Although a scientist through-and-through, there are those who claim Nikola Tesla was a man displaced in time, a mystic from a long-distant future born into the body of a 19th century inventor.
To those who knew him, it certainly must’ve appeared that way. He spoke 8 languages, possessed a photographic memory, slept no longer than 2 hours at a time and produced inventions so far removed from anything before seen that ‘magic’ must’ve been a word whispered during the witnessing of their workings more than once.
He also used ancient Sanskrit terminology to describe particular natural phenomena and had an association with the great eastern sage Swami Vivekananda.
Yet Tesla was also a tragic figure, for no other reason than his altruistic tendencies. His greatest desire was to use his genius in service of humankind — one of his ultimate dreams was to bring free, wireless energy to the entire world — and therefore ended up paying a price similar to that of so many men and women of the same mindset, both before and after him. He was persecuted by the power brokers of his time (Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan among them), his greatest ambitions crushed and much of his work stolen, leaving him penniless, alone and on the verge of total madness in his later years.
Regardless, the fact remains that, technologically speaking, the modern world would be a shell of what it is today without him. Many of the very foundations of current society — everything from alternating current to wifi — started in the mind of this one brilliant man.
The following are 15 of Nikola Tesla’s most intriguing quotes.
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“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
“Everyone should consider his body as a priceless gift from one whom he loves above all, a marvelous work of art, of indescribable beauty, and mystery beyond human conception, and so delicate that a word, a breath, a look, nay, a thought may injure it.”
“Of all the frictional resistances, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance, what Buddha called ‘the greatest evil in the world.’ The friction which results from ignorance can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge and the unification of the heterogeneous elements of humanity. No effort could be better spent.”
“…instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.”
“The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.”
“Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.”
“Our senses enable us to perceive only a minute portion of the outside world. Our hearing extends to a small distance. Our sight is impeded by intervening bodies and shadows. To know each other we must reach beyond the sphere of our sense perceptions.”
“What we now want most is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth and the elimination of that fanatic devotion to exalted ideals of national egoism and pride, which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife.”
“…a new world must be born, a world that would justify the sacrifices offered by humanity. This new world must be a world in which there shall be no exploitation of the weak by the strong, of the good by the evil; where there will be no humiliation of the poor by the violence of the rich; where the products of intellect, science and art will serve society for the betterment and beautification of life, and not the individuals for achieving wealth. This new world shall not be a world of the downtrodden and humiliated, but of free men and free nations, equal in dignity and respect for man.”
“Knowledge comes from the universe, our vision is its most perfect set. We have two eyes: the earthly and spiritual. It is recommended that it become one eye.”
“Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point in the universe. This idea is not novel… We find it in the delightful myth of Antheus, who derives power from the earth; we find it among the subtle speculations of one of your splendid mathematicians… Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic.? If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic — and this we know it is, for certain — then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.”
“My belief is firm in a law of compensation. The true rewards are ever in proportion to the labour and sacrifices made.”
“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”
“For ages this idea has been proclaimed in the consummately wise teachings of religion, probably not alone as a means of insuring peace and harmony among men, but as a deeply founded truth. The Buddhist expresses it in one way, the Christian in another, but both say the same: We are all one.”
“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.”