“There is a conflict between science and art. By ‘art’, I mean a certain integrated idealism. It is a centripetal something, opposed to the endless centrifugal forces of science. Eventually science will fly apart and fall of its own forces. There is too much for anyone to know. It is no longer possible, as in Bacon’s day, for one man to take all knowledge as his province. The seeds of decay and disunion are there as a mass becomes too unwieldy—it works like everything else in nature—attractions set up repulsions, backwards and forwards it goes, now one side winning, now the other side.
“Science will win in the present set up of things but it will likely carry civilization down with it when it goes. Then art will have to step in, gather up the pieces and carry on. Of course it is possible that there will be developed scientists who are artist as well. They must realize that there is something dynamic about idealism and apply that dynamism as they would any other force. Then civilization may be able to continue. But I doubt it—forces and counter forces—attractions and repulsions—all say “no.”
“Tesla Predicts New Source of Power in Year.” New York Herald Tribune, July 9, 1933.
The conversation turned to the subject of the human brain.
“We are all automatons,” he reflected, “obeying external influences. We are entirely under the control of agents that beat on our senses from all directions of the outside world. Being merely receivers from the outside, it is a very important question how good the receivers are – some are sensitive and receive accurately. Others are sluggish and their reception is blurred. The individual who is a better machine has so much greater chance of achieving success and happiness. An individual who is an offender of law is a machine in which one or another organ has been deranged, so that the responses are no longer accurate.
“There is no chance in nature, although the modern theory of indeterminacy attempts to show scientifically that events are governed by chance. I positively deny that. The causes and effects, however complex, are intimately linked, and the result of all inferences must be inevitably fixed as by a mathematical formula.
“I also absolutely deny the existence of individuality. It took me not less than twenty years to develop a faculty to trace every thought or act of mine to an external influence. We are just waves in time and space, changing continuously, and the illusion of individuality is produced through the concatenation of the rapidly succeeding phases of existence. What we define as likeness is merely the result of the symmetrical arrangement of molecules which compose our body.”
“How about the soul – the spirit?” he was asked.
“Ah,” he exclaimed, “but there is no soul or spirit. These are merely expressions of the functions of the body. These life functions cease with death and so do soul and spirit.
“What humanity needs is ideals. Idealism is the force that will free us from material fetters.”
“Tesla Seeks to Send Power to Planets.”New York Times, July 11, 1931.