A nurse researcher who follows Ricoeur is always ready for the possibility that the narrative of a patient who has consented to take part in a study can take a life of its own. The textuality of a narrative overflows the intentionality of a subject, such that narrative is not simply an object of the consciousness of the narrator. If this is taken as a universal philosophical position, does this mean that there is always going to be a gap – or the staying away from ground as Ab-grund, to invoke Heidegger – between what a patient intends (means) to say and what is said? Does this mean that communication is not the best way to situate Dasein firmly in the Mitdasein (intersubjectivity) of its inevitable being-in-the-world? Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of the narrative thus makes Gadamer’s hermeneutic ideal of the fusion of horizons problematic in terms of its actual transparency in communicative Mitdasein. If narrative always slips beyond the grasp of Dasein, causing an abyss in being to appear here and there in the universal web of Mitdasein, then communication cannot be trusted as the site of clearing (Lichtung) in the understanding of being, which, Dasein, as an interpreting being, is constituted of. Instead of guaranteeing the truth of being in aletheia, narrative introduces its opposite, lethe, into play. Being becomes more like nothingness than being.
Narrative and life-world