Recently, I found myself irritated. There was “something” that was irritating me. I asked myself, “what irritates me?” and got an interesting reply. I said:
“Life irritates me”
In other words, the fact of being alive has an irritating quality. There are many things that make up this irritation, such as:
- Being aware and conscious.
- The effort required in being alive.
- The culmination of experience.
- The burden of memory and remembering.
- The strain of emotion and feelings.
- The weight of a self and a personality.
- The strain of having to do something, such as work, or living a certain way, such as a morality.
All these, really, contribute to create what can be described, perhaps, as a ‘life irritation’. This can be described as a general irritation or unsettlement in ones self that is not a result of a specific conflict or issue but only in the fact of living.
I tend to view it like a baby being irritated by things. I have always felt that one of the conflicts newborns and infants have is the “burden of being aware”. In fact, I have often felt that this is what mostly “bothers” them, making them cry and such. One must remember that a baby is literally “woken” up to sensations, feelings, impulses, etc. that come upon it like a storm. This is something like a shock on the newborn. In some respects, one could say that we will be dealing with this shock the rest of our lives. Perhaps we could call it the ‘awareness shock’?
Most certainly, there is a natural transition phase that most people go through, of getting used to the ‘awareness shock’. We basically go through a phase of being an “irritable infant” which may even carry on into toddler years.
The ‘awareness shock’ forces the person to develop a self. In other words, a self appears to as if manage the awareness that is forced upon a person. So we see, then, that the self is associated with managing awareness and alleviating the shock from the very beginning. This would become very critical later on (see below).
But I feel that, for some people, the ‘awareness shock’ becomes overwhelming and “too much”. We could even call this the ‘awareness shock sickness’. This can cause a number of reactions:
- A natural tendency to always feel “uneasy” or “irritated” in life which probably ends up lasting all their life
- A predisposition to “irritation”, “uneasiness”, being “upset”, and other feelings.
- A predisposition to definable problems, such as neurosis. In other words, it makes one more likely to have mental problems.
My guess is that these would be blamed on something most of the time. Not only that, one problem will probably follow another problem in succession. More than likely, it tends to make one predisposed to various problems and feelings.
‘Life irritation’, in its normal form, causes things such as:
- A sense of an uneasiness. For example, this could create things like unhappiness, boredom, etc.
- A sense of conflict. For example, this can make us look at life in a sinister and negative way.
- A want of rest. For example, this can make us want to become rich or retire.
- A want of some image, or answer, to comfort us. For example, this can make us religious or make us want to believe in “something greater”.
One could say that ‘life irritation’ creates a generalized “upsetting feeling” about life. And, more importantly, this “upsetting feeling” is never satisfied. It never goes away or is solved but hangs over us like a cloud.
Oftentimes, though, we tend to make a “big deal” out of this “upsetting feeling”, making it out far more than it is. In fact, there is a tendency to try to “find something” to blame it on. But, in so doing, we say that this or that bothers us and miss the whole point as we now have something to blame it on. As a result of this, we tend to create blame things that is not the problem and end up creating problems that don’t really exist. We do this for a number of reasons:
- We tend to lack of a generalized “life sense”. That is to say, we tend to not look at life “as a whole” but as events or in pieces. Because of this, we are impaired in seeing its overall generalized life-origin nature.
- ‘Life irritation’ is a generalized sense . . . it is not caused by a specific cause. But when we have an irritation, or something that bothers us, we try to give it a specific cause, something to “blame” it on.
We see here a basic problem of generalized versus specific. Basically, its easier to see things from a specific viewpoint than a generalized viewpoint. But, in so doing, we literally fabricate sources of conflicts that don’t really exist. As a result, much of our problems do not, in actuality, exist . . . we just think it does. Its because of this that I tend to feel that ‘life irritation’ is probably the base of many conflicts we have in life in which we blame things on.
Some ways at dealing with ‘life irritation’ include:
- Generally, we find something to “blame” for all these “unsettled feelings” on. As a result of this, one of the first things to do in dealing with ‘life irritation’ is to quit blaming things.
- The development of a more generalized attitude.
- Begin to see the “unsettled feelings” as coming from life itself.
- Seeing the “unsettled feelings” as “just the way it is”. In actuality, there really is no answer. It is just the nature of life.
- Trying to decrease the things that seem to aggravate the “unsettled feeling”. That is to say, if work is too much of a burden try to change it.
What this shows is that there is a degree of control we can have over ‘life irritation’. More specifically, this control is usually done in a number of ways:
- Avoiding things that aggravate it.
- Decreasing the influence of things that aggravate it.
I would say that much of life is doing these things. Most people, I think, do this naturally and unaware, at least to some extent.
But one must be careful not to become “numb-in-life”. That is to say, to become non-feeling, or numb, as a way to deal with the irritation of life.
The solution to ‘life irritation’ is not in complete avoidance and ignoring. In actuality, it seems that the best way to deal with ‘life irritation’ is in accepting according to ones means and ability. In other words, one does these things:
- One avoids or decreases things that aggravate it, as stated above . . . this way, it stays within acceptable levels.
- One “embraces” it and accepts its “uneasiness” . . . this is because it is, in actuality, the source of “living”.
As I said above, the irritation of life creates an “unsettlement”. This same “unsettlement” is the source of life”, in actuality. This more or less says that to “live” means to be “irritated” and “unsettled”. When a person removes these away (such as in becoming “numb-in-life”) then one ceases to live, in my opinion. A person will develop a vegetable-like quality and attitude in life.
It seems that one needs to move from “irritation” to what I call “passion”. The difference between the two is:
- “Irritation” – when the “irritation” is upon a person it is perceived as a separate overbearing entity.
- “Passion” – when the “irritation” actually inspires a person.
In other words, the “irritation” needs to be turned into “passion”. When this happens the “irritation” ceases to be “irritating” and becomes a source of living. One could very well say that living is a dynamic word describing a dynamic situation which means an in-balance, which is being unsettled, which is irritating. “Irritation”, then, is a natural part of the condition of living.
There seems to be a process to the movement from “irritation” to “passion. Much of this entails the self.
- The “irritation”. It appears and as if “shocks” the person into awareness.
- The “irritation” creates the formation of the self. The “awareness shock” forces a self to appear to as if manage the awareness (see my article “Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self“).
- The self embraces the “irritation”. As I said above, the self is there to as if manage awareness. In order to do this, the self requires a “maturity” to deal with the “irritation”. This can be described as a well-rounded practical way at dealing with awareness. In order to develop “maturity” the self requires various forms of support, growth, experience, direction, acceptance, coming to terms with “irritation”, etc. In other words, the self needs more than a self to develop and grow. It must be a healthy and mature self.
- The “irritation” and self grows as one.
- The “passion” appears.
One could then say that “passion” is when ‘life irritation’ and the self become one. In this way, they become as if united and work in concert. One could say that it is in these conditions that life is at its best. In this way, it would say that ‘life irritation’ is when the self is not participating that well. In some respects, ‘life irritation’ is a “sign” that some growth of the self is required.
Interestingly, when ‘life irritation’ begins to appear after “passion” has been established it can create problems. Typically, “passion” is the growing of a specific aspect of the self in relation to the “irritation”. In this way, it is very specific. When a new form of “irritation” appears the already established “irritation”/self/”passion” orientation does not work anymore. What this shows is that the “irritation”/self/”passion” association is very specific and, just because it has been established, it does not mean it works for all situations. In other words, different forms of “irritation” requires a different forms of orientation to work and this requires a different aspect of the self. This means that the creation of “passion” is an ongoing never-ending process. It also means that there must be a continuing discovery of self. In short, then, “passion” requires a continual ongoing revealing of ones self. When this stops then ‘life irritation’ begins to appear. This often happens in old age where people tend to seek discovery of their self (as its associated with the activity of youth). As a result, its not uncommon that older people often tend to become “irritable”, ornery, grumpy, and bitter.
Copyright by Mike Michelsen