I Heart Nikola Tesla
"If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration." - Nikola Tesla
The secrets of the universe, such an alluring concept. When I began writing this series, I had absolutely no idea what it was I would find, nor did I really care. I had one idea in my head...I heart Nikola Tesla.
I had really begun to dig into Tesla's concepts and the way he viewed the world, leading me to the idea of energy and vibrations. Once I caught this bug, it was difficult to look back.
Tesla's creations have crafted the world that we live in, yet we rarely hear of him throughout our formal education. I am inclined to believe that this is because he didn't really fit into the established way of doing things. Sure, he was an amiable man when in public, but he had no great love for the direction the world was headed, and he let that sentiment be known.
I could list all the contributions Tesla made to our society and some more stories of his colored life, but much of what we think we know of Tesla comes in the form of supposition and conspiracy theories. In this light, I care not for what the man did, but for his passionate pursuit of discovery and insistence that what he discovered be shared with the world, for free, when it was ready.
Many of the popular stories of Tesla paint him as a bit of a nutter, and this I don't doubt one bit, for all genius comes at the price of a piece of sanity. If you have ever read Einstein (soft spoken man that he was), you would know he was a bit "out there" as well, as are countless other brilliant minds. It was with this thought in mind that I set out to find a mind equally as talented as Tesla, or Einstein, in our modern world.
Aaaaaannnnddd... I failed. This failure has little to do with a lack of brilliance, for our society has within it many a brilliant mind, but more the structures put in place by said society. While Tesla had many corporate sponsors and odd benefactors, he operated well outside the constraints of modern society, choosing instead to sequester himself away in laboratories across the nation. When he did poke his head out, it was usually accompanied by a revolutionary discovery or idea.
The basic consumer structure of our world has really stamped out the genius, lunatic fringe, type inventor, or futurist in this case. Now, most of these brilliant minds work for the government or for a major corporation (if there is a difference), doing work that is funded in the hopes that those funds may be recouped by the sale of said work. This formulaic philosophy has led to our inventors spending their time in technologies that already exist, re-purposing them to work better, not innovating.
Innovation takes money, and more importantly, a fair amount of risk. This risk versus reward system has led to a steady decline in imagination and the rise of templated creation. In this decline, a certain sense of wonder has begun to slip, replaced by the robotic nature of our modern workforce. A shining example of man in tune with nature, Tesla approached innovation with childlike wonder and vigor.
"Nature may reach the same result in many ways. Like a wave in the physical world, in the infinite ocean of the medium which pervades all, so in the world of organisms, in life, an impulse started proceeds onward, at times, may be, with the speed of light, at times, again, so slowly that for ages and ages it seems to stay, passing through processes of a complexity inconceivable to men, but in all its forms, in all its stages, its energy ever and ever integrally present. A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in bygone times may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricate, so inconceivably complex are the processes of Nature. In no way can we get such an overwhelming idea of the grandeur of Nature than when we consider, that in accordance with the law of conservation of energy, throughout the Infinite, the forces are in perfect balance, and hence the energy of a single thought may determine the motion of the universe."
Yea, he's the reason you have electricity. Pretty awesome line of thought, right?
The Man of Iron
In my infinite quest for inspiration and guidance, slightly disheartened by my findings (or lack thereof), I began to look outside of the normal pool of humans, and into the land of fiction. The idea behind this departure from what we perceive as reality being that fiction is crafted as an ideal expression of human thought and ideals, a raw look into the human mind. As Stephen King would say, "Fiction is the truth inside the lie."
When we are occupied with "real" life, we are held by the structures put in place by our society, kept caged by the idea of control. These structures hold no sway in fiction. Sure, the physical world we occupy still slips through, but it holds no sway over the human mind unleashed.
In my wanderings through the landscapes of human minds brought to life, I discovered, or rediscovered as it were, a man that I began to perceive as Tesla brought forth from the dead (figuratively, of course)...Tony Stark.
Let us examine this for a minute. Yes, Stark is a comic book character, but I believe he was written in the same futurist vein in which Tesla lived (Many would argue that he was modeled after Howard Hughes, and I may agree with the public life of Stark, but definitely not the inner Ironman. Also, it could be argued that Tesla makes an appearance in the later volumes of the Ironman series as the villain Night Machine, therefore he could not be Ironman. Again, I am not saying Tesla is Ironman, only that Stark was modeled after Tesla.)
There are many similarities, including the look actual look of the character, as you can see above. Tesla created what was originally called an "arc light," which is essentially the model behind all florescent lighting. His design for the arc light involved the same concepts as Stark's Arc Reactor technology. Tesla also worked on a prototype of the repulsor technology that forms the basis of Ironman's offensive capabilities (in Tesla's time it was called a "death ray").
None of this really matters though, as it is the spirit of Tesla reborn that truly matters. Due to his secretive nature and anti-establishment views, Tesla has been relegated to the underground circuits and conspiracy theory havens, lost to the uninformed public in a wave of anti-thought propaganda. It is my hope that people will start to draw the connecting line between the innovative spirit of Tony Stark and the brilliance of Nikola Tesla, finding some inspiration from their wondrous minds, breaking free of the mundane that can be our daily lives.
As a send off, here is a brief video on what happens when salt, a tin can, a rubber band, and a torn apart speaker come together in the hands of sound nerds. Thanks for reading Resonate.