Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

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In Tuesdays with Morrie, what reasons does Morrie give for rejecting the conventional values prescribed by the popular culture. How has he created his own culture, and what values does it consist of?

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The character of Morrie Schwartz is that of a man whose impending death has rendered him, like he says in his own words, able to "learn how to live". As a way to cope with his own grief, Morrie decides to tap upon his skills and his influence over others as a teacher, and has become a model philosopher for younger people, for former students, for his wife and sons, for Mitch, and even for Ted Koeppel, the TV reporter who interviews Morrie and ends up forming a strong bond with the man. 

The introspection that Morrie finds in the process of coping with the debilitation that comes from being sick with ALS, isolates Morrie's thinking and the result is that Morrie develops a new philosophy of life which he invites others to create for themselves. Part of the reason behind Morrie's rejection of the conventional is not just this introspection, but also the conclusions that this isolation of mind and thought provoked.

In Morrie's conclusion, the a well-lived life is one where you find something that you love and devote yourself entirely to it. However, the media dictates the values of life to the point that people hear about these values so much that they become their reality. It is a form of brainwashing that is brought on by commercialism. 

More is good. More is good. We repeat it--and have it repeated to us--over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all of this, he has no perspective on what's really important anymore...

Hence Morrie goes directly against that dictum and rebels by creating his own system of values, and by listing what is truly important to him. He says that when he was younger he also bought into that way of life and, at the end, he realized that getting everything does not mean acquiring anything at all. 

These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. 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.

Therefore, the "culture" that Morrie builds for himself is one based on selflessness, altruism, good will, and the never-ending search for true goodness. What is immaterial, and affect the lives of others in a good way, is a purposeful and well-lived life. 

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.

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