FERS Medical Retirement from the OPM: The wasted life

Perception is one thing; reality is quite another.  Plato’s entire compendium of works can be reduced to the essence of that thought: The worth of life’s goal is to embrace pure Being, the reality that surrounds, and to distinguish between appearance and truth; the allegory of the Cave; the arguments with Thrasymachus; the diatribes against the poets — the latter, because they distort perception and create myths by which people live for and believe in.

Some would argue that the starkness of reality cannot be the sole arbiter of life’s value; that poetry adds to the worth of life, even if misperception of Being dominates.  What is a life’s value, and how is it determined?  Who considers that a life is wasted, and by what standard do we judge?

In the Allegory of the Cave — when the man who frees himself from the shackles of misperception climbs up and sees the sunlight: What if he desires to go back into the darkness of untruth, precisely because the unreality of the world is preferable to the pureness of Being?  And how much of convention and human folly attaches upon the judgment of worth?

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, the judgment of others in determining the valuation of one’s life often gets in the way of doing that which is “best” for one’s circumstances.

Yes, career and continuation in a secure, stable job is important; and, yes, financial stability for the future is an important consideration in the decision-making process.  But so is health and the balance of one’s life.

When health becomes a concern where there arises an incompatibility between work and well-being, the latter must always be chosen as a priority over the former.  And while others may judge that an interruption of a promising career constitutes the wasted life, such conclusions are made by those who, like the unfettered encounter of the man in the Allegory of the Cave who sees the pure Being of reality by looking up at the sunlight, it is the blinding darkness of ignorance that follows which makes for poor judgment and lack of insight into another’s life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire