Plato’s well-known quote that the eyes are the windows to one’s soul, presupposes the capacity of the “other” subject observing the individual, to make judgments, determinations and analytical conclusions. It is thus the subject becoming the object and prey. Medical conditions often have a capacity to do just that.
There is something perverse in human nature, where the herd instinct of ganging upon the weak is somehow justified, and even applauded. Weakness is a vice; revealing it, a sin; acting it out, a mortal failure. Vulnerabilities and the manifestation of such open wounds require sensitivities beyond the human capability of present evolutionary tendencies; in that respect, perhaps man is merely a beast with synthetic garments worn merely to hide the superficial appearance of civility.
But it is the eyes which reveal; and even with sunglasses and averted looks, it is those pair of windows to one’s soul which bring forth the vulnerability of one’s position. That’s why there are laws which protect, as civilization comes to recognize that in a civil society, the social contract must extend beyond the state of nature where only the strong survive, and to accord some semblance of protection for everyone.
Thus, another quote from Plato: that moral individuals need not the guidance of laws to act accordingly, while evil will search out and find ways to get around them.
Federal Disability Retirement and the entire compendium of laws protecting disabled individuals, and people with medical conditions which need accommodations, all represent the window to the soul of a society. Federal Disability Retirement is a benefit available to all Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, with minimum requirements for eligibility, and mandated documentary standards of proof which must meet the preponderance of the evidence test.
It is a recognition that when a Federal or Postal employee suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, and accommodation efforts have failed, that a civil society which has progressed beyond the original state of nature, must reflect a capacity of sensitivity beyond the herd instinct.
That does not mean, however, that such originality of human nature does not residually reside in individual human beings; rather, it is the reflection of the greater window to the soul of a society. Filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Federal Disability Retirement is an administrative process and bureaucratic procedure which must be fought for, and aggressively pursued, if one wants to have a life beyond the herd of Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service.
As windows can be open and closed, so the window to the soul of a civilized society must be carefully observed, and opened with deliberate intent and accuracy of purpose.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire