The three life-changing metamorphoses of the spirit


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“Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.”

Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche might not be known for a spiritual teacher or philosopher since he has always stood against the church and Christianity. However, in his masterpiece “Thus spoke Zarathustra” he presents three stages humans can go through in order for their spirits to flourish.

It is the metaphor of human evolution: how the spirit becomes a camel, a camel a lion and at last the lion a child.

The first stage of the metaphor: the stage of the spirit also called the sheep stage.

The journey of soul flourishing starts with the spirit, invisible and unremarkable, it ultimately refers to humans whose lives are limited by certain approach to existence. A person equivalent to the spirit is a person who lives fearfully complying blindly to norms dictated from above, surviving a life they completely have no power over. It might as well be noticeable that this behavior is sheepish. People at this stage are not accomplishing much else than just surviving the days and for that they can never be the masters of their fates.

To grow and evolve the spirit has to get by change and times of discomfort, transcending the sheepish compliance. By transcending this paradigm, the soul rises above the challenges with courage and insight.

You as a person might be at this stage, fearful of what the future holds for you, completely enable to justify your existence or stand up for yourself, you might also feel uncomfortable just as the word “change” is mentioned. A lot of people are exactly like you, afraid to conquer the world too!

By staying with me as I take you on this journey of soul flourishing you might stand out and move to the next step.

The first metamorphosis — the spirit into a camel:

The spirit decides to overcome itself.

We as human beings tend to need to prove our existence so we seek out the heaviest and most burdensome insights for ourselves to dwell in them as a rite of passage. The spirit eagerly searches for the weightiest loads to forbear.

Camels can carry great weights and survive the desert; they are beasts of burden and they voluntarily take the weightiest in order for them to justify as to what they are not intimidated by discomfort. Thy demand the maximum out of themselves.

Camels represent our lives at some extent we obey the rules and comply to them, we are on a quest to please the system and everybody, we forbear the most burdensome weights and we are not to complain because we agreed somehow to stand them.

Most of the weights we carry are societal norms, we accept the duty and do not question it, we tend to prove that we are capable of being a somewhat “nice person”.

Although the camel has raised above the spirit, it is not much different than the spirit for it doesn’t question or challenge the rules imposed upon him.

For a camel, life is a set of evidences and unless it realizes the pointlessness of living in the jail of rules only then it can rise above himself.

The second metamorphosis — the camel into a lion:

The camel has realized that he was living in a cage he had never considered escaping, a cage of rules and values he has never questioned before.

Now, it has become all clear that it’s absurd to imprison oneself in a prison of nothing but what people, systems or any other structures decided are going to be rules and values.

Now the camel has become a lion. A lion inspires power, a lion is not afraid to reject codes imposed upon him, he is always in the ongoing fight for his freedom and liberty. The lion realizes that what he once held as an evidence in his mind on what true and wrong are is nothing but a reflection of what others led him to believe.

The lion then starts destroying what other have built and assigned to him.

When the camel has arrived to the desert and transformed into a lion, the lion then wanted to appropriate the desert and make it his own. But despite the illuminated perspective of the lion he is still under the control of existing structures, in fact his desire to defeat what was forced onto him is nothing but a reaction.

In other words, the freedom he seeks is negative in nature, it is a reaction against the PRISON. In order for the lion to truly be free, he has to completely let go of the idea of an existing jail. Raising above himself, the lion has to completely start all over and build up his own existence free from any matter that might hold him prisoner be it a somewhat structure.

Nothing can stop a lion from creating his own values and enforcing his own rules and be totally free and liberated.

But, If the jail did not exist, the lion would have never fought for his freedom. In real life most adults have been obsessed with freedom and fought for it at a certain point of their lives, mostly at the phase of adolescence when adolescents become aware of the existing structures that confine them, family for instance.

Now, the lion is left at a state of nothingness and unless he fills the blank canvas, he can become a child.

The third metamorphosis — lion into a child:

In order for the lion to become a child he has to let go of his negative reactions embrace life and see it as joyful game.

A child is innocence, a child is a new beginning. Unlike the lion the child does not react because it doesn’t seek approval and his freedom is not dependent on an existing prison.

Life is no longer a reactive struggle and that is why a child is never worried.

He: doesn’t stand for gender specification.


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Issam ElMeddah
19 ans, Etudiant à l'ENCG Marrakech. "J'écris sur les murs de mes fantaisies enfantines des mots qui sentent l'ardeur de l'espoir et l'innocence du petit, après je rompt le silence et mes larmes se mettent à couler, Ma foi !"

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