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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sex, Water, and the Invention of the Telephone

Science Friday (on NPR) just had an interview with Seth Schulman, who discussed his book [The Telephone Gambit] on the hidden secret of Bell's theft of the "idea" of the telephone from his arch-rival Elisha Gray.

What struck me about this story is how deeply the "invention" of the phone is connected to the watery energy of the second chakra! In Digital Dharma, I talked about the impact of Bell's device on the sexual/gender relations of the late Victorian Age -- how the phone freed young women from the oversight of their fathers, gave them new employment opportunities, and liberated the farm wife from isolation; and later, how the phone was immediately associated with sexual power.

I retold (the now disproved) story of how the first phone call was a [second-level] cry for relationship -- "Mr. Watson come here I need you" -- and compared it to the first-level "birth announcement" associated with the telegraph: "What has God wrought?" [Numbers 23: 23].

In Mr. Shulman's investigative research, we learn that the device that Bell alledgedly copied from Gray's original patent filing was for a device that suspended a needle in liquid so that sound waves from the person talking into a transmitter would vary the resistance in the electrical circuit running to the receiver: analog waves from air pressure to metal plate to needle in water to electrical voltage!

The other thing that Shulman points out is how Bell was deeply in love with the daughter of his principal financial backer. And, how that passion fueled Bell's hunger to succeed at all costs -- even through chicanery!

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