Dream analysis. Notes of the seminar given in 1928-1930 by C.G. Jung. Edited by William McGuire.

LECTURE I 15 May 1929

[Dr. Jung repeated the dream of the last seminar with the patient’s associations for the benefit of those who had not heard the earlier seminars. He also added some further suggestions to the patient’s associations, and spoke of the decorations of the rooms at the bottom of the sea as similar to those of the Tonhalle here-at carnival time.

The dreamer says these scenes remind him of the aquarium at Naples, but there were many more compartments here than in that aquarium. The peculiar rough tables and hard benches remind him of public festivals and pageants, which he dislikes.

It is disagreeable sitting on hard benches, and the gaiety seems to him forced. The next part of the dream seems to him just a brothel, with scenes of his own reminiscences describing the quality of the place. The two prostitutes whose name was Kaiser convey nothing to him, but he has a feeling that those two sisters are particularly important people, though they are evidently prostitutes. The word Kaiser implies importance and it may also be a play on words. He says that after having experienced the unconscious images one should be able to experience orgiastic scenes without particular excitement. Dr. Jung asked him why he thought so, and he said, “When you look at pictures from the unconscious, you see so many difficult and disagreeable things that these scenes in the dream would convey very little in the way of excitement. A man who knows himself would even be able to share such orgies, to watch them as though he were reading about them in a book.” He says that the figures of policemen and officers hanging by strings are mere marionettes, and associates them with his fear of authority.]

Dr. Jung: As soon as something goes beyond his experience, he is exceedingly afraid, and wants some authority to lean on, so it is not improbable that his guess about the marionettes has something
to do with the authorities, but I am not clear what his association really means.

About the scene with the hat, the dreamer says, “It is as if I were pretending, decorating myself with the hat or feathers of someone · else. It seems to suit me, but when I look in the mirror I discover
that I am ridiculous.

It is the cap of a fool, yet not quite, but it looks rather foolish, a cap of two colours.”

The beginning of the dream is rather obvious, I should say, but I should like to establish the connection with the dream before.

I want to convey the importance of that dream with the symbol of the Puer Aeternus.

Its symbolism is almost too remote to describe fully its particular value.

Whenever a dream takes such a long shot a regression is likely to follow. Going too high means going too low.

In the last seminar you yourselves came to the conclusion that the patient’s next dream would be in the nature of a regression, and sure enough this dream begins with the bottom of the sea, the
lowest place on earth.

The subsequent scenes in the dream are not at all spiritual but as carnal as they can be, a brothel really.

The dream goes from the unconscious to the brothel, decidedly from bad to worse. In the very beginning of the dream there is the fact of his taking his wife to such a show, a sort of Lido festival, a rather
doubtful place.

What would you say to that? Have you any idea about it?

Miss Chapin: His problem in the other dreams was his relation with his wife, and now he is taking her along with him into this situation.

Dr. Jung: But she was with him in the dream before. Isn’t it odd that he took her to such a place as this?

Dr. Binger: He takes her for decency’s sake.

Dr. Jung: That is very good. That might be an explanation.

This man likes protection and he takes his wife and respectable friends with him as a sort of bodyguard.

This is true but it is all negative. You must be careful with an introvert, as this man is.

If I should suggest to him that he is a moral coward and that he is afraid to go alone and therefore takes his wife and friends with him, he would accept it as true, as I am authority to him, and fall
down under it.

I should pull the bottom out from under his feet, so we must not be too negative and lay stress on this bodyguard as a shield against the evil thing.

We have to look at this part of the dream in a more positive way.

As Miss Chapin has just said, his wife is a problem-but his relatives and friends are also problems.

His trouble with his wife is his own attitude.

He shows only a very respectable side to his wife, so that attitude stands in between them; he is not a real man to his wife, he is always in respectable company even when he is alone with her.

So we can see that he is doing something rather unusual in the dream.

He has had any number of experiences with prostitutes where he did not take his wife along with him.

He did not want a bodyguard there, although of course morally he did, but he would be shocked out of his senses at the very thought of taking these respectable people to such a place.

But here in the dream he is carrying along his whole respectable social atmosphere down into Hell with him.

This is something that he could not do in reality.

So when he is doing such a thing in the dream, it is a deed of extraordinary courage, or perhaps a fatal mistake.

It says you are going down into a brothel where you watch a very orgiastic scene with all your relatives, which means that he would be making them acquainted with the other side of himself.

That is of course just what he is not doing, he would never dare to tell his experiences or fantasies to his wife.

So the dream puts the finger on the sore spot as. usual. What is the bridge in his relationship to his wife?

In the dream before, the bridge consists in the truth.

In came the Puer Aeternus, and he tried to understand it as relationship, but what he needs is to tell the truth!

From what he says I would assume that he could not do that, for she would blow up, she is a baby.

Still you cannot tell.

Not long ago I had a consultation with a man who told me his story of an affair with another woman.

It had produced a negative feeling in him for his wife.

I insinuated that he might be frank with his wife, but he said that he could not possibly tell her.

After a while I saw the wife, who gave me a story of a whole string of affairs, six men in succession.

She had contracted gonorrhoea and then told her husband that he was to blame.

He had had gonorrhea before his marriage, and her doctor had told her that it might not have been entirely cured, and in that case it could light up again enough to have infected her.

The man felt so inferior that he didn’t even tell me this.

Such a situation is exactly like the. problem of parents who hesitate to tell their children anything that will enlighten them about sex.

The children say, “How stupid mother is, she seems to know nothing about these things.”

So the dream presents an impartial truth. It shows the situation which by law of nature is.

It does not say you ought to do this or that, nor does it say what is good or bad.

It simply shows the dreamer in a situation.

Man is so underneath.

This is the truth. He is going with his whole set into such a place.

What conclusion do you draw from all this?

Perhaps it is left for the doctor to advise him.

I can only say, “Your wife is now old enough not to be shocked, she cannot be such a baby that she does not smell a rat.”

Perhaps she is filled with fantasies, perhaps she is such a moral coward that she cannot see the truth.

He should get her analysed and let things come out.

She may be shocked, or she may only pretend to be.

The whole thing is perfectly ridiculous.

Any woman with common sense must know that a man in his situation would not be quite reliable on the sexual side.

Many people, both men and women, are not. It is a universal fact, and it has always been so.

Why should she be torn to pieces by such a fact? But in reality perhaps she would be.

I could do nothing with that man; he is so afraid of his wife that he does not dare tell her. The dream, however, tells the truth as it is.

The reasonable thing would be to say to him, “Now go ahead, have a sensible talk with her, say this is the world, this is the truth.”

But what I really told the patient was that I thought there were certain reasons why he should not have a serious talk with his wife.

Before he had this dream I thought that he seemed a bit of a moral coward, and that I should give him a good kick to make him have it out, but then I got something from this dream, and other things came up in later ones, so I began to hesitate and I have hesitated ever since.

Now, the situation in this dream is down at the bottom of the sea; that is a pretty dangerous thing, and unless you are a diver equipped with a helmet you may be a corpse.

It is certainly going into the real unconscious.

Now why do you suppose the dream represents the unconscious as an aquarium?

A marine aquarium is a good representation of the unconscious, but anyone can go into an aquarium. Remember that I said this man is a bit of a moral coward.

Mrs. Schlegel: It is an artificial bottom of the sea.

Dr. Schlegel: It is arranged in compartments.

Dr. Jung: For him it must be so, the artificiality and the compartments.

The same thing comes in later, the factor of unreality.

He is not really experiencing it. It is only a play, as though he were reading it in a book.

This is what the dream says.

We would say, “Oh, go ahead; have that talk with your wife, get into the hot soup,” but the unconscious in the dream speaks a different language.

It points a warning finger and shows the situation as artificial, a play, an aquarium, a book.

When we have such a dream, what does it mean? What would it compensate?

