Does the dropping of the single vowel make a difference? Should it? Or, should the very status of being “human” encompass and naturally include being “humane”, as well? Should they not be synonyms, or even indistinguishable as an amalgamation of vowels and consonants, as opposed to two distinct words, even if one is considered as a mere extension of the other?
For, it is precisely the unique characteristic and capacity of the former to exhibit the latter, and it is the latter which defines the essence of the former; and so, in many respects, they are identical terms, even if the latter contains a total of 6 letters, comprised of 3 consonants and 3 vowels, whereas the former has one less, with 1 more consonant than a vowel, making it into an uneven number of letters as opposed to a balanced equality of 3 to three, and making it into a ratio of 3:2.
Yet, doesn’t the essence of X require the need for an antonym to exist in order for a contrast to magnify the truth of it? Thus do opposites enhance each other – does “Being” make any sense without “Nothingness?” Would “happiness” have an existential sense without “sadness”? In that logical entrapment, doesn’t the essence of being “human” require, by logical necessity and extension, the capacity to act its opposite – of cruelty, inhumanity, genocidal tendencies and masochistic egoism of the highest order?
That is the unfortunate reflection of reality from the refraction of a word; being “human” does not necessarily compute to being “humane”, although its opposite is apparently not true – if one is “humane”, one necessarily posits that the active agent of such empathy, caring and sensitive treatment is that of a “human”, and not some other species of animal that can exhibit such a trait. But is this true in all cases? Do we not witness “humane” treatment by others – by dogs, cats and pigs, perhaps? Or do we attribute other characteristics to explain away such behavior – such as “loyalty”, “habit” or “trained behaviors”?
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 one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, “humane” treatment by other “humans” is often sorely lacking. What is it about having a medical condition that somehow brings out the worst in others? Is it a fear that such a condition reflects a future reality that others see and want to avoid, and therefore begin to treat the person who possesses it like a plague of some short?
Agencies are supposed to treat workers with identified medical conditions in a “humane” way and, if they do not, there are laws concerning the requirement to “accommodate” in place; and, if there are no accommodations, then preparing an OPM Disability Retirement application is the next “humane” law that is there for the human being beset with a medical condition.
That is the peculiarity of laws, of course – they are passed by humans with the knowledge that they do not always engage in humane treatment, and that is why laws governing Federal Disability Retirement are there to be applied – for the human who requires being forced to engage in humane treatment of others, precisely because humans have shown a consistency tendency in history to act inhumanely.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire
Postal & Federal Employee Attorney