Yesterday I finished 'Tuesdays With Morrie'. The story was wonderful. It seemed to have all the answers I was thinking about in my last blog.
We have two main challenges in our western worker's lives. The first is how to be a good human: a parent, child, spouse, friend, citizen. The second is how to be a good worker.
Problems arise when our priorities get mixed. It seems that we are rushing around looking for shortcuts to Fame and Fortune. In that race we pause at the altar of Mammon to sacrifice everything that really carries a meaning in our lives.
One aspect of that rat race was covered by columnist Jaakko Lyytinen who wrote (Helsingin Sanomat Dec 24, 2010, page D4) about his week without media. On his third day he pondered about slow movement, downshifting and degrowth. On the outcome of the information society he quoted Dr. Jussi T. Koski:
Complicating every day life makes us simple minded.Dr. Koski explains this further: It happens, because our time is consumed in surviving by dealing with different types of messes and putting out fires in our ordinary lives instead of true learning or gaining sustainable growth as human beings (as we should, eh?).
Hence, our obsessive consumption of media (as in hunt for more knowledge to grow wiser?) seems to turn against our better judgement.
Another media coverage in Taloussanomat, (F) hit really hard with its title: "30-year-olds need dementia pills in order to work". The article talked about doping in work and the new standard of workers. Stock brokers with no fear, no need to sleep, knowledge workers boosting their brain with dementia pills, the new office cocaine.
..they're chasing the wrong things..What is interesting, is that excessive media consumption can actually be explained with chemical reactions in our brains. According to researchers Irving Biederman and Edward A Vessel, every time we learn something new, this realization releases chemicals that make us feel a bliss. Isn't that what different drugs do, thus causing addiction?
Would that be the all-covering explanation to all the discontent we struggle with and neglect we cause one another? That we've changed everything enduring (that can only be built with time, slowly and gradually) in our lives to something drug-like, something that can and will take us high and fast (until we need a bigger dose).
A culture with a cry "I want everything and I want it right now! Move out of my way!"
..people walk aroung with a meaningless life..And in that altar of Mammon we abandon our kids - and our soul. Taloussanomat (F) analyzed in another article that parents who take work at home actually steal precious time and attention from their children. Trying to attend to kids with only half of your heart never works.
The crime in it is that we're all they've got. Their self-esteem is built on our attention and interest in them. The mere thought rises a silent sob deep within me.
This is where I want to bring in my Albom.
In 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' Albom haunts his reader by saying "All parents damage their children. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers". Fortunately, he also relieves the reader with his message of forgiveness.
Inspite all our past damages, we are blessed with possessing the key to our freedom. We just need to use it. We need to open the door that is stopping us. It is called letting go.
Mitch asks Morrie about getting used to his illness. "It's like going back to being a child again", Morrie says.
This theme of letting go and forgiving, others and - what is sometimes even harder - oneself, is strongly present in Albom's themes. If you were being deprived in your childhood, don't lose the rest of your life by letting your past hold you a captive. Dare to confront your fears and losses. Step outside your anger. Go after anything you've missed.
Be this wonderful person you now are, with your scars and deprivations and all.
Morrie's entire being becomes somehow victorious in front of death. In order to be able to go on to the very end, he finds the small pleasures of life anew.
"In the beginning of life we need others to survive. And at the end of life, you need others to survive. But here's the secret: in the between, we need others, as well", he reveals to Mitch. He dares to rely on Life, totally, like once before, as a child. He says,
The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live."So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things."
After all, you are in charge of the rest of your life, whether you're going to be happy or miserable. Once the one who hurt you is gone, there is nothing he or she can do about your feelings. It's up to you now. Only you can let go. The choice is yours.
"The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devoting yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning."
Previously on related topics:
Who is Man 2.0?
Empower every man