Understanding the Negative Qualities of the Proprium


In this article, we address the fallen state within all people. A state we must identify and acknowledge before true spiritual growth with the Lord can begin. We are going to explore the intriguing concept of the "proprium" and its detrimental impact on our lives. Coined from the Latin term meaning "what is one's own," the proprium reflects our inherent inclination towards self-centeredness and selfishness, as described in Emanuel Swedenborg's writings. In this article, we will uncover the various negative traits associated with the proprium and understand their profound influence on our behaviour and relationships.

Defining the Proprium

At its core, the proprium is our innate tendency to prioritize our desires and needs above all else, often leading to negative qualities and behaviours. This self-centred mindset lays the foundation for contempt, envy, hostility, deception, lack of empathy, and a disregard for spiritual values.

Contempt for Others

Driven by self-love, the proprium fosters contempt for others, causing us to belittle and disrespect those around us. This dismissive behaviour erodes the worth and value of individuals, creating a toxic atmosphere in our relationships.

Envy and Ill Will

The proprium breeds envy, making us resentful of others' qualities or possessions. This envy can transform into ill will, fueling negative emotions and even prompting malicious actions against those we envy.

Hostility and Hatred

Prioritizing self-interest often results in hostility and various forms of hatred. Misaligned views and lack of support can trigger aggression, conflicts, and violence, further deepening societal divisions.

Deception and Guile

Self-love inclines us to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. Resorting to guile and trickery damages trust and authenticity in relationships, fostering an atmosphere of dishonesty and betrayal.

Lack of Empathy and Cruelty

The proprium diminishes our empathy, making it difficult to connect with others' feelings and experiences. This lack of understanding can lead to callousness, indifference, and even acts of cruelty, severing the bonds of human compassion.

Contempt for the Divine and Truth

Prioritizing personal desires can lead to a disregard for spiritual values and moral principles. This contempt for the divine manifests as insincerity in religious practices and a rejection of ethical guidelines, disrupting our spiritual connection.


In summary, the negative qualities associated with the proprium stem from our innate self-centeredness and selfishness. Recognizing these traits is the first step towards overcoming them. We can cultivate a more compassionate and harmonious existence by acknowledging our tendencies towards contempt, envy, hostility, deception, lack of empathy, and disregard for the divine.

We hope this article opens a small window into understanding your inner world and highlights our walk with the Lord to overcome the negative aspects of our proprium.  May this understanding inspire you to return to the Lord, engage in personal spiritual growth, strengthen relationships, and promote harmony in our society.