Tuesdays with Morrie Sparknotes, is a true story about a sports writer, Mitch Albom, who found him self, restoring an old friendship. It leads him into looking after his old College professor, Morrie Schwartz and before he knew it, he was learning life’s lessons. Morrie has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs Disease and is actively dying.
This story is about the compassion and insight of a man who knew good in his heart and tried to lived his life to the fullest, until the day he died at home, autonomy. I found it difficult to summarize this touching story.The book has not only left me with a new insight to my own life, but more importantly, how I treat others. It made me reexamine my own ethical principles that I believe in. Tuesdays with Morrie has left me humbled. It appears as though he had a complete peace and wisdom of humanitarianism as we know it and all strive to achieve. May it be the passage to our heaven? Ethical theories and principles are the foundations of ethical study from which points of view can be established as decisions are made.
Each theory emphasizes different points and each principle has common goals that each theory tries to define (1,2,3,4). As I read this story, I learned that Morrie Schwartz’ has related some of the most familiar theories we use, to his life’s greatest lessons. Some of Morrie’s greatest insights are his views on how culture plays into our lives. He explains to Mitch throughout his story that he has spent his life creating his own culture, listening to his heart and doing what was right for him, instead of worrying about what was right by society’s standards.One problem he sees is that we tend to see each other as dissimilar rather than alike. The ethical principle of autonomy states an ethical theory should allow people to have control over them selves and to be able to make decisions that apply to their lives. This means that people should have control over their lives as much as possible because they are the only people who completely understand their chosen type of lifestyle.
Each man deserves respect because only he has had those exact life experiences and understands his emotions, motivations and body in such an intimate manner.In essence, this ethical principle is an extension of the ethical principle of beneficence because a person who is independent usually prefers to have control over his life experiences in order to obtain the lifestyle that he enjoys (1,4). I believe Morrie had complete autonomy of his life in a libertarian view and tried to teach Mitch the importance of respect for other peoples decisions. A similar ideal, was defined by Social activist, Corliss Lamont in his book, The Philosophy of Humanism. The philosophy of Humanism constitutes a profound and passionate affirmation of the joys and beauties, the braveries and idealisms, of existence upon this earth. It heartily welcomes all life-enhancing and healthy pleasures, from the vigorous enjoyments of youth to the contemplative delights of mellowed age, from the simple gratifications of food and drink, sunshine and sports, to the more complex appreciations of art and literature, friendship and social communion. Humanism believes in the beauty of love and the love of beauty.
It exults in the pure magnificence of external nature. (The Philosophy of Humanism, Corliss Lamont. Eighth Edition, March 2001), “ Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a community of those you love and who love you. Learn how to live. Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it.
If we did, we would do things differently. ” (Morris Schwartz, personal communication, p. 157 and p. 81) These words Morrie spoke to Mitch exudes these two principles of ethics. Morrie also points out that everyone should be prepared for death. That way you can actually be more involved in living. Until I read further I didn’t fully understand.
Morrie states, “ Do what the Buddhist do. Every day, have a bird on your shoulder that asks ‘ Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be? ’ ” The principle of beneficence which is to “do good” and to achieve the greatest amount of good because people benefit from the most good would explain the words Morrie spoke. He strived to respect and give the most good to the most people he encountered through his life. The excerpt was a reflection of reminder to himself and our self to live each moment to it’s fullest without regret. Most of us walk around as if we we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience life fully, because we’re half-asleep, doing the things we think we have to do. Facing death however, changes all of that”.
(Morrie Schwartz, personal communication, p. 81) His words point out that a meaningful fulfilled life, is not measured on material possessions. But on how many lives you have touched, by giving someone an ear to talk to, a kiss, a hug, a wave, a thank you, a wink, a positive affirmation, or just a simple hi, how are you. Once again, beneficence.In simple Morris states, “Love each other or perish”. (Morrie Schwartz, personal communication, p. 91 and p.
125) Right up till Morrie died, he gave what seemed 100% of himself to all the lives he had touched, which could be act of act utilitarianism. He spread more love in a few short months by sharing his life lessons, than most of us do in a lifetime. He tried to benefit the most people regardless of personal feelings or societal constraints. The presence of the media being continuously portrayed in the story as evil would be an example of one of the societal constraints he spoke of.Morrie described it as an inherent evil, sucking the passion and ambition from Mitch Hence, allowing a negative appearance of the world’s goodness and community. (SparkNotes Editors). He faced all his emotions and worked all the way through them and then let them go.
“That way when we are faced with an emotion we can identify it, feel it, and let it go”. (Morrie Schwartz, personal communication, p103-104) Another reoccurring theme of this story is food. Throughout Mitch’s visits to Morrie he brings along bags of food from Morrie’s favorite deli’s.Despite knowing that Morrie is too sick to eat, he continues to bring them. The ethical principle here may be seen as a paternalistic view. Mitch could be viewed as the authority in a sense. Although he knows the food is no longer food Morrie can ingest or manage, the gesture depicts the need for Mitch to sustain a sort of control in fear of losing Morrie.
It can be seen as an attempt to prolong Morrie’s life. The main idea of personal autonomy is freedom to control personal values without interference by others. A person such as Morrie has had some of his autonomy taken away and in some aspects of his self control.I believe his wife for example, being his personal caregiver, would hold the position of beneficence, combining the two views would be paternalistic. Although she respected his autonomy she had a significant perspective of what was good for her husband. She kept her job throughout Morries illness. The general concept of this story reflects moral value.
What a good attitude, responsibility and good conduct can result in. For Morrie, “ The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. ( Albolm, p. 43) I believe that Mitch’’s outlook on life made him rethink his own values and rethink his priorities.References: 1)Albom, M. (2007). Tuesdays with Morrie.
New York: Random House Inc. 2)Lamont, Corliss. (2001). The Philosophy of Humanism, Half-Moon Foundation Inc. 3) SparkNotes Editors. (n. d.
). SparkNote on Tuesdays with Morrie. Retrieved December 16, 2010, from http://www. sparknotes. com/lit/morrie/ 4) “Ethical Principles.
” Online. Accessed December 20, 2010.