Again, Mitch flashes back to college, recalling an experiment Morrie had done with his sociology class at Brandeis. For fifteen minutes, Morrie does not say a word and the room is uncomfortably and totally silent. Morrie breaks the silence by asking what is going on in the room, and a discussion about the effect of silence on human relations follows. Mitch is quiet throughout the class, as he is not comfortable with sharing his feelings. Morrie notices Mitch's reluctance to participate, and pulls him aside. He tells Mitch that he reminds him of himself when he was young, as he was also reluctant to reveal his emotions.
One of Morrie's most important lessons to Mitch is the idea of initiating one's own culture if the culture is not conducive to one's happiness and development. However, he seems confused as to how to create a culture of his own, as he has become so adjusted to buying into the modern social values Morrie essentially deems shallow and worthless. How, exactly, does one create his own culture? Mitch understands how Morrie has created his own culture which he has filled with friends, books, and dancing, and after arriving home from London, realizes that he must create his own culture and or wither away in one that has turned him cold and greedy.
Mitch mourns for Morrie's death, and, in a very real sense, his own. A part of Mitch has died since his college days, and he grows increasingly sad and nostalgic for that part of him with every Tuesday he talks with Morrie. Mitch feels as though he has wasted a part of his life, having been deadened to emotion and caring, and now wants to resuscitate the caring man he had been so that he will not waste any more "precious" years of his life, trudging through each day with a healthy body and a deadened spirit. Morrie however, suffers from just the opposite affliction, which, unlike Mitch's problem, is irreversible. Mitch is has the potential to revive his spirit and his kindness, and can redeem himself if he so chooses. Morrie, however, must inevitably suffer as a lively spirit trapped within a dying, withered body.
To make up for the years he has lived with a cold, deadened spirit, an emotional zombie on the run from love and after money, he acts on the remorse he feels for having wasted much of his life, and heeds Morrie's advice that he needs to live as a man who is "fully human." By "fully human," Morrie means a person who creates their own, however unselfish, culture in which they make love their first priority and money their last. To be fully human, in Morrie's terms, is to be kind, compassionate, and accepting — of others and and of oneself. In quoting Levin, who had said, "Love is the only rational act," Morrie means that love is the foremost human behavior that comes naturally to all, and to be "fully human" means not to suppress this urge to love. Love is so irrational, it could be argued, that it is, in itself, a rational act, even in all of its mystery.
Like a newly born baby, Morrie cries often and needs just as much attention as a child would from his mother. Throughout the book, a repeated connection is made between children and the elderly, as both are completely dependent on others for their own survival. Morrie tries to enjoy the process of being a child once more because he revels in the love and attention he now receives because of his condition which the reader will soon learn was almost completely absent from his childhood. This love and attention is also absent in the lives of many adults, as the culture's rules regarding affection between adults is drastically different — and drastically scarce — compared to those for children and the elderly.