Tuesdays with Morrie: An old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson by Mitch Albom. Specifically it will discuss the essence of aging portrayed in the book and existential psychology. Albom's book is an emotional look at the end of a man's life, and how that man's life made a difference in the world, and with the author himself. The book is really a syllabus on aging and what we can learn about ourselves, what we should learn about ourselves before we age, and how to deal with aging and disease. It is inspiring and unique, and makes it seem like aging might not be so bad, after all.
Morrie Swartz was the author's favorite professor at Brandeis University, although they never kept in touch after Albom graduated. In 1994, doctors diagnosed him with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), and he had less than two years to live. The author began spending Tuesdays with him, in a sort of "course" created by death. Morrie did not want anyone to feel sorry for him, instead, "He was intent on proving that the word 'dying' was not synonymous with 'useless'" (Albom, 1997, p. 12). What follows is the inspiring story of a brave man facing his own mortality, but also a glimpse into the world of death and how it intimately relates to aging based on existential psychology. Existential psychology is not overly concerned with death and dying. In fact, "Existential theorists believe that 'although the physicality of death destroys us the idea of death can save us'" (Georganda, 2006, p. 10). They believe that death, in effect, and the knowledge of death, can help us lead more authentic and meaningful lives, an in Morrie's case, the theorists could not have been more correct. He suffered from a disease that was slowly destroying his body, making him more and more dependent on those around him. Yet, he faced his death with courage and even curiosity. He wanted to relate what it was like to die, and he wanted to share his findings with others to make his own death easier. He was strong and brave enough to be interviewed on national television with Ted Koppel about his disease, and in a twist of fate, that interview brought the student and the teacher back together again, to share one of life's most intimate and difficult moments.
They begin meeting on Tuesdays, and Morrie begins to really teach the author about life, death and everything in between. Morrie is genuinely pleased with Albom's company, even though they lost touch for sixteen years. Morrie gets much out of the relationship, but really, it is Albom who is transformed, because Morrie teaches him many things, like wisdom, patience, luck, and just plain goodness. These "lessons" really turn what most people think about aging on their ear. Morrie admits that sometimes he is depressed. He says, "Let me not deceive you. I see certain thing going and I feel a sense of dread" (Albom, 1997, p. 70). However, the book shows that we do not have to be afraid of aging; in fact, we can learn from it and make it the best, most productive and happy times in our lives. We can also learn from those who are aging, rather than acting as if they are old and have nothing left to share or contribute.
Perhaps existentialist psychology can help explain how Morrie managed to maintain his dignity and positive attitude throughout his ordeal. Two psychologists write about death and the realizations that come with impending death, "This occurs against the backdrop of the personal realization that I am ultimately alone in the world and that I have to contend with my mortality and other limitations, taking responsibility for myself in the face of endless challenges and confusions" (Van Deurzen, and Tantam, 2005). Morrie is not afraid to take reasonability for himself and his condition, and this is clear throughout the book. Unlike many people who refuse to talk about or acknowledge death and dying, Morrie is unafraid, and so he inspires those around him to be unafraid, as well. Existentialist theorists believe that our need to understand the meaning of life can lead us to be authentic and a higher place in life and Morrie's life seems to epitomize these beliefs.
Morrie looks at aging far differently than most people, who fear it and dying. He sees many things differently, and that is what helps him…