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Lussheimer, P. (1954). On Daydreams. Am. J. Psychoanal., 14(1):83-92.

(1954). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 14(1):83-92

On Daydreams

Paul Lussheimer, M.D.

Daydreams are a universal phenomenon occuring in normal persons as well as in individuals with psychic disturbances, but there is a great difference as to the character and function of daydreams, depending on innumerable factors.

Standard dictionaries define daydreams as “castles in the air; reveries filled with pleasant visions and anticipations.” Although this definition holds true for most daydreams, the statement that daydreams are pleasant is not true in all cases. Daydreaming is the result of conscious thinking with its definite logic and of unconscious thinking which has its own logic.

Bleuler1 described two ways of thinking: the logical or realistic thinking in contrast to the autistic or dereistic thinking. By logical or realistic thinking Bleuler meant the kind of thoughts which derive from contact with reality. Dereistic thinking, however, is that kind of thinking where, to give a literal translation, “the thought desists or deviates from reality; the thoughts are directed by emotional needs and disregard to a large extent the principles of reality.” Dreaming is essentially an expression of this secondary mode of thinking. But daydreaming, while predominantly dereistic, has enough logical ideation to justify the assumption that it forms a third category—a mixture of realistic and dereistic thinking.

Varendonck2 studied daydreams following Freud's concept. Freud, in an introductory remark to Varendonck's book said, “It is advisable, when establishing a distinction between the different modes of thought-activity, not to utilize the relation to consciousness in the first instance, and to designate the daydream, as well as the chains of thought studied by Varendonck, as freely wandering or fantastic thinking, in opposition to intentionally directed reflections …”

The content of daydreams can be traced back to sources which are either experience or identification, but certain other elements of them cannot.

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