Morris S. Schwartz

by Janice from Jakarta

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” -Morris S. Schwartz-

"Morris S. Schwartz is better known to millions of people throughout the world simply as Morrie. He was an American educator who taught sociology to students at Brandeis University for nearly 30 years. He was born on December 20, 1916 in New York City and died on November 4, 1995 in Newton, Massachusetts. A professor with a beautiful mind, he grew up in the Jewish tenements in New York City and got his undergraduate degree from City College in New York. Then, he received his Masters and Ph.D. from the University Of Chicago in 1946 and 1951 respectively. He portrayed his beautiful mind through his his pieces of writing, such as "Letting Go: Reflections on Living While Dying" and "Morrie: In His Own Words."

The Detroit Free Press sportswriter Mitch Albom happened to catch one of the “Nightline” episodes and decided to reconnect with one of his favorite professors while he had been a student at Brandeis: Schwartz. Their conversations led to a very powerful book, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” published two years after Morrie’s death from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The hardback edition stayed on The New York Times Bestseller list for 205 weeks. Then not long after that, a 1999 television movie featured Jack Lemmon, who was himself dying, as Morrie. In 2002, a play based on the book debuted on Broadway and was performed at the Colonial Theater in Boston.

“A teacher to the last," that’s how Morrie wanted to be remembered. In the last year of his life, he taught anyone and everyone. He taught more students than ever – millions all over the world. And I believe his class is still growing, which means that he got his wish. This old sage and old man with a young spirit taught me something that I’ve never thought before: how to live a meaningful life, and how to die with no regrets. Maybe it’s not just me who ever thought like this. With his story, his life, and 2.8 million copies in print of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which was on the best-seller list for two years running and was translated into 22 languages, he made everyone realize that our life is precious. Every little thing we do is gold. Morrie affected millions of people. His teaching helped in making everyone to be as free as possible, to maximize their experience as human beings with the word love. He was never afraid to use that simple word with a big meaning. I think nowadays you can’t say out loud LOVE with everyone. For him, love is the point of life. Part of Morrie’s theme is always maintaining awareness of the humanity of the other, and connecting with the humanity of the other. It’s easy as an academic to get caught up in ideas and neglect actions.

A year ago, I found myself sitting on a bench in my sorority school, Santa Ursula Senior High School, and having my sporadic “Morrie moment.” That day I was so depressed. I felt that every little thing I’d done was wrong. Even if it was an insignificant mistake, my mind had written a message as if it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life. Then I started blaming myself for what I’ve done. Later in the same day, I felt that my life was the worst life that God has given to me, as though there was no love for me anymore. But then I remembered what Morrie said: “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Sometimes you can’t believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too – even when you’re in the dark – even when you’re falling.”

Morrie offered candid, heartfelt insight into many of the philosophical questions about life, work, community, relationships, aging, and death that so many of us ask ourselves, or maybe should be asking ourselves from a unique perspective. Morrie became a mentor to millions of readers and viewers, regardless of their ages, wealth, or occupation. Morrie taught me to be at peace with myself before I make peace with everybody.

Morrie had one basic question: if we’re all so smart, then why aren’t more of us happy? That was a question that Morrie was happy to wrestle with. He said that happiness comes from figuring out what gives your life purpose and then devoting yourself with passion to that purpose. Happiness comes from opening up to people, emotions, and experiences. Morrie made me think that I should forgive myself for not doing the things that I should have done. Morrie didn’t pine for lost youth, he said it would reflect on you as having an unsatisfied life. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven’t found meaning. Because if you found meaning in your life, you wouldn’t want to go back. You want to go forward. Besides that, he gave me spirit to live my life, and to appreciate every second I have by living in a fully conscious, compassionate, and loving way.

Page created on 3/26/2006 3:22:51 PM

Last edited 12/18/2020 8:57:09 AM

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Related Links

Morrie Schwartz - Schwartz's Wikipedia page

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A beautiful mind births a beautiful statement ..