Aristotle refers to the underlying unchangeableness of the world we encounter, in contrast to the cosmetic alterations which appear to defy the constancy of the universe, thereby bringing together the two poles of philosophical opposition as represented by Heraclitus and Parmenides. That “substratum” which underlies it all, and of which Heidegger sought to unravel and make known; for the everyday person, it is the “stuff of life” that we must deal with.
Things happen (which is a more genteel way of putting it, as opposed to the colorful vernacular by which it is often known), and the aggregation of all of the compendium of cumulative such bundles — of bad childhoods, decisions we make, corners we turn, the stresses which bombard, marriage, children, the inconstancy of life’s trials and travails, and medical conditions which impede and debilitate — some are mere appearances which dissipate as time endures, while others constitute the substratum, or the Forms of Platonic Philosophy, and must be accepted as the essence of our very Being.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who must endure the hardship of surviving through a medical condition, where the medical condition itself begins to impact the ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal duties, that “stuff” must add one more component: the reaction of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, in attempting to accommodate the medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties. Stuff happens, and the stuff of life must be dealt with.
For Federal and Postal workers, the question of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is one which must begin with the core of human need and daily suffering.
Do we wait until all appearances fade away, and we are left with nothing but the exposure of what remains? Do we “fight on” until the essence of who we are is lost forever? That is often the conflict which must be resolved, and to which the Federal or Postal employee must resign him or herself to — of whether the Federal or Postal job is merely another one of the “stuff of life“, or have you made it into the Staff of Life?
Robert R. McGill, Esquire