What do you understand is the difference between emotional acceptance and intellectual acceptance?

If you say you intellectually don’t accept what’s happening with Ukraine but emotionally accept it because you can’t do anything, that’s not being honest.
You don’t really care, for if you do, how much did you contribute to the Ukraine’s cause?
If you say, well, my contribution, however large I might contribute, amounts to almost nothing, can you say the same with regard to the homeless person that wanders at the vicinity of your work place.

You care, only as long as “care” means wishing well for them but when “care” includes giving away something you have, even if it means a mere 5% of your income, you don’t care.

As a feeling being, can intellectual non-acceptance even be differentiated from emotional non-acceptance?

The idea is to separate out intellectual appraisal vs emotionally feeling one way or another about it (be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’)

It’s a fact that there’s a lot of horrible things happening in the world. The war in Ukraine and homelessness are just two examples. There’s also constantly occurring rapes , suicides , spousal abuse , child abuse , human trafficking , etc.

Emotionally not accepting this is best epitomized by what someone once told me, paraphrasing “I feel like I should always feel a little sad because the world is so messed up”.

Emotionally accepting it is basically going ahead and feeling good / feeling well in general , despite the fact that all these bad things are indeed happening.

Intellectually accepting it would be saying “well that’s the way the world is, you just can’t change it”.

Intellectually not accepting it is basically “I refuse to accept that the world always has to be this way”.

The idea is to emotionally accept these facts, but not necessarily intellectually accept them. The two don’t have to be connected. You can feel good despite horrible things happening. (Actually there’s no reason not to feel good despite it. What does it change, feeling bad about it?)

Then from this basis you can actually do something about the root cause of it all (ie self-immolate or work towards self immolating).


May be this can help:

RESPONDENT No. 39: I have been dealing with taking care of my mother and dealing with nursing homes and insurance companies. The question I am looking at is: Can I accept the unacceptable? The treatment I have gotten from these corporations is totally unacceptable to me and there is nothing that I can do about it. This is like having a gun pointed at me. It looks like I just have to accept the unacceptable. That may be what life is about. If I accept the unacceptable then there is no problem.


RESPONDENT No. 39: … as long as we are alive in this world there are going to be things happen that are unacceptable. These are the things we have to learn to accept. The question I am asking is: Can I accept the unacceptable?


RESPONDENT No. 39: … if something is unacceptable to me then that’s what I have to deal with. It’s just theory to say that unacceptability is unnecessary.


RESPONDENT No. 39: … Are you saying I should just bend over and let the nursing home and insurance company lie and defraud my mother? There is a difference in paying what’s right and being robbed. Have you never had something happen that is unacceptable to you?


RESPONDENT No. 39: … I am shocked by the inhumanity of it. I don’t have any choice but to accept the inhumanity. I guess that gradually the shock will wear away until the next one comes along.


RESPONDENT No. 39: … My question is: Can I accept the unacceptable?


RESPONDENT No. 39: … Nothing can be done. I have already tried. I am up against two crooked corporations and I am powerless.


RESPONDENT No. 39: … That doesn’t work for me. I am frozen.

RICHARD: Given that people are as-they-are and that the world is as-it-is there are more than a few things which are ‘unacceptable’ (child abuse, rape, murder, torture and so on). What worked for me twenty-odd years ago, as a preliminary step, was to rephrase the question so that it makes sense (rather than vainly apply any of those unliveable ‘unconditional acceptance’ type injunctions): Can I emotionally accept that which is intellectually unacceptable?

RESPONDENT: What do you mean by ‘emotionally accept?’

RICHARD: To cease emotionally objecting, resisting, rejecting (or denying) and to be emotionally welcoming, consenting, receiving (or acknowledging) … without being emotionally aloof, indifferent, apathetic (or vacillating).

RESPONDENT: Do you mean to say that you accepted (saw) that you were ‘emotional’ and reacted to persons and events in an emotional way (over 20 years ago)?

RICHARD: Yes … this is the crux of the issue: ‘I’ am a feeling ‘being’ (‘I’ am ‘my’ feelings and ‘my’ feelings are ‘me’).

Mailing List 'B' Respondent No. 19


Splurging ten-year savings on an overseas vacation or spending a fraction of that for an eye operation of your poor neighbour that restores his vision.
Which is sensible?
If the latter is sensible, I’m not emotionally accepting my true wish, which is vacationing. If the former is sensible, that amounts to intellectually accepting “Well, the world is what it is. Restoring one person’s vision doesn’t change anything since millions will still be suffering”, which is just rationalising in order to break the emotional dissonance.

