THE PROCESS CHURCH OF THE FINAL JUDGEMENT 1965 revised February 1969
Subject: REALITY AND ACCEPTANCE
1. 1 A PERSON'S LEVEL OF ACCEPTANCE IS THE LEVEL OF SCOPE AND IMPORTANCE AT WHICH HE IS CAPABLE OF GIVING FULL CONSIDERATION TO IDEAS AND EXPERIENCES THAT ARE NEW TO HIM.
2 A PERSON ONLY ACCEPTS WHAT IS 'REAL' TO HIM, i.e., meaningful, comprehensible, on a place of understanding which is familiar to him.
3 An idea or concept is 'real' to somebody if it relates to his own beliefs and experience, if it does not clash with the agreements he has with himself about truth and untruth, possibility and impossibility.
4 These agreements, whether objectively sound or not, seem to the person, necessary for his survival, and he compulsively rejects anything that appears to threaten them.
5 The rigidity of the agreements depends on the extent of a person's basic security and confidence.
6 A very frightened and insecure person has rigid agreements, which allow for no deviation from a fixed pattern of belief, thought, emotion, behavior, and experience.
7 A less frightened person has more fluid agreements. Gaps are permitted in his pattern, allowance is made for changes of attitude, progress, new experiences, new discoveries and new ideas. He is open to the expansion of his scope, instead of being concerned only with the reducing or maintaining of its limits.
A person may be quite open to the idea of a new game of cards to add to his repertoire, or to the possibility that a prices and incomes policy is a good idea, but suggest to him that he is totally responsible for everything that happens to him, and his mind automatically shut down. The card game and the prices and incomes policy, should they be included in his way of life, will require no great upheavals or basic changes of attitude. They are no threat to his fundamental pattern of agreements, so they can be considered fully and without bias, and on relatively objective grounds. The idea of total personal responsibility on the other hand, if accepted, would demand a complete reversal of his entire picture of life and his position in it. This is unthinkable, and consequently the idea must not on any account be given scrutiny, in case it should prove to be valid.
9 As a person gets older the pattern of his agreements tends to solidify against the threat of his environment. While he is still young he is searching for a pattern to fit the basic knowledge that he has as a being. He very rarely finds it, but he needs some sort of pattern (more or less desperately, depending on his own basic strength), so he settles for substitutes that at least preserve him against the dangers that threaten him. These he builds around him like a fortress.
10 While he is in the early stages of building, show him something better and there is a chance that he will consider it, but once he is firmly ensconced, he dare not look at an alternative. If he did and it proved his fortress invalid, he would either have to start all over again and confront the fact of many wasted years, or, if he lacks the courage to do this, continue in his existing pattern but with the knowledge that he was wrong. So he shuts his mind against anything that does not fit snugly within the limits of his fortress, in case it should shatter his security.
11 A person with a low level of acceptance often has the art of paying lip service to all sorts of theories and ideas, without really seeing the significance or implications of any of them. He hangs them on his walls for decoration, like picture postcards of places he has never visited.
12 He may display an apparent acceptance of an idea, but there is no personal involvement with it. He does not own it, or relate it to himself and his own life. He has inured himself to such involvement by a total depersonalization of everything. Every idea is reduced to a level of detached intellectual interest, and on this basis anything can be quite safely considered without fear of commitment. Emotionally it is given the same importance as buying a pair of socks. An unmistakable symptom of this pattern is the use of 'one' instead of 'I', particular in reference to personal problems. Instead of; 'I' can never express myself clearly, he says; "One' can never express oneself clearly. By making it everyone's problem, he can dismiss it as a natural hazard, instead of accepting it as a personal difficulty.
13 Don't talk to someone or question him outside his reality or above his level of acceptance. This is not contact. If you wish to tell someone something that will be unreal to him on his present level, begin within his reality and gently expand it until he can take the information and make good sense of it.
14 Remember it is only valid to help a person increase the scope of his reality and raise his acceptance level if you are doing it from the point of view of giving him something. If you are simply concerned with projecting yourself and your own image this is invalid.
15 If you ARE genuinely interested in giving to someone, take responsibility for doing it. If he is rejecting what you are offering, this is your failure and not his. You are invalidating him by pushing something at him that is outside his reality. Validate him. Project your interest in him so that he feels it. Accept his reality. Make it safe for him to talk to you. See the situation from his stand-point. If you do this he will have confidence in you and your interest in him; he will listen to you and accept what you are saying, and from this point you can behind to expand his reality and raise his level of acceptance.
As it is, so be it.
February 1969 ROBERT DE GRIMSTON
THIS MATERIAL IS THE PROPERTY OF THE PROCESS
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