Of course, the most significant discussion concerning the shifting of major paradigms in the intellectual sphere of human advancement, occurs in Thomas Kuhn’s work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. The concept of a “paradigm” shift, of adhering to a hypothetical model despite evidentiary incommensurability with the reality of an impervious and objective world; of a theocratic insistence upon a geocentric explanation despite factual calculations pertaining to a heliocentric reality; of bloodletting in medicine based upon the foundational paradigm of the bodily balance of humors; and, in personal lives, of how things “ought to be” as opposed to what actually are.
The farther an issue is removed from a direct impact upon one’s life, the easier it is to discuss it and arrive at conclusions based upon a rational discourse of commensurability. Life lived as art is far more convenient than when the dreariness of engaging in the proverbial “reality check” must be faced in the mirror of one’s life. Rarely does one apply a “scientific” approach when evaluating and assessing the reflection in a mirror; that is always left to the laboratory phase of one’s bifurcated life of compartmentalized delusions. Yet, paradigms are precisely how we live; we just may not call it that, nor the foundation of our own actions in that manner.
Do we proceed based upon the expectations of others? That, then, is a paradigm of objectified influences upon our motivational structure. Are decisions primarily based upon an instinctive reservoir of emotional turmoil? Consider, then, the paradigm of that lesser construct of our soul as identified by Plato in delineating the greater whole by comparative analysis between the state of one’s inner workings and that of the state itself. In the end, the most telling factor in determining the essence of any human being, is not necessarily by the paradigms by which one adheres, but in the very ones which have been abandoned.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suddenly find that a medical condition will likely cut short a promising and lengthy career, the abandonment of a paradigm must by necessity become an integral part of the process. For, the attachment to the conventional perspective cannot be underestimated; the belief that career should override all other concerns, including one’s own health; that future retirement is to be dictated by an imagined age of demarcation where competence and inertia rules by physical necessity; or, that the “mission of the agency” is the priority at all costs, including one’s own health and well-being.
Whatever the paradigm upon which the basis of motivational irrationality subsists, the facing of reality will clash when the progressive deterioration resulting from an unexpected and chronic medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from continuing any longer.
Filing a Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, becomes an inevitability when the proportionality between reality and the conceptual construct of a paradigm insisted upon becomes incommensurate; but, then, Kuhn had already warned us of that eventuality, as well as the fact that a paradigm abandoned is tantamount to a revolution conceived; we just kept believing that the tectonic shift was meant for the “other guy“, and never for ourselves.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire