Imagine waking up one day and discovering that you have a fatal disease – you are going to die. What would you do with your days left? The book “Tuesdays with Morrie”, written by Mitch Albom, was published in attempt to raise money to afford Morrie’s disease. But at the same time, it was Mitch’s final thesis with his old professor. “Learn how to die, and you learn how tolive”, Morrie emphasizes. He taught his greatest lesson as a professor – a lesson about life. He realizes that facing death is necessary to understand the purpose of life.
It was not until Morrie discovered he had ALS that he started questioning about life. And from there on he focused his last days on trying to understand the purpose of life. As soon as Morrie hears the news, he questions,“Shouldn’t the world stop? Don’t they know what has happened to me?” (Mitch Albom p8). It shows how shocked and in denial he was, especially when he says “shouldn’t the world stop”. By saying that he makes it clear that he wants the world to see “what has happened to him” as it would somehow change what happened. But later on he learns that it wouldn’t. And that despite the fact he was desperate to find away to save his own life and not face death, there was nothing he could do. Throughout the process, Morrie reminds himself of his moments of exuberance when he was sure about himself, as nothing could ever happen to him. That’s when he realizes, “If you accept the fact that you can die at any time – then you might not be as ambitious as you are” (Albom p83). His “acceptation” opens his mind tosee things from a new perspective. He defends that if people really believed the fact that they “can die at any time”, they would do and see things differently. They would not be as ambitious as they are with work, money, power. Instead, they would search for affection. Morrie discovers that by facing death life changes and so does the way you see it.
One of the major things that changes, onceMorrie is facing death, is what he prioritizes. Even though he was the kind of person who had always valued life, everything intensifies once he knew those were his last days. In one of his lessons, he talks about money and how all those material things will not substitute the feeling of being loved, or gentleness, or the sense of comradeship. He starts realizing the purpose of some things in life.Morrie says, “Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have” (Albom p125). When he says “I can tell” he assures us that he knows what he is talking about because he is about to die and no“money” in the world could change this. He also uses both words “money” and “power” twice, in a way to emphasize that being ambitious – to those kinds of things – will not add anything in your life, and will not save you when you need “no matter how much of them you have”. But affection and emotions will, if you let them fill you. That is another point that Morrie makes once death is coming. Hedefends the Buddhists thought that we don’t have to cling to things because everything is impermanent. He says, “But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it” (Albom p103). In this quote, Morrie clearly explains the importance of feeling and then “detaching”. When he says that you haveto let the “experience penetrates you fully” so you “are able to leave it”, he means that by throwing yourself into these emotions you are able to experience them deeply. And after knowing them completely you are able to detach and experience some new ones. You are able to change.
Morrie ends up being proof that there is no problem with contradicting yourself. He was in constant change....