What is a wonderful view?

07 May

What is a wonderful view? Obviously I know what a wonderful view is it’s the Grand. Canyon, the Stacks at Duncansby and the Forth Rail Bridge at dusk to name a few.  Of course you may have other ideas and consider them to be at least as good if not wonderfully better than mine. We would expect that really. Personal preference, choice, taste etc.

Like many things in life it also depends on your experiences. You may have travelled a bit or you may have stayed in the same town and not gone much beyond all your life so you may not have as many reference points. Of course we see a lot of splendid views in our own homes through TV programmes, travelogues or documentaries.

What is a view anyway? I found one definition which might work for the purposes of this blog item “an instance of seeing or beholding; visual inspection; sight; vision.”

I ask the question because I enjoy Grand Designs, the programme about people building their own homes which are interesting, challenging and ultimately, hopefully wonderful to live in. In many of these programmes they have designed the house to sit within its surroundings, which might mean they have large windows from which a fabulous view is accessible. Seems fair enough.

In most cases the views aren’t that special never mind spectacular although the people who built the house obviously think so. A lot of them look like rolling green fields, hedgerows and trees rather than amazing rock formations on really high mountains or cliffs with crashing waves or fairly substantial hills seen over a river. Again insert your own choice of view which gets you excited as it were.

We don’t just live in an area because of the views, well some people do, because they can.  We live somewhere because it’s handy for work, it has good schools, the shops are reasonably close and we like it. The more people like the view, the more expensive it is. The more expensive it is the fewer the people that can afford it. So views have a value beyond personal appeal.

I raise this for two reasons. Firstly because I was watching that BBC programme which is currently showing old Scottish TV programmes.  In one, which was set in the 60s, a woman was asked to live in a real slum area. She was your typical posh, well-educated worldly woman and she was bemoaning the fact that her eyes were actually painful because they had nothing beautiful to look at. A gross exaggeration with little consideration for those who had to live there permanently and took some joy from it because it was a roof over their heads and they could reasonably keep it warm in winter.

The second was a documentary, which discussed how a scientist was attempting to define how the value of a “good view” could be measured. She’d stuck a lot of those electrode things on people’s heads whilst showing them images of views and at the same time monitoring their eye motion. When a view was shown which was appealing to the recipient the pleasure areas of their brain reacted positively and their eyes darted about and took in the details of what they’re were seeing.

A good view is in the eyes of the beholder. There’s a surprise! Next time you are considering booking a hotel room, buying a new house or going out for a Sunday drive from which the views will be spectacular you might want to consider if your definition of spectacular is the same as the person who is encouraging you to go. If you do go and the view isn’t what you thought it would be you need to be careful because you may well end up with painful eyes because they have not been exposed to anything beautiful.

Of course, if your significant other is with you this won’t be the case however because they will be beautiful. You wouldn’t be with them if they weren’t!

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in General


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