“The Truth is one, sages call it by many names.” –Joseph Campbell
So, let’s say you’ve accepted Model Agnosticism or are choosing to start playing with it. It’s a jarring moment, because the assumptions of the world you have been standing on your entire life will shift. Nothing is capital “T” true. Everything is an approximation of the truth.
“Nothing is certain; not even this.” -Arcesilaus
It’s like you’ve been riding along in the backseat of the family car. Mom and Dad have taken care of where we have been going all these years. Their beliefs and prejudice have kept us on the road. Their beliefs have been good enough. Most kids, when culture forces them out of the car and into their own adventure, they’ll accept a car from the parents that is similar and comfortable. The child will proceed to drive in a similar fashion and towards similar lands as the parents did.
“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.” -Carl Jung
Accepting Model Agnosticism is like having the car your parents get you break down the moment your parents have driven out of view. Here you are on the side of the road, facing a symphony of machinery you never understood. The first emotion may be fear or panic, but soon you realize you’re okay. And you are free. Freer then you have ever been. Instead of cruising down the concrete laden path, you venture into the woods.
Pragmatism is a compass. It keeps you aware of due north while you’re messing around in the metaphysical woods. The woods cast shadows and ideas can trick you. Does believing in Original Sin enrich your life? Does thinking life’s fundamental attribute is suffering helping you through the day? Does believing all people are at base selfish and dangerous aid in your happiness? Pragmatism points north.
Now, there isn’t room for delusional positivity. If you believe through positive thought you can heal an infected wound, you’re likely going to die. This is not pragmatic. Pragmatism exists in our mental framing of the objective. Gravity is taking effect when I walk over a ledge regardless of my belief. But the meaning I give my injuries after the fall is completely my choice and under my realm of control.
Reading a compass has an art to it. Applying pragmatism to our lives is an art. If you find yourself free from the good-intentioned prejudice of your parents and culture, learning to use the pragmatic approach is one of the most basic survival and to-thrive-ful skills you can hone.
Truth is what is true enough to allow for successful action. We are embodied consciousness. We think in order to act. Pragmatism is a perspective of epistemology that is rooted in action. It is intellectual masturbation to skillfully think yourself into not acting. Don’t be the social outcast masturbating in the woods to his sophisticated nihilism. Explore the woods, but with the intent of finding your way back to civilization and bringing with you some helpful ideas.
Such a man (Bodhisattva) does not wallow in private salvation but lives and participates in the world’s activities out of compassion for those who have not yet achieved enlightenment.” -Huxley