Life’s Greatest Lesson Morrie Schwartz was an intelligent, interesting senior citizen that touched a lot of people, especially Mitch Albom. Morrie passed on a lot of his knowledge in the last few months of his life, due to amyotrophic lareral sclerosis (ALS). This paper will touch on Morrie’s philosophy of life, what he says is important and valuable, and also the struggles and problems of life. I will also compare Morrie’s message with other philosophies and also give my opinion about Morrie’s theory of human nature and philosophy of life.
Morrie’s philosophy of life is full of many ideas and to better understand it it’s easier to break it down into parts. One of the philosophies was to cherish family and to be more open about your emotions so that you will not regret it when you or a loved one dies. Another one of Morrie’s philosophies is to be open to forgiveness the following quote shows how Morrie regrets not forgiving one of his closest friends.
“ Over the years, I met Norman a few times and he always tried to reconcile, but I didn’t accept it. I wasn’t satisfied with his explanation. I was prideful. Mitch…a few years ago…he died of cancer. I never got to forgive him” (Albom p. 166). That quote showed how Morrie deeply regrets not forgiving his friend, for something he should have, and how not forgiving him will bother him for the rest of his life. Another part of Morrie’s philosophy has to do with culture. The following quote shows how strongly he felt about the way American people should live. “You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture…..The little things I can obey. But the big things- how we think, what we value- those you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone or any society determine those for you” (Albom p.154-155). This quote shows that Morrie does not agree with the way many American people live their life. Many let the culture tell them how to live their life but his philosophy is that you must be your own person and don’t let anyone else tell you how to live. Morrie put a lot of emphasis on what is important and valuable in his philosophy of life. One value that he felt very strongly about was that people look at material things to judge others instead of looking on the inside and getting to know them. One quote that supports this statement says how we should not depend on material things to find happiness and love. “They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship” (Albom p. 125). This quote shows one of Morrie’s strongest values, it tells how he felt about money and material items. Morrie felt that people look to much at what others have and base their friends on money. You cannot turn to cars, money, or mansions to get love and be liked by others. If someone is your true friend they will love you for who you are and not what you have. Morrie also had ideas on the challenges faced by humans and our human nature. He highlighted some of the struggles and problems faced by most humans. The following quote shows how Morrie felt about people basing their lives on money instead of simple pleasures. “Morrie had always been taken with simple pleasures, singing, laughing, dancing. Now, more than ever, material things held little or no significance…We’ve got a form of brainwashing going on in our country…..More money is good, more property is good, more commercialism is good…The average person is so fogged up by all this, he has no perspective on what’s really important anymore” (Albom p. 124-125). This quote shows how Morrie feels about the country and the way people live. He sees more pleasure in simple things such as singing and dancing, but the American people look at pleasure as having more money than someone else or more property. Morrie sees this as being a big problem in the country today. He feels that people should be themselves and have fun without looking at how much they own. To better understand Morrie’s philosophy I will compare and contrast it with some other philosophies. First, compare the philosophy of Karl Marx to Morries’. One point that Marx and Morrie would agree on would probably be what Marx calls historical determinism. Historical determinism according to Marx is how we respond to history in predictable ways. It’s how we have freewill to change and react to things (Stevenson p. 140). Morrie would support this theory and could use the example of not forgiving his friend. He had the freewill to choose wether to forgive and how he reacted when his friend died and his chance to forgive him was gone. The next point Marx makes is that there is no individual human nature. Every action of every human potentially effects others (Stevenson p. 140). Morrie would agree by saying that what one person does can greatly effect other people. For example how the laughter of other people makes him feel good, but the sorrow other people have for him and his illness makes him feel bad. Lastly, Marx says that the largest impact on individuals is their work (Stevenson p. 140). Morrie would also greatly agree with this because of how he looks down upon the people who are caught up in material things. He talked a lot of how humans are caught up in work, and material things in general. Morrie and Marx would probably disagree on a lot of things and the first one would be the first point in Marx’s theory. Marx says that economics is the key to all history and it’s the way we understand society and individuals. He goes on to say money and wealth affect us personally and that it’s our individual human nature. Morrie might agree that this is how society is but he would disagree that it’s the way society should be. As I stated in the paragraph before Morrie looked down upon those who thought money and material things proved who you were. The second philosophy I will compare to Morrie is Jean Paul Sarte. Sarte’s main point is called Aesthetic Extentialism, which has three parts. Morrie would agree with the first part which states that we value the individual. Every individual is a unique being that has it’s own purpose in life ( Stevenson p. 170). Some of Morrie’s main points also state that a individual should be valued as being unique in it’s own way. Another point Sarte makes is that every individual chooses their own attitudes, purpose, values, and way of life (Stevenson p. 170). Morrie would also greatly agree with this statement. Morrie says that those people that choose to value the wrong things in life or choose to have a grumpy sad attitude are lost in this world. Morrie believes you should have a good attitude, pick a purpose in life to help others as well as yourself, and to always value nonmaterial things over material things. The part of the philosophy that Sarte and Morrie would disagree on would be on the topic where Sarte denies the existence of one truth. Sarte says that multiple realities exist, life is absurd, and life doesn’t make any sense (Stevenson p.175). Morrie would disagree with this statement with out a doubt. The statement about life being absurd would really bother Morrie. Morrie says to always cherish life and live it to it’s fullest. Morrie would probably say Sarte was cherishing the wrong values and was not looking at life in a nonmaterial way. The last philosophy I will compare with Morrie is one of Simone DeBeavoir. DeBeavoir has five levels of humaness she uses to look at all types of people. Every individual fits into one of her five categories according to her. Morrie would agree with parts of each level and disagree with parts of the same level. So to better compare these two philosophies I will look at each level and state which parts Morrie would agree with and which ones he would disagree with. The first level is calls subhuman, which DeBeavoir says is denial of humaness. The individual sees themselves as locked in and that they have little significance in their own life (Zink class notes). Morrie would agree that people are locked into their lives and have no freedom in some instances. He would also on the other hand somewhat disagree because he would encourage these people and try to teach them how to take control of their lives. The second level is called serious people, which is when people loose themselves in objectivity. These types of people believe there is logic behind everything, they never admit that they can posses a personal value, and they never question anything (Zink). Morrie would greatly disagree with this type of person even though he would agree there are a lot of people out there like this. Morrie is a huge supporter of questions. He believes there is always a question to be asked and says you can never ask to many questions. The third level of humaness is called the nihilist level. This type of person challenges every set of values, accepts nothing, and finds fault with everything. They are the type of people who overcome everyone and every idea other people have (Zink class notes). Morrie would agree with this type of persons attitude. He would like that they challenge everything with their own ideas and that they just don’t sit back and do whatever someone else says. He would also disagree with the persons attitude about wanting to rule everything and that they would ruin any ideas that someone else had. The fourth level according to DeBeavoir is called the adventurer. The adventurer is the type of person who is absorbed in action. This person will be a part of everything that comes along but there will be no meaning or content behind the persons action. These types of people always let you know they are there and seem to be independent but are really dependent on the action (Zink class notes). Morrie would totally disagree with this type of person. He would agree with them wanting to be involved with everything but he would want them to be genuine and put feeling into their actions. The last level is Passionate, which is explained as the person who is always looking for the answer. This type of person is the person who always wants more, they seek possessions but are never fulfilled (Zink). Morrie would want to help this person, he would want to answer their questions and help them find their answers. He would agree with their need to find their answer and that they always want more, always get the most out of life. To summarize this paper I agree with Morrie and his view of human nature and his philosophy of life. I think you should always value family and friends more than material things. You should also live life to the it’s fullest and share your thoughts with others because you never know when you or the other person might not be around anymore. As for adding anything to Morrie’s ideas, I don’t think I would. Morrie’s philosophy would be a good one to live by and the main point to remember would be you never know when the person you care about will be gone. So tell them how you feel about them and share your knowledge with everyone that you can. Bibliography:
Cite this Life’s Greatest Lesson by Morrie Schwartz
Life’s Greatest Lesson by Morrie Schwartz. (2018, Dec 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/lifes-greatest-lesson-by-morrie-schwartz/