The second of the two popular methods of dream-interpretation entirely abandons such claims. It might be described as the 'cipher method', since it treats the dream as a kind of secret code in which every sign is translated into another sign of known meaning, according to an established key. For example, I have dreamt of a letter, and also of a funeral or the like; I consult a 'dream-book', and I find that 'letter' is to be translated by 'vexation' and 'funeral' by 'engagement'. It now remains to establish a connection, which I am going to assume as pertaining to the future, by means of the rigmarole which I have deciphered.
NB: 4. Dr Alfred Robitsek calls my attention to the fact that Orential dream-books, of which ours are pitiful plagiarisms, commonly undertake the interpretation of dream-elements in accordance with the assonance and similarity of words. Since these relationships must be lost by translation into our language, the incomprehensibility of the equivalents in our popular 'dream books' is hereby explained. Information as to the extraordinary significance of puns and the play upon words in the old Oriental cultures may be found in the writings of Hugo Winckler. The finest example of a dream-interpretation which has come down to us from antiquity is based on a play upon words.
Artemidoros relates the following (p.225): 'But it seems to me that Aristandros gave a most happy interpretation to Alexander of Macedon. When the latter held Tyros encompassed and in a stage of siege, and was angry and depressed over the great waste of time, he dreamed that he saw a Satyr dancing on his shield. It happened that Aristandros was in the neighbourhood of Tyros, and in the escort of the King, who was waging war on the Syrians. By dividing the word Satyros into (ou and iopoc), he included the King to become more aggressive in the siege. And thus Alexander became master of the city.' (Ea Tupoc, = thine is Tyros.) The dream, indeed, is so intimately econnected with verbal expression that Ferenczi justly remarks that every tongue has its own dream-language. A dream is, as a rule, not to be translated into other languages.
I have, however, come to think differently. I have been forced to perceive that here, once more, we have one of those not infrequent cases where an ancient and stubbornly retained popular belief seems to have come nearer to the truth of the matter than the opinion of modern science. I must insist that the dream actually does possess a meaning, and that a scientific method of dream-interpretation is possible. I arrived at my knowledge of this method in the following manner.
For years I have been occupied with the resolution of certain psychopathological structures - hysterical phobias, obsessional ideas, and the like - with therapeutic intentions. I have been so occupied, in fact, ever since I heard the significant statement of Joseph Breuer, to the effect that in these structures , regarded as morbid symptoms, solutions and treatment go hand in hand.