It is a strange word. In the past tense, it implies that nothing can be done about it. When applied to an individual, it describes a haggard portrait of profound hopelessness. It is the past participle of the verb “beat”, but when the “en” is added, it has a modern connotation of hollowness, of a sense of utter futility and nihilism that cannot be overcome.
Did Sisyphus have that perspective? As he rolled the boulder up onto the next and endless precipice, did his shoulders sag, his head and eyes remain downcast, and was he forlorn and without hope? Of course, Camus refashioned the anti-hero into such a figure of futility, which is what existentialism declares life to be: Meaninglessness with the freedom to choose meaning; futility from which manufactured human activity can originate. Whether that can actually be accomplished, or whether Camus, Sartre and the whole bunch of those French Existentialists who sat around at street cafes and deliberated about the times of dangers and rebellion during the Nazi occupation, now seems like a far-off dream.
Today brings about a new set of problems. No longer from an occupation force, nor even an identifiable enemy; in modernity, the daily stresses of technology — of simply trying to make a living; of the constant barrage of information; of demands in daily life which stretches the ends of human capacity; and then, when a medical condition intrudes, interrupts and interferes, it all seems to be so overwhelming that we suddenly feel “beaten”.
The beaten individual is the one who has reached his or her limit of human capacity; it is when the intersection of life’s demands exceeds one’s tolerance for sustaining the stresses of everyday life.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal position, it may be well past the time that one should have, but still must, file for Federal Disability Retirement. Do not wait until the term “beaten” applies; instead, try to beat the beaten, and consult with a FERS Disability Attorney who specializes in preparing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application, lest you hear someone whisper to another, “Oh, that person — he/she is beaten.”
Robert R. McGill, Esquire