What Is Your Thirteenth Floor?

I'm currently reading Strength to Love, and let me tell you, it is one fantastic journey to dive into the mind of the incomparable Martin Luther King Jr.

As I was sifting through some pages this morning, I found one excerpt that really struck me. While MLK was riding up an elevator in New York, he noticed that the thirteenth floor had been removed. He recounts the story:

"On inquiring from the elevator operator the reason for this omission, he said, 'This practice is followed by most large hotels because of the fear of numerous people to stay on the thirteenth floor.' Then he added, 'The real foolishness of the fear is to be found in the fact that the fourteenth floor is actually the thirteenth.'"

A few questions I asked myself here:

What is my thirteenth floor?

Am I afraid of it because I have been socialized to be afraid of it?

What do I use as my fourteenth floor cover-up?

I think this quote says a lot about our society's soft mindedness and willingness to believe anything we are told. MLK is simply asking us to see through the bullshit (paraphrased in less eloquent words).

Do you discern your way to the truth? Or do you choose to be fooled by half-truths?


  1. i might have to add that to the book list..

  2. Oh, MLK. Seriously, his words? Life-changing.

  3. this is really common.. the missing 13th floor. in korea, 4 is a number associated with death, so in the elevators instead of the buttons reading "1 2 3 4" it will be "1 2 3 F" F being 4. the book seems really interesting, I may pick this up :)