We wake up each morning expecting the world to have remained unaltered during the night; yet, as Hume’s argument concerning causality would have us believe, there is no necessary connection we have identified or conceptually ascertained, but merely our imagination anticipating and projecting into the future, such that stability of the universe around us pervades in a constancy of regularity.
The surroundings remain familiar; the coffee machine is of the same make as when we left it the night before; even the dogs appear unchanged, ready to obey and begin the day in the fashion that canines are accustomed to. Perhaps you bump into an object before turning on the lights, and you find that someone in the household has shifted it from where you last saw it. You resolve to inquire about it later in the day, or are immediately satisfied that “X must have left it” and therefore the “mystery” is solved. Never does it enter your mind that the world, in its own power of intended shifting, moved without direct causal intervention. You step into the bathroom and look in the mirror, where the same features stare back.
Yet, what may be different, what results in a subtle but perceivable alteration, is not the world reflected on the wall behind, but the compendium of complex emotions, memories, thought-processes and cognitive intuitions having rested through the night, and now are awakened to perceive, judge, analyze and evaluate in the wakefulness of the moment.
It is us that changes.
As Kant pointed out, we bring human structures of perceptual constructs to the inert world which pervades and surrounds. The universe we invade and occupy often remains constant, and in that rhythm of regularity, we find solace in a methodological quietude. Yes, cars whiz by and honk their horns, and birds chirp in the early morning dawn, but such movement has already been anticipated and entered into the equation of our consciousness. It is only if buildings move, like earthquakes responding to the tectonic shifts of unseen caverns, when we panic within the world of regularity we have created.
But then, sometimes, the outside force touches upon us directly, and that is when the peace and quiet of constancy becomes disturbed.
Medical conditions tend to do that — for they have a duality of existence. It is a change “out there”, somewhere whether visible, as in a physical injury of open wounds, or “in there”, whether as an unseen pain correlated by a diagnostic test, or even a psychiatric condition which pervades and progressively debilitates. But the duality exists precisely because the “there” is also part of the self which recognizes the change.
The change is not only “in us”, it is us.
And it is often that very duality of alteration which thus requires a further change in abutting against the unchanging and impervious universe around us.
For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, this realization that one’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service is unwilling to change, to accommodate or to transform in response to the medical condition, is a knowledge which is gained often through the harsh reality of confrontation and harassment. For such Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who come to this realization, the option of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is a consideration which must be seriously entertained.
It is, for many, a realization likened to “growing up” in a world which is often cold, uncaring and unconcerned.
As agencies are behemoths which reflect the character of a society, so it should not be surprising that Federal agencies and the U.S. Postal Service are not entities which respond well to change. For, in the end, we must always recognize that the most significant change in the history of shifting burdens does not occur in the textbooks of time, but closer to the heart of every individual, and it is not change in the “other” which calls forth the earthquakes resulting in tsunamis, but it is the change in us, as it is change which is us.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire