It is a concept invented in order to avoid the inherently problematic implications of the “infinite”; yet, it clearly means that it is “not finite”. It is meant to avoid a type of exclusive disjunctive and attempts to equivocate and obfuscate, implying that it somehow goes beyond the finite but refuses to become embroiled in the complexities of the infinite, thereby allowing for a compromise by remaining forever in the limbo of mathematical purgatory.
Such conceptual word-games save us for a time; and, sometimes, time is what is needed. Thus, for universes of pure theoretical constructs, where application has little or no impact upon the reality of life, conceptual language games can be daily engaged and walked away from, without any practical consequences. It is, however, when theory intersects with reality, that qualitative reverberations become felt, as in the application of theoretical physics upon the pragmatic application of nuclear fusion.
For the everyday Federal and Postal Worker, the theoretical existence of Federal Disability Retirement benefits, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, is likened to transfinite cardinals: until the intersection between thought and action occurs, it remains safely in the universe of theory, mind, and limbo; but when the reality of a medical condition hits upon the physical universe of the real, and impacts the Federal or Postal employee’s ability/inability to maneuver through the employment sector because of physical limitations or psychiatric obstacles imposed by the medical condition, then one must reach beyond the theoretical and take pragmatic steps of prudent applicability.
Like boilerplate legalese in multi-paginated contractual agreements, theoretical constructs exist for potential applications in the real universe.
Federal Disability Retirement benefits remain in existence for all Federal and Postal employees, and must be accessed by submitting an application to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It is like the Platonic Ideas of Greek philosophy “out there” in the ethereal universe, but of no consequence but for ivory tower constituents. And like transfinite cardinals, Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits remain in a parallel universe of theoretical constructs, until that time when a particular Federal or Postal employee accesses the need to ignite the fuse of pragmatic intentions.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire