It is the lack of recognition of singularity within the greater species of one’s kind, which results in an universal loss of empathy and understanding. Homogeneity presumptively recognizes the cumulative identity of functional values, and from that, extrapolates to an assumption of sameness in everything — from capacity to ability; from tolerance to reactionary fortitude. We tend to project that which we are able to handle; if we have withstood years of stressful environments, we assume that everyone else can do so, and should; if we have lived through tragedy with little to no ill effects, we scoff and sneer when others break down and disintegrate upon experiencing a fractional encounter of comparative insignificance.
But it is precisely the fragile uniqueness of human beings which is overlooked in such embracing of homogeneity; as Aquinas modified Aristotle’s perspective and argued that it is the combination of form and substance which results in the essence of being, so some of us have psyches which are made of more brittle but fragile ingredients.
For Federal and Postal employees considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, the issue is often when, to what extent, and how long can one hold out until the breaking point arrives? There is no “objective” criteria in which to apply; for, just as the individual is an unique entity, so the impact of one’s medical condition upon one’s ability/inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job is also singularly tied to the facts and circumstances of each case.
Abstract forms in a platonic world are no longer believed in; and as unicorns and giants pervade only those universes of mythology and science fiction, it is a sad thought to consider when the uniqueness of individuals are overlooked for the commonality of a subsumed species. In our work-a-day world, it is easy to walk past a hurting soul; and all the more so when the one hurting is the same one who is walking by.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire