Thomas Nagel is best known for continuing to remind us of the problem of consciousness in a world which attempts to reduce all acceptable explanations into a language game of reductive materialism.
In his famous essay, he went a step further — by arguing for the position that, yes, there are peculiar and unique characteristics of a conscious species, but more than that, the greater profundity is, How is it like to be X, as X? Thus the insightful essay, What is it like to a bat, as a bat? For, it is the last linguistic appendage which makes all the difference — as an X. Without it, we would be left merely with our imaginations as to what it would be like to be X; with the dependent grammatical appendage, we are forced to consider that there is a unique “something”, whether it be consciousness, spirit, mind, or some other non-physical existence, which uniquely makes X to be something other than the composite of physical characteristics.
How does this relate to Federal Disability Retirement for Federal and Postal Workers under FERS or CSRS? Probably nothing, other than that, on a Saturday morning, after having started Nagel’s recent work, Mind & Cosmos, it becomes an interesting proposition as to how much deliberative intent — i.e., the use of that “other” part of humanity, such as consciousness, awareness, etc. — is utilized, as opposed to a mere mechanistic approach to things.
Human beings are inherently lazy. Templates exist in order to ease one’s work. OPM often violates the very essence of its duties by merely regurgitating language which is worn and used. But for the Federal or Postal Worker who must contend with the cold, non-deliberative physical universe, each battle with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management must be fought by thinking, pondering, applying legal principles which are effective and persuasive.
Only with deliberative intent can one contest and contend against a universe which is uncaring, unfeeling, and impassive to the condition of human suffering.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire