We tend to reproach ourselves for staring out of the window. You’re supposed to be working or studying or ticking off things on your to-do list. It can seem almost the definition of wasted time. It appears to produce nothing, to serve no purpose. There’s no prestige in it. We don’t go around saying: I’d a great day, the high point was staring out of the window. But maybe, in a better society, that’s just the sort of thing people would say to one another. The point of staring out of the window is, paradoxically, not to find out what’s going on outside. It is, rather, an exercise in discovering the contents of our own minds. It’s easy to imagine we know what we think, what we feel and what’s going on in our heads. But we rarely do entirely. There’s a huge amount of what makes us who we are that circulates unexplored and unused. It’s shy and doesn’t emerge under the pressure of direct questioning. If we do it right, staring out of the window offers us a way to listen out for the quieter suggestions and perspectives about inner natures. The philosopher Plato suggested a methaphor for the mind: It’s full of ideas like birds fluttering around in the aviary of our brains. But, in order for the birds to settle Plato uderstood that we need periods of calm. Staring out of the window offers such an oportunity. The potential of daydreaming isn’t recognized by societies obssesed with productivity. But some of our greatest insights come when we stop trying to be purposeful and instead respect to the creative potential of revery. Window daydreaming is strategic rebellion against the excessive demands of the immediate (but ultimately insignificant) pressures, in favor of the diffuse, but very serious, search for the insights of our deeper selves.