Air and Dream

The Dream of Flight  p19

                         On my feet are four halcyon wings,

                         I have two on each heel, blue

                         And green, which over the salty sea

                         Can trace twisting flight.

                               Gabriele D’Annunzio, Undulna 





                                Gabriele D’Annunzio Undulna

Classical psychoanalysis has often handled a knowledge of symbols as though as they were concepts. It could even be said that psychoanalytic symbols are the fundamental concepts of psychoanalytic inquiry. Once a symbol has been interpreted, that is, once its “ unconscious” meaning has been found, it becomes a mere instrument of analysis, and one no longer thinks that he need study it in its context or in its variations.


That is how the dream of flight has become one of the most obvious symbols for classical psychoanalysis, one of the most common “ explanatory concepts.” It symbolizes, we are told, voluptuous desires. By means of it, innocent remarks made in confidence are suddenly stigmatized. It seems to be an absolutely reliable indicator.


Since it is particularly straightforward and striking, and since its apparently innocent telling is not censured, the dream of flight will often be among the first signs deciphered in dream analysis. It will quickly shed light on a whole oneiric experience.


Such a method, which assigns a definite meaning once and for all to a particular symbol, allows a lot of problems to go by unnoticed. In particular, it neglects the problem of the imagination, as though the imagination wee unproductive time-off from a persistent, affective occupation. From at least two perspectives, classical psychoanalysis fails in its duty to remain curious: it does not take into account the aesthetic nature of the dream of flight, and it ignores those efforts at rationalizing which work upon and distort the fundamental dream.



Air and Dreams by Gaston Bachelard

Translated by Springhero 雄伯

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