Love and friendship
Quotes

To Suffer Is As Human As To Breathe

To Suffer Is As Human As To Breathe

Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world.  Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic.  In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again.  Be honest to those you love, show your pain.  To suffer is as human as to breathe.

Albus Dumbledore echoing a sentiment he shared with Harry after Sirius fell through the veil (CC4)

Commentary

This sentiment seems at first glance to disregard Harry's comment, "It isn't true that I never complained."  However, Harry is responding to Dumbledore's description of him--"You walked uncomplainingly along the path that had been laid at your feet.  Of course I loved you.... ...I have never loved without causing harm."  Harry's comment could be self-deprecating, but in this context, it strikes me almost as a defense--almost as, you knew I was unhappy, and you didn't fix it.  

When I think of it that way, Dumbledore's response is almost an excuse.  He is not perfect, nor is anyone, and in the knowledge of the constant ebb and flow of pain, all we can do is be honest with each other.  Dumbledore is nudging Harry to be honest about his pain.  One of the dominant themes of this story is Harry's relationship with Albus Severus, who is tired of his father's "Harry Potter front."  Dumbledore's painting is gently suggesting to Harry that he should reveal his true nature to his son.

When Harry says Dumbledore has said this before, that suffering is human, he is remembering this moment in Dumbledore's office at the end of Order of the Phoenix.

--AK

Pensieve (Comments)

Tags: emotions expectations grief happiness honesty knowledge magic openness pain perfection poison suffering understanding vulnerability

Editor: