Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The problem of inductive reasoning

The difficulties inherent in deriving universal truths from particular observations have been annotated throughout the history of logical analysis, from Hume to Popper, and continue to haunt attempts at scientific certitude.  That probabilities can be imputed, as opposed to arriving at undeniable conclusions, allows for that “wiggle room” which is the hallmark of modern science.

Today, where the intersection and commingling of science, politics and entertainment requires less than rigorous experimental verification, and where drug companies argue for fast-tracking of medications with limited-to-little trials, even of “controlled” ones — inductive reasoning, though unverifiable and certainly wrought with inherent self-compromise, nevertheless compels people to act.

The classic example of having seen only white swans, leading to the general conclusion that there exist only white swans in the entirety of the universe of such species, is merely a convoluted tautology in a world of untrained and unsophisticated populace.

Rigor in argumentation has been decimated; simple Aristotelian logic is no longer taught (leaving aside Bertrand Russell’s 3-volume compendium of advancement in symbolic logic through his work, Principia Mathematica); and instead, we are left with the inane comments and diatribes on Facebook and other chatter which camouflages for intellectual discussions (where are the Buckleys and the Hitchens of the world when we needed them?  Or is it that aristocratic New England accents and British elocutions merely sound of a higher order?), where cyber-bullying has pushed aside the quite reasonings of timid voices.

Of course, deductive reasoning, as well, can be criticized, and has been by insightful corners of cautionary esotericism; for, the question always begins, From whence did the universal statement in such deductive analysis derive?  Were they not, also, from singular arguments based on the particulars of observations?

But more to the point:  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, it is important to recognized the problem of inductive inference, and not to engage beyond the factual basis of the medical reports relied upon and conclusions derived.

Be careful not to make vast generalizations and presume conclusions not referenced in the medical documentation attached; for, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is always important to stick to the relevant particulars of one’s case, and not get sidetracked into making unverifiable conclusions beyond the confining realms of logical validity.

Otherwise, you might be called upon to defend against Hume’s systematic dismantling of the soundness of inductive reasoning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Privacy and the parody which excites

The bifurcation between public and private issues has been blurred to such an extent that the social norms which once prevailed no longer apply.  Public figures constantly complain about the intrusion of unwanted exposure, and yet they generate and welcome their wealth precisely by means of voluntarily submitting to such magnified scrutiny.  Notoriety in modernity results in the accumulation of a fattened checkbook; protestations aside, it is hollow hypocrisy indeed to claim violation of trespass.

In purely private lives, that which was once discreetly implied, but otherwise remained concealed, is now publicly displayed on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, and exposed on Websites throughout the ethereal universe of the Internet.  While not formally designated as a “secret”, and perhaps not even covered under confidentiality terms, there was a general sense and acceptance that certain functions, both bodily and otherwise revelatory of actions within the strict confines of plaster walls, need not, should not, and would not be displayed for public consumption.  Of course, hackers burglarize for purposes of nefarious means, but aside from access to financial divestitures, it turns out that much of the information exposed had already previously been displayed, anyway.  Nevertheless, we feign violative dismay and engage in the parody of life where access of private lives excites the worst within us.

Medical information, of course, remains somewhat in a different category; although, from the confessions revealed in television commercials of medications available for conditions which would bring the pink of blushing to grandmothers of yore, one questions whether anything is left sacrosanct, anymore.  But that is the ultimate distinction to be made, isn’t it?  We can talk of medical conditions unwedded to a particular individual, and it remains acceptable; once the medical condition is identified with a specific person, and revealed, then a violation of privacy has occurred.  Aside from standing in line at the Post Office and being forced to listen to old people talk about the most recent medical procedures performed, the majority of the population still considers certain information to be “private”, if not a family’s “secret”.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties at the Federal or Postal job, worries over maintaining the privacy of one’s medical file always remains a concern of inextricable engagement.  Human beings being who they are, the chance that the most private of medical information must be, or will be, disseminated beyond the periphery of a “need to know” criteria, is greater than any normative constraints will guarantee.

In the end, the best approach is to simply do the best that one can in trying to limit exposure and revelation of that most private of information; but when the Federal Disability Retirement packet reaches the Agency’s Human Resource Office, en route to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the concerns of privacy will always follow where the parody which excites may not be able to fully be prevented.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Avoiding emotional identification

We all do it, to one extent or another; doctors who deal with terminal children or relegated to the emergency floors; patients who must see the foreboding grief in the eyes of family members who have been told; psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists who listen “objectively” to the turmoil and trauma of other lives; the capacity for human compartmentalism is nearly inexhaustible.

Does the horse who listens to the cab driver in the brilliant short story, “Misery” (or often subtitled as, “Grief” or “To whom shall I tell my grief?”), by Anton Chekhov, have a choice in the matter?  Well, you say, the horse cannot understand the linguistic intricacies of the story told!  And, yet, we designate dogs and other animals as therapeutic breeds capable of soothing the wounded and scarred psyche of our neighbors…  The flip side of such a capacity, of course, leads to human cruelty beyond mere animalistic behavior, where the caverns of barbarism know no bounds.

