By Nikola Tesla
At the age of 63 Tesla tells the story of his creative life.
First published in 1919 in the Electrical Experimenter magazine.
由 Electrical Experimenter 雜誌於 1919 年首次發行
Table of Contents
I. My Early Life
II. My First Efforts At Invention
III. My Later Endeavors
IV. The Discovery of the Tesla Coil and Transformer
V. The Magnifying Transmitter
VI. The Art of Telautomatics
I. My Early Life
The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs. This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded. But he finds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of his powers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class without whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle against pitiless elements.
Speaking for myself, I have already had more than my full measure of this exquisite enjoyment, so much that for many years my life was little short of continuous rapture. I am credited with being one of the hardest workers and perhaps I am, if thought is the equivalent of labor, for I have devoted to it almost all of my waking hours. But if work is interpreted to be a definite performance in a specified time according to a rigid rule, then I may be the worst of idlers. Every effort under compulsion demands a sacrifice of life-energy. I never paid such a price. On the contrary, I have thrived on my thoughts.
In attempting to give a connected and faithful account of my activities in this series of articles which will be presented with the assistance of the Editors of the ELECTRICAL EXPERIMENTER and are chiefly addrest to our young men readers, I must dwell, however reluctantly, on the impressions of my youth and the circumstances and events which have been instrumental in determining my career.
Our first endeavors are purely instinctive, promptings of an imagination vivid and undisciplined. As we grow older reason asserts itself and we become more and more systematic and designing. But those early impulses, tho not immediately productive, are of the greatest moment and may shape our very destinies. Indeed, I feel now that had I understood and cultivated instead of suppressing them, I would have added substantial value to my bequest to the world. But not until I had attained manhood did I realize that I was an inventor.
This was due to a number of causes. In the first place I had a brother who was gifted to an extraordinary degree—one of those rare phenomena of mentality which biological investigation has failed to explain. His premature death left my parents disconsolate. We owned a horse which had been presented to us by a dear friend. It was a magnificent animal of Arabian breed, possest of almost human intelligence, and was cared for and petted by the whole family, having on one occasion saved my father's life under remarkable circumstances.
這一過程之所以有些曲折，原因是多方面的。首先，我有一個才華橫溢的哥哥，他是罕見的天才，即使生物研究也很難解釋清楚。他的過早去世使我的人間父母終曰鬱鬱寡歡（關於 “ 人間父母 ” 的說法，我會在後面做出解釋）。我們家有匹馬，是好友送給我們的禮物。這是一匹高貴的阿拉伯純種馬，非常通人性，它曾在極其危險的情況下救了我父親的命，因此深得全家人的寵愛。
My father had been called one winter night to perform an urgent duty and while crossing the mountains, infested by wolves, the horse became frightened and ran away, throwing him violently to the ground. It arrived home bleeding and exhausted, but after the alarm was sounded immediately dashed off again, returning to the spot, and before the searching party were far on the way they were met by my father, who had recovered consciousness and remounted, not realizing that he had been lying in the snow for several hours. This horse was responsible for my brother's injuries from which he died. I witnest the tragic scene and altho fifty-six years have elapsed since, my visual impression of it has lost none of its force. The recollection of his attainments made every effort of mine seem dull in comparison. Anything I did that was creditable merely caused my parents to feel their loss more keenly. So I grew up with little confidence in myself.
But I was far from being considered a stupid boy, if I am to judge from an incident of which I have still a strong remembrance. One day the Aldermen were passing thru a street where I was at play with other boys. The oldest of these venerable gentlemen—a wealthy citizen—paused to give a silver piece to each of us.Coming to me he suddenly stopt and commanded, "Look in my eyes." I met his gaze, my hand outstretched to receive the much valued coin, when, to my dismay, he said, "No, not much, you can get nothing from me, you are too smart." They used to tell a funny story about me.I had two old aunts with wrinkled faces, one of them having two teeth protruding like the tusks of an elephant which she buried in my cheek every time she kist me.Nothing would scare me more than the prospect of being hugged by these as affectionate as unattractive relatives.It happened that while being carried in my mother's arms they asked me who was the prettier of the two.After examining their faces intently, I answered thoughtfully, pointing to one of them, "This here is not as ugly as the other."
