ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NUMBER DREAMS1

129 The symbolism of numbers, which greatly engaged the philosophic fantasy of earlier centuries, has acquired a fresh interest from the analytical researches of Freud and his school. In the material of number dreams we no longer discover conscious speculations on the symbolic connections between numbers, but rather the unconscious roots of number symbolism. As there is nothing fundamentally new to be offered in this field since the researches of Freud, Adler, and Stekel, we must content ourselves with corroborating their experience by citing parallel cases. I have under observation a few cases of this kind which may be worth reporting for their general interest.

130 The first three examples are from a middle-aged man whose conflict of the moment was an extramarital love-affair. The dream-fragment from which I take the symbolical number is: the dreamer shows his season ticket to the conductor. The conductor protests at the high number on the ticket. It was 2477.

131 The analysis of the dream brought out a rather ungentlemanly reckoning up of the expenses of this love-affair, which was foreign to the dreamer’s generous nature. His unconscious made use of this in order to resist the affair. The most obvious interpretation would be that this number had a financial significance and origin. A rough estimate of the expenses so far involved led to a number which in fact approached 2477 francs; a more careful calculation gave 2387 francs, a number which could only arbitrarily be translated into 2477. I then left the number to the free association of the patient. It occurred to him that in the dream the number appeared divided: 24 77. Perhaps it was a telephone number. This conjecture proved incorrect. The next association was that it was the sum of various

1 [Originally published as “Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis des Zahlentraumes,” Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse (Wiesbaden), I (1910/11), 567–72. Previously translated by M. D. Eder in Collected Papers on Analytical Psychology (London and New York, 1916; 2nd edn., 1917).—EDITORS.]

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