The murderous son can torture in the name of the State by day, and sit with his mother at the dinner table and weep with genuine sorrow over the arthritic pain felt by infirmity and old age; and the boy who remembers the love of his mother may singe the wings of insects with pyrotechnic delight as mere gaggles of laughter unhinged by a warped conscience.  But, you say, insects and the lower order of animals don’t have “feelings” in the same way we do!  What does that statement truly mean, but merely to justify an act which — if otherwise directed at a fellow human being — would border on the criminal?

Bifurcation of lives lived is an important survival component for the health of the human psyche.  To identify with a suffering soul on an intellectual level allows for comprehension and understanding; to do so on a par at an emotional level merely subsumes one into the other, and negates the capacity to provide wisdom or advice.  That is why, in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application by a FERS, CSRS or CSRS employee, whether in a Postal capacity or as a non-Postal, Federal employee, it is important to recognize that if a Federal or Postal employee prepares the Statement of Disability on SF 3112A without representation, the subject and object of such preparation are one and the same, and therefore collectively engages in an activity of emotional identification which is difficult to avoid.  For, the person of whom the Statement of Disability is written, is the same person who is the author of the narrative on SF 3112A.

Is there a danger to be avoided?  Isn’t there an advantage in conveying the feelings by the same person who experiences the trauma and medical condition?  If objectivity is defined, in part, at least, as a reasoned perspective from multiple sides of an issue or fact, then the greater distance ensconced between the subject discussed and the narrator empowered, will allow for the attainment of that position of elevated perception.

Certainly, that is how the administrative specialist at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management will be reviewing your case — by avoiding emotional identification, and trying to sort through the pain, suffering and legal implications of the Federal Disability Retirement application, hopefully prepared and formulated in as objective a manner as humanly possible.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: Our civilization of the spectacle

The concept is borrowed from the Peruvian writer, Mario Vargas Llosa (there are two additional names he formally possesses, “Pedro” and “Jorge”, as in, “Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa”, which likely encompasses family traditions of heritage and linear identification of relations, but it is sufficient to identify this momentary act of plagiarism negated by referring to the common and known reference), and refers to the widespread acceleration across all societies in the public display of what we once considered tasteless and base.

The concept itself, of course, is further “borrowed” or likely evolved from a work entitled, “The Society of the Spectacle” by Guy Debord, which posited a critical Marxist theory about the evolution of Society where the greed in Capitalist societies in the hunt for accumulation of possessions naturally leads to the degradation of human dignity.  One gives away one’s age and antiquarian predilections in relating memories of childhood, when parents used to say to their children, “Johnny, don’t make a spectacle of yourself!”

Nowadays, such admonitions would fail to be understood; for, it is the wish and dream of every parent to see that the very apex and aperture of opportunity remain opened to one’s offspring — to become the next spectacular spectacle in this universe of appearance, show and public display.  Have we come to a point where all conventions have been nullified?  Where discretion is no longer the mark of good taste, and humility is equated with failure and false pride?

It was once thought that when history evolved such that the Kardashians rule the levers of the universe, we would know then that human degradation had reached its lowest common denominator.  But, somehow, the shovel seems to be able to dig a little deeper, and find a lower space in which to crawl into.  For the common man (and woman, as one can no longer presume equality unless it is explicitly stated), revelations of human maltreatment are nothing new.

Look at Federal workers and U.S. Postal employees across the board, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition necessitates an “accommodation” in the workplace.  It is rare, indeed, for the Federal or Postal worker who requests an accommodation, that consequences are not imposed, results are not negated, and reputations are not soiled.  Medical conditions should, by definition, be a basis for empathy and special accommodations; but in this society and civilization of the spectacle, it merely represents another venue where the weak are taken advantage of, and the sickly are relegated to the corner stall, away from the window of display, and hidden in the crevices of windowless corners.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers know well the treatment by the Federal agency and the U.S. Postal Service, of what it means to no longer be able to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties.  The choice is clear, and the alternatives defined:  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, or even CSRS Offset, is the best and brightest hope for the future of an injured or debilitated Federal or Postal worker.

For, in the end, both the Society of the Spectacle and the Civilization of the Spectacle are one and the same; whether by evolutionary inevitability or description of the state of modernity, those who make a spectacle of one’s self, must pay the price of being a target for another who desires that high point of calamity, where only the strongest survive.  Darwin was right, after all; we just didn’t realize that he was describing both the human being as well as the lowest form of our animalistic essence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: Myths of our own making

What stories we carry within our own heads; the narrative of our own lives, as well as the intersecting conveyances brought by others; the web of linguistic larcenies borrowed, bought and sometimes sold, become who we are and the essence of our being within the world of our phenomenology of existence.  Sometimes, when a lie is told and the piece of puzzle will no longer fit into the greater collage of the manifold tapestry we carry about within our psyche, a rearrangement of sorts must occur.

