It used to be that social conventions, customs, values and mores were deemed inviolable and unchangeable; then, when Western Philosophy realized that complex problems and conundrums could be solved by merely tinkering with language, and that the elasticity of linguistic anachronisms were far more susceptible to alterations than attempting to modify human behavior, all such problems disappeared, and the utopian universe of studying one’s own navel was established.
Whether such creation of a virtual reality and parallel universe will result in the expected quietude and peace of the human condition; and whether linguistic latitude satisfies the bubbling undercurrent of human query, only time and eternity will reveal.
Lawyers probably had a lot to do with it. Lawyers, on the whole, believe fervently that language is the greatest and most powerful of tools. Look at the legislative branch of local, state and Federal governments; who populates them? Why lawyers? Because by going to the heart of the entire process, and controlling and advocating for the statutory language at its inception, one can assert and dominate with the greatest of powers: the power of language in the law. But what of reality? The reordering and reorganization of one’s life cannot always be accomplished by the mere changing of wording, or by redefining what one believes in.
Sometimes, there has to be a substantive reordering of one’s life. One cannot redefine what illness or medical disability one must face, and expect that a material change will occur.
For Federal and Postal employees who must face a medical condition, such that the medical condition has impacted one’s vocation and livelihood, the duality of language and reality must be faced: The Federal and Postal Worker must attend to the substantive problems of the medical condition, while at the same time file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, and engage in the administrative process of linguistically persuading the U.S. Office of Personnel Management of the substantive reality of the impact of one’s medical condition upon the ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position.
But be not confused between the duality of efforts; it is the substantive reorganization of one’s life which is by far the more important; the reordering of language to fit the reality of the human condition is mere child’s play compared to the reality of suffering one must go through in attending to the real-life problems of a medical condition.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
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