chapter  4
12 Pages

The royal road

ByP. C. Sandler

In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud observed that dreams are the “royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious processes of the mind”—for example, one may know something about dream work. Freud did not observe that one might have the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious—or, more precisely, the unconscious-in-itself. That would constitute a denial of the existence of the unconscious—the unknown—because one would know what is unknown. Many—too many?—readers entertained no second thoughts in omitting the last part of the sentence (“processes of the mind”). When this is extracted, the original sense, which translates the original concept, is irremediably ruined. Bowing to the popularity of the Internet at the expense of quoting from particular books and papers, three examples, drawn at random from the Web, may serve as a representative sample of the state of affairs in the psychoanalytic movement. Whether this is sad or not, readers may decide for themselves. Supposed authorities misquote Freud; those who were able to spot the misquotation add to the confusion with renewed misquotations in a different guise. This progression or regression—each reader is allowed to make his or her choice—began in the 1990s: that is, fifteen years after the publication of the Trilogy. One already has at one’s disposal a half-century’s worth 104of misquotations: a serious indication that Bion’s warnings about the future of psychoanalysis were—in general terms—not heard.