Volume 2, 2010
David A. Stone Ph.D., Christina Papadimitriou, Ph.D.
Exploring Heidegger’s Ecstatic Temporality in the Context of Embodied Breakdown
A well-worn trope used by phenomenologists is that things that remain invisible or unnoticed in the course of our everyday being in the world reveal themselves in instances of breakdown. This paper borrows this trope to explicate one instance of breakdown, that of traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI). We use the phenomenology of Heidegger, especially his formulation of ecstatic temporality presented in Being and Time, to illuminate the temporal issues surrounding this radical rupture in Dasein’s being in the world through data collected from field observations of inpatient rehabilitation, interviews with persons with TSCI, and with their rehabilitation providers. Specifically, we explore the breakdown in temporality (the rupture on thrown projection) that occurs in persons who experience TSCI across three interconnected existential dimensions – understanding, attunement (mood), and falling. We conclude by discussing the value this approach to human temporality might have for both social scientists interested in human temporality and to practitioners interested in research related to the rehabilitation process.