Temporality and Shame – New Book Edited by Ladson Hinton and Hessel Willemsen

Temporality has been a central preoccupation of modern philosophy, and shame has been a major theme in contemporary psychoanalysis. To date, however, there has been little examination of the critical connection between these core experiences. Although they deeply implicate each other, no single book has focused upon their profound inter-relationship. Temporality and Shame highlights the many dimensions of that reality.

A core point of this book is that shame can be a teacher, and a crucial one, in evaluating our ethical and ontological position in the world. Granting the fact that shame can be toxic and terrible, we must remember that it is also what can orient us in the difficult task of reflection and consciousness. Shame enables us to become more fully present in the world and authentically engage in the flow of temporality and the richness of its syncopated dimensionality. Such a deeply honest ethos, embracing the jarring awareness of shame and the always-shifting temporalities of memory, can open us to a fuller presence in life. This is the basic vision of Temporality and Shame. The respective contributors discuss temporality and shame in relation to clinical and theoretical aspects of psychoanalysis, philosophy, anthropology, genocide, as well as the question of evil, myth and archetype, history and critical studies, the ‘discipline of interiority’, and literary works.

Temporality and Shame provides valuable insights and a rich and engaging variety of ideas. It will appeal to psychotherapists and psychoanalysts, philosophers and those interested in the basic philosophical grounds of experience, anthropologists and people engaged in cultural studies and critical theory.


Ladson Hinton, MA, MD, is a psychoanalyst who practices and teaches in Seattle, Washington. He is a graduate of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and a founding member of the New School for Analytical Psychology in Seattle. Recent interests have been shame, temporality, and the deepening crisis of western culture.

Hessel Willemsen, DClinPsych, is a Training Analyst of the Society of Analytical Psychology. A member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Analytical Psychology, he practices, consults and teaches in London. Recent interests include time, temporality, affect and the body, and the authoritarian other.


“This book’s cross-disciplinary content that includes anthropology, psychoanalysis, technology, culture, the law, [and] philosophy, yields authoritative accounts of emotionally rending and thought-provoking mental and physical depravity and their after-effects in our time. The dynamic structural relations that bind the notions of temporality and shame are at work in both the synchronic eternally present time and the diachronic passage of historical time. This portentous book is essential reading for its depiction of a world wherein the contemporary pervasiveness of shamelessness is uncontained in ethical time and poses an exponential threat to Darwinian fitness.”

Ann Casement, Licensed Psychoanalyst/Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

“This unusual conjunction of topics, temporality and shame, proves to be quite remarkable through the editorial synthesis of Willemsen and Hinton.  Each chapter explores and develops another dimension of the intersection of these aspects of psychological experience through the reflections of diverse, erudite scholars, analysts and authors.  Trauma studies serve as a backdrop to many of the discussion, making poignant human suffering a canvas upon which the themes unfold.  As the examinations proceeds essay by essay the emergence of a complex network of association in philosophical space appears constructed by the weaving of analytic threads.  A unique collection that deserves rereading to fully savour its subtle richness.”

Joseph Cambray, Ph.D., Provost, Pacifica Graduate Institute

“This fine collection of papers is distinguished by a rare integration of psychoanalytic, philosophical and Jungian perspectives.  Its authors include clinicians, scholars and anthropologists and this refreshing combination offers an unusually wide-ranging, thought-provoking and original exploration of shame and its relation to various aspects of temporality.”

Warren Colman, Jungian analyst and consultant editor of The Journal of Analytical Psychology.

“This remarkable collection of essays explores the intersecting dynamics of shame and temporality. If our ability to construct the narrative arc of time makes us human, shame makes us social beings—forced to reflect on the norms we have breached, and compelled to repair our damaged personhood. Shame arrests us in time, delivering us to a double temporality: morbidly reliving past humiliations and rehearsing future disgrace. While intense shame is corrosive to the self, the contributors show that shame is also a teacher, a moral emotion that contributes to civility, integrity, and depth. Readers will be richly rewarded.”

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, FRSC, James McGill Professor & Director, Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

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