The statue of Nikola Tesla on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls, where in 1895 Tesla and industrialist George Westinghouse created the world’s first hydroelectric power plant. Picture by Steven Soblick
Nikola Tesla, a controversial genius we will surely find dealing with Ariel in the next episodes of Alter Ego, has spent a life of total chastity.
Here’s what he thought about love and relationships: “For an artist, yes; for a musician, yes; for a writer, yes; but for an inventor, no. The first three can take inspiration from the presence of women and be led by their love to achieve better results. An inventor possesses such an intense nature, full of characteristics so wild and passionate that, in giving himself to a woman he could love, he would lose all his qualities. I don’t think you can cite any great invention made by a married man.”
The only two women with which Tesla had a deep relationship in life have been his mother and sister. He always admired and idolized them for their intellect.
In a 1924 interview, when asked why he never married, he replied: “I had always thought of woman as possessing those delicate qualities of mind and soul that made her in her respects far superior to man. I had put her on a lofty pedestal, figuratively speaking, and ranked her in certain important attributes considerably higher than man. I worshipped at the feet of the creature I had raised to this height, and, like every true worshiper, I felt myself unworthy of the object of my worship.
But all this was in the past. Now the soft voiced gentle woman of my reverent worship has all but vanished. In her place has come the woman who thinks that her chief success in life lies on making herself as much as possible like man — in dress, voice, and actions, in sports and achievements of every kind. The world has experience many tragedies, but to my mind the greatest tragedy of all is the present economic condition wherein women strive against men, and in many cases actually succeed in usurping their places in the professions and in industry. This growing tendency of women to overshadow the masculine is a sign of a deteriorating civilization.
Practically all the great achievements of man until now have been inspired by his love and devotion to women. Man has aspired to great things because some woman believed in him, because he wished to command her admiration and respect. For these reasons, he has fought for her and risked his life and his all for her time and time again.
Perhaps the male in society is useless. I am frank to admit that I don’t know. If women are beginning to feel this way about it — and there is striking evidence at hand that they do — then we are entering upon the cruelest period of the world’s history.
Our civilization will sink to a state like that which is found among the bees, ants, and other insects — a state wherein the male is ruthlessly killed off. In this matriarchal empire which will be established, the female rules. As the female predominates, the males are at her mercy. The male is considered important only as a factor in the general scheme of the continuity of life.
The tendency of women to push aside man, supplanting the old spirit of cooperation with him in all the affairs of life, is very disappointing to me.”
Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas, page 23. August 10, 1924