"Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become aware. It does not teach, it points." ~D.T. Suzuki

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Best Energy Source For Ideas... No-Thing?

or A Hidden and Neglected Scientific Giant : The Invisible Zen-like Power of Tesla

“The spread of civilisation may be likened to a fire; First, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.”

“The practical success of an idea, irrespective of its inherent merit, is dependent on the attitude of the contemporaries. If timely it is quickly adopted; if not, it is apt to fare like a sprout lured out of the ground by warm sunshine, only to be injured and retarded in its growth by the succeeding frost."

"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."

This post is a postscript to Hominid Innovation. Hominid Innovation 2, if you like.

A disruptive man with disruptive innovations demands to be recognized
and honored for his contribution to humankind.

In my reference to the glow of our screens in the first post,
of course today that spark is manifested as the electricity we use. Early hominids likely long  knew about fire before mastering it. Unable to control it or summon it at will, it had not yet become an adaptation. So the discovery in Wonderwerk cave (still can't get over the name) made me wonder about the first hominid event of mastering fire. Who was that person? There had to have been a first. What kind of personality and thought would this individual have? Who would they be on the inside?

So now, what about the man who mastered modern day fire, electricity? Oh, yes. Just one man.
What kind of mind and vision might he possess and how did his genius come about? He appears to have come to Buddhism at some point. What power does Zen have? Did this have any influence on the state of mind that sees CLEARLY? Does enlightenment lead to further enlightenment?

“Like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagrams of my motor. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally I would have given for that one which I had wrestled from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.”


You SHOULD know that name.
The man who lit the modern way and still powers us into hope for the future.

Owner of over 700 patents, inventor of the alternating current transmission of electricity, em motors, the theories behind computer circuits, robotics and the design for a communication system more sophisticated than Internet (the Internet also would not likely exist without Tesla). The list goes on... but includes one intriguing element. The possibility of truly disruptive innovation... free global electricity for all humankind.

All of his seizures and idiosyncracies aside, the man's mind was a marvel. Similar to Einstein and his "thought experiments" (Einstein once said "If give an hour to solve a problem...I'd spend 55 minutes understanding the problem and 5 minutes figuring out the solution."), the way Tesla worked was unconventional too. “If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.”

Another "daydreamer" like Einstein, he imagined the details of his theories and inventions in his mind. He designed, repaired and tweaked them there and then when he felt it was just right, he built it one shot, without beta versions. “Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop. The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a single exception. My first electric motor, the vacuum wireless light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been developed in exactly this way.”

In fact, his mind would continue to work in his dreams. I doubt anyone would hire him today to just sit around and dream, but losing these kinds of people and opportunities could prove to be very unwise.

While I have mentioned great scientists and theories I admire, some, usually ahead of their time, lived their lives with misunderstanding, some dying alone in obscurity. As brilliant a mind as Einstein's and hands above Edison (not that pleasant or brilliant a guy apparently, perhaps a "successful" businessman and engineer but a pip-squeak next to Tesla in science)...

“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.”
I note that this quote can be true for economists as well.

Nicolas Tesla a freedom-loving humanitarian,who empathized with humanity was a visionary scientist. He was also typically judged (and  prejudged) an eccentric and even portrayed in popular entertainment as the stereotypical mad scientist. Unlike Einstein or Edison who had fame and fortune, Tesla had near invisibility and poverty. If our society truly valued and nurtured genius in all it's manifestations and eccentrictiies...how did such a great mind come to this? Did he chose it, it come about by the risks he took or was obsurity thrust upon him by threatened business people of his day and their economic theories and models in peril as well as cultural circumstance and ignorance or (as he may have judged) a world just not ready (or perhaps not worthy) of his powerful gifts?

This blog cannot possibly do this great man of science justice.

Ignore the cheesy intro titles and it's not bad
This is longer but very informative
We owe him more than an ovation for so much charity, political wisdom and disruptive innovation.

“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.”
(Nikola Tesla)

And if you still want more...
These videos may be viewed separately or together. You can follow this blog and return for more later.
Part 1
Part 2

© 2012 MU-Peter Shimon

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