The aim of life is self-development. To realise one’s nature perfectly – that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked.

– Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Chapter 2. The dandy Lord Henry is a metaphor of Oscar Wilde’s aesthetic view on lifestyle. Here Henry uses his influence to soften up Dorian, so that he can win him over as a disciple of his philosophy of "New Hedonism." He accuses people of being afraid of themselves. He presents a vision of just selfishly living for yourself and feeding your own soul. Those who help others and do charitable works only "starve" their own souls, he claims.