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Palombo, S.R. (1992). The Eros of Dreaming. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 73:637-646.

(1992). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 73:637-646

The Eros of Dreaming

Stanley R. Palombo


This paper examines the aspects of dreaming derived from the principle of Eros, the life instinct as described by Freud in Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The life instinct is interpreted in information-processing terms, as the inverse of entropy. The paper emphasizes the role of condensation as a mechanism that binds together the representations of present and past events in the imagery of the dream. This distinguishes it from displacement, which appears to be a mechanism whose function is solely defensive.

The role of the dream in finding a common ground between current and past experience (Galton's method of comparison by superimposition) is discussed in detail. It is suggested that condensation is a primitive cognitive mechanism at work in many kinds of mental activity. The implications of this idea for psychoanalysis and for the creative process in general are explored in brief.

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