The Camel, The Lion, and The Child


These are Nietzsche’s three metamorphoses of the spirit; camel, lion, and child.


The Camel: Takes the heavy weight of all burdens; the load-bearing spirit.  For all things heavy does the camel kneel down and take upon its back.  The camel asks, “What is the heaviest thing, that I may bear it, and rejoice in my strength”.  There are countless burdens that the camel may bear; the burden of suffering, the pursuit of knowledge and truth, the pursuit of all good things for themselves with no reward or recognition, the willful playing of the “fool” in order to gain wisdom, holding yourself to a higher standard for its own sake, taking on the death of all things you thought you knew, relinquishing all pride and ignorance for the sake of being better off for it, that long and toiling journey of finding what is “worth it” in this world, destroying all past values and creating new ones, confrontation with death; both literal and figurative, the crushing weight of sin, or rather all past negative experiences and actions, rejection of all things conformity and having to recreate yourself from scratch, and even just the burden of having to live in this world.  The camel then ventures into the wilderness, and in the loneliest wilderness does it become a lion.


The Lion: The master of its domain.  King of its creation.  The lion is set free from its burden.  It has new values, it is creative.  It is naturally life-affirming.  It is thriving.  The lion is not reliant on anything, it is the archetype of self-reliance.  It looks no further than itself to find all good things.  It is both tame and wild; the raging and roaring spirit unleashed on the world; possibly in an equally controlled matter, as the individual is the onlooker of the spirit.  The lion is the source of the unleashed soul, and it is not dependent on other’s values.  It has courage; the courage of affirmation of self.


The Child:  A return to innocence.  A return to the source.  No beliefs, and a tinge of forgetfulness.  The child does not rely on any rule or value, everything is permitted.  The child requires no justification for his actions.  The deepest nature of the spirit, and a return to the Garden of Eden. “Playing”, of the divine.  No values, yet all values; for all values are inherent within the deepest part of the full spirit. The child knows nothing except what is before him.  The child relies on no authority, not even himself.  All things become new again under the child.  All things before him, all things below him, a master of none and a master of all.  The child forgets even its own nature, for it is not needed anymore.  Perfect alignment with the Self.  The heavy weight of the camel, and even the lion, completely destroyed, by the alchemy of the child.  The spirit is full again through an emptying of self.  A great return to the nature of the spirit, from camel, to lion, to child.


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