Nikola Tesla - "Man's Greatest Achievement" - An Engineer's Aspect


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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nikola Tesla - "Man's Greatest Achievement"

This editorial found in the Newspaper Archives from 1930, not only includes a tribute to babies and mothers, it also includes a statement about "Man's Greatest Achievement" written by Nikola Tesla, himself.

San Antonio Sunday Light, Editorial-City Life Section, San Antonio, Texas. Sunday, July 20, 1930.

Copyright, 1930, by N. Y. American, Inc. Great Britain Rights Reserved.

ALL that you see piled up in the scale, on the right of this picture, was once a misty unreality, in the brain of some newborn child.

Many marvels are upon the powerful rivers, volcanoes, oceans, the flashing lightning, the tropics' heat, and the cold of the poles.

But all is as nothing compared with the power and possibilities locked up in the brain of a newborn child.
* * *
Read Nikola Tesla's statement on this page.

You will delight in his thoughts and speculations, based not on mere imagining, but on thorough scientific training and 'scientific' genius.

When Mr. Tesla suggests that man in the millions of years ahead of him might change the size and shape of this planet, and choose for himself its direction through space, he speaks not lightly.

Mr. Tesla, is one of the real scientists and inventors of his age. More than thirty years ago, sitting in Delmonico's old restaurant in New York, at 26th Street and Fifth Avenue, he raised in his hand a small wine glass, and said: "The power that holds together the molecules and atoms in that glass, if it could be released, would run the machinery of the biggest factory in the United States." That seemed wild imagining then. It is taught to children in school now. Everybody knows that the force holding together the electrons within the atom, as they revolve around the nucleus, trillions of times in a second, is great beyond our imagining.
* * *
To the great majority, however, abstract science is painful, and even conservative speculation as to what may come tires and appalls us.

But it requires no scientific training, no "peering into the atom," or weighing of distant universes, to realize that a little baby, kicking up its heels, a few hours old, is, in its possibilities, the most important thing that ever appears on this planet.

Well may the mother look with intense pride on the tiny face. No man can exaggerate the possibilities there.

The spinning jenny that clothes the world was once in the brain of a little baby named Arkwright.

The light of the world, taken from the clouds and locked up in a small bulb, was born in the brain of a baby named Edison.

All the skill of engineers, scientists, surgeons,
industrialists, merchants, is due to small babies that good mothers give to the world.
* * *
And the humble baby, born poor and obscure, often has, in the race for fame and usefulness, a far better chance than the baby we call "better born."

A small, long, blue-eyed baby, born in a wooden cabin with a dirt floor and no windows, ended slavery in the United States. The power that ended it was given to him by his mother, Nancy Hanks. Upon the day that Abraham Lincoln first opened his little blue eyes and looked around, he had that power.

Every mother should remember, with hope and pride, that there is no limit to the possibilities of the baby upon her knee, and the little children around her.

In them is the hope of the future.
* * *
The millions of mothers, some of whom would not understand all of the things that Mr. Tesla says on this page, know ONE thing, more important than ALL that any scientist has ever said, namely, that love is the greatest power in the world, and that the greatest, most important love among earthly beings is the love of a good mother for her helpless child.

"Love can hope, where reason would despair."

Reason might well despair, looking at a sickly little baby, the big head taking more than
its share of blood, legs and arms thin, its little hands so feeble.

But in such babies, the mothers of the world see boundless possibility, and hope without limit.

Every newborn child, to its mother, is a genius.

And, "Mother is the name of God, in the lips and hearts of little children."
* * *
This picture, an admirably expressed tribute to the mind of man, emphasizes the power of the human brain, an aggregation of molecules and atoms, the atoms tenuous particles of electric force. But far more interesting to the average mortal than all that science sees, in the energy and accomplishment locked up in the brain of a child, is the fact that the child is a product of human affection, its success reflecting the love of the mother. That mother love is the power back of all other power, the power that moves the human race forward, and creates everything that means progress away from the dark cave and its brutality, toward the sunlight of real civilization.