You should make your decisions armed with confidence. Not necessarily confidence in success or that you made the right decision. But confidence that it was a sensible choice given what you know. Anything less is doing quite a bit of harm to yourself and everyone else you impact. And an overt act of not caring. You get that confidence by gathering all of yourself together on whatever the issue/choice may be. Not incidentally, that is also the way you move your baseline up to happy and harmless.

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Sensible choice cannot be taken unless one is in PCE, no? Because otherwise any decision that is worthwhile(as opposed to petty decisions like deciding on the flavour of coffee you want to drink) is motivated by emotions.

How do you explain what “sensible choice” is?

We’re only 100% sensible (sensate) in PCE/freedom, but during the rest of the time it’s on something of a spectrum. Sometimes I’ve seen myself be extremely silly, when I’m wound up on some emotional trip. And likewise, even if I’m not in a PCE there are times I’m doing well, I’m connected to this actual world (sensately), and I can make better decisions. That’s where we can ask ourselves, what is a fact and what isn’t a fact?

Sometimes things are just judgment calls. There isn’t some ‘right answer’ out there (who decides what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ anyway?). We just decide things. The question is, how do you put yourself in a position to make the best decisions you can? Maybe at some future point you’ll learn more about ‘x’ situation, and can make an even better decision. But it’s ok that right now you & I have limited knowledge to make decisions off of. We have to start somewhere. But we are lucky to have these guiding principles: happy & harmless, comparing silly & sensible, and the knowledge that this universe is physical, not spiritual. These help a great deal when it comes to figuring out what to do.

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That’s quite a hypothetical! The answer to this is the same essentially as “what would you do if someone was coming at your son with a knife?” ie it depends on the situation itself. Is this a choice you were faced with recently?

In any case it has nothing to do with the topic under discussion, which is about emotionally accepting a fact or a situation without paralyzing one’s intelligence by intellectually acquiescing , accepting or resigning oneself to not changing a fact or situation that is palpably and obviously so far from the optimum that one can call it horrible.

We are talking about emotionally accepting facts that are intellectually unacceptable - such as the fact that for example 86 rape cases are reported on an average day in India, or that in 2016, forty-six children in the eastern Congo were abducted and raped, many of whom died, for just two examples.

And you’re worried about not wanting to feel the slightest discomfort and cognitive dissonance about your “true wish” to spend 10 years of savings on a vacation??? C’mon, you’re not the only one on the planet.

In any case, the point is to emotionally be accepting something that is intellectually unacceptable. What are you specifically referring to as being the “something” that is intellectually unacceptable, that you are finding difficult to emotionally accept?

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Kiman, when all of you is on board, the choice will be sensible.


But we are lucky to have these guiding principles: happy & harmless, comparing silly & sensible, and the knowledge that this universe is physical, not spiritual. These help a great deal when it comes to figuring out what to do.

Yes. But the only real guiding principle is to allow yourself to get fully on board. Once on board, all the tidbits we’ve already accrued over the years will be make themselves known when appropriate. There won’t be any overriding immovable emotion clouding their appearance.

The rephrase, which Richard puts forth, is really just another way of saying “feeling good (at least) each moment again, for the rest of one’s life, come what may”.

I’ve come to see the phrase as not useful to me. The reason is it seems to imply that there is an emotional choice, which is equivalent to an intellectual choice.

This doesn’t line up with the rest of the AFT or my own experience.

Emotion is generated out of inherited “instinctual” feelings. These inherited feelings are blind, unconscious, can’t think, reason, or otherwise be sentient.

The choice is only in the intelligence of a sentient human. It’s a function of consciousness.

Regarding @Kiman and the hypothetical;

What is it that you object to about someone spending the money they saved for a decade on themselves?

By the logic of your hypothetical, no one could ever enjoy the fruits of their labour because inevitably there will always be someone in need.

It’s perverse. It has been proven to fail time and again. Communism was the last great catastrophic example of this thinking. Taking wealth and distributing it according to need, whether through a moral, religion or political system has been tried and failed every single time.


You can choose how you feel about things though. If you couldn’t, no one could ever become free - or change at all!

Yes, I have already faced it atleast half a dozen times. Although, the luxurious overseas vacation(I never had one) is put for dramatic effect and to underline the contrast between a life saving surgery and a sensual pleasure.

When I pursue something which is almost always motivated by some desire, I am giving an expression to that desire. I find myself in doldrums, because intellectually not accepting yet giving expression to desire doesn’t lead to any progress.
I don’t need to do the work I do, it’s boring but there is money in it. I can drop out of the work force and live comfortably for the rest of my life. I do it to not stand out like a sore thumb in the society, to have running cash(instead of liquidating assets) and it’s required for the future spouse for me to have “a job”. Since there is money in it, the only interesting thing is to maximize profit in what I do. That’s desire and I know it. I am constantly giving the desire expression, thereby feeding “me”. I can emotionally accept it and intellectually not accept it, but it’s not showing any positive outcome on the ground with regard to becoming free.

A lot to unpack here:
Does ‘enjoy’ mean engaging in sensual pleasures?
Why is there a need for sensual pleasure?
You may say, “well, that’s not a need but a fondness”. But you know there’s some dishonesty there.
“Enjoying the fruits of pleasure” is giving expression to desires, which is not actualism.
Why do that extra “labour” when the motive for it is to merely pleasure ourselves? (I’ll abuse myself in order to get that dangling candy of pleasure later)

Richard doesn’t have this need. He maxed out on his credit card, in his own words, to put up actualism site. He was ready to give money in thousands of dollars to people who wanted to publish their journey of actualism, etc.

Going to the other opposite, I may as well say ultra rich who hold billions of dollars as personal wealth are merely enjoying their fruits of labour. The obscenely rich monarchies like arab royalty are merely enjoying their ancestors wealth and nobody whosoever can object to that, and they are right from their perspective.

There is no limit to luxury and human body never denies any addition of luxury to its existence ever. But it always comes at a cost for other fellow humans. The overarching objective of Actualism is to emancipate not only the individual but also the entire humanity. When that is the case, minimal “fellowship regard” is to be considerate(not emotionally) towards our fellow humans. Does not being so inline with actualism?
Not as a rule or a self-imposition, but something to aspire for(like aspiring to be actually free) because that accords both with naivete and assists actual freedom, no?

My view, which I think is a more academic view based the various premises of the AFT is the choice isn’t being made emotionally.

Having said that, Richard does mention the altruism instinct being more powerful than all the rest.

He describes his appeal to people’s “better selves”.

I think that generally though, choices are a function of intelligence and not of blind nature.

So we choose how we feel, by directions from our intelligence, rather than with an ability of blind nature.

Colloquially, yes we can choose how we feel, I am pointing to the process of how that happens.

Which is why I don’t find the equivalence in the statement “emotionally accept and intellectually not accept” accurate.

It describes the outcome but not the process of getting there.

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Hi @Kiman

You don’t “unpack” anything in this statement, but rather build a straw man and proceed to argue with that.

Your conclusion is totally incorrect regardless. Enjoying the fruits of pleasure is precisely actualism.

Giving expression to desires? This is also a complete misreading of actualism. One channels all of one’s desire in enjoying and appreciating, including the fruits of pleasure.

And yet, you haven’t read it.

It really does pay to read the Actual Freedom Trust website.

It would seem, as far as your understanding of Actualism goes, he wasted his money.

The rest of your post is you trying to make actualism into a religion.

The goal of actualism is to completely enjoy being alive, right here, and right now. The ultimate enjoyment is to be free of the 'human condition '.

Emancipation is not the goal at all.

That implies that there is something enslaving ‘humanity’. Whereas, actualism clearly states that it is ‘humanity’ which is the very bonds of slavery.

As ‘I’ am ‘humanity’, it is eminently silly to imagine any emancipation going on outside of ‘me’ finally, and deliberately, allowing the already existing peace on earth be apparent in this body.

It’s not “always” at all. Even in normal terms, this isn’t true, but in actualism it is definitely not true.

Richard is living a life of luxury without it costing anyone else anything. All it cost was ‘him’ was ‘himself’.

So this isn’t such a combative sounding couple of replies, I was also extremely interested in essentially turning actualism into a religion at some point. Indeed, I would say that I have turned a corner this year and seen a lot of the religious conditioning in me come to the surface so I can actually start properly.

You are saying taking an exotic vacation is “enjoying the fruits of labour”. I’m asking how come taking an exotic vacation is merely “enjoying” so much so that you disregard a fellow human’s life. Is that really “enjoying” or need for pleasure if you choose your luxurious recreational activity over somebody else’s life?

Which is more inline with “fellowship regard” and “naivete”?

You are turning “fellowship regard” into a religious doctrine.

Basically, the old “love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Just to point out the silliness a bit more in your hypothetical scenario;

So, one neighbour is blind. Ok, you could help.

But the neighbour on the other side has a child which needs special therapy overseas.

Both are going to cost $10000.

Now what?

It is, always. It’s a zero sum game.
I’m not talking about luxury in actual world at all. That’s not how “luxury” is understood to be usually.

Nope. It’s not always at all.

My various bosses have been very rich. Yet, I have been paid well working for them.

How has their wealth cost me?

If I was a serf, a slave, or didn’t get paid, then yes, it did cost me.