the more likely will the complex be to avoid the censor. It is as though the complex, in its mad desire to escape, disguised itself and slipped around the back way. It succeeds in escaping, but its disguise alters it so beyond recognition that even its best friends will not recognize it.
Thus in the dream we see the conflict of the two systems of energy, and, if we are skilled, we may even interpret the signs as the woodsman would do, and tell what complex has passed that way, and how it was clad. For the first time the psychology of dreams is thus given a coherent setting, which shows it as a type of activity not foreign to our usual modes of thought, but of one piece with them. For the dream is only one illustration of this conflict. What, says Freud, are the symbols of the artist and the poet but just such disguises, the product of the conflict in his own soul between the primitive and the civilized ways of thought? Other observers have already shown that the root of art is in sex; here we see that it is through the symbolism of a sex-conflict that it develops.
Now, suppose that the complexes are a little stronger, have not been as well suppressed as in the normal individual; in such a case they may break out as hysterical symptoms or obsessions—yet the emergence is not complete, though more complete than in the dream, for the individual still has gaps in his conscious memory with regard to the ways in which the complexes are connected with his symptoms, or he may have forgotten the origin of some of his symptoms altogether. And yet in every case his neurosis goes back and roots in the strength of just such complexes, which have seized on events of his adult life somewhat similar to them in nature, and through the breaches thus made have burst forth into a real, if detached, life.
Shocks, traumatic experiences, cause forgetfulness and splitting of personality, on this theory, because they resemble sufficiently in some respect the old childhood complexes, and these latter are for one reason or another so strong that the experience forms its associative connections with the older complexes, and not with conscious personality. So it drops below the level of consciousness, to in turn strive to rise to the surface. The hysterical symptom is then a symbol of the conflict between the two tendencies. If there were no conflict the old complex would emerge wholly; that it emerges in indirect and symbolic ways is additional proof of the conflict which is going on. One must, then, have reached a certain stage of ethical development, must have repressed old tendencies, in order to develop a neurosis.
It is of course true that this repression of the lower by the upper is in general good for the organism; it is well that consciousness should be left free. The fact that it miscarries at times and a neurosis or a nightmare ensues is only because of the relative strength of the complexes, and not because of a defect inherent in the system itself.
Thus for Freud the most real part of the drama of the soul goes on