“…but we’re told that in his sixties, somewhere around the time of his fifth or sixth heart attack, the inventor began to think about mortality. Or rather, he began to think about immortality.
Marconi became convinced that sound never dies. That sound waves once emitted from a radio..or from the vibrating strings of a Stradivarius…from whispering lovers…from a baby discovering how to make a “bah” or a “gah” sound for the first time. Sound lived on forever it’s waves flowing permanently, but growing weaker and weaker with each moment.
He just hadn’t built a radio powerful enough to tune in to the signal.
Now this is wrong, but it wasn’t entirely foolish. One of the things that had made Marconi so famous was the sinking of the Titanic. 706 people were rescued from the icy waters after radiomen on nearby ships heard its distress signal. Newspapers around the world credited Marconi as their savior.
Now, one of those radiomen, working the night shift on a Russian steamer, heard the signal through his headphones more than an hour and a half after it was sent. This was just a physical anomaly, atmospheric conditions and whatnot.
But here was Marconi near the end of his life, growing weaker and weaker with each heart attack, dreaming of a device that would let him hear lost sounds. Let him tap into these eternal frequencies.
He would tell people that if he got it right he could hear Jesus of Nazareth giving the Sermon on the Mount. But he would be able to hear everything ever said, everything he ever said.
At the end of his life he could sit in the Piazza in Rome and hear everything that was said to him or about him. He could relive every toast and testimonial.
And we all could, hear everything. Hear Caesar, hear Shakespeare give an actor a line reading. Hear my grandmother introduce herself to my grandfather in a nightclub in Rhode Island.
Hear someone tell you that they love you, that first time they told you they love you. Hear everything. Forever. “