With permission from
Sept 1, 2017
With permission from
Sept 1, 2017
With permission from
Sept 6, 2017
Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia and only came to the US at the age of 28. Even though his English was not perfect, he was fluent in 8 different languages: Serbo-Croatian, English, Czech, German, French, Hungarian, Italian and Latin. Linguists refer to such a person as a “hyper polyglot”, or someone who can speak more than six languages with great proficiency.
The following interview dates back to 1899:
Tesla: Yes, these are some of my most important discoveries. I’m a defeated man. I have not accomplished the greatest thing I could.
Journalist: What is it, Mr. Tesla?
Tesla: I wanted to illuminate the whole earth. There is enough electricity to become a second sun. Light would appear around the equator, as a ring around Saturn. I am part of a light, and it is the music.
The Light fills my six senses: I see it, hear, feel, smell, touch and think. Thinking of it means my sixth sense. Particles of Light are written note. A bolt of lightning can be an entire sonata. A thousand balls of lightning is a concert.
For this concert I have created a Ball Lightning, which can be heard on the icy peaks of the Himalayas. About Pythagoras and mathematics a scientist may not and must not infringe of these two. Numbers and equations are signs that mark the music of the spheres.
If Einstein had heard these sounds, he would not create theories of relativity. These sounds are the messages to the mind that life has meaning, that the Universe exists in perfect harmony, and its beauty is the cause and effect of Creation. This music is the eternal cycle of stellar heavens.
The smallest star has completed composition and also, part of the celestial symphony. The man’s heartbeats are part of the symphony on the Earth.
Newton learned that the secret is in geometric arrangement and motion of celestial bodies. He recognized that the supreme law of harmony exists in the Universe. The curved space is chaos, chaos is not music. Einstein is the messenger of the time of sound and fury.
Journalist: Mr. Tesla, do you hear that music?
Tesla: I hear it all the time. My spiritual ear is as big as the sky we see above us. My natural ear I increased by the radar.
According to the Theory of Relativity, two parallel lines will meet in infinity. By that Einstein’s curved will straighten. Once created, the sound lasts forever. For a man it can vanish, but continues to exist in the silence that is man’s greatest power.
No, I have nothing against Mr. Einstein. He is a kind person and has done many good things, some of which will become part of the music. I will write to him and try to explain that the ether exists, and that its particles are what keep the Universe in harmony, and the life in eternity.
Journalist: Tell me, please, under what conditions Angel adopt on the Earth?
Tesla: I have ten of them. Keep good records vigilant.
Journalist: I will document all your words, Dear Mr. Tesla.
Tesla: The first requirement is a high awareness of its mission and work to be done. It must, if only dimly, exist in the early days. Let us not be falsely modest; Oak knows that it is oak tree, a bush beside him being a bush.
When I was twelve, I have been sure I will get to Niagara Falls. For most of my discoveries I knew in my childhood that I will achieve them, although not entirely apparent … The second condition to adapt is determination. All that I might, I finished.
Journalist: What is the third condition of adjustment, Mr. Tesla?
Tesla: Guidance for all the vital and spiritual energies in labor. Therefore purification of the many effects and needs that man has. I therefore have not lost anything, but just gained.
So I enjoyed every day and night. Write down: Nikola Tesla was a happy man… The fourth requirement is to adjust the physical assembly with a work.
Journalist: What do you mean, Mr. Tesla?
Tesla: First, the maintenance of the assembly. Man’s body is a perfect machine. I know my circuit and what’s good for him. Food what nearly all people eat, to me it is harmful and dangerous. Sometimes I visualize that chefs in the world are all in conspiracy against me … Touch my hand.
Journalist: It was cold.
Tesla: Yes. Bloodstream can be controlled, and many processes in and around us. Why are you frightened young man?
Journalist: It’s a story that Mark Twain wrote a mysterious stranger, that wonderful book of Satan, inspired by you.
Tesla: The word “Lucifer” is more charming. Mr. Twain likes to joke. As a child I was healed once by reading his books. When we met here and told him about, he was so touched that he cried.
We became friends and he often came to my lab. Once he requested to show him a machine that by vibration provokes a feeling of bliss. It was one of those inventions for entertainment, what I sometimes like to do.
I warned Mr. Twain as not to remain under these vibrations. He did not listen and stayed longer. It ended by being, like a rocket, holding pants, darted into a certain room. It was a diabolically funny, but I kept the seriousness.
But, to adjust the physical circuit, in addition to food, dream is very important . From a long and exhausting work, which required superhuman effort, after one hour of sleep I’d be fully recovered. I gained the ability to manage sleep, to fell asleep and wake up in the time which I have designated.
If I do something what I do not understand, I force myself to think about it in my dream, and thus find a solution.
Tesla: The fifth condition of adjustment is memory. Perhaps in the most people, the brain is keeper of knowledge about the world and the knowledge gained through the life. My brain is engaged in more important things than remembering, it is picking what is required at a given moment.
This is all around us. It should only be consumed. Everything that we once saw, hear, read and learn, accompanies us in the form of light particles. To me, these particles are obedient and faithful.
Goethe’s Faust, my favorite book, I learned by heart in German as a student, and now it can all recite. I held my inventions for years ‘in my head “, and only then I realized them.
Journalist: You often mentioned the power of visualization.
Tesla: I might have to thank to visualization for all that I invented. The events of my life and my inventions are real in front of my eyes, visible as each occurrence or the item. In my youth I was frightened of not knowing what it is, but later, I learned to use this power as an exceptional talent and gift.
I nurtured it, and jealously guarded. I also made corrections by visualization on most of my inventions, and finish them that way, by visualization I mentally solve complex mathematical equations. For that gift I have, I will receive rank High Lama in Tibet.
My eyesight and hearing are perfect and, dare to say, stronger than other people. I hear the thunder of a hundred fifty miles away, and I see colors in the sky that others cannot see. This enlargement of vision and hearing, I had as a child. Later I consciously developed.
Journalist: In youth you have several times been seriously ill. Is it a disease and a requirement to adapt?
Tesla: Yes. It is often the result of a lack of exhaustion or vital force, but often the purification of mind and body from the toxins that have accumulated. It is necessary that a man suffers from time to time. The source of most disease is in the spirit.
Therefore the spirit and can cure most diseases. As a student I got sick of cholera which raged in the region of Lika. I was cured because my father finally allowed me to study technology, which was my life. Illusion for me was not a disease, but the mind’s ability to penetrate beyond the three dimensions of the earth.
I had them all my life, and I have received them as all other phenomena around us. Once, in childhood, I was walking along the river with Uncle and said:
“From the water will appear the trout, I’ll throw a stone and it is cut.” That’s what happened. Frightened and amazed, his uncle cried: “Bade retro Satan’s!” He was an educated and he spoke in Latin …
I was in Paris when I saw my mother’s death. In the sky, full of light and music floated are wonderful creatures. One of them had a mother’s character, who was looking at me with infinite love. As the vision disappeared, I knew that my mother died.
Journalist: What is the seventh adjustment, Mr. Tesla?
Tesla: The knowledge of how the mental and vital energy transform into what we want, and achieve control over all feelings. Hindus call it Kundalini Yoga. This knowledge can be learned, for what they need many years or is acquired by birth.
The most of them I acquired by birth. They are in the closest connection with a sexual energy that is after the most widespread in the Universe. The woman is the biggest thief of that energy, and thus the spiritual power.
I’ve always knew that and was alerted. Of myself I created what I wanted: a thoughtful and spiritual machine.
Journalist: A ninth adjustment, Mr. Tesla?
Tesla: Do everything that any day, any moment, if possible, not to forget who we are and why we are on Earth.
Extraordinary people who are struggling with illness, privation, or the society which hurts them with its stupidity, misunderstanding, persecution and other problems which the country is full of a swamps with insects, leaves behind unclaimed until the end of the work. There are many fallen angels on Earth.
Journalist: What is the tenth adaptation?
Tesla: It is most important. Write that Mr. Tesla played. He played the whole of his life and enjoyed it.
Journalist: Mr. Tesla! Whether it relates to your findings and your work? Is this a game?
Tesla: Yes, dear boy. I have so loved to play with electricity! I always cringe when I hear about the one also the Greek who stole fire. A terrible story about studding, and eagles peck at his liver. Did Zeus did not have enough lightning and thunder, and was damaged for one fervor? There is some misunderstanding…
Lightning are the most beautiful toys that can be found. Do not forget that in your text stand out: Nikola Tesla was the first man who discovered lightning.
Journalist: Mr. Tesla, you’re just talking about angels and their adaptation to the Earth.
Tesla: Am I? This is the same. You could write this: he dared to take upon himself the prerogatives of Indri, Zeus and Peron. Imagine one of these gods in a black evening suit, with the bowler hat and wearing white cotton gloves prepares lightning, fires and earthquakes to the New York City elite!
Journalist: Readers love the humor of our paper. But you confuse me stating that your findings, which have immense benefits for the people, representing the game. Many will frown on it.
Tesla: Dear Mr. Smith, the trouble is that people are too serious. If they were not, they would be happier and much longer would have lived.
Chinese proverb says that the seriousness reduces life. Visiting the inn Tai Pe guessed that he visits the Imperial Palace. But that the newspaper readers would not have frowned, let’s get back to things which they consider important.
Journalist: They would love to hear what your philosophy is.
Tesla: Life is a rhythm that must be comprehended. I feel the rhythm and direct on it and pamper in it.
It was very grateful and gave me the knowledge I have. Everything that lives is related to a deep and wonderful relationship: man and the stars, amoebas’ and the sun, the heart and the circulation of an infinite number of worlds.
These ties are unbreakable, but they can be tame and to propitiate and begin to create new and different relationships in the world, and that does not violate the old.
Knowledge comes from space; our vision is its most perfect set. We have two eyes: the earthly and spiritual. It is recommended that it become one eye. Universe is alive in all its manifestations, like a thinking animal.
Stone is a thinking and sentient being, such as plant, beast and a man. A star that shines asked to look at, and if we are not a sizeable self-absorbed we would understand its language and message. His breathing, his eyes and ears of the man must comply with breathing, eyes and ears of the Universe.
Journalist: As you say this, it seems to me like I hear Buddhist texts, words or Taoist Parazulzusa.
Tesla: That’s right! This means that there is general knowledge and truth that man has always possessed. In my feeling and experience, the Universe has only one substance and one supreme energy with an infinite number of manifestations of life. The best thing is that the discovery of a secret nature, reveals the other.
One cannot hide, there are around us, but we are blind and deaf to them. If we emotionally tie ourselves to them, they come to us themselves. There are a lot of apples, but one Newton. He asked for just one apple that fell in front of him.
Journalist: A question that might be set at the beginning of this conversation. What was Electricity for you, Dear Mr. Tesla?
Tesla: Everything is Electricity. First was the light, endless source from which points out material and distribute it in all forms that represent the Universe and the Earth with all its aspects of life.
Black is the true face of Light, only we do not see this. It is remarkable grace to man and other creatures. One of its particles possesses light, thermal, nuclear, radiation, chemical, mechanical and an unidentified energy.
It has the power to run the Earth with its orbit. It is true Archimedean lever.
Journalist: Mr. Tesla, you’re too biased towards electricity.
Tesla: Electricity I am. Or, if you wish, I am the electricity in the human form. You are Electricity; too Mr. Smith, but you do not realize it.
Journalist: Is it thus your ability to allow fails of electricity of one million volts trough your body?
Tesla: Imagine a gardener who is attacked by herbs. This would indeed be crazy. Man’s body and brain are made from a large amount energy; in me there is the majority of electricity. The energy that is different in everyone is what makes the human “I” or “soul”. For other creatures to their essence, “soul” of the plant is the “soul” of minerals and animals.
Brain function and death is manifested in light. My eyes in youth were black, now blue, and as time goes on and strain the brain gets stronger, they are closer to white. White is the color of heaven. Through my window one morning, landed a white dove, which I fed.
She wanted to bring me a word that she was dying. From her eyes the light jets were coming out. Never in the eyes of any creature had I not seen so much light, as in that pigeon.
Journalist: Personnel in your lab speak about flashes of light, flames and lightning that occur if you are angry or into kind of risk.
Tesla: It is the psychic discharge or a warning to be alert. The light was always on my side. Do you know how I discovered the rotating magnetic field and induction motor, which made me became famous when I was twenty-six? One summer evening in Budapest, I watched with my friend Sigetijem sunset.
Thousands of fire was turning around in thousands of flaming colors. I remembered Faust and recited his verses and then, as in a fog, I saw spinning magnetic field, and induction motor. I saw them in the sun!
Journalist: Hotel service telling that at the time of lightning you isolate into the room and talk to yourselves.
Tesla: I talk with lightning and thunder.
Journalist: With them? What language, Mr.Tesla?
Tesla: Mostly my native language. It has the words and sounds, especially in poetry, what is suitable for it.
Journalist: Readers of our magazine would be very grateful if you would interpret that.
Tesla: The sound does not exist only in the thunder and lightning, but, in transformation into the brightness and color. A color can be heard. Language is of the words, which means that it is from the sounds and colors. Every thunder and lightning are different and have their names. I call some of them by the names of those who were close in my life, or by those whom I admire.
In the sky brightness and thunder live my mother, sister, brother Daniel, a poet Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj and other persons of Serbian history. Names such AsIsaiah, Ezekiel, Leonardo, Beethoven, Goya, Faraday, Pushkin and all burning fires mark shoals and tangles of lightning and thunder, which does not stop all night bringing to the Earth precious rain and burning trees or villages.
There is lightning and thunder, and they are the brightest and most powerful, that will not vanish. They are coming back and I recognize them among the thousands.
Journalist: For you, science or poetry is the same?
Tesla: These are the two eyes of one person. William Blake was taught that the Universe was born from the imagination, that it maintains and it will exist as long as there is a last man on the Earth. With it was a wheel to which astronomers can collect the stars of all galaxies. It is the creative energy identical to the light energy.
Journalist: Imagination is more real to you than life itself?
Tesla: It gives birth to the life. I have fed by my taught; I’ve learned to control emotions, dreams and visions. I have always cherished, as I nurtured my enthusiasm. All my long life I spent in ecstasy. That was the source of my happiness. It helped me during all these years to bear with work, which was enough for the five lives. The best is to work at night, because the stellar light, and close bond.
Journalist: You said that I am, like every being, the Light. This flatter me, but I confess, I do not quite understand.
Tesla: Why would you need to understand, Mr. Smith? Suffice it to believe it. Everything is light. In one its ray is the fate of nations, each nation has its own ray in what great light source we see as the sun. And remember: no one who was there did not die. They transformed into the light, and as such exist still. The secret lies in the fact that the light particles restore their original state.
Journalist: This is the resurrection!
Tesla: I prefer to call it: return to a previous energy. Christ and several others knew the secret. I am searching how to preserve human energy. It is forms of Light, sometimes straight like heavenly light. I have not looked for it for my own sake, but for the good of all. I believe that my discoveries make people’s lives easier and more bearable, and channel them to spirituality and morality.
Journalist: Do you think that time can be abolished?
Tesla: Not quite, because the first feature of the energy is that it transforms. It is in perpetual transformation, as clouds of Taoists.
But it is possible to leverage the fact that a man preserves consciousness after the earthly life. In every corner of the universe exist energy of life; one of them is immortality, whose origin is outside of man, waiting for him.
The universe is spiritual; we are only half that way. The Universe is more moral than us, because we do not know his nature and how to harmonize our lives with it. I am not scientist, science is perhaps the most convenient way to find the answer to the question that always haunt me, and which my days and nights turned into fire.
Journalist: What’s the matter?
Tesla: How are your eyes brightened!… What I wanted to know is: what happens to a falling star as the sun goes out? Stars fall like dust or seed in this or in other worlds, and the sun be scattered in our minds, in the lives of many beings, what will be reborn as a new light, or cosmic wind scattered in infinity.
I understand that this is necessary included in the structure of the Universe. The thing is, though, is that one of these stars and one of these suns, even the smallest, preserves.
Journalist: But, Mr. Tesla, you realize that this is necessary and is included in the constitution of the world!
Tesla: When a man becomes concuss; that his highest goal must be to run for a shooting star, and tries to capture it; shall understand that his life was given to him because of this and will be saved. Stars will eventually be capable to catch!
Journalist: And what will happen then?
Tesla: The creator will laugh and say: ”It fall only that you chase her and grab her.”
Journalist: Isn’t all of this contrary to the cosmic pain, which so often you mention in your writings? And what is it cosmic pain?
Tesla: No, because we are on Earth … It is an illness whose existence the vast majority of people are not aware of. Hence, many other illnesses, suffering, evil, misery, wars and everything else what makes human life an absurd and horrible condition. This disease cannot be completely cured, but awareness shall make it less complicated and hazardous.
Whenever one of my close and dear people were hurt, I felt physical pain. This is because our bodies are made as of similar material, and our soul related with unbreakable strands. Incomprehensible sadness that overwhelmed us at times means that somewhere, on the other side on this planet, a child or generous man died.
The entire Universe is in certain periods sick of itself, and of us. Disappearance of a star and the appearance of comets affect us more than we can imagine. Relationships among the creatures on the Earth are even stronger, because of our feelings and thoughts the flower will scent even more beautiful or will fall in silence.
These truths we must learn in order to be healed. Remedy is in our hearts and evenly, in the heart of the animals that we call the Universe.
Read the complete interview here: The Nikola Tesla Interview Hidden for 116 Years
An Offensive Act of Self Defence to Save the Great School of Western Thought
It should be clear to all reasoning people with the ability for critical thinking that a pattern of cultural warfare has been unfolding against the Western world since at least the end of World War Two. The contrast between what was then and what is now is stark and frightening. It should serve as all the evidence we require to make the final determination about what has been happening.
The complete destruction of the traditional family unit has taken place through a process of indirect and direct attacks against the proven characteristics of Western civilization. It should be obvious that media and art have orchestrated a well-thought out strategy of cultural warfare against the masculine and feminine ideals and support columns of culture.
This strategy has attacked the natural and instinctual strengths of both men and women while promoting the weakness from within each of us as individuals. The battles of this cultural attack have been orchestrated and waged from inside the once great structures of Western thought.
Our educational buildings and curriculums have been used to erode and shatter all the ideals of natural and instinctual existence which have developed within the Western mind. The more we remember and rediscover, the more we realize that almost everything which is taught in our schools is either a corrupt twisted version of truth, or is an outright lie and fabrication.
If our curriculums were based on truth they would not need the constant changing and tweaking which takes takes place. Nor would it require involvement of government controls. All are tell-tale signs that something smells rotten in Denmark.
Over the years there have been various exposé and theories surrounding everything from the Frankfurt School, the Tavistock Institute, Lucis Trust, Freemasonic control of all things, Satanism, Bilderberg, Trilateral, Rhodes, and so on and so on. The plethora of culprits and evil organizations run the gambit of all human elitism and consolidation of wealth and power.
Not withstanding some truth to this large list of nefarious actors, and not to mention that the stated longterm goals of these groups and organizations match with the results which have been achieved since the end of the war, there is much more to the expanding collapse of Western civilization which needs to be considered.
In the posts The Wisdom of the Ancients – Part One and How Your Brain is Turned Against You, we reviewed our own accountabilities and responsibilities alongside some of the techniques which are used against us. It should be clear that we may have to listen to the sales pitch of a huckster but it doesn’t mean we have to believe that huckster. The theme from those posts is that if we don’t plan our own lives someone else will plan it for us. This is in essence what is happening.
We have been conditioned to follow and plan our lives along a very specific path which forces us further down into the systemic control mechanisms which have taken hold of our culture. You are left to plan your life within this strategic grid. This grid contains multiple pathways which all lead through the false teachings and methodologies which have been manufactured by those who wish to devolve and re-engineer Western civilization. The trap ensures you continue bouncing around inside the construct with an ever growing sense of confusion and hopelessness.
Those who do not agree with the teachings of the construct are made to feel regressive and are told they are the problem in society for which the construct exists in the first place. This script is supported by all forms of media, including movies, music, social media, both mainstream and alternative media, as well as school curriculums, from the early pre-school sessions to the “advanced” learnings which are communicated and rehearsed in colleges and universities.
Please ask yourself a question. Does it feel like our culture has been progressive? Everything that has a seed in human weakness and depravity has been promoted and expanded across the decades. Our culture is over-sexualized. We thieve and betray one another over the smallest rewards. The murder of unborn children is accepted as righteous even though it ruins the emotional spirit of the mother. Racism against anything rooted in traditional Western culture is out of control. Our children are taught at an early age about the degenerate sex world. Massive migration has undermined the Western ideals and systems of belief which have been a part of its growth and greatness for thousands of years. Alcoholism is both openly promoted and applauded through the subtle insinuations in the media. The rampant fragmentation of the family unit and a corrupt and unreliable system of law which supports that fragmentation are the greatest loss we have experienced. This is all supported by an educational system which is reducing critical thinking and dumbing down generations.
This does not feel progressive. When we consider the stark changes which have taken place over the last eight decades we should come to the conclusion that it is in fact regressive. All of the technological advancements would still have taken place without the corruption of Western civilization, so any form of counter-argument about science and the advancement of medicine and technology being possible because of this “progressive” culture stands in opposition and denial of the leaps made during the agricultural and industrial revolutions.
The disease has burrowed itself so deep into our institutions that it is hard to imagine how we would remove it without completely destroying the host. But what choice to we have at this late hour? Continuing as we have been is tantamount to surrender and shackling our descendants with an unthinkable ideology of absolute sameness and collectivism.
It’s interesting that more and more students are coming out of the university system and understanding that they in fact understand nothing. The loss of critical thinking and a cultural anchor point, both of which have been a part of the collective-socialist strategy, are now beginning to awaken more of those who have been traversing through the system. It’s almost as if nature and instinct are re-emerging from within the individual minds of the construct and attempting to establish new anchor points.
Now is the time to act and reverse the momentum which has thus far worked against us. We need to tear down the institutions and framework of the simulated world which has built up around us. The great school of the Western mind cannot be destroyed and it will never stop learning. In fact, this challenge, the one we have been faced with now for generations, could very well end up being one of our greatest lessons and opportunities for advancement.
Einstein lived a life that was often cerebrally detached, which paid off in terms of career success, but strained his family to the breaking point.
May 16, 2017
Ask people what Einstein did and they’ll say “Relativity.” (Ask them what relativity is and you’ll get an awkward silence. All most people understand about it is that you’re supposed to know it’s important.)
As Walter Isaacson said in his wonderful biography, Einstein “devised a revolutionary quantum theory of light, helped prove the existence of atoms, explained Brownian motion, upended the concept of space and time, and produced what would become science’s best known equation.”
His work was so impactful that everyone knew he would one day win a Nobel Prize—but he had achieved so much that people weren’t sure for which breathtaking accomplishment he would get it.
When he finally did win the prize in 1921, ironically, he didn’t get it for relativity theory.
And the bulk of the work he was celebrated for he accomplished in one year, 1905, when he was twenty-six years old. (Not bad for a guy who was rejected for military service because he had sweaty feet.)
Unlike Newton, Einstein was charming, committed to social justice, and had a family and children.
But similar to his reclusive predecessor, he lived in a world of ideas, in his own head.
Obviously, he was a genius, but his real superpower was the incredible time and focus he put into his work. Though surrounded by fame, friends, and family, he still lived a life that was often cerebrally detached, the better to explore his ideas.
Einstein said, ‘I treat my wife as an employee whom I cannot fire.’
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
not the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
― Charles Darwin
“But mounting evidence from archaeology strongly suggests that human societies were, for the greater part of civilized history, based more on cooperation and reverence for life and nature than on competition and obsession with death and technology.”
“Once we truly grasp the scientific reality of our living planet and its physiology, our entire worldview [is] bound to change profoundly, revealing the way to solving what now appear to be our greatest and most insoluble problems. From a Gaian point of view, we humans are an experiment — a young trial species still at odds with ourselves and other species, still not having learned to balance our own dance within that of our whole planet…” ~Elisabet Sahtouris
The following is an excerpt from the book Earth Dance: Living Systems in Evolution, written by evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris in 1999. Inspired and encouraged by scientists Jim Lovelock (Gaia Theory) & Lynn Margulis, Dr. Sahtouris shares here the vision of wholeness that Gaia science and theory provides us with..
To be sure, our machinery is getting better and better at imitating life; if this were not so, a mechanical science could not have advanced in understanding. But mechanical models of life continue to miss its essential self-creativity.
Fortunately, our survival struggle is leading to intuitive grasps of nature’s principles that are shifting our technologies into serving cooperative life purposes, especially clearly in the phenomenon of the global Internet.
“Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’”
April 2, 2017
“Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion,” the great painter Richard Diebenkorn counseled in his ten rules for beginning creative projects. “One doesn’t arrive — in words or in art — by necessarily knowing where one is going,” the artist Ann Hamilton wrote a generation later in her magnificent meditation on the generative power of not-knowing. “In every work of art something appears that does not previously exist, and so, by default, you work from what you know to what you don’t know.”
What is true of art is even truer of life, for a human life is the greatest work of art there is. (In my own life, looking back on my ten most important learnings from the first ten years of Brain Pickings, I placed the practice of the small, mighty phrase “I don’t know” at the very top.) But to live with the untrammeled openendedness of such fertile not-knowing is no easy task in a world where certitudes are hoarded as the bargaining chips for status and achievement — a world bedeviled, as Rebecca Solnit memorably put it, by “a desire to make certain what is uncertain, to know what is unknowable, to turn the flight across the sky into the roast upon the plate.”
That difficult feat of insurgency is what the great Polish poet Wisława Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012) explored in 1996 when she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for capturing the transcendent fragility of the human experience in masterpieces like “Life-While-You-Wait” and “Possibilities.”
In her acceptance speech, later included in Nobel Lectures: From the Literature Laureates, 1986 to 2006 (public library) — which also gave us the spectacular speech on the power of language Toni Morrison delivered after becoming the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize — Szymborska considers why artists are so reluctant to answer questions about what inspiration is and where it comes from:
It’s not that they’ve never known the blessing of this inner impulse. It’s just not easy to explain something to someone else that you don’t understand yourself.
Noting that she, too, tends to be rattled by the question, she offers her wieldiest answer:
Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.”
In a sentiment of chilling prescience today, as we witness tyrants drunk on certainty drain the world of its essential inspiration, Szymborska considers the destructive counterpoint to this generative not-knowing:
All sorts of torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues struggling for power by way of a few loudly shouted slogans also enjoy their jobs, and they too perform their duties with inventive fervor. Well, yes, but they “know.” They know, and whatever they know is enough for them once and for all. They don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish their arguments’ force. And any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.
This is why I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include the spaces within us as well as those outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended. If Isaac Newton had never said to himself “I don’t know,” the apples in his little orchard might have dropped to the ground like hailstones and at best he would have stooped to pick them up and gobble them with gusto. Had my compatriot Marie Sklodowska-Curie never said to herself “I don’t know”, she probably would have wound up teaching chemistry at some private high school for young ladies from good families, and would have ended her days performing this otherwise perfectly respectable job. But she kept on saying “I don’t know,” and these words led her, not just once but twice, to Stockholm, where restless, questing spirits are occasionally rewarded with the Nobel Prize.
Such surrender to not-knowing, Szymborska argues as she steps out into the cosmic perspective, is the seedbed of our capacity for astonishment, which in turn gives meaning to our existence:
The world — whatever we might think when terrified by its vastness and our own impotence, or embittered by its indifference to individual suffering, of people, animals, and perhaps even plants, for why are we so sure that plants feel no pain; whatever we might think of its expanses pierced by the rays of stars surrounded by planets we’ve just begun to discover, planets already dead? still dead? we just don’t know; whatever we might think of this measureless theater to which we’ve got reserved tickets, but tickets whose lifespan is laughably short, bounded as it is by two arbitrary dates; whatever else we might think of this world — it is astonishing.
But “astonishing” is an epithet concealing a logical trap. We’re astonished, after all, by things that deviate from some well-known and universally acknowledged norm, from an obviousness we’ve grown accustomed to. Now the point is, there is no such obvious world. Our astonishment exists per se and isn’t based on comparison with something else.
Granted, in daily speech, where we don’t stop to consider every word, we all use phrases like “the ordinary world,” “ordinary life,” “the ordinary course of events” … But in the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.
Twenty years before she received the Nobel Prize, Szymborska explored how our contracting compulsion for knowing can lead us astray in her sublime 1976 poem “Utopia,” found in her Map: Collected and Last Poems (public library):
Island where all becomes clear.
Solid ground beneath your feet.
The only roads are those that offer access.
Bushes bend beneath the weight of proofs.
The Tree of Valid Supposition grows here
with branches disentangled since time immemorial.
The Tree of Understanding, dazzlingly straight and simple,
sprouts by the spring called Now I Get It.
The thicker the woods, the vaster the vista:
the Valley of Obviously.
If any doubts arise, the wind dispels them instantly.
Echoes stir unsummoned
and eagerly explain all the secrets of the worlds.
On the right a cave where Meaning lies.
On the left the Lake of Deep Conviction.
Truth breaks from the bottom and bobs to the surface.
Unshakable Confidence towers over the valley.
Its peak offers an excellent view of the Essence of Things.
For all its charms, the island is uninhabited,
and the faint footprints scattered on its beaches
turn without exception to the sea.
As if all you can do here is leave
and plunge, never to return, into the depths.
Into unfathomable life.
Purely for the fun of it, I found myself drawing Szymborska’s poetic island in a map inspired by Thomas More’s Utopia:
Complement with astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser on how to live with mystery in the age of knowledge, then revisit Szymborska on why we read, our cosmic solitude, how artists humanize our history, and the importance of being scared.
Mar 30, 2017
According to figures released by 23 of Britain’s 24 Russell Group universities following Freedom of Information (FoI) requests submitted by the BBC, the scale of fraudulent research is much higher than official Research Councils UK (RCUK) statistics suggest.
The figures reveal at least 300 allegations including plagiarism and fabrication.
Official data, however, suggests about 30 cases were reported between 2012 and 2015.
In response, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry to reassure the public that its monitoring system is “robust.”
Committee Chairman Stephen Metcalfe stressed the importance of reassuring people that public funds are being invested in accurate and trustworthy research.
“Where research has been found to be fraudulent at a later point it has a big impact on the public – it leads to mistrust,” he told the BBC.
“What we want to do is to investigate how robust the mechanisms are for ensuring that research is ethical, it is accurate, it is, to a degree, reproducible.”
According to the new data, around a third of allegations for plagiarism, fabrication, piracy and misconduct were upheld, while over 30 papers were withdrawn.
Although Metcalfe said the BBC’s findings must be balanced against the overall number of research papers, he said transparency is essential to build trust.
“We do need to have accurate figures that are available so we can all have confidence that the research is being conducted properly, and when it’s not, there is a system that challenges that,” he said.
It is thought that the inaccuracy and sloppiness in academic papers is due to researchers rushing through their copy in order to get grants to carry on with their work.
A spokesman for the Russell Group, however, said it takes “integrity” into thorough account.
“Our universities take research integrity seriously and work continuously to help staff and students maintain high standards of research,” he said, according to the BBC.
“The UK has a global reputation for the quality of our scientific research.
“This is not least because our members are rigorous in their approach to research integrity.”
Deliberate research fraud seldom occurs, but when it does take place it comes with severe risks, such as undermining public health or losing trust in the eyes of the public which funds it.
There are calls for a UK regulatory body to oversee publicly-funded research. Although Metcalfe said the idea could be looked into, he claimed there is currently “no appetite for that in the wider community.”
Under a concordat, to which UK universities signed up back in 2012 to guarantee transparency in reporting allegations of research misconduct, higher education institutions are still not obliged to release figures on allegations of fraudulent research.
According to an audit by vice-chancellors group Universities UK, only 35 out of 131 universities released figures on research misconduct to the public.
Co-founder of Retraction Watch, Dr. Ivan Oransky, backed the BBC findings and said the number of research misconduct cases being reported falls short of the real extent of the issue.
“We do not have a good handle on how much research misconduct takes place, but it’s become quite clear that universities and funding agencies and oversight bodies are not reporting even a reasonable fraction of the number of cases that they see,” Oransky told the BBC.