How is it that the world became the way it is without our knowing it? How is it that the rules were already in place, the lands already divided, the waters already polluted, the debt already ballooning, the inventions already made — how did that come about, and who told us the history of the “what”, “when” and “where” of the past? Can a society long endure while ignoring the past of how it developed and came into being? And who gets to tell the tale of who we are, how we came to be, and why we are the way we are?
Berkeley’s epistemological approach was to confine knowledge to that which we can perceive, thereby attempting to limit the problems inherent in Being, Truth and Reality. Like so many of the British Empiricists, philosophy was being reduced to mere “language” difficulties and, indeed, history itself may bear out their “rightness” in this question and problematic approach. There is, of course, a quiet revolution going on about our past, our history, and the telling of who we are. That is always a good thing, so long as “Truth” is the end-goal of such an endeavor.
But when Truth itself has become relativized as mere language games malleable in the hands for greater artificial intelligence, and where algorithms rule instead of human input which confines it within stated ethical boundaries (and even that is questionable, given the underlying motives and intent of human beings generally), then perhaps Wittgenstein was right after all; it is all a matter of who sees the “truth”, who gets to “tell” it, and who maintains the Tower of Babel in this universe of increasingly unfettered liberty.
In the end, the “how” of the world will forever be revised as perspectives, opinions and viewpoints change; but it is the “who” that controls the lifestream of information and historical data as to what is important; and in this Orwellian world where the glut of information has relativized all truths, we care less about the “how” than the “who”, anymore.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition now impacts the Federal or Postal worker’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s position, the history — or the “how — is important in preparing and formulating one’s Statement of Disability as posited on SF 3112A. However, remember that all historical contexts must be provided in streamlined form; for, causality is not an issue in a Federal Disability Retirement application (whereas, in OWCP cases, it almost always is), and thus undue focus upon the “how” can detract from an effective Statement of Disability as reflected on SF 3112A.
The world around us may be concerned with the “How” of a question; for an OPM Disability Retirement case, it is the more current “what” that is the necessary focus of articulation.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire