Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/370

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the other hand, it is continually going on, for the old complexes are always striving up to expression. And so the system of energy in the unconscious is a two-way system; the upper system keeping down the lower. If this be true, how different is our mind from the report which consciousness gives us. Outwardly, all is calm and placid, and yet beneath the surface is the mighty conflict always going on. We are like citizens sleeping in security while outside the gates the battle rages hot between our protectors and our enemies. Fortunately, it is our protectors who are usually victorious; the repressive force of the upper level is strong enough to prevent the emergence of the denizens of the lower stages. But this is not always so. Occasionally the assailants find a breach in the fortifications, or a weak spot in the line of battle, and echoes of the conflict come to us within.

To abandon figures, the lower level of the unconscious may under certain circumstances win a partial victory, and some feature of the old complex may arise in our minds. This may happen in the following way. Suppose that a train of thought broken off during the day, and sinking to the upper level of the unconscious, works out there to a conclusion which permits it to be brought into associative connection with one of the complexes on the lower level. The whole process has been unconscious; we are not aware that such a connection has been made, and yet in the trivial event of the day there has been some element, some common feeling tone, some phrase, some suggestion, which is like enough to the old complex to form an associative connection with it. Suppose that during the day we express some slight concern about the health of a near relative, and, in the pressure of work, forget about the matter. Under the threshold, on the upper level, this train of thought may spread further. Now it is one of the traits of children that they have at first little sympathy and love for their younger brothers and sisters. It is not uncommon for them to express a wish that they would die, that they might have more attention from their parents. For death for the child means of course only an absence; he has no conception of its real significance. But such an idea is foreign to the adult mind; it has been so repressed and was expressed at so early a stage that we can hardly realize that it ever existed. However, on Freud's theory, it still does exist, and is continually being repressed by the upper levels. Suppose now that the train of thought having to do with the health of the relative in question works out to a conclusion below the threshold which tends to call up the old complex. This is at once given new energy, its repression is more difficult. And yet it does not emerge consciously. But at night, when the inhibitions are down in sleep, when the repressive force is not quite so great, it makes a supreme effort, and gets through—in a dream. We may awaken terrified from a dream of the death of the same relative who caused us the