Facebook Mind, Normal Mind

In “Shape of Medieval History: Studies in Modes of Perception,” William Brandt uses the example of a 13th century clerical chronicler Matthew Paris to show the dynamic between Relevance and Interest in how we deploy our attention.  He examines the chronicle entries of Mathew and notes the interplay between the two and that interest seems to take precedent over relevance and offers the following thought: “We can best understand the choice (of entries by Matthew) by regarding Matthew as the center of a circle of light which shades off into darkness. Events notable enough to be visible from the central point in this circle of light appear in the Chronica Majora [the clerical chronicle kept by Matthew]. Minor incidents close to Matthew, in the abbey for instance, are worth reporting by mere proximity; incidents across the Channel [geographically far away] must be in some way correspondingly more spectacular to attract his attention.”  The reason that I bothered to type this up is because this very much reminds me of the workings of Facebook user’s mind.  Mind, as I see it, is an ever changing, amorphous space that is aware, which constantly reaches out with tentacles of attention, yet also remains aware of what’s happening near its phenomenological-existential periphery.  Notice your Facebook style: there’s a good chance it’s full of personally-significant minutia, punctuated with grasping forays into the odd and wonderful that is “out there.”  We dwell somewhere here, in our personal space of awareness, in our space of trivia – that’s what’s relevant to us.  But now and then, something interesting shines out there and our mind, amoeba-like, reaches out with a grasping pseudo-pod of attention.  Mind – at its normal. Just that.