How is it that a human being — an entity quite unique among species that cannot relate — can understand, comprehend and even become comfortable with the anomalies of life’s encounters?
Other species seem to weave among and amidst their surroundings with familiar repose; certainly, intelligent dogs recognize a new couch, an unfamiliar visitor or a different dog food introduced; but in the wilds, it is the familiarity of the surroundings that make for comfort in life.
For human beings, how does one relate to the strangeness of an entity — of an alien; of a science fiction novel that introduces a world beyond; of another culture that defies every normative structure of one’s own world? It is, more often than not, by analogies and metaphors, is it not?
We begin by “discovering” the similarities — that something is “like” the thing we know because they share characteristics x, y or z; and it is through the familiarity of similarities by which we begin to formulate an idea of understanding, then of comprehension, and finally of a feeling of comfort.
Similarly [sic], how does one convey the idea of pain to another person who has had very little experience of it? What if that “other person” has never experienced pain?
Yes, yes, the rebuttal would be that everyone has experienced it — even if it was a scratch, a dog bite, a paper cut, etc. But as pain is subjective, there are certainly those who have had limited experiences of a subjective phenomena, and certainly many who have never experienced a spectrum of excruciating, debilitating pain. Or how about psychiatric conditions — of Major Depression so overwhelming, or Anxiety so paralyzing, or panic attacks so debilitating that the condition itself prevents a person from being able to perform one’s work?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that an application for Federal Disability Retirement through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management becomes a necessary next step, it is the essence of relating — of how to formulate ones narrative in the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A) — that becomes of foundational importance in the success or failure of the application itself.
Consult with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law before moving forward; for, the essence of relating requires not only the existence of a medical condition and its impact upon one’s ability or inability to perform one’s job, but more than that, it requires the ability to convey an understanding of the facts, the law and how the two intersect.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire