Mere Christianity, Book IV, Chapter 8
C. S. Lewis
The ordinary ideal which we all have before we become Christians is this. We take as a starting point our ordinary self with its various desires and interests. We then admit that something else—call it “morality” or “decent behavior” or “the good of society”—has claims on this self; claims which interfere with its own desires. What we mean by “being good” is giving in to those claims. Some of the things the ordinary self wanted to do turn out to be what we call “wrong”: well, we must give them up. Other things, which the self did not want to do, turn out to be what we call “right”: well, we shall have to do them. But we are hoping all the time that when all the demands have been met, the poor natural self will still have some chance, and some time, to get on with its own life and do what it likes. In fact, we are very like an honest man paying his taxes. He pays them all right, but he does hope that there will be enough left over for him to live on. Because we are still taking our natural self as the starting point.