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苏菲的世界 Sophies World-31

文章来源:吉林市济群培训    发布时间:2020-06-20   浏览次数: 34
Hilde Moller Knag jumped out of bed with the bulky ring binder in her arms. She plonked it down on her writing desk, grabbed her clothes, and dashed into the bathroom. She stood under the shower for two minutes, dressed herself quickly, and ran downstairs.

"Breakfast is ready, Hilde!"

"I just have to go and row first."

"But Hilde... !"

She ran out of the house, down the garden, and out onto the little dock. She untied the boat and jumped down into it. She rowed around the bay with short angry strokes until she had calmed down.

"We are the living planet, Sophie! We are the great vessel sailing around a burning sun in the universe. But each and every of us is also a ship sailing through life with a cargo of genes. When we have carried this cargo safely to the next harbor--we have not lived in vain..."

She knew the passage by heart. It had been written for her. Not for Sophie, for her. Every word in the ring binder was written by Dad to Hilde.

She rested the oars in the oarlocks and drew them in. The boat rocked gently on the water, the ripples slapping softly against the prow.

And like the little rowboat floating on the surface in the bay at Lillesand, she herself was just a nutshell on the surface of life.

Where were Sophie and Alberto in this picture? Yes, where were Alberto and Sophie?

She could not fathom that they were no more than "electromagnetic impulses" in her father's brain. She could not fathom, and certainly not accept, that they were only paper and printer's ink from a ribbon in her father's portable typewriter. One might just as well say that she herself was nothing but a conglomeration of protein compounds that had suddenly come to life one day in a "hot little pool." But she was more than that. She was Hilde Moller Knag.

She had to admit that the ring binder was a fantastic present, and that her father had touched the core of something eternal in her. But she didn't care for the way he was dealing with Sophie and Alberto.

She would certainly teach him a lesson, even before he got home. She felt she owed it to the two of them. Hilde could already imagine her father at Kastrup Airport, in Copenhagen. She could just see him running around like mad.

Hilde was now quite herself again. She rowed the boat back to the dock, where she was careful to make it fast. After breakfast she sat at the table for a long time with her mother. It felt good to be able to talk about something as ordinary as whether the egg was a trifle too soft.

She did not start to read again until the evening. There were not many pages left now.

Once again there was a knocking on the door.

"Let's just put our hands over our ears," said Alberto, "and perhaps it'll go away."

"No, I want to see who it is."

Alberto followed her to the door.

On the step stood a naked man. He had adopted a very ceremonial posture, but the only thing he had with him was the crown on his head.

"Well?" he said. "What do you good people think of the Emperor's new clothes?"

Alberto and Sophie were utterly dumbfounded. This caused the naked man some consternation.

"What? You are not bowing!" he cried.

"Indeed, that is true," said Alberto, "but the Emperor is stark naked."

The naked man maintained his ceremonial posture. Alberto bent over and whispered in Sophie's ear:

"He thinks he is respectable."

At this, the man scowled.

"Is some kind of censorship being exercised on these premises?" he asked.

"Regrettably," said Alberto. "In here we are both alert and of sound mind in every way. In the Emperor's shameless condition he can therefore not cross the threshold of this house."

Sophie found the naked man's pomposity so absurd that she burst out laughing. As if her laughter had been a prearranged signal, the man with the crown on his head suddenly became aware that he was naked. Covering his private parts with both hands, he bounded toward the nearest clump of trees and disappeared, probably to join company with Adam and Eve, Noah, Little Red Riding-hood, and Winnie-the-Pooh.

Alberto and Sophie remained standing on the step, laughing.

At last Alberto said, "It might be a good idea if we went inside. I'm going to tell you about Freud and his theory of the unconscious."

They seated themselves by the window again. Sophie looked at her watch and said: "It's already half past two and I have a lot to do before the garden party."

"So have I. We'll just say a few words about Sigmund Freud."

"Was he a philosopher?"

"We could describe him as a cultural philosopher, at least. Freud was born in 1 856 and he studied medicine at the University of Vienna. He lived in Vienna for the greater part of his life at a period when the cultural life of the city was flourishing. He specialized early on in neurology. Toward the close of the last century, and far into our own, he developed his 'depth psychology' or psychoanalysis."

"You're going to explain this, right?"

"Psychoanalysis is a description of the human mind in general as well as a therapy for nervous and mental disorders. I do not intend to give you a complete picture either of Freud or of his work. But his theory of the unconscious is necessary to an understanding of what a human being is."

"You intrigue me. Go on."

"Freud held that there is a constant tension between man and his surroundings. In particular, a tension--or conflict--between his drives and needs and the demands of society. It is no exaggeration to say that Freud discovered human drives. This makes him an important exponent of the naturalistic currents that were so prominent toward the end of the nineteenth century."

"What do you mean by human drives?"

"Our actions are not always guided by reason. Man is not really such a rational creature as the eighteenth-century rationalists liked to think. Irrational impulses often determine what we think, what we dream, and what we do. Such irrational impulses can be an expression of basic drives or needs. The human sexual drive, for example, is just as basic as the baby's instinct to suckle."

"Yes?"

"This in itself was no new discovery. But Freud showed that these basic needs can be disguised or 'sublimated,' thereby steering our actions without our being aware of it. He also showed that infants have some sort of sexuality. The respectable middle-class Viennese reacted with abhorrence to this suggestion of the 'sexuality of the child' and made him very unpopular."

"I'm not surprised."

"We call it Victorianism, when everything to do with sexuality is taboo. Freud first became aware of children's sexuality during his practice of psychotherapy. So he had an empirical basis for his claims. He had also seen how numerous forms of neurosis or psychological disorders could be traced back to conflicts during childhood. He gradually developed a type of therapy that we could call the archeology of the soul."

"What do you mean by that?"

"An archeologist searches for traces of the distant past by digging through layers of cultural history. He may find a knife from the eighteenth century. Deeper in the ground he may find a comb from the fourteenth century--and even deeper down perhaps an urn from the fifth centuryB.C."

"Yes?"

"In a similar way, the psychoanalyst, with the patient's help, can dig deep into the patient's mind and bring to light the experiences that have caused the patient's psychological disorder, since according to Freud, we store the memory of all our experiences deep inside us."

"Yes, I see."

"The analyst can perhaps discover an unhappy experience that the patient has tried to suppress for many years, but which has nevertheless lain buried, gnawing away at the patient's resources. By bringing a 'traumatic experience' into the conscious mind--and holding it up to the patient, so to speak--he or she can help the patient 'be done with it,' and get well again."

"That sounds logical."

"But I am jumping too far ahead. Let us first take a look at Freud's description of the human mind. Have you ever seen a newborn baby?"

"I have a cousin who is four."

"When we come into the world, we live out our physical and mental needs quite directly and unashamedly. If we do not get milk, we cry, or maybe we cry if we have a wet diaper. We also give direct expression to our desire for physical contact and body warmth. Freud called this 'pleasure principle' in us the id. As newborn babies we are hardly anything but id."

"Go on."

"We carry the id, or pleasure principle, with us into adulthood and throughout life. But gradually we learn to regulate our desires and adjust to our surroundings. We learn to regulate the pleasure principle in relation to the 'reality principle.' In Freud's terms, we develop an ego which has this regulative function. Even though we want or need something, we cannot just lie down and scream until we get what we want or need."

"No, obviously."

"We may desire something very badly that the outside world will not accept. We may repress our desires. That means we try to push them away and forget about them."

"I see."

"However, Freud proposed, and worked with, a third element in the human mind. From infancy we are constantly faced with the moral demands of our parents and of society. When we do anything wrong, our parents say 'Don't do that!' or 'Naughty naughty, that's bad!' Even when we are grown up, we retain the echo of such moral demands and judgments. It seems as though the world's moral expectations have become part of us. Freud called this the superego."

"Is that another word for conscience?"

"Conscience is a component of the superego. But Freud claimed that the superego tells us when our desires themselves are 'bad' or 'improper/ not least in the case of erotic or sexual desire. And as I said, Freud claimed that these 'improper' desires already manifest themselves at an early stage of childhood."

"How?"

"Nowadays we know that infants like touching their sex organs. We can observe this on any beach. In Freud's time, this behavior could result in a slap over the fingers of the two- or three-year-old, perhaps accompanied by the mother saying, 'Naughty!' or 'Don't do that!' or 'Keep your hands on top of the covers!'"

"How sick!"

"That's the beginning of guilt feelings about everything connected with the sex organs and sexuality. Because this guilt feeling remains in the superego, many people--according to Freud, most people--feel guilty about sex all their lives. At the same time he showed that sexual desires and needs are natural and vital for human beings. And thus, my dear Sophie, the stage is set for a lifelong conflict between desire and guilt."

 "Don't you think the conflict has died down a lot since Freud's time?"

"Most certainly. But many of Freud's patients experienced the conflict so acutely that they developed what Freud called neuroses. One of his many women patients, for example, was secretly in love with her brother-in-law. When her sister died of an illness, she thought: 'Now he is free to marry me!' This thought was on course for a frontal collision with her superego, and was so monstrous an idea that she immediately repressed it, Freud tells us. In other words, she buried it deep in her unconscious. Freud wrote: 'The young girl was ill and displaying severe hysterical symptoms. When I began treating her it appeared that she had thoroughly forgotten about the scene at her sister's bedside and the odious egoistic impulse that had emerged in her. But during analysis she remembered it, and in a state of great agitation she reproduced the pathogenic moment and through this treatment became cured.' "

"Now I better understand what you meant by an archeology of the soul."

"So we can give a general description of the human psyche. After many years of experience in treating patients, Freud concluded that the conscious constitutes only a small part of the human mind. The conscious is like the tip of the iceberg above sea level. Below sea level--or below the threshold of the conscious--is the 'subconscious,' or the unconscious."

"So the unconscious is everything that's inside us that we have forgotten and don't remember?"

"We don't have all our experiences consciously present all the time. But the kinds of things we have thought or experienced, and which we can recall if we 'put our mind to it,' Freud termed the preconscious. He reserved the term 'unconscious' for things we have repressed. That is, the sort of thing we have made an effort to forget because it was either 'unpleasant','improper,' or 'nasty.' If we have desires and urges that are not tolerable to the conscious, the superego shoves them downstairs. Away with them!"

"I get it."

"This mechanism is at work in all healthy people. But it can be such a tremendous strain for some people to keep the unpleasant or forbidden thoughts away from consciousness that it leads to mental illness. Whatever is repressed in this way will try of its own accord to reenter consciousness. For some people it takes a great effort to keep such impulses under the critical eye of the conscious. When Freud was in America in 1909 lecturing on psychoanalysis, he gave an example of the way this repression mechanism functions."

"I'd like to hear that!"

"He said: 'Suppose that here in this hall and in this audience, whose exemplary stillness and attention I cannot sufficiently commend, there is an individual who is creating a disturbance, and, by his ill-bred laughing, talking, by scraping his feet, distracts my attention from my task. I explain that I cannot go on with my lecture under these conditions, and thereupon several strong men among you get up and, after a short struggle, eject the disturber of the peace from the hall. He is now repressed, and I can continue my lecture. But in order that the disturbance may not be repeated, in case the man who has just been thrown out attempts to force his way back into the room, the gentlemen who have executed my suggestion take their chairs to the door and establish themselves there as a resistance, to keep up the repression. Now, if you transfer both locations to the psyche, calling this con-sciousness, and the outside the unconscious, you have a tolerably good illustration of the process of repression.' "

"I agree."

"But the disturber of the peace insists on reentering, Sophie. At least, that's the way it is with repressed thoughts and urges. We live under the constant pressure of repressed thoughts that are trying to fight their way up from the unconscious. That's why we often say or do things without intending to. Unconscious reactions thus prompt our feelings and actions."

"Can you give me an example?"

"Freud operates with several of these mechanisms. One is what he called parapraxes--slips of the tongue or pen. In other words, we accidentally say or do things that we once tried to repress. Freud gives the example of the shop foreman who was to propose a toast to the boss. The trouble was that this boss was terribly unpopular. In plain words, he was what one might call a swine."

"Yes?"

"The foreman stood up, raised his glass, and said 'Here's to the swine!' "

"I'm speechless!"

"So was the foreman. He had actually only said what he really meant. But he didn't mean to say it. Do you want to hear another example?"

"Yes, please."

"A bishop was coming to tea with the local minister, who had a large family of nice well-behaved little daughters. This bishop happened to have an unusually big nose. The little girls were duly instructed that on no account were they to refer to the bishop's nose, since children often blurt out spontaneous remarks about people because their repressive mechanism is not yet developed. The bishop arrived, and the delightful daughters strained themselves to the utmost not to comment on his nose. They tried to not even look at it and to forget about it. But they were thinking about it the whole time. And then one of them was asked to pass the sugar around. She looked at the distinguished bishop and said, 'Do you take sugar in your nose?' "

"How awful!"

"Another thing we can do is to rationalize. That means that we do not give the real reason for what we are doing either to ourselves or to other people because the real reason is unacceptable."

"Like what?"

"I could hypnotize you to open a window. While you are under hypnosis I tell you that when I begin to drum my fingers on the table you will get up and open the window. I drum on the table--and you open the window. Afterward I ask you why you opened the window and you might say you did it because it was too hot. But that is not the real reason. You are reluctant to admit to yourself that you did something under my hypnotic orders. So you rationalize."

"Yes, I see."

 "We all encounter that sort of thing practically every day."

"This four-year-old cousin of mine, I don't think he has a lot of playmates, so he's always happy when I visit. One day I told him I had to hurry home to my mom. Do you know what he said?"

"What did he say?"

"He said, she's stupid!"

"Yes, that was definitely a case of rationalizing. The boy didn't mean what he actually said. He meant it was stupid you had to go, but he was too shy to say so. Another thing we do is project."

"What's that?"

"When we project, we transfer the characteristics we are trying to repress in ourselves onto other people. A person who is very miserly, for example, will characterize others as penny-pinchers. And someone who will not admit to being preoccupied with sex can be the first to be incensed at other people's sex-fixation."

"Hmm."

"Freud claimed that our everyday life was filled with unconscious mechanisms like these. We forget a particular person's name, we fumble with our clothes while we talk, or we shift what appear to be random objects around in the room. We also stumble over words and make various slips of the tongue or pen that can seem completely innocent. Freud's point was that these slips are neither as accidental nor as innocent as we think. These bungled actions can in fact reveal the most intimate secrets."

"From now on I'll watch all my words very carefully."

"Even if you do, you won't be able to escape from your unconscious impulses. The art is precisely not to expend too much effort on burying unpleasant things in the unconscious. It's like trying to block up the entrance to a water vole's nest. You can be sure the water vole will pop up in another part of the garden. It is actually quite healthy to leave the door ajar between the conscious and the unconscious."

"If you lock that door you can get mentally sick, right?"

"Yes. A neurotic is just such a person, who uses too much energy trying to keep the 'unpleasant' out of his consciousness. Frequently there is a particular experience which the person is desperately trying to repress. He can nonetheless be anxious for the doctor to help him to find his way back to the hidden traumas."

"How does the doctor do that?"

"Freud developed a technique which he called free association. In other words, he let the patient lie in a relaxed position and just talk about whatever came into his or her mind--however irrelevant, random, unpleasant, or embarrassing it might sound. The idea was to break through the 'lid' or 'control' that had grown over the traumas, because it was these traumas that were causing the patient concern. They are active all the time, just not consciously."

"The harder you try to forget something, the more you think about it unconsciously?"

"Exactly. That is why it is so important to be aware of the signals from the unconscious. According to Freud, the royal road to the unconscious is our dreams. His main work was written on this subject--The Interpretation of Dreams, published in 1900, in which he showed that our dreams are not random. Our unconscious tries to communicate with our conscious through dreams."

"Go on."

"After many years of experience with patients--and not least after having analyzed his own dreams--Freud determined that all dreams are wish fulfillments. This is clearly observable in children, he said. They dream about ice cream and cherries. But in adults, the wishes that are to be fulfilled in dreams are disguised. That is because even when we sleep, censorship is at work on what we will permit ourselves. And although this censorship, or repression mechanism, is considerably weaker when we are asleep than when we are awake, it is still strong enough to cause our dreams to distort the wishes we cannot acknowledge."

"Which is why dreams have to be interpreted "

"Freud showed that we must distinguish between the actual dream as we recall it in the morning and the real meaning of the dream. He termed the actual dream image--that is, the 'film' or 'video' we dream--the manifest dream. This 'apparent' dream content always takes its material or scenario from the previous day. But the dream also contains a deeper meaning which is hidden from consciousness. Freud called this the latent dream thoughts, and these hidden thoughts which the dream is really about may stem from the distant past, from earliest childhood, for instance."

"So we have to analyze the dream before we can understand it."

"Yes, and for the mentally ill, this must be done in conjunction with the therapist. But it is not the doctor who interprets the dream. He can only do it with the help of the patient. In this situation, the doctor simply fulfills the function of a Socratic 'midwife,' assisting during the interpretation."

"I see."

"The actual process of converting the latent dream thoughts to the manifest dream aspect was termed by Freud the dream work. We might call it 'masking' or 'coding' what the dream is actually about. In interpreting the dream, we must go through the reverse process and unmask or decode the motif to arrive at its theme."

"Can you give me an example?"

"Freud's book teems with examples. But we can construct a simple and very Freudian example for ourselves. Let us say a young man dreams that he is given two balloons by his female cousin . . ."

"Yes?"

"Go on, try to interpret the dream yourself."

"Hmm ... there is a manifest dream, just like you said: a young man gets two balloons from his female cousin."

"Carry on."

"You said the scenario is always from the previous day. So he had been to the fair the day before--or maybe he saw a picture of balloons in the newspaper."

"It's possible, but he need only have seen the word 'balloon,' or something that reminded him of a balloon."

"But what are the latent dream thoughts that the dream is really about?"

"You're the interpreter."

"Maybe he just wanted a couple of balloons."

 "No, that won't work. You're right about the dream being a wish fulfillment. But a young man would hardly have an ardent wish for a couple of balloons. And if he had, he wouldn't need to dream about them."

"I think I've got it: he really wants his cousin--and the two balloons are her breasts."

"Yes, that's a much more likely explanation. And it presupposes that he experienced his wish as an embarrassment."

"In a way, our dreams make a lot of detours?"

"Yes. Freud believed that the dream was a 'disguised fulfillment of a repressed wish.' But exactly what we have repressed can have changed considerably since Freud was a doctor in Vienna. However, the mechanism of dis-guised dream content can still be intact."

"Yes, I see."

"Freud's psychoanalysis was extremely important in the 1920s, especially for the treatment of certain psychiatric patients. His theory of the unconscious was also very significant for art and literature."

"Artists became interested in people's unconscious mental life?"

"Exactly so, although this had already become a predominant aspect of literature in the last decade of the nineteenth century--before Freud's psychoanalysis was known. It merely shows that the appearance of Freud's psychoanalysis at that particular time, the 1890s, was no coincidence."

"You mean it was in the spirit of the times?"

"Freud himself did not claim to have discovered phenomena such as repression, defense mechanisms, or rationalizing. He was simply the first to apply these human experiences to psychiatry. He was also a master at illustrating his theories with literary examples. But as I mentioned, from the 1920s, Freud's psychoanalysis had a more direct influence on art and literature "

"In what sense?"

"Poets and painters, especially the surrealists, attempted to exploit the power of the unconscious in their work."

"What are surrealists?"

 "The word surrealism comes from the French, and means 'super realism.' In 1924 Andre Breton published a 'surrealistic manifesto,' claiming that art should come from the unconscious. The artist should thus derive the freest possible inspiration from his dream images and strive toward a 'super realism,' in which the boundaries between dream and reality were dissolved. For an artist too it can be necessary to break the censorship of the conscious and let words and images have free play."

"I can see that."

"In a sense, Freud demonstrated that there is an artist in everyone. A dream is, after all, a little work of art, and there are new dreams every night. In order to interpret his patients' dreams, Freud often had to work his way through a dense language of symbols--rather in the way we interpret a picture or a literary text."

"And we dream every single night?"

"Recent research shows that we dream for about twenty percent of our sleeping hours, that is, between one and two hours each- night. If we are disturbed during our dream phases we become nervous and irritable. This means nothing less than that everybody has an innate need to give artistic expression to his or her existential situation. After all, it is ourselves that our dreams are about We are the directors, we set up the scenario and play all the roles. A person who says he doesn't understand art doesn't know himself very well."

"I see that."

"Freud also delivered impressive evidence of the wonders of the human mind. His work with patients convinced him that we retain everything we have seen and experienced somewhere deep in our consciousness, and all these impressions can be brought to light again. When we experience a memory lapse, and a bit later 'have it on the tip of our tongue' and then later still 'suddenly remember it,' we are talking about something which has lain in the unconscious and suddenly slips through the half-open door to consciousness."

"But it takes a while sometimes."

"All artists are aware of that. But then suddenly it's as if all doors and all drawers fly open. Everything comes tumbling out by itself, and we can find all the words and images we need. This is when we have 'lifted the lid' of the unconscious. We can call it inspiration, Sophie. It feels as if what we are drawing or writing is coming from some outside source."

"It must be a wonderful feeling."

"But you must have experienced it yourself. You can frequently observe inspiration at work in children who are overtired. They are sometimes so extremely overtired that they seem to be wide awake. Suddenly they start telling a story--as if they are finding words they haven't yet learned. They have, though; the words and the ideas have lain 'latent' in their consciousness, but now, when all caution and all censorship have let go, they are surfacing. It can also be important for an artist not to let reason and reflection control a more or less unconscious expression. Shall I tell you a little story to illustrate this?"

"Sure."

"It's a very serious and a very sad story."

"Okay."

"Once upon a time there was a centipede that was amazingly good at dancing with all hundred legs. All the creatures of the forest gathered to watch every time the centipede danced, and they were all duly impressed by the exquisite dance. But there was one creature that didn't like watching the centipede dance--that was a tortoise."

"It was probably just envious."

"How can I get the centipede to stop dancing? thought the tortoise. He couldn't just say he didn't like the dance. Neither could he say he danced better himself, that would obviously be untrue. So he devised a fiendish plan."

"Let's hear it."

"He sat down and wrote a letter to the centipede. 'O incomparable centipede,' he wrote, 'I am a devoted admirer of your exquisite dancing. I must know how you go about it when you dance. Is it that you lift your left leg number 28 and then your right leg number 39? Or do you begin by lifting your right leg number 17 before you lift your left leg number 44? I await your answer in breathless anticipation. Yours truly, Tortoise."

"How mean!"

 "When the centipede read the letter, she immediately began to think about what she actually did when she danced. Which leg did she lift first? And which leg next? What do you think happened in the end?"

"The centipede never danced again?"

"That's exactly what happened. And that's the way it goes when imagination gets strangled by reasoned deliberation."

"That was a sad story."

"It is important for an artist to be able to 'let go.' The surrealists tried to exploit this by putting themselves into a state where things just happened by themselves. They had a sheet of white paper in front of them and they began to write without thinking about what they wrote. They called it automatic writing. The expression originally comes from spiritualism, where a medium believed that a departed spirit was guiding the pen. But I thought we would talk more about that kind of thing tomorrow."

"I'd like that."

"In one sense, the surrealist artist is also a medium, that is to say, a means or a link. He is a medium of his own unconscious. But perhaps there is an element of the unconscious in every creative process, for what do we actually mean by creativity?"

"I've no idea. Isn't it when you create something?"

"Fair enough, and that happens in a delicate interplay between imagination and reason. But all too frequently, reason throttles the imagination, and that's serious because without imagination, nothing really new will ever be created. I believe imagination is like a Darwinian system."

"I'm sorry, but that I didn't get."

"Well, Darwinism holds that nature's mutants arise one after the other, but only a few of them can be used. Only some of them get the right to live."

"So?"

"That's how it is when we have an inspiration and get masses of new ideas. Thought-mutants occur in the consciousness one after the other, at least if we refrain from censoring ourselves too much. But only some of these thoughts can be used. Here, reason comes into its own.

It, too, has a vital function. When the day's catch is laid on the table we must not forget to be selective."

"That's not a bad comparison."

"Imagine if everything that 'strikes us' were allowed to pass our lips! Not to speak of jumping off our notepads out of our desk drawers! The world would sink under the weight of casual impulses and no selection would have taken place."

"So it's reason that chooses between all these ideas?"

"Yes, don't you think so? Maybe the imagination creates what is new, but the imagination does not make the actual selection. The imagination does not 'compose.' A composition--and every work of art is one--is created in a wondrous interplay between imagination and reason, or between mind and reflection. For there will always be an element of chance in the creative process. You have to turn the sheep loose before you can start to herd them."

Alberto sat quite still, staring out of the window. While he sat there, Sophie suddenly noticed a crowd of brightly colored Disney figures down by the lake.

"There's Goofy," she exclaimed, "and Donald Duck and his nephews ... Look, Alberto. There's Mickey Mouse and . . ."

He turned toward her: "Yes, it's very sad, child."

"What do you mean?"

"Here we are being made the helpless victims of the major's flock of sheep. But it's my own fault, of course. I was the one who started talking about free association of ideas."

"You certainly don't have to blame yourself..."

"I was going to say something about the importance of imagination to us philosophers. In order to think new thoughts, we must be bold enough to let ourselves go. But right now, he's going a bit far."

"Don't worry about it."

"I was about to mention the importance of reflection, and here we are, presented with this lurid imbecility. He should be ashamed of himself!"

"Are you being ironic now?"

"It's he who is ironic, not me. But I have one comfort--and that is the whole cornerstone of my plan."

"Now I'm really confused."

"We have talked about dreams. There's a touch of irony about that too. For what are we but the major's dream images?"

"Ah!"

"But there is still one thing he hasn't counted on."

"What's that?"

"Maybe he is embarrassingly aware of his own dream. He is aware of everything we say and do--just as the dreamer remembers the dream's manifest dream aspect. It is he who wields it with his pen. But even if he remembers everything we say to each other, he is still not quite awake."

"What do you mean?"

"He does not know the latent dream thoughts, Sophie. He forgets that this too is a disguised dream."

"You are talking so strangely."

"The major thinks so too. That is because he does not understand his own dream language. Let us be thankful for that. That gives us a tiny bit of elbow room, you see. And with this elbow room we shall soon fight our way out of his muddy consciousness like water voles frisking about in the sun on a summer's day."

"Do you think we'll make it?"

"We must. Within a couple of days I shall give you a new horizon. Then the major will no longer know where the water voles are or where they will pop up next time."

"But even if we are only dream images, I am still my mother's daughter. And it's five o'clock. I have to go home to Captain's Bend and prepare for the garden party."

"Hmm ... can you do me a small favor on the way home?"

"What?"

"Try to attract a little extra attention. Try to get the major to keep his eye on you all the way home. Try and think about him when you get home--and he'll think about you too."

"What good will that do?"

"Then I can carry on undisturbed with my work on the secret plan. I'm going to dive down into the major's unconscious. That's where I'll be until we meet again."