Perhaps, we discovered, through correspondence and other confirming evidentiary apparatus otherwise irrefutable, that the uncle whose reputation as the moral compass of fidelity had fathered an illegitimate child (of course, such an anachronistic term no longer applies, as marriage no longer validates legitimacy or otherwise).  Perhaps, a meeting with this “family” of prior anonymity becomes a necessity, which then opens experiential doors to other discoveries and nuances of life’s misgivings.

The narrative of one’s life, the connections intertwined and the stories told, must like the piece of a jigsaw puzzle misplaced, be rearranged or otherwise left blank, like the echo of a plaintive voice in a soft hum heard through a mist of cackling geese.  Are secrets worth keeping, anymore?

In modernity, where technology allows for the melding of myth and maxim; where demarcations between the creation of self and the posting of what constitutes the presentation of that being identified as the person who declares to be such, is merely one button away from the virtual reality of a gemstone shining in the moonlit cavern of a secret cave where treasures hidden from pirates of yore flutter with the ghosts of dead seamen and spinning yarns of horrors untold; what we are in the essence of our being has been replaced by the talent to tell of who we are not.  And yet — truthfulness, veracity, validation of identity, and certitude of conduct; they all seem to remain as vestiges of a necessary universe.

The myths of our own making have always been so throughout the history of storytelling.  Today, it is merely more so because of the plenitude of everyone wanting to tell his or her tale, and of every detail most of us don’t want to know.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from medical conditions which prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, a unique sense of duality must be conquered:  there is the need, on the one hand, to “tell all” in the form of SF 3112A, the Applicant’s Statement of Disability; and, yet, what must be revealed concerns the most “private” of one’s narrative — that of the medical condition and the impact of the medical condition upon one’s professional and private lives.

“Myths” are not merely of make-believe; they are the stories told in traditional societies in order to make a larger point.  Indeed, the myths of our own making may sometimes include the fears we hold onto, as well as the uninformed presumptions we grasp at in a bureaucratic process which is both complex and administratively difficult to maneuver through.  Sound advice from a legal expert in the area of Federal Disability Retirement law will help to dispel the myths unwarranted, as well as validate the maxims required.

In the end, the myths of our own making often reflect the haunting fears of experiences we encountered in those days when childhood memories cast their shadows upon the dungeons of our lives, and when trolls and gnomes suspected to reside in hidden crevices scratch at the doorways leading to the most private of our inner fears.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Employee Disability Retirement: The carousel of life

It is the easiest of analogies to ponder:  of a vision in the humdrum of circularity; different sizes, shapes, and images of artistry; of the choices we make and the alternatives offered; where we sit in life, of the approaches we take and the variable speed of the up and down motion; do we possess the fearless temerity to change midway from a lumbering, elephantine facade to the sleek and pathological ride of a cheetah?  Does the music have the concordant synchronicity such that it is neither an annoyance nor a distracting disturbance?  Or do we even take note of the loud cacophony of the blaring entourage, or merely as a backdrop to the excitement in the very ride we undertake?

Some recent intellectuals have argued that human beings comprehend their interaction, environment, place and significance in this world, only through the thought-process of analogical thinking; that the intersection of words, linguistic culpability and attachment of language games to encounters with the objective, impervious world of reality, becomes elevated to that Rorschach moment when the obfuscating inkblots of an objective universe otherwise indistinguishable from the insular parallelism of one’s own conceptual constructs suddenly explodes with insight and vigorous apprehension.

That was the problem with the nascent approach of existentialists; somehow, we all recognized that something was missing.  But instead of taking a right turn, that missing “something” took the wrong path down the corridors of Foucault and Derrida, and allowed for deconstruction to embrace the self-destructive charisma of nothingness.  How we understand the world; what we impart to it; the self-image of whence we came; and the walking pictures we carry about in the chasms of our psyche; they all matter, and the narrative of our lives become written the longer we survive in this anachronism called “life”.  We have become misfits in a virtual world of our own making.

The metaphors we establish within ourselves; the analogies we create to comprehend; the novel within each of us and the narrative of carefully chosen ideologies; all cumulatively define the essence of our being.  And thus as we ride the carousel of life, or watch ourselves ride from a distance, matters little to those who have decided to sit this round out; and yet, they, too — whether from afar or in a slumber of repose, must by necessity hear the music which plays regardless of whether one rides the circularity of the metaphor.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, of course, such an analogy can be a poignant reminder of the current state of turmoil.  Perhaps the analogy takes on greater significance if we posit a mechanical failure — of stoppage of the rhythmic ride, and where the music also blares a discordant trumpet of shattered symphonies screeching with discomfort down the sensitive eardrums of the bystanders.

Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, have a clear choice to make:  Stay on the broken carousel; get off and walk away with nothing; or, of greater benefit and reward, to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application and submit it to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

If the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, and has the minimum years of service in order to become eligible, then it is time to consider that it is not the carousel of life that has broken, but merely failure of the operator to take into account the suitability of the particular vision with the individual embracing that concept.  It is not always the rider’s fault; sometimes, the faulty ride itself has miscalculated the algorithm of synchronizing the music to the roundabout.  Think of it in terms of the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz — but then, that is for another blog altogether.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire