Nikola Tesla is supposed to be more of a legend than a man, but people evaluate his personality through warped and distorted lenses. His fascinating scientific inventions and works were studied and assessed elaborately and meticulously. No one questions the epochal value of these electric inventions because the sphere of electric technology is much spoken and known nowadays. However, people are not aware of the dynamics and structure of his exciting and mysterious personality. Tesla’s personality is enigmatic and hidden from strangers; and twisted veils of enigma and mystery surrounding his true self.
Tesla’s talents, coupled with enhanced creativity, curiosity, and introversion, were lying on the apparent surface of his intimate world. Being a small child, Tesla displayed staggering sizes of developed imagination and creativity (West, 2021). Utilizing lively imagination, Tesla was obsessed with performing complicated experiments in his mind, not resorting to drafting, drawing, or writing. It was a case of visualization where a small boy managed to do complex equations only by means of his imagination (Hudd, 2020). Being immersed in his world and absorbed by his imagining talent, Tesla was an introverted individual wrapped by his subjective and hidden world tending towards introspection.
Asceticism is another significant trait of his mysterious personality. This extraordinary person managed to steel himself to become a less emotional person and channel all of his life potential and energy towards one goal: to discover new things and create new work. Tesla’s asceticism was tangible and visible in his interaction with the opposite sex. Tesla erased romantic sensations from his love and eliminated a woman’s image from his thoughts to achieve his goal. He rejected the importance of family institute, as he thought marriage was an energy draining resource. Once, he said, “inventor’s nature is so forceful, so wild and passionate, that by giving himself to a woman, he would give everything and nothing would be left for his chosen field” (Tesla,2019). This quote implies that the father of electrical engineering decided to commit all his life to technology and the power of reason, as it was a reasonable prerequisite for material and spiritual humans’ prosperity.
Narcissism and egoism hid underneath Nikola’s asceticism and shyness. In the film “Tesla” (2020), he is depicted as a real magician doing experiments in his laboratory lit by mystical and artificial glows of lightning that made him look magnetic. He liked to thrill the audience and public and tried to present his inventions with fanfares, adding a mysterious pizza to the presentations. It was a part of his image, embracing shyness combined with classy stagecraft.
The last but not least feature of Tesla’s personality was his makings of Neurosis. Neurosis is defined as weakness in the ego functions; a person with this mental disease cannot concentrate their thoughts; have several phobias; have problems in decision-making and reasoning processes. Tesla was compulsive and obsessive with self-discipline and cleanliness. Over time, Tesla managed to curb his obsessiveness and tap into these reactions to structure and build his personality.
Freud’s Personality Theory
From Freud’s theory perspective, Tesla was a phallic-aggressive type. His closest friend, who was his aide helping Nikola to conduct the most accessible experiments, reported that Tesla was aggressive in case someone did not obey his rules and was self-centered. He was preoccupied with issues of dominance and power. His friend told the reporters that Tesla was obsessed with discoveries that gave him a sense of pleasure. Every time he discovered or found out something, he was immensely proud of himself, willing to display his talent and extraordinary visions to others. Nikola believed himself to be special and unique, which explained his superiority and arrogance to other individuals. Regularly, he claimed special treatments towards him with less personal interaction. People had to run his errands with no opportunity to speak to him in person. Tesla was decisive that his abilities were a good foundation for his superiority and arrogance, as no one could replace him.
Finally, there were scenes when Tesla was confused with his ideas and could not find motivation and push to continue his experiments. Sometimes, he was in a predicament while making decisions and ambushed by negative emotions that had no legitimate basis. His mind and success depended on intrinsic superiority and magnificence, which made him deny any criticism he encountered on his life paths. In instances he was criticized, Tesla lost a sense of gratification and proportion.
Maslow’s Personality Theory
Abraham Maslow is the author of the Hierarchy of Needs theory, believing that a person can be highly motivated by their unsatisfied desires, needs. From Maslow’s Theory assessment, Tesla had everything he needed in terms of financial stability. This is why the mercenary spirit was not a drive to stimulate Tesla to accomplish his goals. Tesla had no issues raising his concern and alertness concerning environmental safety. Tesla’s working space was clean and tidy; that was his major obsession. After being sure that the external environment could bring problems in terms of cleanliness and safety, he could get down to his engineering business. As to love needs, Nikola presented little interest and affection towards the female gender, as he supposed women to be the main obstacles in his scientific way. He did not allow himself to indulge in romantic-related relationships. This great master displayed a high level of skill competence, but he never wanted to stop enhancing and developing. Nikola tried to present to the public the real electrical breakthrough to amaze and shock the audience.
The Comparison of Maslow’s and Freud’s Theories
While comparing these two different theories operating on Tesla’s personality evaluation, it is evident that these two approaches have different angles of consideration. Freud’s theory focuses more on Tesla’s interaction with others, portraying him as a person being superior to others. The Freudian personality test projected him to be obsessed with his talent, and his extraordinary aptitudes made him magnificent by a default position. The Freudian personality had a lot to do with his neurotic prerequisites predisposed by his megalomania. However, the Freudian test had little to do with Tesla’s incentives for success in working space. In comparison, Maslow’s personality test described optimal conditions predisposing Tesla’s success. Maslow’s personality test was aligned with detecting safety needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization.
It is challenging to choose the personality theory describing Tesla’s personality better, as Freud’s and Maslow’s theories looked at this character through different lenses. These theories represent different perspectives portraying alternative approaches to personality evaluation. For this very reason, diverse personality theories were devised, as each one is liable for varied psychological and social branches. While Freud’s test described Tesla’s participation in social life, Maslow’s test analyzed his working incentives.
Hudd, E. (2020). Nikola Tesla. Engineer with electric ideas. Capstone Press. Maslow’s Personality Test. Web.
Tesla, N. (2019). My inventions- the autobiography of Nikola Tesla. SBP Editors. Samaria Book Publishers.
West, D. (2021). Nikola Tesla–the electrical genius who shaped the Modern Age. Humanities.