Is being irked worth it?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by phenomenology, Apr 11, 2020.

  1. As its Saturday and with the coronavirus most of us are shut in. I thought I'd get philosophical. In the previous question about valuing a studio, someone wisely commented its not worth it getting irked. The best synonym is being aggravated, perhaps annoyed or bugged. I've been wondering just now if there isn't a connection between being irked and doing your best creative work? I'd suggest that allowing oneself to be irked can often lead to thinking outside the box, getting the creative juices flowing.
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  2. Well, of course, there are several level of "irkness" in any job, ranging from mild irritation to thoroughly p....d off. Over the years, I've had far many jobs where the PO level far exceeded any work satisfaction. The only exception was working as a wilderness ranger with the U.S. Forest Service for the last five years before finally retiring. Contact with other humans was rare, so my irkness level was low...usually. When I finally "retired" into doing photography, my one rule was: Never shoot anything that moves or talks back. It works well for me.

    Another thing that helps is writing poetry (}.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
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  3. FWIW, I think that the best amateur photographers who combine some kind of passion/emotion with a good skill set (mainly being able to develop a vision and intention for photos and developing the communication and compositional skills to translate their vision/intention into excellent images). I regard 'getting irked' as a totally valid emotional driver for wanting to taking certain photos in a certain way. But there are are other equally powerful emotional drivers too. Just a few examples:
    - having a deep-felt need to document something that you feel has had too little (or too superficial) media exposure
    - feeling a profound sense of beauty/wonder in a situation and being driven to communicate that sense through photos;although many types of 'beautiful flowers', 'beautiful landscape' and 'beautiful sunrise/sunset' photos have become cliched, I have no doubt that the beauty and wonder felt by many photographers at the time was authentic
    - feeling a sense of joy in some some social situation and just wanting to communicate that through photos
    - ... and so on

    I'm not a pro photographer so I'm just hazarding a guess that the best pro photographers (weddings, news, sport, etc) don't just turn up and take their 'routine photos', all of which will be good enough. My guess is that best ones make some emotional connection with what's going on and channel this connection into deciding how they personally want to want to photograph a specific situation. Otherwise, they're (very professionally) just going through the motions.

    Of course wanting to be or become one of the 'very best' photographers in your genre locally (and later perhaps nationally or even internationally) is also a serious motivator. But it's a different kind of motivator than (for whatever reason) passionately wanting to communicate something about a situation to other people.

    This is my long way round of saying "yes, you're absolutely right but there's more to it than just 'being irked'.
    Great post! Made me think.


  4. Being irked, like so many things, can inspire and can depress. It can cause one to want to create or suppress that urge. I try to honor and feel my feelings. My own problems can ensue when I obsess about them instead of just feeling them. However, I do have certain obsessions and I don’t try to will them away and can sometimes channel those obsessions into creative endeavors.

    In short, I have found no formula for which feelings are always productive and which bog me down and I acknowledge even my own extremes, which can be either or both beneficial and hurtful. Mainly, I try to be self aware, but only self controlling when I need to be.
    William Michael likes this.
  5. I try not to get agitated. Burns up my ulcer. But not always succesful.
  6. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    It depends if one can separate the stimulation of the emotion of irkedness, without carrying forward the dead cat of that emotion.

    Basically I agree with samstevens' view, and I have expressed mine in the third person and in metaphor.

    BTW, thank you for the compliment.

  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I try simply not to carry the others' dead cat.

    Yes, I think being self aware is part of that.

  8. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    One way I have found helps with minor irritations (and in retrospect most of them are minor) is to examine what it is that is causing me to irk (is there such a verb ?) and if, as in the vast majority of cases, it is something someone has done or not done, I try to understand that (in general terms) it has not occurred with the express intention of causing me this feeling.

    I do not feel I am important enough (to take a random example) for someone I have never met, living 200 miles away, to wish to cause me to feel less than 100% content with life by posting, on a well-known auction site, a description of an item which bears no resemblance to the actual item being sold.

    For many years, I wondered why so many people seemed to be content, or even to take pleasure, in being ignorant - then I realised, they did not understand that in my opinion they were, and no doubt in many areas I am as ignorant as they, with no intention of frustrating them.

    However, until reading this thread, I had not realised that sometimes this feeling can increase creativity and productivity - my grateful thanks to those who helped me to make that connection.
  9. Yes, but not the way you’ve used it. You would use to irk to indicate irking someone else. Example: I made a lot of noise in the house to irk my roommate. The way you attempted to use it above, which was to refer to your own feeling, would be formulated as such: “... to examine what it is that is causing me to be irked.” When you say “ ... to examine what it is that is causing me to irk”, your reader is waiting to hear who you are annoying.

    Having said that, contemporary casual usage can often be made expressive by intentionally misusing verbs, and more common is to turn nouns to verbs (e.g., “I am lunching with Paul.”) so your sentence as written gets the point across with a bit of personality and I think it’s fine in this context as is!

    in any case, I’ll assume your use of to irk was not done “with the express intention of causing me this feeling.” :)
    And this applies to exotic language usage as well. Using language unexpectedly and even incorrectly to express nuance can be very creative, though there comes a point when one sounds more like a drunken sailor than a poet ... assuming there’s a difference! :):)

    [And now I’m just too exhausted to take on your spelling of realised, which is a horse of a different colour.]
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  10. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Thank you, Sam - I do realise that in the UK and the US, words which sound the same, and have the same meaning, have different spellings.

    To take your point about my usage of the verb 'to irk' - perchance I should have said 'that which irketh me' ?
  11. A lot of the weird spelling in varieties of English relates to the early development of printing, which in turn lead to a standardized (standardised) spelling while the language(s) themselves were still (as they always do) evolving. Compare English through with German durch. The spelling is much closer to the Germanic origins than the current pronunciation.

    However, modern English spelling is read fairly well by all speakers, whereas a revised spelling would run hard into the wall of regional differences. Studies suggest that most skilled Roman character readers perceive words as units, more like the way Chinese characters are read, rather than by individual letters.
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  12. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    I have heard that many people, provided the first and final letters are correct, will skip over misplaced letters in the middle of elongtaed words, their eyes and brains working in tandem to ascertain the actual meaning. Proof readers, by way of their profession, seem to be less prone to this abberation.
  13. You got it. I was a typographer by trade, which also meant a fair amount of editing and proofing. So not only am I always attuned to misplaced letters and bad grammar, I’m looking at awful character spacing in headlines and other no-nos like misplaced or missing apostrophes (very common) and even the esoteric paragraph widow here and there (when the last line of a paragraph only has one word left dangling by itself). A good typographer always avoided this. A proofer is probably a little like the pixel peeper in photography!

    So, next time I see it’s with an apostrophe when it’s possessive instead of a contraction, I’ll go out with my camera and test the creative theory of irkdom!

    As to irketh, the word irk seems to date back to the 16th C. By the 17th C., thee, thou, doth, and the -eth suffix were more out of vogue, so irketh might only have had a lifespan of about 100 years.

    Anyway, I suspect we’ve inspired a whole bunch of creativity by this digression in the convo which likely has annoyed at least a few, so ... you’re welcome! :)
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Aside - another 'digression in the convo'

    Oh dear. That, as a topic of conversation, could easily occupy the remainder of the year. Certainly, 'irking' may seem necessary at times.

  15. I get irked later when I see that I screwed up the shot. Especially when I shoot film.
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  16. I think getting tattoos is a terrible idea.........Never worth it.
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  17. I think that for me, getting irked has helped me to distinguish between knowing when to just let go of a project I'm working on and when to allow myself to continue experimenting with composition, light, and angles and such in order to get what I consider to be a satisfactory shot. If you're going to get so mad at a project that it turns photography into a chore instead of a fun thing to do, then its time to take a major breather and move on to an easier photography project, perhaps. I hope I'm making sense.
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  18. coming back to this one again, I also note that without an irritant, there will be no pearl.
  19. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    And again - one thing that really irks me is when I lose my temper with someone - and they don't d*mned well realise it !! :(:mad:
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  20. Well if you want to be paid being irked is part of it. Photographers are often seen as used car salesmen prior to the shoot, After the shoot if they are any good they gain recognition.

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