Other than the obvious alliteration of the two concepts, they are antonyms defined by the reality of sensations. On a spectrum, each can reach differing measures of identification and tolerance: pain can vary in degree of severity and tolerance, based upon an individual’s capacity; pleasure can reach a wide range of obscure identifiers, because of the subjectivity involved in what constitutes pleasure for one individual as opposed to another.
The two principles combined, of course, can complement and detract on a spectrum; as pain increases, one’s pleasure diminishes; but the corollary effect may not be of parallel consequence in that an increase in pleasure will not necessarily subtract or minimize the pain one experiences. As a general principle of life, however, the proportional existence of each brings about the valuation and quality of one’s being and existence, and the worthiness of a sustained life.
For those who suffer from a medical condition such that one’s medical condition directly impacts the daily quality of one’s life, measurable pain and the quantitative existence of pleasure is important in planning for the future. For the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a progressively deteriorating medical condition, whether physical, psychiatric, or a combination of both, pain often becomes a constant companion which negates the sustenance of life’s pleasures.
Federal Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Workers, whether under FERS or CSRS, filed through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is an employment benefit meant to allow for the Federal and Postal employee to alter the course of one’s life and career, by providing for a basic annuity with the added encouragement of going out into the private sector and pursuing a second vocation and career. It is thus a recognition of the paired principles of pain and pleasure; of allowing for a respite from the pain in one’s career, while identifying that work and productivity often results in the increase of pleasure in one’s life.
It is an anomaly that two such opposing conceptual constructs are perceived inseparably; but as life often presents us with conundrums which cannot be explained by mere linguistic gymnastics, the reality of pain and pleasure provides markers by which we are guided to act.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
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