Dickens said, "It must somewhere be written that the virtues of mothers shall, occasionally, be visited on their children, as well as the sins of their fathers."

The qualities of the mother are reflected in the child, in its success and its usefulness. Whatever the son does, the mother also does.

Any tribute to the genius of humanity as a whole, the undeveloped power of a newborn child, to any thing that is human, is a tribute to motherhood, the creating force to which the world owes all that it has.

Richter said: "Unhappy is the man for whom his own mother hath not made all other mothers venerable."

And Lord Langdale, a good son, said: "If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother into the other, the world would kick the beam."
* * *
Here you have a baby in one scale, the wonders of the world, its inventions, railroads, skyscrapers, ships, factories, in the other.

And the child weighs it all down. To have the picture so is no exaggeration. All the world's wonders are inside of that little skull, and all the future progress of the world that will spread over hundreds of millions of years, is written, and hidden away in the productive power of the mothers.

"It hath not yet been shown what we shall be." And as the marvels are revealed, one after another, the mothers will create them in their children, and the children will produce them from their brains.
* * *
From the ox-cart to the flying machine, from the dugout canoes to the submarine, everything worth while is a product of thought.

Man is "fearfully and wonderfully made." He should know and appreciate it, and endeavor, in a BIG way, if possible, in a SMALL way if the big way is not possible, to be worthy of the opportunity given to him.

HONOR YOUR MOTHER, USE YOUR BRAIN, and everything is possible.

By Nikola Tesla.
WHEN a child is born its sense-organs are brought in contact with the outer world.

The waves of sound, heat and light beat upon its feeble body, its sensitive nerve-fibres quiver, the muscles contract and relax in obedience: a gasp, a breath, and in this act a marvelous little engine, of inconceivable delicacy and complexity of construction, unlike any on earth, is hitched to the wheel-work of the Universe.

The little engine labors and grows, performs more and more involved operations, becomes sensitive to ever subtler influences and now there manifests itself in the fully developed being--Man--a desire mysterious, inscrutable and irresistible: to imitate nature, to create, to work himself the wonders he perceives.
* * *
Inspired to this task he searches, discovers and invents, designs and constructs, and enriches with monuments of beauty, grandeur and awe, the star of his birth.

He descends into the bowels of the globe to bring forth its hidden treasures and to unlock its immense imprisoned energies for his use.

He invades the dark depths of the ocean and the azure regions of the sky.

He peers into the innermost nooks and recesses of molecular structure and lays bare to his gaze worlds (unreadable) remote. He subdues and puts to his service the fierce, devastating spark of Prometheus, the titanic forces of the waterfall, the wind and the tide.

He tames the thundering bolt of Jove and annihilates time and space. He makes the great Sun itself his obedient toiling slave.

Such is his power and might that the heavens reverberate and the whole earth trembles by the mere sound of his voice.
* * *
What has the future in store for this strange being, born of a breath, of perishable tissue, yet immortal, with his powers fearful and divine? What magic will be wrought by him in the end? What is to be his (unreadable) deed, his crowning achievement?

Long ago he recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, of a tenuity beyond conception and filling all space--the Akasa or luminiferous ether--which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never ending cycles, all things and phenomena.

The primary substance, thrown into infinitesimal whirls of prodigious velocity, becomes gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.
* * *
Can Man control this grandest, most awe-inspiring of all processes in nature? Can he harness her inexhaustible energies to perform all their functions at his bidding, more still--can he so refine his means of control as to put them in operation simply by the force of his will?
* * *
If he could do this he would have powers almost unlimited and supernatural. At his command, with but a slight effort on his part, old worlds would disappear, and new ones of his planning would spring into being.

He could fix, solidify and preserve the ethereal shapes of his imagining, the fleeting visions of his dreams. He could express all the creations of his mind, on any scale, in forms concrete and imperishable.

He could alter the size of this planet, control its seasons, guide it along any path he might choose through the depths of the Universe.

He could make planets collide and produce his suns and starts, his heat and light. He could originate and develop life in all its infinite forms.
* * *
To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man's mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning achievement which would place him beside his Creator and fulfill his ultimate destiny.