Patricia Hofer

CS Lewis on stubbornly clinging to the “natural self”

CS Lewis describes the natural self that we stubbornly cling to in his chapter “The New Men.” He writes: “In fact what I so proudly call “Myself” becomes merely the meeting place for trains of events which I never started and which I cannot stop. What I call ‘My wishes’ become merely the desires thrown up by my physical organism or pumped into me by other men’s thoughts or even suggested to me by devils. … I am not, in my natural state, nearly so much of a person as I like to believe: most of what I call ‘me’ can be very easily explained.”

Not many of us have Lewis’ self-awareness, however. I know I didn’t. For many decades, I clung to this “natural state” even when it failed me. And yet, in isolated, silent moments I yearned for something more. There is perhaps no greater indication of our need for the Saviour than this yearning, this emptiness inside we cannot seem to fill. (from Power of Yielding, p. 119)

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