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Anyone Missing the Elevator Attendant?

When was the last time you saw an elevator attendant? When was the last manual elevator you went on to get to the 7th floor that was assisted by an elevator attendant? I’ll wait while you think about it.

If you are not super rich living in a high rise in New York City, work on a construction site or a super senior senior citizen, the answer to the first and second question is probably never and you might have just thought: what is an elevator attendant and why would you need one? My sentiments exactly.

You see back in the day (not that long ago), it was believed that the human body could not handle going more than 30–50 miles per hour. Well meaning medical professionals and propogandists worried that on a speed train going more than 50 miles per hour that female passengers’ uteruses would fly out of their bodies and that the human body would liquefy (melt). Sounds silly, right?

In the early 1900s, the advent of “automatic elevators” was set to disrupt (wait they might not have even used that term “disrupt” back then) the manual elevators and most people were either too afraid of the advancing technology as if it was from the devil or just mentally resistant due to hard set beliefs to change despite changing times.

In 1857, passenger elevators (operated by steam engines) were introduced in a New York department store but after three years it was shut down because customers refused to accept it. This particular elevator travelled about 40 feet per minute (super slow) (today’s elevator can travel 40 feet or more per second). Steam engine elevators were later replaced by hydraulic driven elevators that was then later replaced by electric traction elevators used mostly today.

Automatic elevators operate by a type of abstraction, which means systems working behind the scene to make the cart go up and down without manual effort. All you have to do on an automatic elevator is push a button, kind of like you do on a computer. Many of us have no idea how the letters and emojis appear on the screen but all we do is hit a letter or a symbol on the keyboard and voilà it’s showing on the screen. Push floor 10 and voilà, you get to the 10th floor in seconds and you didn’t have to do anything but wait (and you didn't need an elevator attendant).

With the advent of the automatic elevator, social habits and beliefs changed as well. It used to cost more to live on the lower floor of a building and now with the advent of the electric elevator, it started costing more to live on the higher level floors.

We should thank two people for this change in social conditioning. However, no one person is credited for the advent of the elevator as we know it because the elevator as we know it was the result of convergence. Otis Tuft and Elisha Otis had two different ideas that converged to make the elevator as we know it. Otis Tufts’s patent for a vertical railway, which was an enclosed car with a bench inside it converged with Elisha Otis’s invention. Elisha Otis invented a platform that could be hoisted up and down and included a safety brake, which prevented the elevator from going too fast. It was the combination of these two inventions that lead to the automatic electric traction elevators as we know them today.

Isn’t it amazing how technology affects beliefs, habits and lifestyles? It was believed at one point that it was more luxurious , therefore, more costly, to live on the lower floor of a building, but with the advent of the automatic elevator which could take you higher faster and safer, social sentiments and price points for higher floor levels changed and now it is more luxurious and costly to live on higher floors. Because of the advent of elevators, skyscrapers and tall and taller buildings were created.

You may have an idea floating in the magnetic field of your own mind right now. And you might be dismissing this idea because it sounds crazy because you have been lead to believe certain things about time and space that are simply just not true. You might be dismissing it because it goes against all the things you were trained to believe as right and wrong. Don’t dismiss your ideas that are passing on the conveyor belt of your mind because of outdated beliefs and baseless fears. If you don’t do anything with them, someone else will receive those Ideas on their mind’s conveyor belt. Ideas are not a respecter of person.

Just think about it. Some people lived and died thinking that riding in trains going faster than 30 miles per hour or going up automatic elevators were going to melt the human body, And some people lived and died believing vehicles were the “devil wagons.” They never even thought to ask: who is the devil? And if its the devil’s wagon and god made everything then wouldn’t it be god’s wagon too?

Some people even believed that women were going to faint and have bouts of hysteria if they drove vehicles by themselves, so the belief and rule became women should not be allowed to drive. And they believed all that as ordained truth because someone else said so. Wow!

I wonder sometimes if any of them died with some innovative ideas in their mind that they did nothing with because their beliefs in what others said had more authority in their mind and stopped them from greater pursuits. What would they think now if they saw drones flying in the air making deliveries, electric vehicles driving us around, typing on computers that magically show letters and words on a screen, etc. All of these ideas once were crazy ideas.

You have ideas. I know you do. Living your ideas and sharing your ideas is you being your authentic self. Your ideas may just be the missing part of the puzzle that converges with another person’s idea that will usher in the next great technological, social, political, or spiritual advancement of the human experience. You don’t have to wait for others to give you permission to trust your own thinking. You don’t have to think outside of someone’s else’s box and you don’t have to be limited by someone else’s fears and beliefs. Just start thinking within your own brain box and disrupt beliefs given to you by others with greater knowledge (and awareness) every chance you get.






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