What are Holden and Stradlater arguing about

Introduction to Psychoanalysis

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

“Humanity has in the course of time had to endure from the hands of science two great outrages upon its naive self-love. The first was when it realized that our earth was not the center of the universe, but only a tiny speck in a world-system of a magnitude hardly conceivable; this is associated in our minds with the name of Copernicus, although Alexandrian doctrines taught something very similar. The second was when biological research robbed man of his peculiar privilege of having been specially created, and relegated him to a descent from the animal world, implying an ineradicable animal nature in him: this transvaluation has been accomplished in our own time upon the instigation of Charles Darwin, Wallace, and their predecessors, and not without the most violent opposition from their contemporaries. But man's craving for grandiosity is now suffering the third and most bitter blow from present-day psychological research which is endeavoring to prove to the ego of each one of us that he is not even master in his own house, but that he must remain content with the veriest scraps of information about what is going on unconsciously in his own mind. We psycho-analysts were neither the first nor the only ones to propose to mankind that they should look inward; but it appears to be our lot to advocate it most insistently and to support it by empirical evidence which touches every man closely. ”[1], tr. probably Joan Riviere


Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1915-17, Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis) is one of the most famous works of Sigmund Freud, calculated for a wide readership. In its first part (from 1st to 28th lecture) Freud enthusiastically outlines his approach to the unconscious, dreams, the theory of neuroses and some technical issues in the form in which it was formulated at the time of reading the lectures in Vienna in 1915- 1917. From some positions outlined here Freud subsequently refused, many supplements and develops or revises in his later works. The second part ("new lecture series, from 29th to 35th) has never been read before to public, it features a different style of presentation, sometimes requiring the reader to training, sometimes polemical.

This work offers the reader acquainted with the concepts of Freud, to trace the logic of his arguments and to join his conclusions. The form of "Lectures" Freud allows lively polemical, is constantly engaging the reader in a discussion to justify their views, back them up with examples from life and from clinical practice, to identify not clarifying and weaknesses of the theory needs further elaboration.

According to the preface:

These twenty-eight lectures to laymen are elementary and almost conversational. Freud sets forth with a frankness almost startling the difficulties and limitations of psychoanalysis, and also describes its main methods and results as only a master and originator of a new school of thought can do. These dis courses are at the same time simple and almost confidential, and they trace and sum up the results of thirty years of devoted and painstaking research. While they are not at all controversial, we incidentally see in a clearer light the distinctions between the master and some of his distinguished pupils. --from the PREFACE BY G. STANLEY HALL PRESIDENT, 1920

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This edition, printed in 15,000 copies (j 1st-43rd thousand), was preceded by the "large edition" of the "lectures" (3rd edition, 12th-13th thousand, 1926) and the "pocket edition" (). Edition, 8th - 15th thousand, 1926)

Authorized translations of the “Lectures” 1 appeared by early 1930: in English, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Spanish. The Norwegian, Polish, Hungarian and Swedish translations are in preparation



What I am presenting to the public as "Introduction to Psychoanalysis" does not in any way want to compete with the overall presentations of this area of ​​knowledge that are already available (Hitschmann, Freuds Neurosenlehre, 2nd ed., 1913; P fister, Die psychoanalytische Methode , 1913; Leo Kaplan, Grundzüge der Psychoanalyse, 1914; Regis et Hesnard, La Psychoanalysis des nevroses et des psychoses, Paris 1914; Adolf F. M eijer, De Betreling van Zenuwzieken door Psycho-Analyze, Amsterdam 1915.) Es is the faithful reproduction of lectures that I gave in the two winter semesters of 1915/6 and 1916/7 to an audience of doctors and laypeople and of both sexes.

All the peculiarities through which this work will strike the readers of the book are explained by the conditions of its creation. It was not possible to maintain the cool calm of a scientific treatise in the presentation; rather, the speaker had to make it his task not to let the audience's attention wan during an almost two-hour lecture. Consideration of the momentary effect made it inevitable that the same object would find repeated treatment, e.g. B. the one time in the context of the dream interpretation and then later in that of the neurosis problems. The arrangement of the material also meant that some important topics, such as

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2. B. that of the unconscious, could not be exhaustively appraised in a single place, but were taken up and dropped again and again until a new opportunity arose to add something to their knowledge. Those who are familiar with psychoanalytic literature will find little in this "introduction" that they may not have known from other, far more detailed publications Aetiology of fear, the hysterical fantasies) to use material that was previously withheld.

Vienna, in the spring of 1917.






Ladies and gentlemen! I don't know how much each of you know about psychoanalysis from your reading or hearsay. However, by the wording of my announcement - elementary introduction to psychoanalysis - I am obliged to treat you as if you knew nothing and in need of initial instruction.

I can certainly assume that you know that psychoanalysis is a procedure for treating the nervously ill with a doctor, and I can give you an example of how things in this field are different, often downright wrong, going on than usual in medicine. If we otherwise subject a patient to a medical technique that is new to him, we will as a rule reduce his complaints to him and give him confident promises about the success of the treatment. I mean, we are entitled to do so, because behaving like this increases the likelihood of success. But when we take a neurotic into psychoanalytic treatment, we proceed differently. We hold before him the difficulties of the method, its duration, the efforts and the



Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis


Sacrifice it costs, and as far as success is concerned, we say we cannot promise it with certainty, it depends on its behavior, on its understanding, its docility, its perseverance. We have, of course, good motives for apparently so wrong behavior, which you may find out about later.

Now don't be angry if I initially treat you in the same way as these neurotic patients. Actually, I advise you not to listen to me a second time. With this in mind, I shall show you what imperfections are necessarily inherent in teaching psychoanalysis, and what difficulties stand in the way of making your own judgment. I will show you how the whole direction of your previous education and all your thinking habits must inevitably make you opponents of psychoanalysis, and how much you have to overcome in order to master this instinctive opposition. Of course I cannot tell you beforehand what understanding of psychoanalysis you will gain from my communications, but I can promise you this much that by listening to them you will not have learned to undertake a psychoanalytic examination or such treatment perform. If, however, you should find yourself among you who did not feel satisfied by a fleeting acquaintance with psychoanalysis, but would like to enter into a permanent relationship with it, I will not only advise against it, I will warn him directly against it. As things stand now, such a career choice would destroy any chance of success in a university, and if he goes into life as a practicing doctor he will find himself suspicious of a society that does not understand his aspirations and viewed with hostility, and let go of all evil spirits lurking in her against him. Maybe you can just get out of the side effects

I) Introduction

of the war raging in Europe today, derive an approximate estimate of how many legions there may be.

After all, there are enough people for whom something that can become a new piece of knowledge retains its attraction despite such inconveniences. Should any of you be of this type and appear here again next time, overriding my warnings, you will be welcome to me. But they all have a right to know what the indicated difficulties of psychoanalysis are.

First of all, that of instruction, instruction in psychoanalysis. You have become accustomed to seeing it in medical class. You see the anatomical preparation, the precipitate in the chemical reaction, the shortening of the muscle as a result of the stimulation of its nerves. Later one shows your senses to the sick, the symptoms of their suffering, the products of the pathological process, and in numerous cases the causative agents of the disease in an isolated state. In the surgical subjects you will witness the interventions through which help is provided to the patient and you will be able to try to carry out the same yourself. Even in psychiatry, the patient's demonstration of his altered facial expression, way of speaking and behavior will lead you to a wealth of observations that will leave you deeply impressed. For example, the medical teacher mainly plays the role of a guide and explainer who accompanies you through a museum while you gain a direct relationship with the objects and believe that you have convinced yourself of the existence of the new facts through your own perception.

Unfortunately, everything is different in psychoanalysis. In the analytical treatment nothing else takes place than an exchange of words between the person being analyzed and the doctor. The patient speaks, tells of past experiences and

10 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

current impressions, complains, confesses his wishes and emotions. The doctor listens, tries to direct the patient's trains of thought, admonishes, urges his attention in certain directions, gives him explanations and observes the reactions of understanding or rejection that he evokes in the patient. The uneducated relatives of our patients - who are only impressed by the visible and tangible, preferably actions as seen in the cinema - never fail to express their doubts as to how one "can do something about the disease by mere talk". This is of course as short-sighted as it is inconsistent. It is the same people who know so for sure that the patients "just imagine" their symptoms. Words were originally magic and the word still retains much of its ancient magic. Through words a person can save the other or drive them to despair, through words the teacher transfers his knowledge to the pupils, through words the speaker pulls the audience away with him and determines their judgments and decisions. Words evoke affects and are the general means of influencing one another. So we will not disregard the use of words in psychotherapy and will be satisfied if we can listen to the words that are exchanged between the analyst and his patient.

But we can't do that either. The conversation in which the psychoanalytic treatment consists cannot tolerate a listener; it cannot be demonstrated. You can of course also introduce a neurasthenic or hysteric to the students in a psychiatric lecture. He then tells of his complaints and symptoms, but nothing else either. He makes the communications which the analysis requires only under the condition of a special emotional bond with the doctor; he

I) Introduction 11

would fall silent as soon as he noticed a single indifferent witness. Because these communications concern the intimacy of his soul life, everything that he as a socially independent person has to hide from others, and furthermore everything that he does not want to admit to himself as a unified personality.

So you cannot overhear a psychoanalytic treatment. You can only hear from her and will only get to know psychoanalysis in the strictest sense of the word from hearsay. Through this instruction, as it were from two hands, you will come into very unfamiliar conditions for forming a judgment. Obviously, most of it depends on what belief you can give the informant.

Suppose for a moment that you had not attended a psychiatric but a historical lecture, and the lecturer told you about the life and the wars of Alexander the Great. What motives would you have for believing in the truthfulness of his communications? At first the situation seems to be even more unfavorable than in the case of psychoanalysis, for the history professor was as little a participant in Alexander's campaigns as you; the psychoanalyst will at least tell you about things in which he himself played a part. But then comes the turn of what certifies the historian. He can refer you to the reports of old writers who were either contemporary themselves or who were closer to the events in question, that is, to the books of Diodorus, Plutarch, Arriana and others; he can show you pictures of the surviving coins and statues of the king and have a photograph of the Pompeian mosaic of the battle of Issus go through your ranks. Strictly speaking, all of these documents only prove that earlier generations had passed on to the Exi. stenz Alexander and believed in the reality of his deeds

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Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis

and your criticism should start again here. You will then find that not everything that has been reported about Alexander is credible or that its details can be ascertained, but I cannot assume that you will leave the lecture hall doubting the reality of Alexander the great. Your decision will mainly be determined by two considerations, first, that the lecturer has no conceivable motive for passing something off to you as real that he himself does not believe to be, and second, that all available history books present events in roughly similar ways - put. If you then go into the examination of the older sources, you will take into account the same factors, the possible motives of the sources and the correspondence between the testimonies. The result of the examination will certainly be reassuring in the case of Alexander, and will probably turn out differently if it is about personalities like Moses or Nimrod. But what doubts you can raise about the credibility of the psychoanalytic reporter, you will see clearly enough on later occasions.

Now you will be right to ask: If there is no objective certification of psychoanalysis and no way of demonstrating it, how can one even learn psychoanalysis and convince oneself of the truth of its claims? It is really not easy to learn this, and not many people have properly learned psychoanalysis, but of course there is a feasible way. Psychoanalysis is learned first hand, by studying one's own personality. It is not quite what is called introspection, but it can be subsumed into it if necessary.There is a whole series of very common and well-known mental phenomena which one can apply to oneself after some instruction in technology

I) Introduction 13

Objects of analysis. In doing so, one obtains the desired conviction of the reality of the processes which psychoanalysis describes and of the correctness of their conceptions. However, there are certain limits to the progress made in this way. You get much further if you allow yourself to be analyzed by a knowledgeable analyst, experience the effects of the analysis on your own ego and use the opportunity to listen to the other's finer technique of the process. Of course, this excellent path is always only viable for a single person, never for a whole colleague at once.

For a second difficulty in your relationship to psychoanalysis I can no longer blame you, my listeners, at least insofar as you have hitherto carried out medical studies. Your previous education has given your thought activity a certain direction that leads far away from psychoanalysis. You have been trained to anatomically justify the functions of the organism and their disorders, to explain them chemically and physically, and to grasp them biologically, but no part of your interest has been directed to the psychic life, in which the performance of this wonderfully complex one Organism culminates. That is why a psychological way of thinking has remained alien to you, and you have become accustomed to looking at it with suspicion, denying it its scientific character and leaving it to lay people, poets, natural philosophers and mystics. This restriction is undoubtedly a detriment to your medical work, because the patient will, as is the rule in all human relationships, first of all show you his mental facade, and I am afraid that you will be compelled to punish you, a part of the therapeutic influence that you strive to leave to the lay doctors, naturopaths and mystics whom you despise so much.

14 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis


I do not fail to understand what excuse one must accept for this lack of your educational background. The philosophical auxiliary science is missing, which could be made available for your medical intentions. Neither speculative philosophy nor descriptive psychology or the so-called experimental psychology that follows sensory physiology, as they are taught in schools, are capable of telling you anything useful about the relationship between the physical and the mental, and you cannot To give the key to understanding a possible disturbance of the mental functions. In medicine, psychiatry is concerned with describing the mental disorders observed and compiling them into clinical pictures, but in good hours the psychiatrists themselves doubt whether their purely descriptive lists deserve the name of a science. The symptoms which compose these clinical pictures are unknown according to their origin, their mechanism and their mutual connection; either no demonstrable changes in the anatomical organ of the soul correspond to them, or those from which they cannot find an explanation. These disturbances of the soul are only accessible to therapeutic influence if they can be recognized as side effects of another organic affection.

Here is the void which psychoanalysis seeks to fill. She wants to give psychiatry the missing psychological foundation, she hopes to uncover the common ground from which the meeting of physical and mental disorders can be understood. To this end, it must keep itself free of any anatomical, chemical, or physiological assumption that is alien to it, and work entirely with purely psychological auxiliary terms, and that is precisely why I am afraid it will appear strange to you at first.

1) Introduction 15

I do not want to make you, your educational background or attitude, complicit in the next difficulty. With two of its constellations, psychoanalysis offends the whole world and attracts them; one of them violates an intellectual, the other against an aesthetic-moral prejudice. Let us not think too little of these prejudices; they are powerful things, deposits of useful, even necessary developments of humanity. They are held in place by affective forces and the fight against them is a difficult one.

The first of these unpleasant assertions of psychoanalysis says that the mental processes are in and of themselves unconscious and the conscious only individual acts and parts of the whole mental life. Recall that, on the contrary, we are used to identifying the psychic and the conscious. We regard consciousness as the defining character of the psychic, psychology as the doctrine of the contents of consciousness. Yes, this equation seems so natural to us that we believe we feel a contradiction to it as obvious nonsense, and yet psychoanalysis cannot avoid raising this contradiction, it cannot assume the identity of the conscious and the psychic. Her definition of the soul is that there are processes of the kind of feeling, thinking, willing, and she must represent that there is unconscious thinking and unconscious willing. In doing so, however, she forfeited the sympathy of all friends of sober science from the start and suspected a fantastic secret doctrine that wants to build in the dark and fish in the murky. But you, my listeners, cannot yet understand with what right I can pass a sentence of such abstract nature as: "The soul is the conscious" as a prejudice, nor can you guess what development towards the denial of the unconscious guided

16 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

can have, if such should exist, and what advantage may have resulted from this denial. It sounds like an empty argument about whether one should allow the psychic to coincide with the conscious or extend it beyond it, and yet I can assure you that a decisive reorientation in the world and in science has been initiated with the assumption of unconscious soul processes.

You can just as little suspect how intimate connection this first audacity of psychoanalysis is with the second to be mentioned. This other proposition, which psychoanalysis proclaims as one of its results, contains the assertion that instinctual impulses, which can only be described as sexual in the narrower as well as in the broader sense, play an immensely great role in the Playing causation of nervous and mental illnesses. Even more so, that the same sexual impulses are involved in the highest cultural, artistic and social creations of the human spirit with contributions that should not be underestimated.

In my experience, aversion to this result in psychoanalytic research is the most significant source of resistance it has encountered. Do you want to know how we explain this? We believe that culture was created under the impetus of life's need at the expense of instinctual satisfaction, and it is for the most part recreated over and over again by the individual who newly enters the human community who sacrifices to instinctual satisfaction repeated for the benefit of the whole. Among the driving forces used in this way, those of sexual impulses play an important role; they are thereby sublimated, d. H. distracted from their sexual goals and directed towards socially superior, no longer sexual ones. However, this structure is unstable, the sexual instincts are badly tamed, it exists in every individual who deals with the

I) Introduction 17

If cultural work is to be connected, there is a danger that its sexual impulses will refuse to use it. Society does not believe in any greater threat to its culture than would arise from the liberation of the sexual instincts and their return to their original goals. So society does not like to be reminded of this delicate part of its justification, it has no interest in the strength of the sexual instincts being recognized and the significance of the sexual life being made clear for the individual; Intentional on the path to divert attention from this whole area. That is why it does not tolerate the above-mentioned research result of psychoanalysis and would prefer to brand it as aesthetically repulsive, morally reprehensible or dangerous. But such objections cannot harm an allegedly objective result of scientific work. The contradiction must be translated into the intellectual realm if it is to be loud. Now, it is human nature to be inclined to think something is wrong when you don't like it, and then it is easy to argue against it. So society turns the unpleasant into the wrong, contests the truths of psychoanalysis with logical and factual arguments, but from affective sources, and holds these objections as prejudices against all attempts at refutation.

We can, however, claim, ladies and gentlemen, that we did not follow any tendency in the formulation of the sentence complained of. We only wanted to express a fact that we thought we had recognized in arduous work. We now claim the right to reject the interference of such practical considerations in scientific work without fail, even before we have examined whether the fear that these considerations want to dictate to us is justified or not.

18 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

Now these would be some of the difficulties which stand in the way of your preoccupation with psychoanalysis. It may be more than enough to start with. If you can overcome their impression, we want to continue.



Ladies and gentlemen! We don't start with the prerequisites, but with an investigation. For their object we choose certain phenomena that are very common, very well known and very little appreciated, which have nothing to do with diseases in that they can be observed in every healthy person. These are the so-called failures of man, such as when someone wants to say something and says another word for it, the promise, or the same thing happens to him while writing, which he can either notice or not; or if someone reads something else in print or in writing than what is to be read there, the V e r 1 e s e n; likewise if he hears something wrongly what is said to him, the interrogation, of course without an organic disturbance of his hearing being taken into account. Another series of such phenomena is based on forgetting, but not a permanent one, but only a temporary one, e.g. For example, if someone cannot find a name that he knows and regularly recognizes, or if he forgets to carry out a resolution that he later remembered, that is, that he had only forgotten for a certain point in time. In a third row, this condition of the only temporary, z. B. when laying, when someone puts an object somewhere and can no longer find it, or with the completely analogue V e r -


II) The mistakes 19

Heren. There is a forgetting that is treated differently from other forgetting that one is surprised or angry about instead of finding it comprehensible. This is followed by certain irretrievers in whom the temporality reappears by believing for a time something that one knows beforehand and later that it is different, and a number of similar phenomena under different names.

These are all incidents, the inner kinship of which is expressed by the same designation with the prefix "ver", almost all of an unimportant nature, mostly of a very fleeting existence, of little importance in people's lives. Only rarely arises one of them, like losing objects, to a certain practical importance, so they don't get much attention, only arouse weak affects, and so on.

So I would like to draw your attention to these phenomena now. You will, however, oppose me with displeasure: “There are so many great puzzles in the world as there are in the narrower puzzles of soul life, so many miracles in the field of soul disorders which require and deserve clarification that it seems really wanton to work and be interested in to waste such trifles. If you could make us understand why a person with healthy eyes and ears can see and hear things in the light of day that do not exist, why someone suddenly believes he is being persecuted by those who have been his loved ones up to now, or with the most astute Justification If you represent delusions that must appear nonsensical to every child, then we would think something of psychoanalysis, but if it can do nothing but concern us with why a keynote speaker says one word for another, or why a housewife misplaced her keys and similar trifles, then we too will be

20 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

of our time and our interests to know how to start something better. "

I would answer you: patience, ladies and gentlemen! I mean, your criticism is not on the right track. It is true that psychoanalysis cannot boast of never bothering with trifles. On the contrary, what they observe is usually those inconspicuous occurrences which are thrown aside by the other sciences as being too insignificant, the abyss of the phenomenal world, so to speak. But don't you confuse the greatness of the problems with the conspicuousness of the signs in your criticism? Are there not very meaningful things which, under certain conditions and at certain times, can only be given away by very faint signs? I could bring you several such situations with ease. From what slight evidence do you, the young men among you, conclude that you have gained a lady's liking? Do you wait for an explicit declaration of love, a stormy hug, or is a glance barely noticed by others, a fleeting movement, an extension of the handshake by a second enough for you? And if you are involved in the investigation of a murder as a crime detective, then you really expect to find that the killer left his photograph and the address attached to it at the scene, or you will not necessarily end up with weaker and more indistinct leads be satisfied with the personality you are looking for? So let's not underestimate the little signs; perhaps it will be possible to track them down from something bigger. And then, like you, I think that the great problems in the world and in science have the first right to our interest. But for the most part it is of very little use if one makes the loud resolution to now turn to researching this or that great problem.

II) The mistakes 21

Often you don't know where to take the next step. In scientific work, it is more promising to attack what you have in front of you and to research it. If you do this very thoroughly, without preconditions and expectations, and if you are lucky, then, as a result of the connection that connects everything with everything, even the small with the big, even from such undemanding work, access to the study of the big problems can result .

So that's how I would speak, in order to maintain your interest in the treatment of the apparently so insignificant failures of the healthy. Let us now take someone who is alien to psychoanalysis and ask him how he explains the occurrence of such things.

He will certainly answer first: Oh, that is not worth explaining; these are small coincidences. What does the man mean by that? Does he mean to assert that there are incidents, no matter how small, which fall out of the chain of world events, which just as well could not be as they are? If someone breaks through natural determinism in a single place, he has thrown the whole scientific worldview overboard. One can then hold against him how much more consistently the religious worldview behaves itself when it expressly assures that no sparrow falls from the roof without God's special will.I mean, our friend will not want to draw the conclusion from his first answer, he will give in and say that if he studies these things he will find explanations for them. It is a matter of small lapses in function, inaccuracies in mental performance, the conditions of which can be specified. A person who can otherwise speak correctly may promise himself in the speech: 1. when he is easily uncomfortable and tired, 2. when he is excited, 3. when he is overly concerned with other things.


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis

Saying is taken. It is easy to confirm this information. The promise really occurs particularly often when one is tired, has a headache or is facing a migraine. In the same circumstances, it is easy for proper names to be forgotten. Some people are used to recognizing the approaching migraine from this omission of proper names. In the excitement, too, one often confuses the words, but also the things, one "takes offense", and the forgetting of intentions, as well as a number of other unintentional actions becomes conspicuous when one is absent-minded, ie actually on something else A well-known example of such dispersion is the professor of the "Fliegende Blätter" who leaves his umbrella and confuses his hat because he thinks of the problems he will deal with in his next book. We all know from our own experience examples of how one can forget resolutions that one has made, promises that one has made, because one has meanwhile experienced something that has taken a heavy toll on one.

That sounds so reasonable and also seems to be immune to contradiction. It may not be very interesting, not what we expected. Let us take a closer look at these explanations of the failures. The conditions given for the occurrence of these phenomena are not of the same kind among themselves. Feeling unwell and circulatory disorders provide a physiological justification for the impairment of normal function; Excitement, fatigue, distraction are moments of a different kind that could be called psycho-physiological. The latter can easily be translated into theory. Both fatigue and distraction, and perhaps also general excitement, produce a distribution of attention, which can result in too little attention being paid to the performance in question. This service can then be special

II) The mistakes 23

easily disturbed, inaccurately executed. Slight illness, changes in the blood supply in the central nervous organ can have the same effect by influencing the decisive moment, the distribution of attention, in a similar way. In all cases, therefore, it would be a question of the effects of an attention disorder, either from organic or from psychological causes.

There does not seem to be much out of it for our psychoanalytic interest. We might feel tempted to give up on the subject again. However, if we dig deeper into the observations, not everything agrees with this attention theory of failures, or at least does not derive naturally from it. We have made the experience that such wrong actions and such forgetting also occur with persons who are not tired, distracted or excited, but are in their normal state in every direction, unless one wants the person concerned precisely because of them To retrospectively attribute a failure to an excitement, to which they, however, do not confess themselves. Nor can it be so easy that an achievement is guaranteed by the increase in the attention directed towards it, and jeopardized by the diminution of the same. There are a large number of tasks that can be performed automatically, with very little attention, and yet performed with absolute certainty. The stroller, who hardly knows where he is going, still follows the right path and stops at the destination without having lost his way. At least as a rule, that's how he thinks it. The experienced pianist grabs the right keys without even thinking about it. He can, of course, make a mistake once in a while, but if automatic playing increased the risk of being mistaken, the virtuoso, whose playing has become completely automatic through great exercises, should be most exposed to this risk. On the contrary, we see that many


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis

Performances are particularly safe when they are not the subject of particularly high attention, and that the mishap of the failure can occur precisely when the correct performance is particularly important, so there is certainly no distraction of the necessary attention. One can then say that this is the effect of "excitement," but we do not understand why excitement does not in fact increase the focus of attention on what is intended with so much interest - speak the opposite of what he says he intends to say, this can hardly be explained according to the psycho-physiological or attention theory.

There are also so many small side effects with the failures that one does not understand and that the explanations given up to now have not brought closer to us. If you z. For example, if you have temporarily forgotten a name, you get annoyed about it, want to remember it and cannot stop doing the task. Why is it so extremely seldom that an annoyed person succeeds in drawing his attention, as he would like, to the word which he says is "on the tip of the tongue" and which he immediately recognizes when it is spoken in front of him? Or: there are cases in which the mistakes multiply, interlink, replace one another. The first time one forgot a rendezvous; the next time one made the resolution not to forget, it turns out that you have mistakenly memorized a different lesson. You try to remember a forgotten word in a roundabout way, and you lose a second name that could have been helpful in looking up the first after, then a third eludes, etc. As is well known, the same thing can also happen in the case of printing errors, which are to be understood as mistakes by the typesetter.

II) The mistakes 25

Such a stubborn misprint is said to have crept into a social democratic paper. In the report of a certain festivity one could read: Among those present one also noticed His Highness, the K o r n prinzcn. A correction was attempted the next day. The paper apologized and wrote: It should of course have been called: the k no r prince. In such cases one likes to speak of the misprint devil, the goblin of the type case and the like, expressions which in any case go beyond a psychophysiological theory of the misprint.

Nor do I know whether you know that a promise can be provoked, so to speak, through suggestion. An anecdote reports on this: When a newcomer on the stage was once entrusted with the important role of reporting to the king in the "Maid of Orleans" that the Connectable had returned his sword, a heroic actor made a joke during the rehearsal instead of saying this text to the shy beginner repeats: The Comfortable sends his horse back and he achieved his intention. In the performance the unfortunate really made his debut with this modified message, although he had been warned enough or perhaps because of it.

All these little traits of failures are not exactly cleared up by the attention deprivation theory. But that doesn't mean this theory is wrong. It may be missing something, a supplement, so that it can become fully satisfactory. But some of the failures themselves can also be viewed from another side.

Let us single out the promise that is most suitable for our purposes among the failures. We might as well choose to prescribe or read out. We have to tell ourselves that so far we have only asked when and under what conditions one promises

26 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

and only got an answer to that. But you can also direct your interest differently and want to know why you are promising yourself in this way and not in any other; one can consider what comes out of the promise. You see, as long as you do not answer this question and explain the effect of the promise, the psychological side of the phenomenon remains a coincidence, regardless of whether it has found a physiological explanation. When a promise occurs to me, I could evidently promise myself in an infinite number of ways, say one of a thousand others for the one correct word, make innumerable distortions on the correct word. Is there anything that, in the special case of all possible, imposes on me just one mode of promising, or does it remain coincidence, arbitrariness and perhaps nothing reasonable can be said on this question?

Two authors, Meringer and Mayer (a philologist and a psychiatrist), made an attempt in 1895 to attack the question of promises from this angle. You have collected examples and initially described them from a purely descriptive point of view. Of course, that doesn't give an explanation yet, but it can help find the way to it. They distinguish the distortions that the int, dated speech undergoes through the promise as: interchanges, preludes, reverberations, confusions (contaminations) and substitutions (substitutions). I will give you examples from these main groups of the two authors. It is a case of exchange when someone says: the M i 1 o of Venus instead of: The Venus of Milo (exchange in the order of the words); a prelude: It was on my sister's note. . . so heavy on the chest; An aftertaste would be the well-known failed toast: I urge you to enjoy the wellbeing of our boss. These three forms of the

II) The mistakes 27

Promises aren't exactly common. You will find far more numerous observations in which the promise arises through a contraction or amalgamation, e.g. For example, when a gentleman addresses a lady on the street with the words: If you allow me, my lady, I would like to accompany you. In addition to accompanying, there is apparently also the sworn in the mixed word (Incidentally, the young man will not have had much success with the lady.) As a substitute, M. and M. cite the case that someone says: I put the specimens in the breeding boxes instead of incubators and the like

The attempt to explain the two authors based on their collection of examples is particularly inadequate. They believe that the sounds and syllables of a word have different values ​​and that the innervation of the high-quality element can interfere with that of the inferior element. Apparently they are based on the not so frequent pre- and post-sounds; for other successes of the promise, these sound preferences, if they exist at all, are not considered at all. Most often one makes a promise by saying something very similar instead of a word, and this similarity is enough for many to explain the promise. For example, a professor in his inaugural address: I am not inclined (suitable) to appreciate the merits of my much esteemed predecessor. Or another professor: With the female genitalia, despite many temptations, you have ... Pardon: Try. . .

The most common and also the most conspicuous kind of promise is to the exact opposite of what one intends to say. In doing so, of course, one deviates far from the sound relationships and similarity effects and as a substitute one can appeal to the fact that opposites have a very strong conceptual relationship with one another and one another


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis

are particularly close in the psychological association. There are historical examples of this kind: A President of our House of Representatives once opened the session with the words: Gentlemen, I note the presence of. . . Members and thus declare the meeting closed.

Just as seductive as the relationship of opposites is any other common association, which under certain circumstances can appear quite inappropriately. So z. B. tells that at a festivity in honor of the marriage of a child of H. H e 1 m h o 1 1 z with a child of the well-known explorer and industrialist W. S i e m e n s, the famous physiologist Dubois-Reymond had to give the celebratory speech. He closed his toast, which was sure to be brilliant, with the words: Long live the new company: Siemens and Halske! That was, of course, the name of the old company. The combination of the two names had to be as familiar to the Berliner as it was to the Viennese: Riedel and Beutel.

So we have to add the influence of word associations to the sound relationships and word similarity. But that's not all. In a number of cases, it does not seem that the promise we have been cleared up until we have taken into account what was said or even thought a sentence beforehand. So again a case of reverberations, like that emphasized by Meringer, only from a great distance. - I must admit that on the whole I have the impression that we have now moved further than ever to an understanding of the failure of the promise!

However, I hope not to go astray when I say that during the investigation we have just made we have all got a new impression of the examples of promises that might be worthwhile to dwell on. We had examined the conditions under which a promise even comes about, then the influences which the species

II) The mistakes 29

determine the distortion by the promise, but the effect of the promise alone, regardless of its origin, we have not even considered. If we decide to do so, we must finally find the courage to say: In some of the examples, what came about when we made a promise also makes sense. What does that mean it has a purpose? Well, it means that the effect of the promise may have a right to be conceived of as an expression of content and meaning, even as a fully valid psychic act which also pursues its own goal. We have always talked about wrongdoing up to now, but now it seems as if sometimes the wrongdoing itself is a perfectly orderly act that has only taken the place of the other, expected or intended action.

This own sense of the mistake seems to be tangible and unmistakable in individual cases. If the President closes the session of the House of Representatives with the first words instead of opening it, then, from our knowledge of the circumstances under which this promise was made, we are inclined to find this mistake sensible. He does not expect anything good from the meeting and would be glad to be able to break it off again immediately. Showing this meaning, that is, the interpretation of this promise, does not cause us any difficulties. Or when a lady apparently asks another admiringly: You have put on this lovely new hat yourself? - in this way no science in the world will be able to prevent us from hearing an utterance from this promise: This hat is a mess. Or when a lady who is known to be energetic says: My husband asked the doctor what diet he should adhere to, but the doctor said he doesn't need a diet, he can eat and drink whatever I want - this is another promise -


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis

on the other hand, the unmistakable expression of a consistent program.

Ladies and gentlemen, if it should turn out that not just a few cases of promises and failures make sense at all, but a large number of them, then this meaning of failures, which has not yet been mentioned, will inevitably become , become the most interesting thing for us and rightly push all other aspects into the background. We can then leave aside all the physiological or psycho-physiological moments and are allowed to conduct purely psychological investigations into the meaning, i. i. the importance of giving intent to the failure.So we will not fail to check a large amount of observation material for this expectation in the near future.

But before we carry out this resolution, I would like to invite you to follow another lead with me. It has repeatedly happened that a poet has made use of a promise or some other mistake as a means of poetic representation. This fact alone has to prove to us that he has made the mistake, the promise z. B. believes that something is meaningful, because he produces it on purpose. It doesn’t happen that the poet makes a mistake by chance and then lets his prescription stand as a promise to his figure. He wants to bring something to our understanding through the promise, and we can see what that might be, whether he wants to suggest to us that the person in question is destroying. scattered and tired or expected to have a migraine. N / A. Of course we do not want to overestimate it when the poet uses the promise as meaningful. It could in reality be pointless, a psychological accident or, in very rare cases, sensible, and the poet would retain the right to spiritualize it by endowing it with meaning

II) The mistakes 31

to use for his purposes. But it would not be surprising either if we had to learn more about the promise from the poet than from the philologist and psychiatrist.

One such example of promises can be found in W a 1 - lenstein (Piccolomini, first act, fifth appearance). In the preceding scene, Max Piccolomini passionately sided with the Duke and raved about the blessings of peace revealed to him on his journey while accompanying Wallenstein's daughter to the camp. He leaves his father and the court envoy, Questenberg, in complete dismay. And now the fifth appearance continues:

QUESTENBERG: Oh, woe to us! Is it so?

Friend, and we let him go in this madness, don't we call him back right away so that we can open our eyes to him on the spot?

OCTAVIO (coming to after deep reflection):

He has now opened it for me, And I see more than I am pleased.

QUESTENBERG: What is it, friend?

OCTAVIO: Curse this trip!

QUESTENBERG: Why? What is it?

OCTAVIO: Come on! I have to

Immediately follow the unfortunate trail, See with my eyes - come

(wants to continue him)

QUESTENBERG: What is it? Where?

OCTAVIO (presses): To her!


OCTAVIO (corrects himself): To the Duke! Let's go


Octavio wanted to say "to him", to the Duke, but promises himself and by his words "to her" at least reveals to us that he has the influence which the young. War heroes rave about peace.

32 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

O. Rank discovered an even more impressive example in Shakespeare. It is to be found in the "Merchant of Venice" in the famous scene of the lucky lover choosing between the three boxes, and I may not be able to do anything better than read to you the brief account by Rank here.

“A poetically extremely finely motivated and technically brilliantly exploited promise, which, like the one shown by Freud in Wallenstein, reveals that the poets are well aware of the mechanism and meaning of this failure and that they are also understood by the listener, can be found in Shakespeare's“ Kaufmann von Venezia "(Act 3, Scene 2). Porzia, bound by lot by the will of her father to the choice of a husband, has so far escaped all of her disliked suitors by the luck of chance. Since she is finally in Bassanion Having found a candidate she is really fond of, she must fear that he too will draw the wrong lot.She would like to tell him now that he can be sure of her love in this case too, but is prevented from doing so by her vows In this inner conflict the poet lets them say to the welcome suitor:

I beg you, wait; one or two days left

Before you dare: for if you choose wrong, repent

I your company; therefore warped.

Something tells me (but it's not love)

I don't want to lose you;

I can guide you

To the right choice, then I broke my oath;

I dont want that; so you can miss me.

But if you do, you make me wish sinfully ^

I would only have broken it. Oh, the eyes

Who so overlooked me and divided me!

