Paul Ricoeur on Interpretation of Dreams - Dictionary of Arguments
Interpretation of dreams/Freud/Ricoeur: (...) it is not only because of its cultural interpretation that psychoanalysis stands within the great contemporary debate on the
Language. By making the dream not only the main object of his research, but a model in a sense, (...) of all the hidden, substituted and fictitious expressions of the human desire, Freud challenges us to seek in the dream itself the entanglement of desire and language, in many different ways: first of all, it is not the dreamed dream that can be interpreted, but only the text of the dream narrative; this is the text that the analysis wants to replace with another text, which, as it were
would be the original language of desire; the analysis moves from one sense to another sense. It is not the desire as such that is the focus of the analysis, but its language. >Sense/Freud/Ricoeur, >Dream/Ricoeur.
The analyst... replaces [the narrative of the waking] with another text which, in his eyes, is the thought of the wish, what the wish would say in a prosopoe without compulsion; one must acknowledge (...) that the dream itself is close to language, since it can be told, analysed, interpreted.
Dream interpretation/Freud/Ricoeur: To find the dream "thoughts" again means indeed to take a certain retrograde path, which - beyond the actual body impressions and emotions, beyond the awake memory or the remains of the day, beyond the actual desire for sleep - discovers the unconscious, that is, the oldest desires. It is our childhood that gets on the surface, with all its forgotten, suppressed, repressed urges, and with our childhood that of humanity, which is repeated in the individual's childhood, in a way abbreviated. The dream provides access to a fundamental phenomenon, (...) : [the] phenomenon of regression, whose aspects are not only temporal but also topical and dynamic. >Regression/Ricoeur.
The interpretation, which is not yet identified with the deciphering work corresponding to the dream work and which is linked more to the psychological content than to the mechanism, nevertheless gradually acquires its own structure; and this structure is a mixed structure.
A) On the one hand, interpretation, within the framework of meaning, is a movement from the manifest to the latent; to interpret means to shift the origin of meaning to another place.
But already on this first level it is no longer possible to take interpretation for a simple relation between coded and decoded speech; one can no longer be satisfied with the proposition that the unconscious is another speech, an incomprehensible speech. Die
disguise, which pursues the interpretation from manifest content to latent content, reveals another disguise, namely that of desire in pictures, to which Freud dedicates Chapter IV. To
to use an expression from metapsychological essays: the dream is already a "drive fate" (Triebschicksal).
B) Dream work: This second task requires, even more clearly than the first, the assembling of
two worlds of speech, the speech of meaning and the speech of power. To say that the dream is the fulfilment of a repressed desire is to bring together two concepts that belong to two different realms:
1. fulfillment, which belongs to the speech of sense (as the relationship with Husserl testifies), and 2. repression, which belongs to the speech of power; the concept of disguise, which unites both, expresses the fusion of the two concepts, since disguise is a kind of revelation and at the same time the disguise that distorts this revelation, the violence done to the sense. The relationship of the hidden to the shown, as given in the disguise, thus demands a deformation that
can only be formulated as a compromise of forces. To this mixed speech also belongs the concept of "censorship", which corresponds to that of adjustment: adjustment is the effect, censorship the cause. >Censorship/Freud/Ricoeur, >Symbol/Freud._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
De L’interprétation. Essai sur Sigmund Freud
Die Interpretation. Ein Versuch über Freud Frankfurt/M. 1999
Interpretation theory: discourse and the surplus of meaning Fort Worth 1976