*we put the "mmm" in communism


This is the personal blog of Tim. Here, Tim writes on anything he has enough inspiration to finish a post on. That usually ends up being matters of science, pop culture, technology, religion, and philosophy.

This blog is around nine years old, which is over a third of Tim's current age. Back in 2003, it was called "Of Tim: Tim's life - or lack thereof", and it was as bad as you might expect the blog of a freshman in high school to be. Tim hopes that his writing is a little better, these days.

Tim welcomes any input that you, the dear reader, might have. Comments are very much appreciated, especially if you have a dissenting opinion. If you'd like to learn more about Tim, you might want to see his facebook or google+.

Also: Tim is a very avid consumer of various sorts of music. You may be interested in his playlists!

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a birthday manifesto
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For my twenty-second birthday, I decided it was high time I sat down and had myself a genuine existential crisis.

"What?" I hear you say, "Tim, you've been having an existential crisis since you were thirteen. Come on."

Probably, but it's my birthday and I'll have an existential crisis if I want to. Stay a while and listen, kids. My intellectual struggles over the past few weeks have revolved around one question. What is my reason for living?

I'm hunting for something that justifies my continued existence. I reject the tautology that we can just live for the sake of living. I need something more. I don't mean more in any kind of supernatural or extraordinary sense - just something more than myself. I've been attempting to explore all the options for what that can mean. These posts will be a part of that exploration.


I can't embrace the concept of hedonism as something that will drive me to get out of bed in the morning. It's a shallow way to interact with the world. It's a system that doesn't survive well under duress; the world is a harsh place, and there will be long stretches of time that will require some distinctly displeasurable actions in order to come out on top. It also clashes with my core ideals, but in the spirit of the existential crisis, I won't bring those into consideration.

That said, I am forced to recognize that at the end of the day, it's how I feel about my life that makes the difference between being happy or not. Unfortunately, I know that I do not know myself as well as would be required to pinpoint the most efficient paths to happiness. Some people seem capable of doing this. I am not one of them.


An ex once asked me how it is that I ever could have been so religious, given who I am today. I told her that my behaviors, in those days, were highly determined by the system of belief I held. Once I abandoned that system, the behaviors dependent on that system were bound to disappear. I've thought about this a lot in the past month. In my sociology classes, we discussed Durkheim on several occasions, a sociologist most known for his study of suicide. He believed that anomie - a state of normlessness - was at the root of why people kill themselves. Looking at myself, I think this makes a lot of sense. I find myself living in the gaps of society, stuck halfway between two worlds - that of the working class, and the college student.

Which leads me to wonder, do I need another system to replace the one I removed? The church equipped me with a bizarre set of tools that I have no use for in the real world. I was trained to see meaning and metaphor in everything, everywhere. I was taught to compare and contrast all of my actions and experiences on a near constant basis to ensure that I was living right by the divine. I still perform this constant analysis, but I no longer have a blueprint to compare the architecture of the world to.

The answer, for me, is clear: it's time to draw a new fucking blueprint. Anecdotal evidence suggests that other people's plans just aren't going to cut it for my life. Someone else's idea of happiness and goodness won't help me get out of bed in the morning. What I require has to come from within, and dogma of any kind will not suffice.


I once believed altruism to be morally superior to all other perspectives, but that was when I felt every action held some form of objective moral quality that could be determined. Time has softened me to see the many shades of gray that our world is painted in, but a core tenet has stayed with me for better or worse. Whatever I do, I have to be making the world a better place. My welfare cannot depend on the suffering of others. If I am only able to survive at the expense of others, then all hope is truly lost. I tried for a long time to motivate my behaviors out of a sense of duty to humanity. I wanted to find fulfillment in bringing others happiness, but I assumed that I knew what really makes other people happy - sadly, not so.

How can I attempt to help others if I cannot even help myself? I don't think I can. Selfish as it might be, I must recognize that before I can make my mark upon the world, I have to at least have some semblance of a self-derived strength and focus. The ongoing suffering of others doesn't make me want to get out of bed; rather, the inescapable prevalence of injustice and malevolence across the world is just another reason to stay under the covers.

But then, I think - it's foolishness to assume that this must be self-derived. Independence is an illusion, after all. We humans are inexorably tied together, for better or worse.


Studies[1][2] have shown time and time again that close relationships with friends, families, and lovers are the greatest determinant of mortal happiness, above all else. More than income, more than power, more than fame, more than whatever it is that people fight, deceive, steal, and kill to obtain, it's intimacy that makes us happy. The Presbyterian tradition has always been somewhat ascetic in its philosophy, so this is one of the few perspectives on the world that I haven't had to adjust much.

I bring it up because whatever ends up in these blueprints has to make a hell of a lot of room for the development of true relationships. Although I can go for long stretches by my lonesome, I depend on and thrive under as much genuine social interaction as I can obtain. Genuine is the key word there; I have always been terrible with small talk and idle chatting. I've improved somewhat, but I would say I'm never doing better than treading water when it comes to surface-level conversation. I'm excellent in interviews, but bad at day-to-day office talk. I'm lost in big parties, unless there's a open space where I can dance. I'm terrible at first dates, but I'm not intimidated when shit gets real. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that I crave seriousness. I thrive there.

(to be continued - if I make this any longer nobody will read it!)
posted by MC Froehlich at

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