“I was born in Croatia. The Croatians and Slovenes were never in a position to fight for their independence. It was the Serbians who fought the battles for freedom and the price of liberty was paid in Serbian blood. All true Croatians and Slovenes remember that gratefully. They also know that the Serbians have an unequaled aptitude and experience in warfare and are best qualified to direct the forces of the country in a crisis.”
“A Tribute to King Alexander.” New York Times, Oct. 21, 1934.
“You state that I have misinterpreted my results, and it looks as though you believe my views to be unsound. Your arguments are those of an eminent scholar. I was myself a fair scholar. For years I pondered, so to speak, day and night over books, and filled my head with sound views–very sound ones, indeed–those of others.
“But I could not get to practical results. I then began to work and think independently. Gradually my views became unsound, but they conducted me to some sound results.”
“Mr. Tesla On Sound Views.”Electrical Review, London, November 21, 1890.
“What an astonishing thing a book is. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time.”
“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.
“I had been constructing with my assistants the first high-frequency alternators (dynamos), of the kind now used for generating power for wireless telegraphy. At three o’clock in the morning I came to the conclusion that I had overcome all the difficulties and that the machine would operate, and I sent my men to get something to eat. While they were gone I finished getting the machine ready, and arranged things so that there was nothing to be done, except to throw in a switch.
“When my assistants returned I took a position in the middle of the laboratory, without any connection whatever between me and the machine to be tested. In each hand I held a long glass tube from which the air had been exhausted. “If my theory is correct,” I said, “when the switch is thrown in these tubes will become swords of fire.” I ordered the room darkened and the switch thrown in—and instantly the glass tubes became brilliant swords of fire.
“Under the influence of great exultation I waved them in circles round and round my head. My men were actually scared, so new and wonderful was the spectacle. They had not known of my wireless light theory, and for a moment they thought I was some kind of a magician or hypnotizer. But the wireless light was a reality, and with that experiment I achieved fame overnight.
“Following this success, people of influence began to take an interest in me. I went into “society,” and I gave entertainments in return; some at home, some in my laboratory–expensive ones, too. For the one and only time in my life, I tried to roar a little bit like a lion.
"But after two years of this, I said to myself, “What have I done in the past twenty-four months?” And the answer was, “Little or nothing.” I recognized that accomplishment requires isolation. I learned that the man who wants to achieve must give up many things—society, diversion, even rest—and must find his sole recreation and happiness in work. He will live largely with his conceptions and enterprises; they will be as real to him as worldly possessions and friends.”
– Nikola Tesla
“Making Your Imagination Work for You.” By M. K. Wisehart. The American Magazine, April 1921.
“I had hardly completed my course at the Real Gymnasium when I was prostrated with a dangerous illness or rather, a score of them, and my condition became so desperate that I was given up by physicians. During this period I was permitted to read constantly, obtaining books from the Public Library which had been neglected and entrusted to me for classification of the works and preparation of the catalogues. One day I was handed a few volumes of new literature unlike anything I had ever read before and so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state. They were the earlier works of Mark Twain and to them might have been due the miraculous recovery which followed. Twenty-five years later, when I met Mr. Clemens and we formed a friendship between us, I told him of the experience and was amazed to see that great man of laughter burst into tears.”
“My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla.” Originally appeared in the Electrical Experimenter Magazine, 1919.