...the papers, which thirty years ago conferred upon me the honor of American citizenship, are always kept in a safe, while my orders, diplomas, degrees, gold medals and other distinctions are packed away in old trunks.
Nikola Tesla Quotes - Page 6
Now, I must tell you of a strange experience which bore fruit in my later life. We had a cold [snap] drier than even observed before. People walking in the snow left a luminous trail. [As I stroked] Mačak's back, [it became] a sheet of light and my hand produced a shower of sparks. My father remarked, this is nothing but electricity, the same thing you see on the trees in a storm. My mother seemed alarmed. Stop playing with the cat, she said, he might start a fire. I was thinking abstractly. Is nature a cat? If so, who strokes its back? It can only be God, I concluded.
I cannot exaggerate the effect of this marvelous sight on my childish imagination. Day after day I asked myself what is electricity and found no answer. Eighty years have gone by since and I still ask the same question, unable to answer it.
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. My Mother had taught me to seek all truth in the Bible.
The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to the service of mankind.
Hardly is there a nation which has met with a sadder fate than the Serbians. From the height of its splendor, when the empire embraced almost the entire northern part of the Balkan peninsula and a large portion of what is now Austria, the Serbian nation was plunged into abject slavery, after the fateful battle of 1389 at the Kosovo Polje, against the overwhelming Asian hordes. Europe can never repay the great debt it owes to the Serbians for checking, by the sacrifice of its own liberty, that barbarian influx.
The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs. This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded. But he finds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of his powers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class without whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle against pitiless elements. Speaking for myself, I have already had more than my full measure of this exquisite enjoyment; so much, that for many years my life was little short of continuous rapture.
If I were ever assailed by doubt of ultimate success I would dismiss it by remembering the words of that great philosopher, Lord Kelvin, who after witnessing some of my experiments said to me with tears in his eyes: 'I am sure you will do it.'
How extraordinary was my life an incident may illustrate... [As a youth] I was fascinated by a description of Niagara Falls I had perused, and pictured in my imagination a big wheel run by the Falls. I told my uncle that I would go to America and carry out this scheme. Thirty years later I saw my ideas carried out at Niagara and marveled at the unfathomable mystery of the mind.
Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
The day when we shall know exactly what “electricity” is, will chronicle an event probably greater, more important than any other recorded in the history of the human race. The time will come when the comfort, the very existence, perhaps, of man will depend upon that wonderful agent.