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Latent Dream Thoughts

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The expression "[[latent ]] [[dream ]] [[thoughts]]" comes up frequently in the writings of [[Freud]]; while the term as a [[whole ]] has a very definite [[meaning]], the same cannot be said for "thoughts."
"Latent" was opposed to "[[manifest]]" in the context of the "manifest [[content]]" of the dream and its "[[latent content]]." Taking advantage of the weakening of the [[censorship ]] during [[sleep]], the dream fulfills wishes [[repressed ]] during the waking [[state]]. This can only happen at the cost of transformations and distortions created by the dream [[work]], which translates the latent content into [[manifest content ]] (or dream [[narrative]]). The [[interpretation ]] of the dream follows the same route in reverse, decoding the transformations effected by the [[dream work ]] so as to bring out the latent on the basis of the manifest content. Freud illustrated this with great flair, for [[instance]], in The Interpretation of [[Dreams ]] (1900a), and in his [[case ]] histories of [[Dora ]] (1905e) and the "[[Wolf Man]]" (1918b).
This "latent content" is made up of what Freud calls "latent thoughts." This expression, always used in the plural, was never precisely described. In fact, however, the context of its use made it quite clear that it connoted representations, affects, wishes, and conflictual patterns, all deeply marked by infantilism and [[fantasy]]. Latent thoughts also subsume whatever supplies the dream's "raw [[material]]": the day's residues, somatic sensations, and excitations that directly impact [[instinctual ]] impulses.
Such a use of the [[word ]] thoughts might be questioned, thoughts usually [[being ]] described as [[conscious]]. Yet Freud was very [[explicit ]] in this respect: The term is justified because it referred to [[psychic ]] [[contents ]] and [[processes]], albeit [[preconscious ]] or [[unconscious ]] ones. Freud explained on a [[number ]] of occasions after 1912 (e.g., 1912g, 1940a) that latent dream thoughts were generally preconscious; they are utilized by the [[dream-work ]] because they serve as a relay point and medium for unconscious [[cathexes]].
ROGER PERRON
See also: Dream; [[Sense]]/nonsense; [[Translation]].[[Bibliography]]
* Freud, Sigmund. (1900a). The interpretation of dreams. Part I, SE, 4: 1-338; Part II, SE, 5: 339-625.
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