Often we hear that we need to accept things for how they are. I always had a bit of resistance towards this attitude. I admit that for me acceptance was always bound with conflict. I could never fully internalise the idea behind this concept. To accept literary means to to take what is offered, admit and agree. There is a certain submissiveness and passivity embedded in the process. When it comes to acceptance, when I am conscious that I must accept something, there is always a but. This but is either verbalised and leads to explicit tension or suppressed deep down and leads to implicit tension. Both are not my favourite outcomes. I also connect acceptance to compromises which also doesn’t feel right to me. It always felt limiting and gave this bitter aftertaste that no-one is happy with the outcome. While thinking about the importance of owning the experience the notion of acceptance came alive. Let me try and see if I can play with it fo a little and see if I can find a way to reframe it in the way that feels right.
Acceptance can be looked at from different angles, sometimes we see it as something related to laziness, apathy or helplessness. But is also seen as a virtue, cultivated throughout the history as acceptance and resistance are a fundamental features of any contact we make. I find myself seeing truth in both definitions. Even more so I see how amor fati, the concept that invites to radically love faith, can be a powerful psycho-technology to get most out of life-experiences. There is a lot of tension accumulated in resistance to things that are outside of our control, acceptance allows to release it and move forward. Stoics where distinguishing two types of occurrences which constitute a dichotomy of control, things that we can change and those we can’t. Everything that we can’t change has to be accepted and worked with. I will not go too much into detail about the (im)possibility of change and free will, I’ll leave it for another time to savour properly. But let’s say for the sake of this argument that some things can be changed and some can’t. So that is where I feel where my resistance to acceptance comes in. I feel I am just looking in the wrong place. I don't want to accept things, I want to focus my attention on what is there and work with it. Being busy with acceptance seems like one step too many. It will automatically be a part of the process once we fully internalise and start to live whatever constitutes our reality.
What I am willing to do is to cut some corners and make my being in the world a little more smooth. If we think about understanding the occurrence, through intellect, embodied cognition, empathy and all the tools we have at our disposal, acceptance won’t be needed anymore. And maybe cutting corners and smoothing the edges in this case is a longer process, it might be easier just to accept, but on the longer run internalising whatever we need to accept is a better strategy for building real understanding. Similar approach I propose to compromises, instead of making one where each party has to give something in, perhaps building something new together is a better option. Takes time but who knows perhaps we make new friends along the way.
If I look at concepts like acceptance there is something authoritarian about it. I sense a presence of an entity of higher order which explains to me what I should do. This entity has little time to explain to me how the world works and it doesn’t give me time to find out myself because the trust in my capacities is lacking. So this entity comes up with moral code that has to be followed without questioning to maintain social order. Possibly this simplification is there not only because there is no trust in our abilities but to create a possibility to be busy with other things. In the latter case why are we spending so much time on accepting rather than on other things we should spend time on?