GENERAL THEORY OF THE NEUROSES
I AM very glad to welcome you back to continue our discussions. I last lectured to you on the psychoanalytic treatment of errors and of the dream. To-day I should like to introduce you to an understanding of neurotic phenomena, which, as you soon will discover, have much in common with both of those topics. But I shall tell you in advance that I cannot leave you to take the same attitude toward me that you had before. At that time I was anxious to take no step without complete reference to your judgment. I discussed much with you, I listened to your objections, in short, I deferred to you and to your "normal common sense." That is no longer possible, and for a very simple reason. As phenomena, the dream and errors were not strange to you. One might say that you had as much experience as I, or that you could easily acquire as much. But neuroses are foreign to you; since you are not doctors yourselves you have had access to them only through what I have told you. Of what use is the best judgment if it is not supported by familiarity with the material in question?
Do not, however, understand this as an announcement of dogmatic lectures which demand your unconditional belief. That would be a gross misunderstanding. I do not wish to convince you. I am out to stimulate your interest and shake your prejudices. If, in consequence of not knowing the facts, you are not in a position to judge, neither should you believe nor condemn. Listen and allow yourselves to be influenced by what I tell you. One cannot be so easily convinced; at least if he comes by convictions without effort, they soon prove to be valueless and unable to hold their own. He only has a right to conviction who has handled the same material for many years and who in so doing has gone through the same new and surprising experiences again and again. Why, in matters of intellect, these