Without the second added suffix, it remains an adjective; with the addition of the second suffix, it becomes an abstract noun denoting quality and state of being. The combination of the duality if suffixes, altering it from an adjective qualifying a noun (as in, “This meaningless activity”) into an abstract noun standing alone (as in, “The meaninglessness was evident in the manner he lived”) makes for an interesting conceptual construct.
It is, indeed, a word which describes a state of being — both the quality as well as the “kind” of. It also denotes something else: that, at some time prior, both suffixes were absent, leaving the root of the word and the core of its origins intact — that of “meaning”. It is thus a word which describes both a state “before” and a condition “after”, of once having had it, then losing it, then becoming a state of perpetual loss.
It is, in the end, the “state” of being which becomes of concern. For, left as an adjective, one can argue that it is merely a temporary mode of being, as in: “The meaningless endeavor he engaged in was to merely get him through the day.” However, when the second suffix is added and the root word alternates from becoming an adjective into an abstract noun, the denotation of becoming a permanent construct of eternal loss becomes ever more problematic.
So, as life mirrors language, and language expresses our inner state of thoughts, it is not only the meaning of words which becomes important but, moreover, the way in which we actually live. Meaninglessness, as a way in which we live, becomes ever more pronounced when our health deteriorates.
For Federal and Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of ones Federal or Postal job, the problem of “meaning” and “meaningless”, as well as “meaninglessness” becomes ever more pronounced. As one’s health deteriorates, and as work becomes a greater struggle, so the once-meaningful career becomes a greater burden and begins to gnaw at the root of one’s existence.
While Federal Disability Retirement may not be the answer to all of life’s difficulties, it allows for a Federal or Postal worker to re-focus one’s priorities in life and turn one’s attention back to the basics — that of health and meaning. Consult with a FERS Attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law to discuss the particulars of your case, and begin to discard the suffixes which drag you down.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire