June 18 2014

Outlandish theories of mine that I don’t necessarily believe:

- Maybe when we sleep, our changed brain wave patterns allow us to sense some of the other timelines in the multiverse, which inform our dreams.

- Perhaps a strong emotional event causes brain waves to imprint onto wood at a quantum level like a hard drive writes to magnetic material. People who are sensitive to it could get a feeling of what happened. So ghosts are like, not interactive.

- Regarding the Fermi Paradox: What if our concept of space-time is way off—just an illusion in the state of matter we call consciousness.
So we’re out there, somewhere, waiting for us to contact us... Nah.

For posterity:

In 1994, at the age of 17, I left my home in New York and went on a backpacking trip across Europe with my best friend. We had no debit cards, no smart phones with Google Maps—no cell phones at all. We had travelers checks you could only cash during regular business hours, and before the Euro that meant loosing money exchanging everywhere we went with little idea of the exchange rate—and hardly a way to check.

The web was in its infancy, and there weren't really any “cyber cafes” to send an email to the one or two friends that actually had email addresses. I think I spoke to my parents once over the course of a month. Finding useful information online was impossible; our nearly sole source of information was a “Let’s Go Europe” guide book.

Now, I can hardly go somewhere 5 blocks away in my own neighborhood without checking Google Maps. How did we manage? How did we get around? Paper maps?! We had to ask strangers for directions, which in turn helped us meet new people and find places that weren’t in the guide book. People would leave messages for each other on bulletin boards in youth hostels like “MM, We’ll be in Paris at the Aloha Hostel in 2 weeks”. Things were way more inconvenient, but demanded mental strength, emotional independence, and being more social in real life. Honestly, I can hardly believe I did it.

In retrospect, I can really grasp how much my life has changed as a result of technology. I remember hearing my parents talk about when they got their first TVs and thinking how different times were for them growing up. I think the difference between their generation and mine is drastically less than my generation and the next. I’ve become so dependent on computers and the internet that I'd like to try to take a one week sabbatical from all computer technology once a year and go camping. It takes a couple days to “detox” and stop reaching for my phone every 30 seconds, but when I do, and get over Fear Of Missing Out, it is a great feeling of freedom. I love technology—I’m a coder and electronic musician—but it is really important to remember that we can live without it.

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad! He’s a great human being. I love you, Dad! I am so lucky to have such a great father.

Shout out to Marianna, fighting the good fight in Rio. Screw FIFA! Go Brazil! xox

If you work at an ad agency in NYC: Hire me!

If you live in the US: It’s time for common sense gun laws. Gun ownership should be, at the least, as regulated as car ownership. How many people have to die before things change?

And finally, smile. Even if you don’t feel like it, fake it, just for a second. See? It’s good for you.

Daniel McNeil
[email protected]
Brooklyn, NY, USA

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