He had simply guessed that for me freedom meant the freedom to satisfy desire, private ambition. Against that he set a freedom that must be responsible for its actions; something much older than the existentialist freedom, I suspected — a moral imperative, an almost Christian concept, certainly not a political or democratic one. I thought back over the last few years of my life, the striving for individuality that had obsessed all my generation after the limiting and conforming years of the war, our retreat from society, nation, into self. I knew I couldn’t really answer his charge, the question his story posed; and that I could not get off by claiming that I was a historical victim, powerless to be anything else but selfish — or I should not be able to get off from now on. It was as if he had planted a bandillera in my shoulder, or a succubus on my back: a knowledge I did not want.
— John Fowles, The Magus