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April 19, 2023

The Truth About Elevator Close Buttons and Life

The Truth About Elevator Close Buttons and Life

Elevators are a ubiquitous part of modern life, and we've all probably used them countless times. One thing you may have noticed is that there's a close button on the elevator panel, usually located right next to the open button. If you're like most people, you probably assume that pressing the close button will cause the doors to close more quickly than they would otherwise. However, the reality is that these buttons are often just for show, and they don't actually do anything. 

First, it's important to understand why elevator close buttons were originally installed. In the early days of elevator technology, the close button served a useful purpose. When elevators were operated manually, the close button would allow the elevator operator to quickly close the doors and get the elevator moving. However, as elevators became automated, the close button became more of a vestigial feature than a functional one.

In most modern elevators, the close button is simply a placebo. It's there to give people the illusion of control over their surroundings, even if that control is illusory. In reality, the elevator is already programmed to close the doors within a certain amount of time, and the close button doesn't actually do anything to change that.

So why do elevator manufacturers continue to include close buttons if they don't actually work? People simply expect to see a close button on an elevator panel.

The need for control in our lives is rooted in our innate desire for autonomy and agency. Feeling like we have control over our surroundings can be comforting, even if that control is an illusion. 

The necessity for control in some cases leads to aggressive driving, cutting in and out of lane, driving on the shoulder to pass waiting cars. This gives the driver, much of the time, only an illusion of control as we seem to end up at the next red light at exactly the same time. People buy a gun assuming they will have control over a threat, a robbery or a car jacking but again the gun most often only provides an illusion of control at best, but more often a tragic shooting and death. 

True control comes in realizing which things we actually have control over  and which give us only an illusion of control and acting accordingly.