What is the greatest fear? Is it to be forgotten, cast aside, without a mere footnote in the linear history of societal acknowledgments? Must society now adjust to the credited observation of Warhol’s dictum, that fame’s span of 15 minutes is too lengthy, given the fast-paced nature of modern technology? Is watching one’s self in a public forum the satisfying conduit for vicarious living, such that it makes content the populous who would otherwise revolt in the disparity of despairing livelihoods?
The Biblical reference of comparing the mote in someone else’s eye, as opposed to the beam in one’s own, is of interest beyond the failure to recognize the reflection of insincerity displayed by lack of self-awareness; more than that, it is the comparative disparity which fails to prod. While the mote itself is the foreign substance which irritates and prompts the pointing finger, it also represents the insignificance of life’s judgments in general, to the way in which we all live. It is the tiniest piece of substance, and yet the finger-pointing it prompts reveals a readiness to judge, and is reflective of a character defect in us all.
And when that mote is extracted and flicked away, it floats unnoticed into the greater dustbin of society, where morning mists evaporate in the rising sun of daily tumult, and where giants of men with promise and potentiality fall with a thud and a shudder for all to hear.
It is irrelevancy of which we fear; that no one will have noticed, and the imprint of our lives will matter not against the rising tides of artifices constructed in the imagination of our own awakenings. How many nameless tombs echo the mournful solitude of an estranged life in a world devoid of warmth and snuggles? Why are teddy bears, stuffed animals and lifeless companions purchased with purrs of gleeful delight? We are but mere motes in the dustbin of society; moreover, we fear being extracted, even from that status of being an insignificant irritant, and flicked away where even the shadows remain unnoticed and when mice scurry away with but barely an ear’s twitch.
That is why Heidegger’s comment that we engage in projects to avoid the ultimate meaning of our lives — the extinguishment of one’s conscious soul — reverberates with haunting excess. Of course, some would scoff at that philosopher and retort that his shame in participating in the Third Reich revealed the true nature of his philosophy; but that is for another day to reflect upon.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who believe — nay, “feel” — that their work is not “done” with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, and therefore must endure the humiliation piled upon the progressively worsening medical condition despite the self-immolative process of remaining, the real fear is the underlying, subterranean seething of man’s refusal to be cast aside as a mere irrelevancy, like a mote in society’s dustbin.
In the end, however, does it really matter whether the “mission of the agency” has been accomplished (remember that bureaucracies and their foundational rationale for existence never comes to a terminus; a new one is always adopted as perpetual replacements in the linear eternity of a behemoth’s lifespan), or the last truckload of mail has been delivered?
Federal and Postal employees are known for their “dedication” and conscientious resolve; but when filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes a hindrance because of an unfounded and unjustified adherence to a principle which does harm to one’s own health, then the mote in the eye of one’s brother becomes more than an simple comparison to the beam in one’s own eye; it becomes itself a mote which should be flicked aside into the dustbin of society’s joke, where the laughter is directed upon all who have fallen for the epic comedy of life itself.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire