In 'On Dreams,' the condensed version of Freud's keystone and masterpiece 'The Interpretation of Dreams,' Freud begins early on by outlining specific terminology that will help the reader to understand his new science based on the study of dreams. Freud specifies dreams, as we first remember them, as manifest dream-content so that he may contrast it with his new discovery of latent dream-content, otherwise known as dream-thoughts. Before the arrival of Freud, the account of dreams had been chiefly concerned with only manifest dream-content. Where the manifest dream can be thought of as the story we remember from our slumber, the latent dream-content, on the other hand, is the unconscious source that, while repressed, is, nevertheless, the initial cause of the dream in the first place. These causes of dreams (latent dream-content) are capable of being discovered if we just investigate our (manifest) dreams more fully. When dreams are straightforward and make sense, as often seen in the cases of children, the latent and manifest dream-contents coincide with each other. However, most dreams of adults are bewildering and often seem meaningless and it is precisely the latent dream-content that acts as the master key in deciphering the more complex dream. Through free association, one is able to decipher dreams in a process Freud coined as psychoanalysis. The exact reversal of this analysis, the moment when the mind originally alters the latent into the manifest dream-content, is the process Freud states as dream-work. This process is extremely significant because it shows, fundamentally, how psychical material transforms from one form to another. The complexity of dreams suggests that there are extraordinary mechanisms fueling them and the foremost among these is condensation. Condensation is a phenomenon that can be roughly described as the compression and combination of two or more concepts. Condensation is perpetually merging concepts together so it is always best to assume that one concept in a dream always represents several more. Freud, therefore, declares that "each element in the content of a dream is 'over-determined,'" in the sense that it is not the simple concept it appears to be, but is, in fact, always representing several, sometimes very different, unconscious desires. There must be at least one, or more, common elements, however, that link all of these connected concepts. Displacement, along with condensation, is another mechanism that stimulates dream-work. Freud defines displacement as the process when "in the course of the dream-work psychical intensity passes over from the thoughts and ideas which it properly belongs on to others which in our judgement have no claim to any such emphasis." The "sensory vividness" of a dream is often mainly due to displacements ability to morph desires into new mental images. An individual's feelings towards one object are often furtively redirected to another and, in this way, displacement seems to be almost magical in how the instinctual desires vanish and a new image is conjured up in its place.


Thomas Cummins art philosophy