order not to see the beam in our own.
Adler calls this the “masculine protest” .
It is especially obvious in neurotic women.
You can see a socially organised masculine protest in Mrs. Pankhurst and the Suffragettes.
These people become intensely self-conscious, shut themselves away and believe that everyone is studying them, and land in complete isolation.
They themselves have no love for humanity, but are convinced that it is other people who fail to love and admire them.
This is a terrible projection and can go as far even as to become a persecution mania.
These people usually have a “bete noire” on whom they project their own essential qualities.
This amounts to a complete unconsciousness of themselves and it is impossible to have any orientation in the isolation in which they are.
If you rear a child on Mt. Everest, that child will never know who he is, for we must be surrounded by other people in order to judge ourselves by them, only in this Way canwe see that we are not this, nor that, but so.
Such a man, with a complete unconsciousness of himself, is full of judgement and resentment, he is very critical and feels himself threatened from all sides.
He gets more and more sensitive and susceptible and his very sensitiveness makes him a tyrant to his surroundings; everyone round him is dancing an
egg dance in order to avoid hurting his feelings.
This effect is produced by his isolation, which in its turn was produced by his inner phantasies of his immense superiority.
Adler considers the unconscious as a “quantite negligeable, an arrangement which we make ourselves, almost a pathological product.
He does not think that people repress things into the unconscious, but that they withdraw consciousness from the things which they do not want to see.
If, for instance, you tell a man, such as I have been describing, that he wants to tyrannize over his surroundings, he is unable to see it because he has withdrawn all consciousness from that side, whereas he can produce dozens of examples in order to prove how other people try to pull him down.
Adler’s standpoint is essentially final.
He thinks that dreams may be of some assistance to us, but he does not consider that we suffer from traumatic memories, but that we make use of them
and draw them out as weapons from our arsenal to prove that “even then” people were lined up against us.
Adler does not believe in the censor; he argues that all these contents are able to appear quite freely in dreams because our consciousness is withdrawn from them so that we do not notice them or wonder about them.
He sees the anticipatory nature of dreams; Freud does not see this, but believes that everything in dreams is caused by the past.
Primitives and society, even as late as the Roman Empire, having no feeling for the State in consciousness, were guided by the
anticipatory motive in dreams.
They had small dreams and great dreams and the great dreams belonged to the State.
There was an Eskimo leader who led his tribe over the snow to Baffin’s Bay entirely through following his dreams, and the Senate in Rome voted a large sum of money for the rebuilding of the Temple of Minerva, because of a dream.
The dream was dreamt by a senator’s daughter.
I mention these two out of many examples.
Adler is sure that the dream shows how people will behave, and thinks that the dream simplifies the outer situation, whereas Freud thinks rather that it complicates it.
Adler says the dream makes the situation as comfortable as possible, thereby encouraging the dreamer to meet an awkward, complicated outer
Adler in fact thinks that there would be no unconscious if everyone faced up to all their problems in life and the unconscious becomes steadily less important to him.
Freud and Adler alike do not regard the unconscious as a thing existing in itself, but it plays an exceedingly important role to Freud and in his
later works he has even acknowledged that things exist in the unconscious which cannot be traced to personal contents.
They both agree that things appear in dreams in a veiled and disguised form.
Adler lays very little stress on dreams, he regards them more as a “point de vue’, but he believes that the anticipatory tendency in dreams exists as a kind of training, and that because of this dreams give us useful hints and train us for certain ends.
Before certain important decisions in life, for instance, such training dreams appear.
Such dreams do exist.
Two years before I bought a motor, for instance, I had constant dreams of driving a car, of backing uphill, parking and performing all sorts of feats with it.
Since I have had one I never dream of it.
These dreams could also be interpreted in a different way, but then Freud says the only exception to analytical theory is the analyst!
We will now look at our dreams according to Adler’s conception and we shall see how different his system is to that of Freud.
From Adler’s point of view, the dream in the village shows the dreamer in a very superior light it is therefore obvious that he is feeling inferior before some real situation which he has to face.
The dream says “Look how important you are, a gentleman in a top hat, how impressed the village is and how sorry that you do not come more often. What you have done is just a spring board for what you are to do”
This dream is training him for a further effort, a real jump which is before him.
The train disaster dream is not quite so encouraging, something stupid has appeared and there is a disaster, but if we look further there is an encouraging factor, for the dreamer foresaw the disaster, so he can see himself as a far-seeing person.
The dreamer is a great man in a world of schoolboys; the last dream already prepared us to see that, and now we can observe how intelligent he is to see the danger beforehand. We can concentrate on this point and ignore the fact that it was very foolish ever to make such a big plan, so big that it was doomed to failure.
If we are peculiarly intelligent, we are always compensating an unusual stupidity elsewhere, but we have to get back to our common humanity in order to be able to see it.
The professor who writes a particularly thick book may be writing it to compensate an inferiority complex.
[I am not forgetting that I have written several thick books!)
We little realise the many inferiorities which we compensate all the time; and when we discover an inferiority in ourselves we should not be
depressed, no disaster has taken place, but we have discovered our humanity.
We come now to our chief dream, the one in which the crab-lizard monster appears.
Things might have gone wrong in the last dream, but this one opens with a reassuring atmosphere.
It says “You are in your home, you will tell your plan to this simple woman, who will be immensely impressed and you can do all this by yourself, on foot, it is prodigious!”
When we boast it is to compensate our inferiorities, it is a general human mechanism to take someone else down in order to give ourselves the feeling of having climbed, though one really remains in exactly the same spot.
The hay-makers appear directly after his boast and evidently they are a negative quantity, for immediately afterwards the crab-lizard monster appears ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 16Nov1934, Pages 151-153.