The former is a fortress of protective repose; the latter, a shelter from pursuit or danger; in either case, both provide for an escape from harm. And there are harms beyond physical danger, which count as “real” threats. One need not be a refugee standing in line at the borders of Hungary or Croatia, hoping to be given asylum enroute to Germany, France or the U.K. in order to be considered a person of persecutory targeting.
Whether physical harm or by psychological demeaning, the need for safe harbor should never be determined by comparative analogies of differing circumstances, but via the perception of our needs and levels of tolerance.
In logic, there is the fallacy of mereology, where the relationship of part-to-whole can lead to conclusions wrong in substantive form, and dangerous in terms of truth and validity. One’s own circumstances may be “merely X” in comparison to the greater encompassment of tragedies taken as a whole; but that does not necessarily invalidate the reality of the desultory situation one must face, and the loss of compass, meaning and circumference of relational considerations in determining the future course of one’s life.
Medical conditions have a tendency to skew one’s perspective. To continue on without change or repose, because the rest of the world in comparison to one’s own microcosmic universe is merely that much worse off, is to deny the reality of one’s own hurt. For Federal employees and Post Office workers who feel that giving up one’s career and applying for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is a step towards escaping to a bastion and refuge but one which fails to adequately compare to others in more dire circumstances, the need for a “reality check” is often required.
One needs to always start from the vantage point of the present. What others do, where others are, and how comparatively one’s own situation is “merely X” in contrast to stranger-Y, are irrelevancies perpetrated upon one’s imagination through an overabundance of informational overload. Once, there was a time when a local newspaper was the only contact with the greater world. Now, with Smartphones and constant Internet access, we tap into the greater bastions and refuges of those in far-off lands.
But for the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker who must confront the reality of the situation of contending with a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, the “here and now” is what must be faced, and whether one’s medical condition and the situation facing the Federal or Postal worker of today “merely” pales in comparison to others in unknown wastelands, is to concern one beyond the focus and centrality of concerns and problems encountered now, in real time, in the reality of one’s universe, today and this minute.
Other parallel universes will have to deal with their own internal problems; it is the bastion sought and the refuge take by the Federal or Postal employee of today, which matters in the most personal of manners, and what should concern the hurting Federal and Postal employee in the here and now.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire