Inverted Commas 1: The modern world viewed from 1926
When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance.
Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.
We shall be able to witness and hear events — the inauguration of a President, the playing of a World Series game, the havoc of an earthquake or the terror of a battle — just as though we were present.
Nikola Tesla’s prescient prediction of the internet, skype, the mobile phone (or cellphone) and live reporting — and all this in 1926, ninety-one years ago.
Sadly not all his predictions have come true, for example:
International boundaries will be largely obliterated and a great step will be made toward the unification and harmonious existence of the various races inhabiting the globe.
And why we are still waiting for this?
It is clear to any trained observer, and even to the sociologically untrained, that a new attitude toward sex discrimination has come over the world through the centuries, receiving an abrupt stimulus just before and after the [First] World War.
This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior. The modern woman, who anticipates in merely superficial phenomena the advancement of her sex, is but a surface symptom of something deeper and more potent fermenting in the bosom of the race.
It is not in the shallow physical imitation of men that women will assert first their equality and later their superiority, but in the awakening of the intellect of women.
Through countless generations, from the very beginning, the social subservience of women resulted naturally in the partial atrophy or at least the hereditary suspension of mental qualities which we now know the female sex to be endowed with no less than men.
- John B Kennedy, “When Woman Is Boss: An Interview with Nikola Tesla,” Collier’s, January 30th, 1926;
cited in Steve Silberman, NeuroTribes: the legacy of autism and how to think smarter about people who think differently, 2015;
whole text at http://www.tfcbooks.com/tesla/1926-01-30.htm [accessed February 2nd 2017]
Inverted commas will be another occasional series, this time of quotations that strike me as appealing, intriguing or apposite.