Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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QuoraED : Window Seats And Philosophy


QuoraED! This is when we pick up a trending or interesting thread from Quora and spin a story around it.

Ever got transported to a parallel universe while in motion, sitting by the window seat? Invokes a memory, isn’t it?

All of us have been there, day-dreaming and lost in thoughts while on a journey. Ever wondered whether window seats have a role to play in facilitating such a philosophical thought process?

Bored young man, staring out the train window on a rainy, grey and dull day

Wondering about the same on being back from one of my road trips, I happened to come across an interesting Quora thread which discusses the “window seats and philosophy” mystery and might just add another tangent to this observation.

The exact question on Quora reads : “Why do window seats of a train or a bus make us think deeply about life?”

Here are a few answers talking about the mystery :

1. It’s amazing what a window seat makes us think.

A window seat shows us movement. We always understand movement, by relating it to something which is constant. It gives us illusions too — like a setting sun makes us believe that the sun is moving.

In life, wherever we go we always consider ourselves as the changing entity. Like we are going to different places, experiencing things, involving in activities and moving. We realise that we are the one which is transforming and changing. And the world remains static.

When we sit close to a window, this understanding reverses. We experience evanescence. We experience life, flashing by, through transitory scenes and thoughts.

And we realise that all throughout, we were timelessly still and the world was the one doing all the travelling. We may seem like the setting suns, but we have been still, all along our lives.

Things to do while on a window seat : 1. Stare outside. 2. Indulge in philosophical thoughts.

2. I feel the same way when I sit on a window seat.

Interestingly, I also feel this when I am walking (not commuting walk but reasonably paced evening walks etc). Anything that creates a perception of you moving (at a reasonable speed where you can feel the sense of motion or change) makes you feel this way.

Why? I believe the motion reminds us of the impermanence of universe. That things change. As you move forward, you get a sense of outside world being left behind. Our mind immediately correlates this to memories or whatever we have left behind.

And memories are melancholy and romantic. 

Even if the past moment in your life was an average moment, whenever you would reminisce about it, you would perceive it as being happier than it actually was. This is why we always crave for our golden pasts, ’cause we miss things.

From those memories, we hop on to our philosophical sojourns exploring meaning of life as we realize that everything is temporary. Also, especially on train or flight journeys, looking at the vast vistas makes us realize how small we are.

So, it is all a matter of relativity. Going forward relative to the external atmosphere. Feeling small relative to the outside grandeur and so on.

I find the phrase ‘walk away from’ to be quite appropriate. You are displacing air, you are recreating a new state, you are changing something. And the moment we feel that we are causing or participating in change is sometimes very powerful.

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ― John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

But you know what, once it happened that while I was sitting on a train, I was experiencing these sentiments, pondering over life philosophy and what not but overall feeling a bit negative. I realized that I am sitting backwards to the motion of the train. I was feeling left behind!


Alia Bhatt lost in her thoughts by the window seat, while on a shoot for the Bollywood hit ‘Highway’.

3. Life and window seats are metaphorical sisters.

• It’s difficult to get a window seat while reserving seats, so is happiness/satisfaction in life.

While sitting there at window seat, we see things things moving backwards, we start thinking about past/previous memories.

• If you keep your hands outside window, you may get hurt, same way in life every happiness opportunity come with responsibility.

• With great power comes great responsibility.

• You feel the air on your face, it gives us peace and a peaceful mind is philosophical.

• Life is a journey and Window seats somehow remind us that we still have miles to go.

Because it’s not just humans who need window seats for some retrospection!

So well, admit it or not but window seats and philosophy do have some hidden very-very deep connection!

Have something more interesting to add? Let us know in the comments below!

You’d also like to read :

QuoraED : Why Countering Blacklivesmatter With Alllivesmatter Doesn’t Make Sense?

Yogita Rathore
Smart, funny, chic and sarcastic. 4 words that perfectly describe Yogita. Don't let her calm demeanor deceive you, since her blogs are as fiesty as a shot of Tabasco sauce.



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