The bifurcation of human contemplation can take many forms, and rarely do they conflict with each other, unless the former is involuntarily injected into the cauldron of the latter. One can hold private thoughts contrary to one’s public image; and the public self can contradict the private soul without a condemnation of hypocrisy, so long as the two are never manifested as unconcealed revelations of surprised protocols.
We suspect that exacting consistency between the former and latter has never existed in the history of mankind – beginning with the dawn of hunters who trembled with an inner fear so violent that want of flight was paused only by the shame that would prevail at the tribal dance where bravery, conquest and manhood are celebrated; or in more “civilized” settings when socialites raised eyebrows upon behaviors deemed uncouth and agrarian, where divisions of social consciousness resulted from the miscreant amassing of wealth previously unknown.
Can resentment be concealed in a long-enduring marriage, or fear of death be tightly coiled within the heart of a warrior? The samurai who gave his fearless allegiance to the daimyo, who in turn swore body and soul to the Shogun – did they avert the openness of their trembling by dispensing favors and accolades to the underlings who disseminated the fearsome bloodlettings? And what of politicians today – the acceptability of having a “private belief” contrary to the “public stance” – do they constitute a hypocrisy, or an acceptable division of setting aside personal feelings for the greater good in public service?
Often, the misguided confusion arising between a conflict of contrasting private thoughts and public offerings, is just that: We fail to contemplate the ends thought, and mix the means for motives untold, and in the muddle of such a conundrum of confusion, think that it reflects upon the meanness of our own souls, without recognizing that human frailty must always allow for a bit of good humor, if we are to survive the self-flagellation of our inner desires.
Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers have this same problem – of fealty and loyalty to a Federal daimyo or Postal Shogunate without considering the misguided and irrational basis of such compelling inconsistency. The thought that loyalty to an agency or fealty to the Postal Service must continue despite hostility and abuse perpetrated merely for suffering from a medical condition brought on through no fault of the Postal worker or Federal employee, is tantamount to the bifurcation between private thoughts and public offerings: publicly, in the company of coworkers, supervisors and managers, the smile of contentment and membership in the agency’s team spirit must be on full display; privately, the suspicions and paranoia mount because of the workplace hostility engaged by others.
Betrayal itself is often a misguided embracing of a blind trust; you cannot betray those who have already undermined your every turn. Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a very private matter, precisely because it involves the most private of information – one’s medical condition and the records which reveal the intimate and private details of it all.
Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, first through one’s own Agency or H.R. Department, then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is a “public” act in many ways, and it is that act alone which often makes one pause. But this is where the “rub” must be faced: In order to access a public right (filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits), some extent of the private information (the medical condition; doctor’s narratives, office and treatment notes, etc.) must be “offered”. Yes, it is a difficult decision – but one which must be faced in order to get beyond the private hell within the cauldron of the public hostility and workplace harassment which will only continue until an effective Federal Disability Retirement application is approved by OPM.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire