I disagree with this quote completely. The basis of this quote is both that the world we have been given is good enough and secondly that it is our job as global citizens to passively accept what we have and not strive for change. I disagree on both counts. The world we have is flawed in so many ways, and secondly it is our job and duty as global citizens to try and improve it. To respond with another quote, "We must be the change we want to see in the world."
I do not think we (as a society, nation, or global community) do accept the world "which we have been given." Instead, people are striving to make the world a better place based upon the fact that the world has changed. If we were to accept the world as it is (inherently), people would continue to destroy it, possess it, and fight for it.
People are simply to stubborn to accept things as they are. They strive on a daily basis to change the things around them. Sometimes this is for the best; other times, the changes made are for the worst.
The quote as given at the discussion begining is oddly worded and grammatically confusing. It probably means "we accept the world that we have been given".
In this case, I agree with others who have said we should accept the world as it is, and not waste time wishing that it were something else...which it isn't.
We sometimes wish for things to be different from what they really are. Such wishful thinking never works.
I remember hearing a brilliant speaker respond to an audience member who was expressing this type of sentiment...wanting things to be other than they really are. The speaker said to the woman, "yes, madam, I see your point. And even if it isn't true, it very easily could be, couldn't it?!" The response politely appeased the woman, while making the point to the rest of the audience of the futility of the woman's hope.
There are many ways in which to interpret this sentence, as you can see from the posts so far. Unfortunately there is little context. So, the readers need to supply one. In my opinion, it means that we should accept what cannot change. In other words, I do not take this sentence to mean that we should accept whatever is given to us. However, with that said, there are somethings that we cannot change no matter how hard we try. In these situations, it is wise to accept it and move on.
Humanity only knows the world that we inhabit -- we can dream and imagine a world that is different to some degree, but it wouldn't be that much different from what we know and it would likely be within the constructs of what we know. For example, the people of the 1800's accepted a world where people could travel by train as a means of high speed travel, but could never imagine flying. We completely accept the idea of air travel, and dream of flying cars, but not of any sort of travel that is much further out of "what we know." Each year / decade / century has its new "normal" and it what we accept.
I wonder if this is advice and that it should say "We should accept..." If it said that, it would be sort of a stoic vision of the world or one that is like what Buddhists believe. If we just accept the world the way it is, if we do not wish that it would be something else, we would be happier and more content and might have better lives than we do.
I don't think we do accept it. Since the dawn of intelligence and reason Man has been driven to better his state, not simply stagnate in it. Remember, we went from the first powered flight in 1902 at Kitty Hawk to a manned Moon landing in 1969. Only sixty-seven years, and that's just one of the major successes we've had in history. Hunting with bare hands went to stone knives and spears, and led to smelting of metals and the first iron tools... every advance in human history has been led by a desire to make our status better. We accept that what we are given is what we are given, but then we make new things that we have not been given, and from those new things we make more things, ideas, technology, medicine... lists upon lists.
On a related note, the Ascent of Man is very nicely individualized in the PC game Minecraft.
To the best of my understanding, this quote seems to say that we do the best we can with the world as it is. Regardless of the good and the bad, the joy and sorrow present in this world, we can only work with what we have. It may be simply saying that we can only do with what we have been given, and therefore we make do with the realities of the world. It does not sound like advice is being given; this seems to be a statement of fact...that this is how we live our lives.