The dream might have put him in a situation of blood and thunder so real that he would sweat and scream as in a nightmare.

That would be a compensation for a flippant and perfunctory attitude of the conscious.

Mr. Gibb: The conscious takes it too seriously.

Dr. Jung: Yes, now the dream has a flippant setting to compensate for the man’s too serious view of it in the conscious.

Remember this man is an introvert and afraid, so the dream says, “Oh, it is only a fantasy, only an aquarium, you are reading about it in a book.”

It is like Mother’s voice, “Only a bear at the zoo.”

Dr. Binger: Isn’t that an unusual way for the unconscious to present itself? It usually makes things more horrible.

Dr. Jung: It is true that the unconscious usually makes things horrible, but nowadays people do not take things seriously enough.

Therefore you must give them a good hump.

But this man is rather serious and just a bit afraid of the unconscious.

At first I did not see it at all, then I discovered that he was too much afraid of the unconscious.

When you have to do with the unconscious you must not be afraid.

If you are too flippant in your conscious attitude your dream will enhance the situation so that you will sweat and have a nightmare.

If you have the right appreciation of the unconscious you will not be afraid. If you are afraid you are gone, the game is already lost.

For then the unconscious disappears.

As long as it is visible you can catch it and integrate it into consciousness, but when it disappears it will work in the dark, and then it is dangerous.

An invisible foe is the worst.

When the unconscious is invisible, it can assail you from every side.

This man is afraid of his unconscious, therefore he must be careful or he will get into a panic, and if he talks to his wife in that state, he will himself shoot his wife to pieces.

People in a state of panic are the most dangerous, the next thing will be an explosion.

When I have borderline cases I have to keep myself very quiet in order not to let an explosion happen.

If my patient keeps his head, he may be able to handle the situation.

His wife naturally is in a state of tension, she must be terribly stored up, like a mine ready to go off.

So if the husband is in the least afraid he would most likely handle the situation awkwardly, he would infect her with panic and cause the powder to explode.

Such women sometimes use a revolver, or commit suicide.

I have the impression that it is a vital matter.

Such things should never be forced. So he must be cautious, and not moralistic.

It is better to be wise than good. In the next part of the dream, after the aquarium scene, he discovers that the seats are rough wooden benches, such as one sees at a peasant festival; they do not seem to suit the occasion at all.

You would expect rather elaborate seats, but in the dream the benches are very uncomfortable.

What do you make of it? Remember they are in the aquarium.

Mrs. Deady: He says it reminds him of the festivals given here, and they always seem to him very artificial.

Dr. Jung: But it would not be artificial for the natives.

He does not like such affairs, he is not a good mixer anyway, so it would be very artificial for him.

The whole thing refers to his analytical hours with me.

The sitting is the analytical “sitting.”

It is rather uncomfortable, and these hours have too a forced gaiety for him.

Of course he enjoys all the beautiful vistas analysis opens up to him, but he pays for them by hours of uncomfortable sitting on rough benches.

I shouldn’t wonder if he wouldn’t put that down to my rough Swiss ways. I have told him things that have made him squirm,

In the dreamhe moves further up, “Lipstairs, into a brothel! Isn’t that rather astonishing?

You would expect that he would go down, open a trapdoor and go even lower, as low as he is in a brothel. But he goes up. Why?

Dr. Binger: He is going up to his conscious mind where these things are.

Dr. Jung: Yes, but that is not it.

Dr. Leavitt: It means he has been pretty low.

Dr. Jung: He has been pretty low in my office. Is it higher in a brothel?

Dr. Leavitt: He would feel better there.

Dr. Jung: You assume he would feel better there! The dream says, “Yes, analysis, but on a higher level you rise to a brothel.” Now what would that mean?

Mrs. Deady: It is a more human relation.

Dr. Jung: Probably he minds the inhuman relations of analysis.

Better that we should have some orgiastic scenes together! But I have not discovered any homosexuality in him yet.