I am half yours, the other half yours -

I want to say mine; but if mine, then yours

And so all yours.

(Based on the translation by Schlegel and T i e c k.)

II) The mistakes 33

Precisely what she would just like to hint to him in a low voice, because she was supposed to keep it from him at all, namely that she was his own before the election and that she loved him, the poet leaves it open in the promise with admirable psychological sensitivity and knows how to use this trick to calm the lover's unbearable uncertainty as well as the listener's equal tension about the outcome of the election. "

Would you like to note how finely Porzia mediates between the two statements contained in the promise at the end, how she overcomes the contradiction between them and finally confirms the promise: Yes, if mine, then yours, And so all yours.

Occasionally a thinker who is far removed from medicine has uncovered the meaning of a failure with a remark and anticipated our efforts to explain it. You all know the ingenious satirist Lichtenberg (1742 to 1799), of whom Goethe said: Where he is fun, there is a hidden problem. Occasionally, the fun comes to the fore the solution to the problem. In his witty and satirical ideas, Lieh- e n b e r g noted the following sentence: He always read Agamemnon instead of "accepted", so hard did he read Homer. That really is the theory of reading out.

Next time we want to examine whether we can go along with the poets in the conception of failure.


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis




Ladies and gentlemen! The previous idea occurred to us not to look at the failure in relation to the intended performance which it disturbed, but in and of itself, we received the impression that in individual cases it seems to betray its own meaning, and told us that if it were to be confirmed on a large scale that the failure had a meaning, this meaning would soon become more interesting to us than an investigation of the circumstances under which the failure occurs.

Let us agree once more on what we want to understand by the "meaning" of a psychic process. Nothing other than the intention it serves and its position in a psychic series. For most of our investigations we can also use "meaning" through Replace "intention", "tendency". So was it just a deceptive appearance or a poetic exaggeration of the failure when we thought we recognized an intention in it?

Let us stay true to the examples of the promise and review a large number of such observations. There we find whole categories of cases in which the intention, the meaning of the promise is clearly evident. Especially those in which the opposite takes the place of what is intended. In the opening speech the President says: "I declare the meeting closed". That is unequivocal. The meaning and purpose of his mistake is that he wants to close the meeting. "He says so himself," one would like to quote; we only need to take him at his word. Don't bother me now by saying that this is not possible, that we know that he did not want to close the meeting, but rather open it, and that he himself, who we have just recognized as the highest authority, can confirm

III J The mistakes 35

that he wanted to open. They forget that we have agreed to look at the failure in and of itself first; their relationship to the intention, which disturbs them, will only be discussed later. Otherwise, you are guilty of a logical mistake through which you simply escaped the problem under treatment, which in English means begging the question.

In other cases, where one has not exactly promised to the contrary, the promise can express an opposite sense. “I am not inclined to appreciate the merits of my predecessor.” Inclination is not the opposite of appropriate, but it is an open admission, in sharp contrast to the situation in which the speaker is supposed to speak.

In still other cases, the promise simply adds a second meaning to the intended one. The sentence then sounds like a contraction, shortening, condensation of several sentences. So the energetic lady: He can eat and drink whatever I want. It's just as if she had said: He can eat and drink what he wants; but what does he have to want? I want in his place. The promises often give the impression of such abbreviations, e.g. For example, when an anatomy professor asks after his lecture on the nasal cavity whether the audience has understood it and whether the general affirmation continues: I hardly think so, because you can yourself in one of the people who understand the nasal cavity City of millions on one finger ... pardon me to count on the fingers of one hand. The abbreviated speech also has its meaning; she says there is only one person who understands that.

These groups of cases, in which the failure itself brings out its meaning, are opposed to others in which the promise did not deliver anything meaningful in itself, i.e. who vigorously contradict our expectations. If

36 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

If someone twists a proper name through promises or puts together unusual sound sequences, the question of whether all wrong actions achieve something meaningful seems to have already been decided in the negative sense due to these very frequent occurrences. Only on closer examination of such examples it becomes apparent that an understanding of these distortions is easily possible, indeed that the difference between these darker and earlier clear cases is not so great.

A gentleman, when asked about the health of his horse, replies: Yes, that is a problem. . . That might take another month. When asked what he actually wanted to say, he explains that he thought it was a sad story, the clash of "lasts" and "sad" resulted in that "draut" (Me. R i n g e r and Mayer.)

Another tells of some events that he complains about and continues: But then there are facts to the fore. Come pig ... Upon inquiries, he confirms that he wanted to describe these processes as filth. "Vorschein" and "Schweinerei" together gave rise to the strange "Vorschwein". (M. u. M.)

Do you remember the case of the young man who wanted to accompany the unknown lady. We had taken the liberty of dividing this word formation into accompany and insult, and felt confident of this interpretation without asking for confirmation for it. You can see from these examples that these darker cases of promises can also be explained by the coincidence, the interferences, of two different speech intentions; The differences arise only when one intention completely replaces (substitutes) the other, as in the case of promises to the contrary, while at other times it has to be content with distorting or modifying them, so that mixed formations states - come, which seem more or less meaningful in themselves.

III) The mistakes 37

We now believe we have grasped the secret of a great number of promises. If we hold on to this insight, we will be able to understand other hitherto puzzling groups. When distorting names, for example, we cannot assume that there is always competition between two similar and yet different names. But the second intention is not difficult to guess. The distortion of a name occurs often enough outside of the promise; it tries to make the name foul-sounding or suggestive of something base and is a well-known type or bad habit of abuse, which the educated person soon learns to do without, but does not like to do without. He still often admits it as a "joke" of very little dignity. To give just one glaring and hateful example of this distortion of the name, I mention that the name of the President of the French Republic, Poincare, was used in these times "Schweinskarre" has converted. So it stands to reason to assume such an insulting intention, even when making a promise, which prevails in the distortion of the name. Similar explanations force us to continue our view for certain cases of promises with a comical or absurd effect. "I urge you to act on the wellbeing of our boss." Here a solemn mood is unexpectedly disturbed by the penetration of a word that arouses an unsavory imagination, and we can hardly suspect otherwise, based on the model of certain insults and defamatory speeches rather than wanting to express a tendency that energetically contradicts the pretended admiration and wants to say something like: Don't believe in it, I'm not serious, I don't give a damn about the guy and the like. The same applies to Promises that turn harmless words into indecent and obscene, like A popos for

Speaking of which, or egg shit bitch for egg white slices. (M. u. M.)

38 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

We know in many people such a tendency to intentionally distort harmless words into obscene for the sake of a certain gain in pleasure; it is considered to be funny, and in reality we first have to find out if someone we hear such a thing from has said it intentionally as a joke or if it happened to him as a promise.

Well, with relatively little effort we would have solved the riddle of failures! They are not accidental, but serious mental acts, they have their meaning, they arise through the interaction - perhaps better: the interaction of two different intentions. But now I can also understand that you want to shower me with a plethora of questions and doubts that need to be answered and dealt with before we can look forward to this first result of our work. I certainly do not want to urge you to make hasty decisions. Let's coolly ponder everything in turn, one at a time.

What do you want to tell me? Do I mean that this explanation applies to all cases of promises or only to a certain number? Is it permissible to extend the same view to the many other types of mistakes, to reading, prescribing, forgetting, misplacing, etc.? What do the moments of fatigue, excitement, absent-mindedness, the disturbance of attention still have in view of the psychological nature of the failures? Furthermore, one can clearly see that of the two competing tendencies in failure, one is always evident, but the other is not always. What then do you do to guess the latter, and if you think you have guessed it, how do you prove that it is not just probable, but the only correct one? Do you have anything else to ask? If not, I'll continue myself. I remind you that we really don't care much about the mistakes themselves, that we only get something out of your studies

Ill) The Failures 39

wanted to learn something useful for psychoanalysis. That is why I ask the question: what are the intentions or tendencies that can disturb others in such a way, and what are the relationships between the disturbing tendencies and the disturbed ones? Our work does not start again until the problem has been solved.

So whether this is the clearing up of all cases of promises? I am very inclined to believe this because every time one examines a case of promises such a resolution can be found. But it cannot be proven either that a promise cannot occur without such a mechanism. It may be so; to us it is theoretically indifferent, for the conclusions which we want to draw for the introduction to psychoanalysis remain, even if only, which is certainly not the case, a minority of cases of promises should be subject to our conception .The next question, whether we can extend what we have made for the promise to the other types of failures, I want to answer in advance with yes. You will see for yourself as we turn to examining examples of verse rubbing, grasping, etc. For technical reasons, however, I suggest that you postpone this work until we have dealt with the promise ourselves even more thoroughly.

The question of what the moments of circulatory disturbance, fatigue, excitement, absent-mindedness, the theory of attention disorder, which the authors have brought to the fore, can still mean to us if we accept the described psychological mechanism of promises, deserves a more detailed one Answering. You see, we are not denying these moments. It is not so often at all that psychoanalysis denies something that is asserted by other quarters; she usually just adds something new, and occasionally


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis

It certainly happens that what has hitherto been overlooked and what has now been added is precisely what is essential. The influence of the physiological dispositions, which are given by slight malaise, circulatory disturbances, states of exhaustion, is to be recognized without further ado for the making of the promise; daily and personal experience can convince you of this. But how little is that explained! Above all, they are not necessary conditions of failure. The promise is just as possible in full health and normal condition. These physical moments therefore only have the value of facilitating and benefiting the peculiar mental mechanism of the promise. I once used a parable for this relationship, which I will now repeat because I cannot replace it with a better one. Suppose I went to a lonely place in the dark of night, was attacked there by a rascal who stole my watch and wallet, and then, because I could not see the robber's face clearly, I carried my complaint with me to the nearest police station before the words: loneliness and darkness have just robbed me of my treasures. The police superintendent can then say to me: You seem wrongly to worship an extremely mechanistic view. Let us present the situation as follows: Under the protection of darkness, favored by loneliness, an unknown robber has snatched your valuables from you. The main task in your trap seems to me to be that we track down the robber. Maybe then we can take the robbery off him again.

The psychophysiological moments such as excitement, scatteredness, and attention deficit obviously do us very little for the purposes of the explanation. It's just sayings, Spanish walls, behind which we shouldn't be prevented from looking. The question is rather what the excitement

III) The mistakes 41

which caused a particular distraction of attention. The sound influences, word similarities and the common associations running out from the words are again to be recognized as significant. They make the promise easier by showing it the ways it can change. But if I have a path ahead of me, is it also decided naturally that I will go it? I still need a motive for me to make up my mind to go with it and, moreover, a strength that will bring me forward on this path. These sound and word relationships are only, like the physical dispositions, the benefit of the promise and cannot actually explain it. Remember, in an overwhelming majority of cases my speech is not disturbed by the fact that the words I use remind others through their similar sound, that they are intimately connected with their opposites, or that common associations emanate from them . With the philosopher W u n d t one could find the information that the promise comes about when, as a result of physical exhaustion, the tendencies to associate gain the upper hand over the other intention to speak. That could be heard very well if it were not contradicted by experience, according to the evidence of which in a number of cases the physical and in another the associative advantages of promise are missing.

I am particularly interested, however, in your next question, on which one determines the two tendencies that interfere with one another. You probably have no idea how serious it is. Isn't it true, one of the two, the disturbed tendency, is always unquestionable: the person who commits the failure knows it and is committed to it. Only the other, the disturbing one, can give rise to doubts and concerns. Well, we have already heard, and you have certainly not forgotten, that in a number of cases this other tendency

42 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

is just as clear. It is indicated by the effect of the promise, if we only have the courage to accept this effect for us. The President, who promises the opposite - it is clear that he wants to open the session, but just as clearly that he also wants to close it. This is so clear that there is nothing left to interpret. But in the other cases in which the disturbing tendency only distorts the original without fully expressing itself, how do you guess the disturbing tendency from the distortion in them?

In a first series of cases, in a very simple and safe way, namely in the same way as one determines the disturbed tendency. You can let the speaker communicate this to you directly; after the promise he immediately restores the originally intended wording. "That's right, no, it might take another month." Well, the disfiguring tendency is also allowed to be expressed by him. You ask him; Yes, why did you first say "out"? He replies: I wanted to say: This is a sad story, and in the other case, when you promise "Vorschwein", he also confirms that he wanted to say first: This is a mess, but then moderated and The determination of the distorting tendency was just as successful here as that of the distorted one. It was also not without intention that I used examples here that were communicated and resolved neither by me nor by one of my followers In both of these cases a certain amount of intervention was necessary in order to promote the solution. One had to ask the speaker why he had made such a promise what he knew to say about the promise. Otherwise he might easily have passed his promise without to want to clear it up. When asked, he gave the explanation with the first idea that occurred to him. And now you see, this little intervention and its success, that is already a psyc hoanalysis and the

III J The mistakes 43

picture of every psychoanalytic investigation that we will undertake in the following.

Am I now too suspicious to assume that at the same moment that psychoanalysis appears before you, resistance to it also rises its head in you? Wouldn't you like to object to me that the information given by the person questioned who made the promise is not entirely conclusive? You think he naturally endeavors to obey the invitation to explain the promise, and then he will say the first best thing that occurs to him if it seems suitable for such an explanation. A proof that the promise was really made is not given. Yes, it could be like that, but it could just as well be different. He could have thought of something else that would have worked just as well, and perhaps better.

It's strange how little respect you basically have for a psychological fact! Imagine that someone has done the chemical analysis of a certain substance and gained a certain weight, so many milligrams, from some of its constituents. Certain conclusions can be drawn from this amount of weight. Do you now believe that it will ever occur to a chemist to criticize these conclusions with the following motivation: the isolated substance could also have had a different weight? Everyone bows to the fact that it was this weight and no other, and confidently builds their further conclusions on it. Only if there is the psychological fact that the interviewee has had a certain idea, do not accept that and say that something else could have occurred to him as well! They just have the illusion of psychological freedom in them and cannot do without it. I am sorry that I am in sharp contradiction to you on this.

Now you will break off here, but only for the resistance


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis

to resume at another point. They go on: We understand that it is the special technique of psychoanalysis to let the people being analyzed tell them the solution to their problems. Now let's take another example, the one in which the keynote speaker asks the congregation to indulge in the chief's welfare. They say that the disturbing intention in this case is that of abuse: it is it that opposes the expression of veneration. But that is mere interpretation on your part, based on observations outside of the promise. In this case, if you ask the person who made the promise, he will not confirm to you that he intended an abuse; rather, he will vigorously deny it. Why not give up your unprovable interpretation against this clear objection?

Yes, this time you found something strong. I imagine the unknown celebratory speaker; he is probably an assistant to the celebrated boss, perhaps already a private lecturer, a young man with the best chances in life. I want to urge him whether he has not felt something that may have defied the invitation to adore the boss. But then I arrive nicely. He gets impatient and suddenly runs at me: "You, now stop your questioning, otherwise I'll get uncomfortable. You are spoiling my whole career with your suspicions. I just got tough. to stumble instead of to stumble because I have already spoken twice before in the same sentence. That is what the Meringer calls an aftertaste, and there is nothing further to be said about it. Do you understand me? Basta. "Hm, that is a surprising reaction, a really energetic refusal. I see that there is nothing to be done with the young man, but I also think to myself that he is showing a strong personal interest in ensuring that his mistake should have no meaning. You may also find that it is not right that he should be so rude about it

III) The mistakes 45

a purely theoretical investigation, but in the end, you will think, he really ought to know what to say and what not to say.

So, does he have to? That might still be the question.

But now you think you have me in your hand. So this is your technique, I hear you say. If the person who made a promise says something that suits you, then declare him or her to be the ultimate authority over it. "He says it himself!" But if what he says doesn't fit your business, then you suddenly claim that it doesn't count, you don't have to believe it.

That is true, however. I can, however, present a similar case to you, in which it is just as monstrous. If a defendant confesses to an act before the judge, the judge believes the confession; but if he denies, the judge does not believe him. If it were otherwise, there would be no administration of justice, and despite the occasional error, you must still allow this system to apply.

Yes, are you the judge, and the one who has made a promise is a defendant before you? Is a promise an offense?

Perhaps we need not refuse this comparison ourselves. But just look at the profound differences that we have come to by digging deeper into the seemingly harmless problems of failures. Differences that we currently do not even know how to compensate for. I offer you a preliminary compromise on the basis of the parable of the judge and the accused. You should admit to me that the meaning of a failure leaves no room for doubt when the person being analyzed admits it himself. I will grant you that direct proof of the presumed meaning cannot be obtained if the person being analyzed refuses to provide information, and of course also if he is not at hand to give us information.

46 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis

As in the case of the administration of justice, we are then dependent on clues which can make a decision once more, sometimes less likely. In a court of law, for practical reasons, one must also be found guilty on circumstantial evidence. For us there is no such compulsion; but we are also not forced to forego the use of such evidence. It would be a mistake to believe that a science consists of nothing but strictly proven doctrines, and an injustice to claim such a thing. This demand is made only by a mind addicted to authority, which has the need to replace its religious catechism with another, albeit scientific one. Science has only a few apodictic sentences in its catechism, otherwise assertions which it has promoted up to certain degrees of probability. It is almost a sign of a scientific way of thinking if one can find satisfaction in these approximations to certainty and can continue the constructive work in spite of the lack of final affirmations.

But where do we get the clues for our interpretations, the clues for our proof in the event that the statement of the analyzed does not itself take up the meaning of the error? clears? From different sides. First from the analogy with phenomena outside of the failures, e.g. B. if we assert that the distortion of a name as a promise has the same insulting meaning as the deliberate distortion of a name. But then from the psychological situation in which the failure occurs, from our knowledge of the character of the person who committed the failure, and the impressions that affected this person before the failure, to which they may react with this failure. As a rule it happens that we interpret the failure according to general principles, which is initially only a conjecture, a suggestion for the interpretation, and then ourselves

HI) The mistakes 47

get the confirmation from the examination of the psychological situation. Sometimes we also have to wait for upcoming events, which have, as it were, announced themselves through the failure, in order to find our suspicion confirmed.

I cannot easily provide you with the evidence for this if I am to restrict myself to the area of ​​promises, although here too there are some good examples. The young man who would like to accompany a lady is certainly a shy one; I know the lady, whose husband is allowed to eat and drink whatever she wants, as one of those energetic women who know how to lead the regiment in the house. Or take the following case: At a general assembly of the "Concordia" a young member gives a violent opposition speech, in the course of which he addresses the management as the gentlemen "Advance Members", which is made up of the Board and the Committee appears. We will suspect that there was a disturbing tendency in him against his opposition, which could be based on something that had to do with an advance. In fact, we learn from our informant that the speaker was in constant financial need and had just applied for a loan at the time. The thought really should be used as a disturbing intention: moderate yourself in your opposition; they are the same people who are supposed to grant you the advance.

But I can present you with a wide range of such circumstantial evidence if I extend to the broad field of other failures.

If someone forgets a proper name that is otherwise familiar to him or finds it difficult to keep in spite of all the efforts, we assume that he has something against the bearer of this name, so that he does not like to think of him; take the following revelations of the psychological situation in which this failure occurred, to this: “A Mr. Y fell in love with a lady, who did not succeed


Lectures to introduce psychoanalysis


soon afterwards married a Mr. X.Despite the fact that Mr. V has known Mr. X for a long time and is even in business relations with him, he forgets his name again and again, so that he had to ask other people about it several times when he was with Wanted to correspond with Mr. X. "*

Mr Y apparently does not want to know anything about his lucky rival. "He shouldn't be thought of."

Or: A lady asks the doctor about a mutual acquaintance, but mentions her by her maiden name. She has forgotten the name adopted during the marriage. She then admits that she was very dissatisfied with this marriage and that she did not like this friend's husband. 2

We shall have much to say about forgetting names in other respects; now we are mainly interested in the psychological situation in which forgetting falls.

The forgetting of resolutions can generally be traced back to an opposing tendency which does not want to carry out the resolution. This is not only how we think in psychoanalysis, it is the general view of people to which they all adhere in life, which they only deny in theory. The patron, who apologizes to his protégé because he forgot his request, is not justified before him. The protégé immediately thinks: It doesn't matter; he promised it, but he really doesn't want to do it. In certain relationships, therefore, forgetting is frowned upon in life too, the difference between the popular and the psychoanalytical view of these mistakes seems to have disappeared. Imagine a housewife who greets the guest with the words: What, are you coming today? I completely forgot that I invited you for today. Or the young

1) According to C. G. Jung.

2) According to A. A. Brill.

III) The mistakes 49

to the man who was to confess to the lover that he had forgotten to keep the last rendezvous discussed. He will certainly not admit it, rather invent the most unlikely obstacles off the cuff which prevented him from coming back then and which have made it impossible for him to give any news since then. We all know and must find it justified that in military matters the excuse for forgetting something is useless and does not protect against punishment. All of a sudden all people agree that a certain mistake is meaningful, and what meaning it has. Why are they not consistent enough to extend this insight to the other failures and to fully acknowledge them? There is of course an answer to this too. If the sense of this forgetting of intentions is so little doubtful even to the layperson, you will be all the less surprised to find that poets exploit this mistake in the same sense. Anyone of you who has seen or read "Caesar and K 1 eopatra" by B. S haw will remember that in the last scene the departing Caesar is haunted by the idea that he has decided to do something else, but what he has now forgotten. Finally it turns out what it is: to say goodbye to Cleopatra. This little event by the poet wants to ascribe to the great Caesar a superiority which he did not have and which he did not have at all You can learn from historical sources that Caesar had Cleopatra follow him to Rome and that she was there with her little Caesarion when Caesar was murdered, whereupon she fled the city.

The cases of forgetting intentions are generally so clear that they are of little use for our intention of deriving indications for the meaning of the failure from the psychological situation. Let us therefore turn to a particularly ambiguous and opaque mistake, namely to lose 4

50 introductory lectures to psychoanalysis