It is the question itself which is often “telling”; it informs us of where the line of answering and posited queries is likely to take us. It is like the map that guides in a certain direction, the compass that informs one of the vantage point of one’s existence or the gravitational pull which pulls in order to remain cohesive with other heavenly bodies; the question itself may not even need an answer.
The latter, of course, is referred to as a “rhetorical” one – that which needs no answer, is asked without necessarily seeking a response, and the one that, standing alone in the silence of an unsolicited reflection, cuts deep into the queried subject in order to provoke a contemplative reaction. But of the “defeating” question – is it ever asked or, if it is, what is its purposive intent and deliberative content?
It is the one that is avoided, and left unasked because the facts, circumstances and surrounding context will almost always already be known to the inquiring mind. What is the purpose for which it is asked?
No, not to defeat, but rather, to admit to the already-obvious answer that is readily known, by virtue suspected and thus absented and avoided. Plagues reported, germs suspected and sneezing people avoided, the defeating question is the one that you already know the answer to, but by the mere fact of not vocally articulating it, is intended to remain unspoken and thus carefully avoided.
It is like the neighborhood bully that requires running after school at full speed over fences and back alleys; and like the dog barking in the early morning requiring one or of the other of the spouses to get up and let out, each hoping that the other will think kindly of the fake snoring and each avoiding the direct obligation and love for the animal itself; the defeating question, once asked, is in danger of being answered and therefore brought “out in the open” for no one to ignore, anymore.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may require the Federal or Postal employee to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question unasked and avoided, and the one feared as the “defeating question” is quite simply: Do I need to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits?
Already answered. The only difference is, what is meant by “defeating”, is often within the purview of the inquiring mind.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire