The concept of fate attaches a sense of termination and determined outcome; and consciousness beyond mere awareness of presence where a self-reflective realization of one’s self, the “I” in a world among others, and the further mirror-image of stepping outside of the self and having the capacity to recognize the “I” as another you among a multiplicity of others, creates the question of free will, self-determination and conscious action.
Whether the end of anything and everything is predetermined; whether causal forces in a universe of physical laws control and conform individual actions; and further, whether one’s conscious and deliberative intent makes a whit of difference in the macrocosmic universe of dialectical forces, is a puzzlement to be pondered perennially in Western Philosophical thought,especially in today’s debate involving the attempt to make language conform to pure scientific materialism.
Whatever the outcome of the debate encompassing mind/body dualism, the existence or not of consciousness where materialism and language reductionism to physical terms involving neurotransmitters and organic, genetic compounds explaining behavior and psychology, the individual who must live and act still holds to the idea that one’s choices in life make a difference, however small, insignificant and irrelevant. And, for the singular individual, a decision which may have no impact in a macro sense, but of a large and important consequence in the tiny, microcosmic universe of one’s personal life, whether fate and deliberative consciousness in decision-making makes any difference at all, is something we cling on to.
For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from continuing to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties in the Federal or Postal position, the fate and conscious decision to prepare, formulate and file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether one is under FERS, CSRS, or CSRS Offset, is a major decision of life-shaking and earth-shattering proportions.
In the end, the great philosophical debates which have dominated Western thought must be put aside when personal life-events predominate. Such mind-enhancing discussions are nice for a day, or between colleagues and in the ivory tower of academia; but the reality of a medical condition, the possibility of the end of a career, and the need to decide upon one’s future, while all of relative insignificance in proportional contrast to The Great Debate; in the end, for the Federal employee or the U.S. Postal Worker, the onset of a medical condition and the need to file for OPM Disability Retirement benefits from OPM will possess greater significance than the question of fate, consciousness and the consequences of believing in a predetermined universe. Or, to paraphrase Bertrand Russell, when one is overcome with thoughts about the greater universe, it may just be that we have an unsettled stomach.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire