A Scene In Harry Potter
There is a scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where Dumbledore figures out that Harry is somehow reading Voltemort’s mind when Voltemort is planning to kill somebody, including Mr. Weasley, Sirious Black, and Harry himself. Severus Snape needs to teach Harry how to close off his mind, and specifically his memories, because if Voltemort figures this out, he will be able to read Harry’s mind; in Snape’s words, “Read it, control it, unhinge it.” He went on, “It was once the Dark Lord’s pleasure to inflict upon his victims, memories designed to drive them to madness. Only when he had rung the last exquisite ounce of agony, only when he had them literally begging for death, would he finally kill them.”
It’s obviously extremely painful physically for Harry every time Snape reads his thoughts, and we keep getting flashes of both the really good memories he has, and the really bad ones. Harry can’t control his memories as long as he’s scared of what Voltemort will do to him, so Snape tries a new tactic; he starts attacking first Sirious and then Harry’s dad, calling them whining children and weak, and that Harry is just like them. Harry tells Snape that he isn’t weak, but the ironic thing about that, for me anyway, is that, deep down, I think Harry is beginning to think he is, because Snape can read his thoughts so easily. At the same time, Snape knows that Harry isn’t weak; he’s proven that a thousand times.
As long as Harry is thinking only of his own safety, (and sanity) he cannot “discipline his mind; control his emotions.” Only when the people he loves is attacked, and he feels the need to prove himself, can he suddenly not only block his own thoughts, but read Snape’s, (and consequently, finds out that his dad wasn’t always “a great man;” he was a bully when he was Harry’s age.)
Discipline His Mind
Alright, fair question; why did I tell this story and what does it have to do with my goals for 2011? If he could not learn to discipline his mind, Harry risked his sanity and then his life, along with the lives of everybody at Hogwarts, and the entire wizarding community, including the Weasley family, Sirious, Remus Lupin and Mad-Eye Moody; all the people who mean the most to him.
I don’t risk anywhere near that much if I won’t discipline my mind, but I risk my health, my independence, and my ability to create and think. I risk my ability to do good for others, and to use my natural gifts to make the world a little better place. I risk becoming basically a lump, totally dependent on others to do even the simplest things for me, because I’ll be too fat and too weak to do it for myself. I risk being of very little value to anybody, and being a huge burden on my family and society, without really being able to give them anything back.
It seems that, like Harry, as long as I’m thinking only of myself, of my own comfort and how bad I feel, I can’t, or at least won’t, discipline myself. But I’m a whole lot more motivated when I think about how my laziness will affect other people.