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There are many different reasons why you may be in a process of recovery or rehabilitation (colloquially known as rehab).  Whether you are in a hospital bed, and hospital beds can be in short supply, or just released from one of any number of hospitals or are just going to see your doctor, you may be involved in overcoming the obstacles involved in rehabilitation.  There are specific types of health professionals, though not all of them doctors, who focus directly on questions of rehabilitation, such as physiotherapists.  As you might expect, there are many different reasons why you are a candidate for rehabilitation and obviously an article of this scope cannot look at every conceivable possibility.  However, what this article will attempt to do is to look at some of the general issues with regard to rehabilitation and try to characterise in a general way some basic thoughts about rehabilitation.


Rehabilitation should philosophically be considered as an essential part of the healing process.  During this time you may be required to employ some form of assistive device such as a cane or walker or potentially even crutches.  In addition, there are other such devices like braces or potentially metal plates or devices that might be inserted into you and which you will have to become used to from now on or at least in some cases during the recovery period.  One unusual part of some rehabilitation procedures is this reliance on machinery or devices of some sort.  This may include metal staples that are now inside of you or stitches that will over time dissolve.  The technology of medicine is rapidly become a visible part of our selves, particularly as we age.  There is no reason to feel as though the new parts of you, whether it be a new hip, a metal plate or pins in limbs or even something as minor as artificial teeth are in any way an alien part of the body.  Rather, the technologies of medicine, like the technologies of everyday life are everywhere around us and need to be more fully embraced.


Individuals recovering from operations may be in a unique position to understand this fundamentally philosophical outlook on our newly understood relationship with technology and the body.  No longer can the body be seen as an entirely natural object that comes into contact with medical or other technologies.  Rather technology itself is something that suffuses every aspect of our realities and our bodies.  We cannot exist apart from technology, nor, in a very real sense, have we ever.  Every aspect of our existence is governed by the material realities of technology.  In addition, the way in which we begin to think about technology and nature as being essentially coterminous is particularly important to any attempt to think about rehabilitation in a real and profound way.


Rehabilitation, I am arguing, is the physical embodiment of a mental process that we are continually undergoing in that it is a process of reconciliation between what was once supposed natural and what was once supposed alien, scientific or technological.  The rehabilitating body is one that is no longer capable of existing on either side of the nature and science or nature and culture divide.  The post-operative body is one that can not choose to operate on either side of that divide as the crisis of that divide has been operated upon that body.  It is an ontological state that in its very existence, as a condition for its survival, has been forced to reify the fact that the body in question, the modern or postmodern body, if you will, is fundamentally a cultural-technological production that encompasses and creates any conception of the body as natural.  That the natural body is a cultural construct is just as obvious that the so-called artificial body is a construct.  Theorists since the 1980s such as Donna Haraway have focussed on questions such as these, though obviously in a more coherent manner.


The process of rehabilitation and recovery, as much as it is a process of bodily recovery is also a process of mental rehabilitation.  In order to understand the truth of this statement it is necessary to consider the word rehabilitation, which means becoming once again able, newly living again in the body.  Rehabilitation is a process of remodulating the phenomenological experiences of different modes of being with technology and being through technology.  Rehabilitation is this newly making able of the self to live with an understanding of mortality and an understanding of the experiential nature of consciousness as a bodily process.


All of this somewhat castles in the air philosophizing is of course well apart from the actual experience of rehabilitation, which I have admittedly not spent much of this article focusing upon.  There are of course a number of individuals in the therapeutic professions which are able to facilitate one’s rehabilitation, including physiotherapists, or in the case of rehab due to some form of substance abuse there are counseling options that are readily available to any number of afflicted individuals.  However, it is important not, especially in the case of removing oneself form a dependence on a substance, to think that one is entering a world in which it is possible every to be free from other such chemical or technological interactions experienced in the body.  Rather rehabilitation of this sort is instead an important means of understanding the way in which one cannot unconsciously navigate the technologies of the body, but must rather instead be always cognizant of the power dynamics involved in the way in which we think about concepts such as will power and responsibility.  The suffusion of power and technology in life creates an idealization of nature as an alternate, an Edenic escape to put it in the terms of a Christian tradition, to technological living.  However, as I think I have in some way suggested in the above paragraphs, there is no alternative.  As such the actual physical or mental rehabilitation that we have been looking at is just as metaphorical as it is real, for rehabilitation is a process that is a condition of being, or becoming able to navigate a sense of being in the body as fundamentally natural as it ever was unnatural.