The charge against Bishop Berkeley has always been one of contemptuous absurdity. For, if all that we can ever rely upon are sense impressions, then how can one maneuver through the dangers of the physical universe without bumping into tables and chairs, with calamitous consequences of mortal endangerment? If we step from Room A into Room B, does the former disappear and lose objective existence while the latter reappears and reconstitutes itself into a viable, vibrant universe? But that is precisely Berkeley’s point, isn’t it? One could argue that his philosophy represented the nascent murmurings of the English linguistic movement (perhaps he is turning in his grave, as he was born in Ireland), where definitional realignment of language became the methodology of solving all philosophical problems.
Thus, in pure technical terms, inasmuch as what we perceive are merely changes to our sense perceptions, as opposed a direct contact with the physical universe, his approach merely confirmed Kant’s later bifurcation of the world into an objective universe versus a subjective, humanly perceptible world. And, indeed, we tend to become lost in the universe of our own making. That is often the problem which confronts the Federal and Postal employee who finally comes to a realization that one’s Federal or Postal job has been, and remains, in jeopardy because of an ongoing medical condition which has been impacting one or more of the essential elements of one’s job.
The internal ruminations spurred by worries, concerns, stresses and anxieties, often form a wall where the evidence of change and the need for alternative measures is prevented because of the blindness of our awareness. Concerns can be overwhelming; and when medical conditions impact the Federal or Postal Worker, such that the Federal and Postal Worker is beset with chronic pain, psychiatric conditions which overtake one’s capacity to possess the acuity of mind needed to maneuver through this complex world, etc., then it is too often the case that the one who is impacted by the medical condition — the Federal or Postal employee — is the one who is the last to notice the evidence of change and the need for change.
Clinging on to the habituation of daily living provides a level of comfort necessary for sanity. But staying on when everyone else — the agency, supervisors, coworkers, etc. — has changed in their attitude and approach to embracing the Federal or Postal worker as the valued employee he or she was once considered, is a foolhardy and stubborn refusal to acknowledge the obvious.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the first step in recognizing the growing evidence of and for change. And, whether what we perceive are merely sense impressions, or the actual rumblings of the objective universe, the reality of one’s medical condition which the Federal and Postal employee must face in determining the best course of action, should always involve a focus upon one’s own best interest, and that may include consideration of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
Robert R. McGill, Esquir