Burke – Acceptance vs. Acquiescence

“Acceptance of”–not necessarily “acquiescence to.” By acceptance is meant an openness to the factors involved. One may accept a situation in thundering against it. Voltaire accepted. Acceptance is exposure.  Whether one builds a wall against the new by reaffirming the old, or seeks by a loosening to incorporate the new, he will be “accepting” in so far as his terminology takes the new into account and gives us an accurate workable attitude towards it.

Kenneth Burke

I like this distinction between acceptance vs. acquiescence (Which I keep spelling wrong).  This kind of goes with my previous post in the part where it talks about “acceptance is exposure.”  It does not mean that we acquiesce to it (Spelled that word wrong again as I was typing), it just means that we are exposed to it.  By exposure to something, we can begin to think about it, which brings Coleridge’s essays on the Method in.  We think about it in order to make meaning out of it.  We make it our own and thus own that knowledge.  We are no longer owned by that knowledge (keeping us up at night struggling to sort it out), we own it.

Accepting is coming to an understanding of something.  For example, I know that we live in an ablist, racist, classist, and too many other “-ists” society.  I know that, I understand it.  Now that I know and understand it, I can make a difference.  I have accepted that it is the fact, but I have not acquiesced (YAY, I SPELLED IT RIGHT THAT TIME!) that it will and should always be the fact.


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