I wonder what she is reading. It may be the eternal burden of a reflective mind to be unable to simply accept reality at face value, to question what lies beneath, to investigate what hidden meanings or purposes might exist or dwell below or behind the superficial appearances of things. At least she is not browsing social media but, then again, a printed text of any kind was precisely the social media of that time.
Technology evolves, complexity accelerates, psychological subjectivity progressively acquires depth and structure but the essential and underlying functions of information artefacts probably do not change all that much. Culture always encodes social function and is an adaptive resource of meaning – it provides a distributed buffer of resilient and embodied memory.
Painting: “Young Girl Reading” Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 1770.