Lewis gives advice to his juniors. He warns us against the World, the Flesh, and the Devil. However, Lewis only advises on the World in this writing. Lewis speaks of our desire to be included into an inner ring. To be accepted into a human society is one of the greatest desires of man. Lewis says, “But what of our longing to enter them, our anguish when we are excluded, and the kind of pleasure we feel when we get in?” To be excluded from the ring is probably one of the worse fears of many men. To be alone is anguish to some.
Lewis says sometimes inner rings are good. Everyone needs an inner ring of friends in which they can hold confidences in one another. However, Lewis spends more time explaining how our pursuit to be in the inner ring can cause us to do bad things. Lewis says that good men can become scoundrels; they get sucked into a ring that they know will lead to bad outcomes. Lewis puts it in a very good way, “And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world.” Slowly it will get worse and worse, Lewis says week by week a little farther from the rules, until you become a scoundrel.
Another problem that Lewis presents about the inner ring is that it is often times just our desire to be “in the know.” We may get in, and when we do experience satisfaction. However, such a satisfaction cannot last. Once you are “in” most of the satisfaction begins to ebb away because you realize that it is not as good as you initially thought it was. Lewis puts it in a good way, “The circle cannot have from within the charm it had from outside.” Happiness will never come from wanting to be “in” just for the sake of being “in”