Belief is a funny animal. So long as what one believes is never uttered, one can change them from day to day, or even from one hour to the next, without consequences attached. Of course, you can do that, anyway, and many do in this day and age. Once spoken, however, a belief takes on the figurine of a furnace-fired ceramic piece; to change is safe only in engaging the linguistic language-game with those who never heard of the belief, but there is a danger that such third parties could report back to the first party to whom the belief was conveyed. Then, of course, there is the potential charge of hypocrisy.
On the other hand, there is always the disarming disavowal that it was all merely a “misunderstanding”, or perhaps that the other person didn’t get the “nuance” of the utterance; or the catch-all detachment: “I was joking”. Facts, of course, can alter beliefs, and that is supposedly acceptable because one has evolved through maturation of knowledge (unless, of course, you are running for political office, in which case you are reserved the allowable space to maintain the cognitive bifurcation like a schizophrenic, concurrently holding a “private belief” while concomitantly stating a “public stance” on certain sensitive issues).
Further, beliefs can become transformed via genetic, life-stage or “aha”-moments; the first because of some recognition that the wired-DNA that constitutes the “real” self has finally been revealed; the second, because there are recognized stages of living – of those prepubescent years, of middle-aged crisis and menopausal breakdowns, or in the end, just because a spouse and his or her lifetime commitment “grew apart”; and the third, by religious conversion and the “road to Damascus” experiences which allegedly justify a transcendent transformation.
In many ways, they are like opinions, though purportedly of a higher order. Of opinions, it is often said that we all have them – of no greater consequence than the urgency to utilize the bathroom, with the latter having greater significance than the former; but of beliefs, they were once contingent upon study, reflection, coherence and rational methodology. Somehow, in the linear progression of Darwinian evolution, the higher order of thought processes lost its way, and the meandering of human folly became the prominence of epic conundrums.
We have come to a point in human history where, what we believe is of an irrelevancy based upon our lost hope in discarding reverence. For, the “what” must have a prefatory methodology, and that foundation was the reverence for creation. We no longer believe “in” anything, because we no longer have any faith in anything of consequence. Without awe, the human factor of hope, and therefore of belief, becomes a vacuity of thoughtlessness. As all of creation is constituted by material equivalence, so our beliefs are of no greater worth than the gaseous ethereality emitted from the guy sitting on the next stool.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may necessitate filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the loss of belief is an important factor to recognize – for, the one saving constancy throughout is that there still remain “laws” which people, agencies and even the U.S. Postal Service must abide by.
Adherence to the law is often the only saving grace in the craziness of this world, and knowing it, applying it and arguing it in meeting the preponderance of the evidence test, is the best way to avoid that catch-all dismissive, that it is all merely “your opinion” as opposed to “my belief”, when in fact pointing out the precedential case-law and arguing the statutory basis is precisely what is needed to get beyond the irreverent assertion of that which we believe.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire