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Stinley's avatar

Why do we like a view?

Asked by Stinley (11486points) August 4th, 2017 from iPhone

Lots of people seek out a good view. They are signposted as tourist attractions. People are drawn to the window of a tall building. We climb mountains and stare out at the view. What is it that is so enthralling?

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18 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe it’s instinct to want to feel free? When I look out onto a “view” I usually feel calm and removed from the drudgery of things I have to do like work or calling the cable company.

Moreover, views can be awe inspiring. The beauty of nature, the complexity, color, patterns, it pleases the senses. Even looking out onto manmade structures can be incredible, depending on the structure.

CWOTUS's avatar

For most of us who don’t live in high places, I suppose it’s rarity.

I recall a story about a farmer in Vermont (back when Vermont had more farmers than it does now) who was thinking about selling some land to a developer. (Obviously, this was back when there was more open land of this type for sale, too.) The developer came to look over the land, which happened to be on a somewhat barren hillside, but it overlooked Lake Champlain from a distance. He was pleased at the pretty reasonable price that the farmer was asking for the land – see? this was a long time ago – and he exclaimed, “This place has a million-dollar view!”

“Can’t eat the view,” said the farmer.

PullMyFinger's avatar

Well, let’s see here….

You look out your front window, and twice a week your neighbor’s cat is crapping on your front lawn. So you drive to Home Depot to look for some kind of animal repellent, and on the way almost get into a wreck with some self-involved kid playing with his smartphone.

In the pet-repellent department at Home Depot, a guy who should know better is covered in tattoos from his ear to his ankle and is talking on his smartphone, obliviously blocking the aisle.

So the next day you fly out to Arizona and, behold…..there is The Grand Canyon.

Now, during which of these days do you feel better….??

Sneki2's avatar

For the same reasons people look at paintings and sculptures; good work of art deserves to be looked at and appreciated.

snowberry's avatar

We used to live in a place that had an amazing backyard. In the early mornings with the steam rising off the land and when the light hit it just right it looked like a fairy paradise. It was so restful to the eyes. I could stand at the window and just gaze forever.

janbb's avatar

It’s only the English who insist on rooms with a view. JK

Aster's avatar

Loving and craving a view really began when we lived in Arkansas on a very steep hill . I could see the tops of small mountains and absolutely loved it and wish we could go back. Then on the lower level I’d often see big, fat deer in our driveway or yard. I am almost haunted by the feelings I’d get when seeing those animals . Compare that to looking out your windows and seeing peoples’ front door or the side of their house. Maybe someday….

PullMyFinger's avatar

Was this before or after Clinton lived there ??

Aster's avatar

Decades afterward PMF.

filmfann's avatar

I have a nice view from my back deck. Mt. Shasta, and hillsides 25 miles away. I grew up with a view of the Bay Area few could beat.
For a few years I had an apartment, which had a view of the building next door. Ugh. That just contributed to a feeling of claustrophobia.

Stinley's avatar

I love all your descriptions of great views but it’s not really answering why we like them!

Coloma's avatar

Probably because our primitive nature lent itself to surveying the landscape for approaching predators and invaders. Being on higher ground with a view afforded us warning of anything approaching be it a herd of mastodon or a rival tribe that might be on the attack. Most castles, forts and other posts were built with towers as well for the same reasons, to be able to see any approaching enemies.

snowberry's avatar

It was peaceful and comforting.

PullMyFinger's avatar

@filmfann Wow, Mt. Shasta each and every day ??

About ten years ago my wife and I drove up Interstate 5 on our way to Oregon. When we passed through Mt. Shasta it was so beautiful that I had to keep mentally shouting at myself to keep your eyes on the road, dummy !!

Envious in Pancake-flatville, USA

P.S. On another Calif visit, we toured Alcatraz. I don’t know…..didn’t seem so bad to me. Kind of cozy, actually….

Smashley's avatar

Like Obi Wan knew, it’s all about having the high ground.

Humans aren’t the only animals that like a view. My cat sleeps on the piano or in the second floor windows most of the time. I slightly disagree with @Coloma that it’s a defensive trait. I suspect it’s a predatory one. Predators sit high, prey hide low.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Great question @Stinley. I am really not sure, but I know I do like looking at great views. I think it’s about space and the awesomeness of nature. It just reminds me of how amazing this world we live in is. I like to take in the colours, the shapes, the size of the space. I also find sitting looking at the ocean or hills or mountains very relaxing. I find it quite spiritual too.

During the trip I’m going on, I’m expecting to see some amazing scenery. We’ve driven around a lot of Australia, but the outback is unique. And it really is a sort of spiritual experience. Looking out over miles and miles of a burnt (orange) landscape covered by the most blue of skies. It reminds you of your tiny, tiny place in this universe.

Someone was telling me the other day that there is a region of land we have travelled past where they have documented only 13 whitefellas have ever visited. They have actually been able to document which white people has been there and produced a documentary. At times of the year, the area is quite uninhabitable. Aboriginal people know the area, but they don’t go there are certan times. I find that so exciting and interesting. We won’t be spending time in that area, but I love the seclusion and the exploratory nature of such trips and of seeing views and landscape, that aren’t regularly seen by white Australians. While we won’t be going anywhere that is as remote as the region I’ve mentioned, we will be travelling through areas that are off-the-beaten-track.

Coloma's avatar

@Stinley Probably some of both, agreed. Defense as well as having a predatory vantage point. Be that looking for prey or potentially being the prey. haha

flutherother's avatar

I love good views. They take me outside of myself and outside of my brief moment of time. Enjoying a good view is a kind of communion with nature, it exhilarates and refreshes the spirit.

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