Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The advantage of a butterfly mind.


One advantage of a mind which flits from one subject to another (see yesterday's blog) is that the smallest things sets the mind into action; the cogs whirr, bits spin off here and there and before you know it a subject for a blog becomes fixed in one's head.

And so it was this morning. A friend and I have been on a lovely shopping expedition. Readers of my blog will know that I HATE shopping, particularly for clothes (which entails getting undressed, trying things on and then getting dressed again.) But when a dear friend offered to drive me to our nearest large shopping complex at Teesside Park I made a list of possible purchases and off we went. (Thank you for a lovey morning W).

My friend spent all her working life in the retail industry and she has made me very aware of the importance of pleasant and helpful staff. I must say that the staff at Marks and Spencer were 100% well-trained. They were smiling and helpful.

As any woman reading this will agree, I got a tremendous lift when the skirt I wished to buy (yes, I am sick of wearing trousers and wish to give my legs a bit of an airing), was a size too large! The assistant changed it for me, I made my purchases - including two sweaters for the farmer (more of that another day) and we began our journey home.

First stop the diesel pump. While sitting in the vehicle I noticed this isolated bird's nest in the tree and away went my mind into several tangents. First of all, a quote from one of Ronald Blythe's books, where he hears a child say, "Just think, the birds don't even know it's Thursday."

I smiled as I thought of this - I thought of all the lovely trees there are in such beautiful surroundings and yet this bird had chosen to build its nest in a shopping park, in pecking distance of a petrol pump (I took the photo from inside the car, through the window). My very down-to-earth friend made the observation that at least there wouldn't be any cats about. And then I thought there would probably be plenty of bits of food dropped - crisp crumbs and the like.

And driving home I began to think about the idea of consciousness, which the bird does not have in the same sense that we do. The bird no doubt chose the tree with no thought at all for surroundings. Amd that brought me to a fairly new publication -
"Soul Dust - the magic of consciousness" by Nicholas Humphrey, in which he argues that we take consciousness very much forgranted and yet consciousness has developed in man down the ages and has evolved purely for our own pleasure. I heard him speaking about his book on the radio the other morning and saying that the very new baby does not have this consciousness and that it develops slowly, first with eye contact and then with language. I understand that this is quite a controversial book but it is one which may well be worth reading.

So there you have it - from shopping to birds' nests to human consciousness and beyond. You can't say you don't get around on this blog.

15 comments:

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I enjoy these kind of posts, probably because my mind is the same. Sometimes my husband stops me and says he simply must know how I got from one thought to the other - always seems obvious to me :)

angryparsnip said...

I like the way your mind works and enjoyed the post today very much. My mind works about the same.

I sometimes I start a sentence in the middle, for me, my mind working fast and jumping around I already thought the first part and by the time the words came out I was already in the middle of a thought.

It doesn't seem to bother the square doggies.

cheers, parsnip

Pondside said...

What a gift consciousness is - I'd never thought about it too, too much but now it will niggle at me all day!

Heather said...

I love your butterfly mind Pat - it always has something interesting to say. I hate shopping for clothes too and wear trousers to hide my fat legs. That book sounds very interesting but at the moment I can't seem to take in anything much above Red Reading Book 3!!

Eryl said...

Consciousness seems to be the latest buzz word. I keep hearing about new research, radio programmes, books etc. on the subject. I wonder why the book's controversial, I'll have to google!

Jane Moxey said...

I love this post. I too have a butterfly mind and sometimes can't take in all the stimulus and ideas that fly about! How clever you are to write it all down and describe the condition so well! But I do love when I settle on one topic and get into a subject in depth -- sometimes! Yay about the lower size for your new skirt!

Gwilym Williams said...

Ten minutes before I read this I found a butterfly in the cellar. It had perished. But something will come along and eat it. Halfway up the steps I saw a caterpillar. Maybe it will have better luck.

There's a wonderful short play (in German) by Thomas Bernhard "Klaus Peymann kauft sich ein Hose und geht mit mir essen" or something like that. It's about Klaus Peymann who is a theatre director, he must be at least 6'3", and he is trying on 5 or 6 pairs of trousers in a tiny cubicle. Needless to say it is very hilarious until finally in true Buster Keaton fashion he ends up buying the first pair of trousers he tried on.

All the rustic best!
Gwilym

Jo said...

Love it, Weaver!

Actually, I think there are MANY advantages for those with butterfly minds.

The way I see it, you are stringing the unconscious together with the conscious mind, making connections some wouldn't see.

Butterfly minds are those that give us wild humor like Ellen Degeneres, and keen writers like Conan Doyle who gave us the great character of Sherlock Holmes.

I enjoyed this post very much. Oddly, I find myself feeling sorry for the bird's choice of real estate, which must bring lots of noise and lights to it at unwanted times.

George said...

Another butterfly mind? Ah, Pat, you make me finally feel at home in the world. I can't remember when my mind was not flitting around, looking for something new and stimulating.

Tom Stephenson said...

This is why John Aubrey is a hero of mine.

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you for the tip about the new book, Weaver, - a subject that interests me greatly.

Dave King said...

I have found that the butterfly mind begins to flit alarmingly at a certain age. But it does have its compensations, I will agree.

Rachel said...

I was just reading what you said about drawing, a day late, so hope you don't mind me commenting here. Have a go at "negative space" drawing, i.e. drawing the space around an object. It is fun and surprising how much it helps your "eye" and drawing skills.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for all your comments - seems that I am not alone in being a butterfly mind.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Yes there are definitely advantages to having a butterfly mind...