Sigmund Freud was interviewing one of his patients. He asked the man lying on the couch, “Look through the window – can you see the flagpole on the office building across the street?”
The old man said, “Of course. Do you think I am blind? I may be old but I can see the pole, the flag and everything. What kind of question is this? Am I paying you to ask such stupid questions?”
Freud said, “Just wait, this is how psychoanalysis works. Tell me what the pole reminds you of.”
The old man started giggling. Freud was immensely happy. Very shyly the old man said, “It reminds me of sex.”
Freud wanted everybody to approve his new theory, and this was a confirmation. He said, “I understand. The pole is nothing but a phallic symbol. You need not be worried, it is absolutely true.”
The old man was still giggling, and then Freud asked him, “What does this couch remind you of?”
The old man started laughing and said, “This is some psychoanalysis! I have come for this? Have I paid you in advance for this?” Remember, Freud used to take his fee in advance, because when you are dealing with all kinds of crazy people you cannot depend on them to pay you later on. It has to be taken before the treatment begins.
In fact nobody in the whole world, including Sigmund Freud himself, is ever totally psychoanalyzed, for the simple reason that it cannot be done. You can just go on and on and on ad nauseam. Why? – because it is nothing but thoughts, insubstantial. One thought leads to another, and so on and so forth; there is no end to it. Not a single psychoanalyst has existed ever who can claim to be totally psychoanalyzed. Something always remains, and that something is far bigger than the small fragment that you have been playing with in the name of psychoanalysis.
The old man was getting a little angry too. Freud said, “Just this last question, so don’t get angry. Of course the couch reminds you of sex; it reminds everybody of sex, so there is no problem in it – don’t feel angry. Just this last question: what do you think of when you see a camel?”
Now the old man was really in an uproar, laughing so loudly that he had to hold his stomach with his hands. He said, “My God! I had never thought psychoanalysis had anything to do with camels. But by a strange coincidence I went to the zoo just the other day, and for the first time in my life saw a camel, and here is this old guy asking me what a camel reminds me of. The camel reminds me of sex of course, you sonofabitch.”