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Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra- (piece of chapter one)

Three metamorphoses of the spirit do I designate to you: how the spirit becometh a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.

"Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong load-bearing spirit in which reverence dwelleth: for the heavy and the heaviest longeth its strength.

What is heavy? so asketh the load-bearing spirit; then kneeleth it down like the camel, and wanteth to be well laden.

What is the heaviest thing, ye heroes? asketh the load-bearing spirit, that I may take it upon me and rejoice in my strength.

Is it not this: To humiliate oneself in order to mortify one's pride? To exhibit one's folly in order to mock at one's wisdom?

Or is it this: To desert our cause when it celebrateth its triumph? To ascend high mountains to tempt the tempter?

Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the sake of truth to suffer hunger of soul?

Or is it this: To be sick and dismiss comforters, and make friends of the deaf, who never hear thy requests?

Or is it this: To go into foul water when it is the water of truth, and not disclaim cold frogs and hot toads?

Or is it this: To love those who despise us, and give one's hand to the phantom when it is going to frighten us?

All these heaviest things the load-bearing spirit taketh upon itself: and like the camel, which, when laden, hasteneth into the wilderness, so hasteneth the spirit into its wilderness.

But in the loneliest wilderness happeneth the second metamorphosis: here the spirit becometh a lion; freedom will it capture, and lordship in its own wilderness.

Its last Lord it here seeketh: hostile will it be to him, and to its last God; for victory will it struggle with the great dragon"

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Comment by Ethan Hval on Tuesday

Oooh! I do so love this book!

Here's my understanding of the three metamorphoses:

The camel: we must renounce the comforts we've grown attached to and accept the difficulties associated with a true search for knowledge and wisdom.

The lion: establishes independence. Rejecting outside influences allows us to grow in strength and increases our sense of will. 

The child: symbolizes new life/creation. The result of the the hard work we put in in the previous stages. 

As the camel we develop the intellectual and technical skills. During this time we receive the help and guidance of teachers and those who have gone before us. 

Eventually, we must learn to assert our own independence. There will come a time when we begin to discover truth on our own and we must reject the influence of others if we are to become the master. This is symbolized by the lion always a good symbol of strength and independence. 

Ultimately we should be able to express ourselves in a new way based on what we've learned from the previous stages. After the struggles of learning and growing on our own we can finally bask in a childlike innocence. We have new eyes and see the world in a fresh light. 

This process isn't an easy one and it's often a painful journey for those who are brave enough to undertake it. But it's necessary if we are to achieve a sense of transformation in our lives. 

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