Dr. Leavitt: But that would be getting out of his repression, wouldn’t it?

Dr. Jung: But he does not repress his sexuality, he represses his feeling for his wife.

Dr. Deady: The dream says it is higher than analysis, up to a higher level, franker.

Dr. Jung: You can take any lady to an aquarium, it is perfectly proper and decent, there is no implication in going to an aquarium.

But if you take your wife to a brothel it would be much more dangerous. So the dream says “up” to it. It is a greater moral effort than analysis.

In the unconscious he is now confronting his wife with the reality of things, with the real facts which he has learned about himself through his analysis.

Mrs. Sigg: It seems to be a very important problem with modern women. They do not hide their knowledge of the brothel any longer, but discuss the subject very frankly.

Dr. Jung: Prostitution is a function of marriage.

According to statistics the real supporters of brothels are the married men, not the bachelors.

Mrs. Sigg: The man represses his soul by doing this.

Dr. Jung: Now, don’t go too far.

The dream says that he takes his friends to confront the fact of the brothel.

Then the whole thing becomes unreal, as though he were reading about it in a book.

The unconscious has been made into a museum, unreal because it is too real in the conscious.

Mr. Gibb: It has become an obsession.

Dr. Jung: Yes, too real means obsessed by it.

When a thing becomes too real, I walk right into it, as a bird walks into the mouth of a snake.

His miserable sexuality has become so real, so overvalued, that he cannot dream of talking about it.

It is too real, it is absolute.

Therefore the unconscious says, “Oh, it is only something you read about in a book, a story, not even an official report, probably something quite incredible. It is so far away that it need not touch you. Even in reality you could go through with it. There is nothing to get excited about.”

So the dream is just soothing him, for he is so afraid at the thought of telling this to his wife that he gets in a blue funk about it.

Dr. Leavitt: Is that a wish-fulfilment?

Dr. Jung: There is no wish-fulfilment in the dream.

He is too frightened to wish to take his wife; he might wish it could never happen.

Dr. Leavitt: Then it just says what he ought to do?

Dr. Jung: A dream never says what one ought to do. Nature never suggests.

You must know the details of the conscious condition in order to interpret a dream, for the dream is made up of all we don’t live or become conscious of.

In my conscious I might go too far to the right. When you lean too far over on one side, there will be a compensation in the unconscious.

The unconscious is like a compass, it doesn’t tell you what to do.

Unless you can read the compass it cannot help you.

Dr. Leavitt: Then after the interpretation the dream is a guide?

Dr. Jung: Yes, as the compass is a guide-if you know how to read it, it points, but it is no good unless you understand it.

It is like the Delphic oracle, it never tells you what to do.

It is a mystic situation, and you yourself must make head and tail out of it.

Now as soon as the dream is explained and the situation is sensed as unreal, the man is free to paint the worst, an orgiastic scene; and that is something he might show to his wife.

He could say, “See here what I have found in this old book.”

He is not responsible for it, it was done by some artist long ago. Do you notice the peculiar thing in the picture of the marine scene?

Dr. Binger: The aquarium is divided into compartments.

Dr. Jung: Yes, that is right; it is divided into compartments.

But first I want to point out that there is something quite suggestive about the undulating movements of the primal creatures in an aquarium.

They show you quite openly in their squirming and wriggling the sort of movements you do not see on the surface.

They are like the movements of the body, of the intestines and of the sympathetic nervous system.

There is a peculiar analogy that I have often seen in patients’ dreams and fantasies: intestinal movements with a sexual analogy.

So the pictures that are down in the aquarium which develop into orgiastic scenes upstairs in the brothel are practically the same.

They end in sexuality. Now we are almost forced to speak of these compartments.

Why should they be divided into compartments?

Dr. Binger: That was what the dreamer had done in his actual life.

Mr. Gibb: Things can be better controlled in compartments.

Dr. Jung: The very idea of a compartment means control.

You separate the different compartments by water-tight walls and you can say that this belongs here and that belongs there.

Things are more manageable when one can separate them and there is no danger of getting them mixed.

They stay where they belong and an avalanche can be avoided.

This is what man has done with the dark side of the world, separated it from the other side by watertight compartments.

But why should the fish in the tanks be separated from the other marine scenes?

They are much the same thing; we are rather at a loss to understand why they should be divided into compartments.

To be sure, it is tidy, more manageable, and gives one a sense of security, but I am not satisfied with that.

There is still more to it.

Mrs. Sigg: It is a very strange thing that in the old forms of literature they wrote in a very detailed and pedantic way.

There must be some analogy there.

Dr. Jung: You are quite right about that particular form of pedantry in early writings. Everything is described with the most amazing detail, so that in these descriptions everything is given the
same importance.

Dr. Schmitz: There is a similar pedantic arrangement of scenes in Italian and Indian pictures, the same analogy.

Dr. Jung: That points to the thing I mean.

That peculiar pedantry can only come about by extraordinary concentration of libido on each particular event, hence there is superfluous detail.

There is increased subjective value, therefore each event must be shown by itself, depicted in amazing detail, surrounded by a frame, decorated by statues, etc.

This shows that every event has an enormous value attached to it.

Every fact stands by itself, there is no attempt at synthesis in the picture.

I am quite certain that if these orgiastic scenes had not been so blurred in the dream, my patient would have been able to tell me each particular situation through which he had gone, and which is still standing out separately, not synthesized at all, and here we come back to the idea of security.

Suppose that you have once committed a murder, once stolen something, and have a long series of awful things each in its own compartment.

But you are only in the present compartment now, just concerned with a little swindle.

This is the way of the criminal, and explains his feeling of “goodness.”

He has his life all divided off into compartments, until the police come with their records.

A man once came to me and said, “The thing that is the matter with me is that I have never had any experiences with women.”

I said, “Why, how is that? You are married.” “Ah yes, but no other.”

“You told me you were engaged before.”

“Yes, but that was long ago.”

After I had pressed him to tell me about his life, he came out with one love story after another, until I had counted thirty-two of them. But that man said he had never had any experiences with a woman, and it was true.

After analysis he slipped once again and then he was conscious, and said, “Never again.” The compartments were gone.

I had another case, a very charming man who had relations with five women, including his wife, at the same time.

I had not said much about this, but once, in explaining a dream, I said something of the polygamous nature of man.

“But,” he said, “I would not be polygamous, I know nothing of that.” I said, “What about Mrs. X.”

“Ah that, well, you see she is musical and we sometimes play together, and of course after the music-.”

“But Mrs. G.” “Oh, we play golf and after that-” “But Miss-” “Why, she is just my secretary, I take her out sometimes, but that is not polygamous.”

You see, that man had his girls in different compartments, music, golf, office, wife, so he felt respectable, his whole life was in compartments.

I said to him, “I call that polygamous-you have sex relations with five women at the same time.”

“Why, doctor, I believe you are right! It is awful!”

“Oh, not awful, but hardly wise, better change things a bit!

Do you know what happened to that man?

He overcame completely impotent.

I can hardly believe it, but it is true.

I had an aunt who was a bad woman, bad with her tongue, and my uncle was an inventor who had a phonograph and made records.

One day she gave him an awful sermon, and without her knowing it he made a record. Next day when she was reasonable, he said he had something to play to her, and put the record on.

She said, “I never said that, it is not true!”

I often advise people to keep a diary and read the old entries, or hear other people describe their lives for them, then they may break through the compartments.

Hearing someone else give a vista of one’s life is very illuminating.

The things we do are in compartments which keep us singularly unconscious.

The dreamer has never summed up his life until now, and I am quite sure that if the unconscious had been more clear in the dream he would have had the shock of his life.

An introvert often keeps the events of his life in different compartments, he has a sort of wall between so they cannot blend.

When they do come together there is a conflagration. This man is protected against a conflagration. ~Carl Jung, Dream Analysis Seminar, Pages 201-211