但是，假如從一件我至今仍記憶猶新的事情來判斷的話，我絕對不是笨小孩。一天，我正和其他孩子在大街上玩耍，一群市政官走了過來。在這群受人尊敬的紳士當中，那位最年長的富人在我們面前停下來，送給每個小孩一枚銀幣。但是，當他走到我跟前時，突然命令道： “ 看著我的眼睛。 ” 我看著他的眼睛，伸出手去，準備接受那枚珍貴的硬幣。令我沮喪的是，他說： “ 不，沒有了，你從我這裡得不到任何東西。你太聰明了。 ”
人們總是喜歡談論我的一件趣事。我有兩位滿臉皺紋的姑姑，其中一位長著兩顆暴牙，活像象牙。每當她親吻我時，牙齒就會深深刺痛我的臉。沒有什麼能比這些充滿慈愛的 “ 醜 ” 親戚更讓我感到恐懼的了。一天，母親抱著我，她們問我哪位姑姑更漂亮。認真端詳她們的臉之後，我若有所思地指著其中一個說： “ 她沒有那個醜。 ”
Then again, I was intended from my very birth for the clerical profession and this thought constantly opprest me.I longed to be an engineer but my father was inflexible.He was the son of an officer who served in the army of the Great Napoleon and, in common with his brother, professor of mathematics in a prominent institution, had received a military education but, singularly enough, later embraced the clergy in which vocation he achieved eminence.He was a very erudite man, a veritable natural philosopher, poet and writer and his sermons were said to be as eloquent as those of Abraham a Sancta-Clara.He had a prodigious memory and frequently recited at length from works in several languages.He often remarked playfully that if some of the classics were lost he could restore them.His style of writing was much admired.He penned sentences short and terse and was full of wit and satire.The humorous remarks he made were always peculiar and characteristic.Just to illustrate, I may mention one or two instances.
此外，從出生那一刻起，家人就希望我將來能子承父業，做一名牧師，這個想法一直困擾著我。我只想做工程師，父親卻堅持己見，寸步不讓。我爺爺是拿破崙時期的一名軍官，他還有個兄弟是一所著名大學的數學教授，他們從小就接受了軍事教育。然而，令人不解的是，父親後來卻成了牧師，並獲得了相當高的名望。我父親非常博學，是一位名副其實的自然哲學家、詩人、作家。據說，他佈道時口才跟亞伯拉罕．阿．桑克塔．克拉拉（ Abraham a-Sancta-Clara ）一樣好。他有著驚人的記憶力，常常可以用幾種語言大段大段地背誦經典著作。他常常風趣地說，如果一些經典絕版，他完全可以依靠記憶把它們重新默寫出來。父親的寫作風格更是受到大家的讚譽。他筆下的句子簡潔明快，充滿著智慧和幽默。他寫出的內容總是詼諧幽默、見解獨到。簡單舉例說明的話，或許我可以講一兩個實例。
Among the help there was a cross-eyed man called Mane, employed to do work around the farm.He was chopping wood one day.As he swung the axe my father, who stood nearby and felt very uncomfortable, cautioned him, "For God's sake, Mane, do not strike at what you are looking but at what you intend to hit."
On another occasion he was taking out for a drive a friend who carelessly permitted his costly fur coat to rub on the carriage wheel.My father reminded him of it saying, "Pull in your coat, you are ruining my tire." He had the odd habit of talking to himself and would often carry on an animated conversation and indulge in heated argument, changing the tone of his voice.A casual listener might have sworn that several people were in the room.
在僕人當中，有一個眼睛斜視的人叫梅恩（ Mane ），他被雇來在農場一帶工作。一天，梅恩正在劈柴。正當他揮動斧頭的時候，站在旁邊的父親感到非常不安，於是警告說： “ 看在上帝的分上，梅恩，不要砍你看到的東西，要砍你想要擊中的東西。 ”
有一次，父親駕車出去兜風，一個朋友不小心將自己昂貴的皮大衣蹭到了車輪上。我父親提醒他說： “ 注意你的大衣，你會把我的車輪弄壞的。 ”
Altho I must trace to my mother's influence whatever inventiveness I possess, the training he gave me must have been helpful.It comprised all sorts of exercises—as, guessing one another's thoughts, discovering the defects of some form or expression, repeating long sentences or performing mental calculations.These daily lessons were intended to strengthen memory and reason and especially to develop the critical sense, and were undoubtedly very beneficial.
My mother descended from one of the oldest families in the country and a line of inventors.Both her father and grandfather originated numerous implements for household, agricultural and other uses.She was a truly great woman, of rare skill, courage and fortitude, who had braved the storms of life and past thru many a trying experience.When she was sixteen a virulent pestilence swept the country.Her father was called away to administer the last sacraments to the dying and during his absence she went alone to the assistance of a neighboring family who were stricken by the dread disease.All of the members, five in number, succumbed in rapid succession.She bathed, clothed and laid out the bodies, decorating them with flowers according to the custom of the country and when her father returned he found everything ready for a Christian burial.
我的母親出生于農村的舊式家庭，有幾位家族成員是發明家。她的父親和祖父曾為家人發明了很多工具，用於家庭生活、農業生產或其他用途。母親是一位名副其實的偉大女性，她能力非凡，性格勇敢、剛毅，勇敢地面對生活中的風風雨雨，經歷過許多艱辛與苦難。在她 16 歲時，一場可怕的瘟疫席捲了整個地區。外祖父被人叫去給垂死的病人授臨終聖餐禮，他不在家時，母親獨自到已經染上重病、奄奄一息的鄰居家幫忙。她為已逝者沐浴、更衣並陳設屍體，並且按照當地的風俗用鮮花給他們做裝飾，等外祖父返回村莊的時候，他發現我母親已經為基督教葬禮做好了一切準備。
My mother was an inventor of the first order and would, I believe, have achieved great things had she not been so remote from modern life and its multifold opportunities.She invented and constructed all kinds of tools and devices and wove the finest designs from thread which was spun by her.She even planted the seeds, raised the plants and separated the fibers herself.She worked indefatigably, from break of day till late at night, and most of the wearing apparel and furnishings of the home was the product of her hands.When she was past sixty, her fingers were still nimble enough to tie three knots in an eyelash.
我母親是一流的發明家，我相信，如果她不是遠離現代生活，能接觸眾多機會的話，她一定能有很多偉大的發明 。她發明和製作了各種工具和設備，並用自己紡的棉線編織精美的圖案。她甚至親自播種、培育植物，然後親手提取纖維。她每天都會從黎明工作到深夜，忙個不停，家人的衣服和屋裡的傢俱陳設，大部分都出自母親的雙手。她年過 60 以後，手指仍然非常靈巧，甚至可以在一根眼睫毛上打三個結。
There was another and still more important reason for my late awakening.In my boyhood I suffered from a peculiar affliction due to the appearance of images, often accompanied by strong flashes of light, which marred the sight of real objects and interfered with my thought and action.They were pictures of things and scenes which I had really seen, never of those I imagined.When a word was spoken to me the image of the object it designated would present itself vividly to my vision and sometimes I was quite unable to distinguish whether what I saw was tangible or not.This caused me great discomfort and anxiety.None of the students of psychology or physiology whom I have consulted could ever explain satisfactorily these phenomena.They seem to have been unique altho I was probably predisposed as I know that my brother experienced a similar trouble.The theory I have formulated is that the images were the result of a reflex action from the brain on the retina under great excitation.They certainly were not hallucinations such as are produced in diseased and anguished minds, for in other respects I was normal and composed.To give an idea of my distress, suppose that I had witnest a funeral or some such nerve-racking spectacle.Then, inevitably, in the stillness of night, a vivid picture of the scene would thrust itself before my eyes and persist despite all my efforts to banish it.Sometimes it would even remain fixt in space tho I pushed my hand thru it.If my explanation is correct, it should be able to project on a screen the image of any object one conceives and make it visible.Such an advance would revolutionize all human relations.I am convinced that this wonder can and will be accomplished in time to come; I may add that I have devoted much thought to the solution of the problem.
To free myself of these tormenting appearances, I tried to concentrate my mind on something else I had seen, and in this way I would of ten obtain temporary relief; but in order to get it I had to conjure continuously new images.It was not long before I found that I had exhausted all of those at my command; my "reel" had run out, as it were, because I had seen little of the world—only objects in my home and the immediate surroundings.As I performed these mental operations for the second or third time, in order to chase the appearances from my vision, the remedy gradually lost all its force.Then I instinctively commenced to make excursions beyond the limits of the small world of which I had knowledge, and I saw new scenes.These were at first very blurred and indistinct, and would flit away when I tried to concentrate my attention upon them, but by and by I succeeded in fixing them; they gained in strength and distinctness and finally assumed the concreteness of real things.I soon discovered that my best comfort was attained if I simply went on in my vision farther and farther, getting new impressions all the time, and so I began to travel—of course, in my mind.Every night (and sometimes during the day), when alone, I would start on my journeys—see new places, cities and countries—live there, meet people and make friendships and acquaintances and, however unbelievable, it is a fact that they were just as dear to me as those in actual life and not a bit less intense in their manifestations.
為了從這些痛苦的景象中解脫出來，我強迫自己將注意力轉移到其他所看到過的東西上 。通常，利用這種方法，我可以暫時緩解痛苦；但是為了維持這種緩解狀態，我又不得不連續想像新的景象。沒過多久，我發現自己可以調用的記憶圖像已經枯竭， “ 影片盤 ” （ reel ）已經播完 ，因為我當時對世界的瞭解非常有限 —— 僅限於家中和有限範圍內的物品。當我在腦海中第二次或第三次 “ 開展 ” 這種腦力活動，追逐各種記憶景象時，緩解效力就會逐漸減弱，直至徹底消失。於是我便本能地開始遠足，突破自己已經瞭解的小世界，去發現新的景象。起初，這些新景象相當模糊，難於辨認；當我設法將注意力集中在這些景象上時，它們卻會倏忽而逝。不過，它們逐漸變強變清晰，最終呈現出真實物體的具體形象。我很快發現，如果我一直擴大自己想像的範圍，不斷獲得新的景象，就能最有效地緩解精神痛苦。於是，我開始旅遊，當然， 是在腦海中 。每天晚上（有時也會在白天），當獨處的時候，我便踏上旅途 —— 遊覽新地區、城市和國家；居住在那裡，瞭解當地的人，與他們結識並成為朋友 。事實上，無論多麼難以置信，他們對我很親近，就像現實生活中的人一樣相處，他們的表現同樣生動逼真，跟現實世界沒有絲毫差別。
This I did constantly until I was about seventeen when my thoughts turned seriously to invention.Then I observed to my delight that I could visualize with the greatest facility.I needed no models, drawings or experiments.I could picture them all as real in my mind.Thus I have been led unconsciously to evolve what I consider a new method of materializing inventive concepts and ideas, which is radically opposite to the purely experimental and is in my opinion ever so much more expeditious and efficient.The moment one constructs a device to carry into practise a crude idea he finds himself unavoidably engrost with the details and defects of the apparatus.As he goes on improving and reconstructing, his force of concentration diminishes and he loses sight of the great underlying principle.Results may be obtained but always at the sacrifice of quality.
My method is different.I do not rush into actual work.When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination.I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind.It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop.I even note if it is out of balance.There is no difference whatever, the results are the same.In this way I am able to rapidly develop and perfect a conception without touching anything.When I have gone so far as to embody in the invention every possible improvement I can think of and see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form this final product of my brain.Invariably my device works as I conceived that it should, and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it.In twenty years there has not been a single exception.Why should it be otherwise? Engineering, electrical and mechanical, is positive in results.There is scarcely a subject that cannot be mathematically treated and the effects calculated or the results determined beforehand from the available theoretical and practical data.The carrying out into practise of a crude idea as is being generally done is, I hold, nothing but a waste of energy, money and time.
My early affliction had, however, another compensation.The incessant mental exertion developed my powers of observation and enabled me to discover a truth of great importance.I had noted that the appearance of images was always preceded by actual vision of scenes under peculiar and generally very exceptional conditions and I was impelled on each occasion to locate the original impulse.After a while this effort grew to be almost automatic and I gained great facility in connecting cause and effect.Soon I became aware, to my surprise, that every thought I conceived was suggested by an external impression.Not only this but all my actions were prompted in a similar way.In the course of time it became perfectly evident to me that I was merely an automaton endowed with power of movement, responding to the stimuli of the sense organs and thinking and acting accordingly.The practical result of this was the art of telautomatics which has been so far carried out only in an imperfect manner.Its latent possibilities will, however, be eventually shown.I have been since years planning self-controlled automata and believe that mechanisms can be produced which will act as if possest of reason, to a limited degree, and will create a revolution in many commercial and industrial departments.
然而，我還從早期的痛苦中得到了另外一種補償。持續不斷的腦力活動培養了我的觀察能力，使我發現了一個非常重要的事實。我注意到，我頭腦中出現的圖像都是對以前在一些異常或者極特殊的條件下發生的實際景象的反映，而且每次我都會強迫自己確定這些圖像的原始推動力。不久，這種努力幾乎變成了自動行為，而且我可以很熟練地將事情的因果聯繫起來。我很快意識到，讓我驚訝的是，我的每個想法源於外界某種事物的啟示。不僅如此，我所有的行為也都是同樣的原因所致。隨著時間的推移，我越來越清楚地意識到，我僅僅是一台自動裝置 —— 感官刺激賦予我力量，然後做出相應的思考和行動 。這一發現的實際價值，就是促使我提出了 “ 遙控自動學 ” 這一概念 。不過，到目前為止，這種技術還不是特別完善。無論如何，人們終將認識它的巨大發展潛力。多年來，我一直在設計 “ 自動控制機 ” （ automata ） 。我相信，必然可以製造出具有一定智慧功能的機械裝置，並在商業和工業的諸多領域引發一場革命。
I was about twelve years old when I first succeeded in banishing an image from my vision by wilful effort, but I never had any control over the flashes of light to which I have referred.They were, perhaps, my strangest experience and inexplicable.They usually occurred when I found myself in a dangerous or distressing situation, or when I was greatly exhilarated.In some instances I have seen all the air around me filled with tongues of living flame.Their intensity, instead of diminishing, increased with time and seemingly attained a maximum when I was about twenty-five years old.While in Paris, in 1883, a prominent French manufacturer sent me an invitation to a shooting expedition which I accepted.I had been long confined to the factory and the fresh air had a wonderfully invigorating effect on me.On my return to the city that night I felt a positive sensation that my brain had caught fire.I saw a light as tho a small sun was located in it and I past the whole night applying cold compressions to my tortured head.Finally the flashes diminished in frequency and force but it took more than three weeks before they wholly subsided.When a second invitation was extended to me my answer was an emphatic NO!
1883 年，我在法國停留期間，一位著名的法國製造商邀請我去狩獵，我應允了。因為曾長期局限於工廠生活，郊外的新鮮空氣使我神清氣爽、精神百倍。當天晚上，在回城的路上，我明顯感覺到腦袋在著火，仿佛有個小太陽在裡面燃燒。整個晚上，我都在冷敷自己那顆備受折磨的腦袋。最後，閃光出現的頻率降低，強度減弱，但卻用了三個多星期的時間才完全平息。當第二次有人邀請我去狩獵的時候，我堅決回答道： “ 不！ ”
These luminous phenomena still manifest themselves from time to time, as when a new idea opening up possibilities strikes me, but they are no longer exciting, being of relatively small intensity.When I close my eyes I invariably observe first, a background of very dark and uniform blue, not unlike the sky on a clear but starless night.In a few seconds this field becomes animated with innumerable scintillating flakes of green, arranged in several layers and advancing towards me.Then there appears, to the right, a beautiful pattern of two systems of parallel and closely spaced lines, at right angles to one another, in all sorts of colors with yellow-green and gold predominating.Immediately thereafter the lines grow brighter and the whole is thickly sprinkled with dots of twinkling light.This picture moves slowly across the field of vision and in about ten seconds vanishes to the left, leaving behind a ground of rather unpleasant and inert grey which quickly gives way to a billowy sea of clouds, seemingly trying to mould themselves in living shapes.It is curious that I cannot project a form into this grey until the second phase is reached.Every time, before falling asleep, images of persons or objects flit before my view.When I see them I know that I am about to lose consciousness.If they are absent and refuse to come it means a sleepless night.
To what an extent imagination played a part in my early life I may illustrate by another odd experience.Like most children I was fond of jumping and developed an intense desire to support myself in the air.Occasionally a strong wind richly charged with oxygen blew from the mountains rendering my body as light as cork and then I would leap and float in space for a long time.It was a delightful sensation and my disappointment was keen when later I undeceived myself.
During that period I contracted many strange likes, dislikes and habits, some of which I can trace to external impressions while others are unaccountable.I had a violent aversion against the earrings of women but other ornaments, as bracelets, pleased me more or less according to design.The sight of a pearl would almost give me a fit but I was fascinated with the glitter of crystals or objects with sharp edges and plane surfaces.I would not touch the hair of other people except, perhaps, at the point of a revolver.I would get a fever by looking at a peach and if a piece of camphor was anywhere in the house it caused me the keenest discomfort.Even now I am not insensible to some of these upsetting impulses.When I drop little squares of paper in a dish filled with liquid, I always sense a peculiar and awful taste in my mouth.I counted the steps in my walks and calculated the cubical contents of soup plates, coffee cups and pieces of food—otherwise my meal was unenjoyable.All repeated acts or operations I performed had to be divisible by three and if I mist I felt impelled to do it all over again, even if it took hours.
在童年時期，我形成了很多奇怪的好惡感和習慣，有些可以歸於外界印象的影響，有些則是無法解釋的。我極其反感女人佩戴耳環，而其他飾品 —— 例如手鐲 —— 則讓我感到愉悅，不過喜愛程度決定於設計及圖案。看到珍珠我會感到眩暈，但閃閃發光的水晶或帶有銳角和平面的物體卻讓我神魂顛倒。除非被手槍逼著，我絕對不會觸摸別人的頭髮；我看到桃子就會發高燒；無論在屋子的什麼地方，只要一小片樟腦就能令我坐臥不寧。即使現在，我對這些東西仍然很敏感，仍然會感到心煩意亂。如果把碎紙片放到盛滿液體的碟子中，我就會感到嘴巴裡有一種怪異的、噁心的味道。我走路時喜歡數著腳步；吃飯時喜歡計算湯盆和咖啡杯的體積，以及食物的份數，否則一頓飯就會吃得索然無味。所有我重複過的動作或做過的事情，其次數都必須能被3整除，如果不是這樣，即便花上幾個小時，我也要強迫自己重新做一遍 。
Up to the age of eight years, my character was weak and vacillating.I had neither courage or strength to form a firm resolve.My feelings came in waves and surges and vibrated unceasingly between extremes.My wishes were of consuming force and like the heads of the hydra, they multiplied.I was opprest by thoughts of pain in life and death and religious fear.I was swayed by superstitious belief and lived in constant dread of the spirit of evil, of ghosts and ogres and other unholy monsters of the dark.Then, all at once, there came a tremendous change which altered the course of my whole existence.
Of all things I liked books the best.My father had a large library and whenever I could manage I tried to satisfy my passion for reading.He did not permit it and would fly into a rage when he caught me in the act.He hid the candles when he found that I was reading in secret.He did not want me to spoil my eyes.But I obtained tallow, made the wicking and cast the sticks into tin forms, and every night I would bush the keyhole and the cracks and read, often till dawn, when all others slept and my mother started on her arduous daily task.
在所有東西中，我最喜歡的是書籍 。父親有一個很大的藏書室，我總是想方設法滿足自己的閱讀欲望。但是，父親不允許我閱讀，一經發現，他就會勃然大怒。當他發現我偷偷看書時，藏了我的蠟燭。他擔心讀書會傷害眼睛。但是我找到牛油做燈芯，然後把它們黏合好放到一個錫器中，每天晚上我都會用東西遮住書房的門縫和鎖眼，開始讀書，往往是讀到破曉時分 。此時，所有人都還在沉睡，只有母親起床開始她一天的辛勤勞作。
On one occasion I came across a novel entitled "Abafi" (the Son of Aba), a Serbian translation of a well known Hungarian writer, Josika.This work somehow awakened my dormant powers of will and I began to practise self-control.At first my resolutions faded like snow in April, but in a little while I conquered my weakness and felt a pleasure I never knew before—that of doing as I willed.In the course of time this vigorous mental exercise became second nature.At the outset my wishes had to be subdued but gradually desire and will grew to be identical.After years of such discipline I gained so complete a mastery over myself that I toyed with passions which have meant destruction to some of the strongest men.At a certain age I contracted a mania for gambling which greatly worried my parents.To sit down to a game of cards was for me the quintessence of pleasure.My father led an exemplary life and could not excuse the senseless waste of time and money in which I indulged.I had a strong resolve but my philosophy was bad.I would say to him, "I can stop whenever I please but is it worth while to give up that which I would purchase with the joys of Paradise?" On frequent occasions he gave vent to his anger and contempt but my mother was different.She understood the character of men and knew that one's salvation could only be brought about thru his own efforts.One afternoon, I remember, when I had lost all my money and was craving for a game, she came to me with a roll of bills and said, "Go and enjoy yourself.The sooner you lose all we possess the better it will be.I know that you will get over it." She was right.I conquered my passion then and there and only regretted that it had not been a hundred times as strong.I not only vanquished but tore it from my heart so as not to leave even a trace of desire.Ever since that time I have been as indifferent to any form of gambling as to picking teeth.
有一次，我找到了一本名為《阿巴菲》（Abafi，意為 Aba 的兒子）的小說，是匈牙利著名作家 Josika （約西卡）作品的塞爾維亞語譯本。不知何故，這本小說喚醒了我沉睡的意志力，我開始練習控制自我意識。起初，我的決心就像四月的雪那樣很快消失了，但不久，我克服了缺點，並感到了前所未有的快樂 —— 我可以按照自己的意志做事情了。
隨著時間的流逝，這種積極的心理練習成了我的第二天性。剛開始，我的願望常常受到壓制。但是，慢慢地，願望和意志統一起來。經過幾年的訓練，我完全控制了自己的意志，甚至開始以遊戲心態控制自己的愛好，一些足以毀滅意志最堅強之人的愛好。在某個階段，我染上了賭癮，使得父母終日憂心忡忡。對我來說，坐下來打牌是最大的樂事。父親過著一種堪稱世人典範的生活，他絕對不允許我渾渾噩噩地浪費時間和金錢。當時，我意志非常堅定，卻沒有健康的人生哲學。我總是對父親說： “ 只要我願意，我隨時都可以洗手不幹，但是放棄那種在天堂才可以買到的快樂，值得嗎？ ” 父親會時不時地沖我發洩他心中的憤怒和不滿，但母親卻不同。她瞭解男人的特點，知道要想解救一個人，必須要通過他自身的努力。我記得有一天下午，當我輸光了所有的錢，渴望再大賭一場的時候，母親帶著一綑錢走到我面前說： “ 去痛痛快快享受吧，你越早把錢輸個精光越好，我知道你會幡然悔悟的。 ” 她是對的，我當時就控制了自己的欲望。我唯一感到後悔的是，如果那種欲望再強烈一百倍就更好了，那樣更能體現我意志的強大。我不但戰勝了賭癮，而且把它在心中撕得粉碎，不留絲毫念頭。自從那次起，就像對剔牙一樣，我對任何形式的賭博都不感興趣了。
During another period I smoked excessively, threatening to ruin my health.Then my will asserted itself and I not only stopt but destroyed all inclination.Long ago I suffered from heart trouble until I discovered that it was due to the innocent cup of coffee I consumed every morning.I discontinued at once, tho I confess it was not an easy task.In this way I checked and bridled other habits and passions and have not only preserved my life but derived an immense amount of satisfaction from what most men would consider privation and sacrifice.
After finishing the studies at the Polytechnic Institute and University I had a complete nervous breakdown and while the malady lasted I observed many phenomena strange and unbelievable.