By nature, self-love runs wild to the extent that its reins are loosened, that is, to the extent that the outward restraints constituted by fears of the law and its penalties, fears of losing reputation, esteem, profit, position, and life are taken away. It runs wild even to the extent of wanting to rule not only over the whole globe but even over all heaven and the Lord himself. It knows no bound or limit. This is latent in everyone who is focused on self-love even though it may not show in the world, where the restraints we have mentioned hold it back.
We cannot fail to see this in people in power and kings who are not held back by any such restraints. They run wild and conquer as many territories and kingdoms as they can and aspire to boundless power and glory. This is even clearer in the modern Babylon, which extends its control into heaven and transfers all the Lord’s divine power to itself and even craves more.
The reader may see in the booklet Last Judgment that people like this are diametrically opposed to the Divine and to heaven and that they favor hell when they arrive in the other life after death.
Picture a community made up of people like this, all totally in love with themselves, not caring about others unless they are allies, and you will see that their love is no different from that of thieves for each other. To the extent that they are acting in concert, they embrace each other and call each other friends; but once they stop cooperating, once anyone resists their control, they attack and butcher each other. If their deeper natures—their minds—are probed, it will be clear that they are full of virulent hatred for each other, that at heart they ridicule anything fair and honest and even ridicule the Deity, tossing it aside as worthless. This comes out even more clearly from their communities in the hells, which will be described below.
The deeper levels of the thoughts and affections of people who love themselves above all are turned toward themselves and the world—and are turned away, therefore, from the Lord and heaven. This is why such people fall prey to all kinds of evil and why the divine nature cannot flow in. It is because the moment it does flow in, it is submerged in thoughts about self and polluted, and is saturated with evils that arise from their self-centeredness. This is why they all look away from the Lord in the other life, toward the gloom that occupies the site of our world’s sun there and is directly across from heaven’s sun, which is the Lord (see Section 123 above). Darkness means evil, and our world’s sun means self-love.
from Heaven and Hell, Sections 559-561
Section 123: Published 11/20/2016