CS Lewis on "Two Ways With the Self"

“Now, the self can be regarded in two ways.  On the one hand, it is God’s creature, an occasion of love and rejoicing; now, indeed, hateful in condition, but to be pitied and healed.  On the other hand, it is that one self of all others which is called I and me, and which on that ground puts forward an irrational claim to preference.  This claim is to be not only hated, but simply killed; ‘never’, as George Mac Donald says, ‘to be allowed a moment’s respite from eternal death’.  The Christian must wage endless war against the clamour of the ego as ego; but he loves and approves selves as such, though not their sins.  The very self-love which he has to reject is to him a specimen of how he ought to feel to all selves; and he may hope that when he has truly learned (which will hardly be in this life) to love his neighbor as himself, he may then be able to love himself as his neighbor; that is, with charity instead of partiality.  The other kind of self-hatred, on the contrary, hates selves as such.  It begins by accepting the special value of the particular self called me; then, wounded in its pride to find that such a darling object should be so disappointing, it seeks revenge, first upon that self, then on all.  Deeply egoistic, but now with an inverted egoism, it uses the revealing argument, ‘I don’t spare myself’—with the implication ‘then a fortiori I need not spare others’—and becomes like the centurion in Tacitus, ‘More relentless because he had endured.’   The wrong asceticism torments the self: the right kind kills the selfness.  We must die daily: but it is better to love the self than to love nothing, and to pity the self than to pity no one.”