Did we ever have a voice in it? Was there a consensus of voices, a roll call of votes cast, or a participatory democracy in action that allowed for a resolution that resulted in it? Or, as in authoritarian countries (and some would include ours in that category), was there a “Master Planner” who decided that this way we live was the best for all, with likely a minority of few living somewhat separately, and of course we can all be given some breadcrumbs of hope, as in, “If you work hard enough, you too can achieve this…”
We are told that modern technology has lessened the stresses of living; and, to some extent, there is a compelling argument to be made.
Medicine is no longer a barbaric torture chamber (unless you are subjected to its treatments – although, nothing in comparison to surgery without anesthesia or bloodletting by leeches or lacerations in order keep the humors in balance); workplace safety rules, forced labor circumscribed by laws that restrict hours and extent; mandated breaks and general recognition that employer-employee relationships should be honored with a synergistic approach (yes, this is more of a meaningless euphemism than not) – one can argue that modernity of living is far more preferable than the life Hobbes described of being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Must we conclude, then, that all the grumblings about life’s stresses and shortcomings are merely a result of our state of being spoiled? That there is no true complaint to be made because of our ignorance of history and from whence we came, in comparison to where we are today?
There is, of course, another side to this argument: In modernity, there no longer exists any “community”, anymore. The fast pace we live by; the transient nature of the economy forcing mass migration to wherever the jobs appear; the paradigm we ascribe to of being “independent” at a young age; the cult of youth that places an emphasis upon a generation separated from parents, grandparents and family relationships; the freedom and liberty enjoyed for pleasure, without value, normative values or a shared sense of what we believe in, who we are, and where we are going. Yes, perhaps there was a master planner, but whether of good or evil intent, one must question.
For the Federal or Postal employee, the question of the way we live comes down to a medical concern that leads one to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset. The way we live and the work that is being done comes to an incommensurate clash for the Federal or Postal employee, and that is when a Federal Employee Disability Retirement application must be properly prepared. The philosophical musing of the way we live are somewhat of an aside; it is, in the end, the pragmatic steps in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal OPM Disability Retirement application that can make all of the difference.
Pondering upon the roots and causes of the problems regarding the way we live can be set aside for the time being, until an OPM Disability Retirement has been approved. Once it is approved, we are then presented with some choices; and that, in the end, is worth everything in being able to have the freedom in choosing the way we live.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire