Morrie Schwartz was a college professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.He was very other-oriented and had a different attitude about the world which changed when he became aware that he had a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.He had less than two years to live.He could no longer enjoy activities such as dancing and going to the YMCA.
Instead, Morrie’s self-fulfilling prophecy was to teach others about death by communicating his spiritual self.Morrie said that living meant being responsive to others and being able to communicate emotions and feelings. Mitch Albom was one of Morrie’s students at Brandeis University.
After graduating, he moved to New York City where he dreamed of becoming a famous musician, but after his uncle passed he questioned his life position.He decided to go back to school for journalism and eventually found a great job at the Detroit Free Press where he wrote about professional sports.The media demand and competition improved Mitch’s self-concept andhis accomplishments and material self gave him a sense of control and self worth. After sixteen years passed, Mitch was flipping through channels on the television and saw Morrie on ABC-TV’s “Nightline” with host, Ted Koppel.Mitch traveledback to Boston to see Morrie.When he arrived at his house, Mitch was faced with communication apprehension.He was shocked to see his old professor and used avoidance, trying to multitask while his Morrie awaited in his wheelchair on the front lawn.
Morrie was excited to see that Mitch had come back and they both greeted and hugged each other.Morrie had a need for affection; he enjoyed touch, hugs and kisses, which could be viewed as a feminine thing in our culture. Morrie asked Mitch many questions that might have been in a hidden or unknown area of the Johari Window.He asked if he gave to his community, if he was at peace with himself and if he’s trying to be as human as he can be.They weren’t ordinary questions you would ask someone that you haven’t seen in a while, but that part of Morrie’s personality.The questions made Mitch feel uncomfortable because he had changed a lot since college.
Everything he promised himself he wouldn’t do, he did.He traded in his dreams for a larger paycheck when he promised himself that he would never work for money. Mitch’s visit with Morrie had a recency effect.A few weeks later, while Mitch was in London covering a tennis competition, the O.J. Simpson trial was taking place.
While Mitch was thinking about how people give up weeks of their lives listening to someone else’s drama, he thought of what Morrie said.He told Mitch that the culture that exists today doesn’t make people feel good about themselves and if you don’t like it, you would have to create one of your own. Mitch became more aware of people’s behaviors and developed an implicit personality theory.He was knocked over by a rude British reporter and when he flew back to Detroit, the union for his newspaper was on strike.He was out of a job.He began to watch sporting events on TV when he would normally be there covering the event, however nothing had changed with the sports news.
Mitch was realizing that his column wasn’t as important as he thought.His perception of people and the world was changing as he would superimpose words and statements Morrie made to events that he was currently experiencing. Mitch called Morrie and agreed to come visit him the following Tuesday.
Even though Mitch felt a little sympathy for Morrie, Morrie refused to feel sorry for himself.He stayed in touch with the world and still read and watched the news.He actually felt sorry for the innocent people being killed in Bosnia because he felt drawn to them by death.Mitch and Morrie talked about how Morrie would eventually have to adapt predictively to the fact that he wouldn’t be able to use the bathroom alone.He mentioned in the interview with Ted Koppel. It made Mitch laugh and he agreed to meet Tuesday’s because that was when they use to meet in college.
Every Tuesday Mitch and Morrie would discuss various topics.Mitch observed Morrie’s body slowly decaying every week.Every Tuesday.On the eleventh Tuesday, Mitch realized that time was running out quickly. He was more aware of the physical embarrassment but he wanted to be there for Morrie so when Morrie’s therapist took a break, Mitch would give Morrie a massage.They talked about their culture and how people were becoming selfish and self absorbed.People only look out for themselves because they feel threatened.The material culture makes money seem like a god.Morrie said you can’t substitute material things for loveor gentleness.He also goes back to saying that.