Methods of Being
Opposed though I am to the notion that anyone comes into "the world" (by which it is seemingly meant consciousness) with any kind of predisposition uninformed by whatever experience of the world one so chooses to have, there may be something to the idea that a way of being or ways of being are, at any given time in the individual's life, more natural to a person. By "being", I mean thinking, and by "more natural", what I mean is the palette by which the soul paints alla prima.
This isn't to say that this method is unchangeable, nor that it is somehow innate -- on the contrary; they arise by what one makes of oneself.
The personal method is evidently the one people mistakenly believe is the truth because it is the method which most readily gets them to their own truth, and this is why I should call it the personal method of being.
Should a person be able to move beyond believing that their personal method of being is the only one which is available to them or the only one which is true, then that person may achieve elusive secondary and tertiary methods of being.
The secondary method of being is the one which an individual may adopt as the most appropriate thing to teach others because it is virtuous or because it is better suited to the whole of humanity. This method seems to be more often labelled an -ist than the personal ones are, because they tend to present in systems where -ists make sense, such as academia or politics. It is most common in situations where it is a practice, which is why I would call it the practical method.
The practical method should be distinct from the personal method in that it categorizes and encompasses the personal method. For myself, this means that although I would identify my personal method as being mostly derived from Plato, I identify my practical method as Pluralism, because I believe that a most virtuous world could only exist under such a practice. More common distinctions can be seen in American Christians who identify as Republicans, when the two ideologies could not be more incompatible, or anarchists who identify as Democrats, which is the same kind of contradiction between a personal method and a practical one.
The third method is only possible if the individual has established not only the existence of the second method, but that the second method is distinct from the first, because this third method is the conscious act of making that same distinction from the first and second. I think perhaps it is in this way that this third method is the work table of the Pluralist, so-called. It might be called the applicable method, and is analogous to selecting the right tool for the right task. In this case, the tool is the method of being, of thinking, of presenting. By nature, it has nothing to do with either the personal or the practical methods except that it is distinct from them and changes constantly with whatever job is at hand.
I am not myself a skeptic, nor do I make it a habit to practice or preach any sort of skepticism. However I must often play the skeptic to show my friends that their personal methods are not inherently "correct", or that they don't know why precisely they think so to begin with. Perhaps this can also be something of a conversion tactic -- I want them to be Pluralists, so I try to kill their ideas first to then show them that there are other ones which are alive. That is not because I think that this is the only way to do it, but simply that it seems to me to be the most appropriate tool for that goal.
Or how I believe that by using "I" and writing to you as though I am speaking directly to you, dear reader, as though I can treat me as an "I" and you as a "you" and that I believe what I'm saying without any difficulties, then I can make you think as though you know me. But if I tell you, as I'm doing now, that I'm writing this as something I don't believe in but believe it is a tool of rhetoric I find most suitable for communicating these ideas for their own sake, then suddenly you are aware of my method. Perhaps you even distrust me; but I think this responsive distrust is because you believe I must have some spurious ulterior motive. On the contrary -- why would I indicate my applicable method to you now and ruin my chances of convincing unless I was trustworthy?
But more importantly than that, I am telling you now that I am trustworthy, and I am trustworthy; but not because I say I am, for what I am to you now is certainly some illusion of the applicable method. No, I must be trustworthy if I am telling you that you cannot know I am.
You may feel betrayed by believing you knew me from the beginning, sweet reader, but be not dismayed at your realization that you cannot. You do know me by knowing that you can't know me. So, although no one can be trusted on the basis of their asserting their trustworthiness, there is, as we have discovered now, one way to distinguish one way to know who someone is, when they are.
How does one "move beyond" their personal method of being? I mentioned it earlier but failed to qualify what I meant. The only way it would be possible to attain a secondary method of being would be to first acknowledge the existence of the first method. If the establishment of a secondary method is made, then it is possible to achieve the third. Contemporary politicians are unfortunately good examples of people who are capable of doing this -- and the best ones choose secondary and tertiary methods of being which most accurately reflect the appearance of their primary method. We may praise an apparent unity, but the unity is only apparent. We must always ask of the person in what way they see their practice as separate from their person, and what method they make manifest in various situations.
To conflate one method with another is to buy into an illusion, whether consciously (in which case the illusion would be malevolent, because it would be a lie) or by mistaking one for the other, which I believe is more common. When we know whether or not the person has recognized this, and can distinguish between their methods, then we know the person.
I have said that Pluralism would likely lead to a more virtuous world. What I mean by this is that the practice of Pluralism is a practice which by its nature makes these distinctions, consciously so, without taking any one of them as the sole truth.