Skip to main content

Three Metamorphoses – Nietzsche’s philosophy of progress

Writing this as I am reminded that I named this blog “Inner Metamorphosis” as a tribute to Nietzsche’s concept of “three metamorphoses”.

According to Nietzsche there are three stages of progress for man to transform into overman. I feel this holds true for progress in any discipline and of life itself (we shall not probe Nietzsche’s specific context here).

Three Metamorphoses

Every student of an art/ discipline has to go through these stages: Camel, Lion & Child.

Initially, one is a beast of burden (camel) – one must intake as much information as possible from as many sources available. At this stage, one must not desire freedom – they should relentlessly pursue their ambition, get rid of their ego, work under capable men to get experience and learn the “craft” and do whatever it takes to achieve greater finesse in their chosen field.

Next, its time you express your “art” (vision, philosophy, ideas) boldly like a lion, through the craft that you have mastered in the earlier stage. The information you’ve gathered previously is thoroughly digested thus energizing your thought which is articulated to form a coherent body of knowledge. At this stage, confidence in one’s capacity is born and one fearlessly conveys and defends his positions.

After living those convictions for a while, one may begin to question their cherished beliefs and revaluate their values. Thus a child is born from the ashes of lion’s self-confidence, who doesn’t accept anything as a given and whose curiosity doesn’t prevent it from mocking sacred cows. He becomes free from all prejudice and bias and bereft of any ideological baggage it starts the journey afresh. It goes for an adventure into uncharted territories and ventures into mindscape seldom ventured before.

So in which stage of progress are you in your present pursuit?


Popular posts from this blog

The concept of Dharma in Ramayana

The concept of Dharma is not adequately understood by Hindus themselves, not to mention others. Dharma is not a set of do’s and don’t’s or a simplistic evaluation of good and bad. It requires considerable intellectual exertion to even begin understanding Dharma, let alone mastering its use.

Is Dharma Translatable?
Few words of a language cannot be faithfully translated into another without injuring its meaning, context & spirit. English translations of Dharma are blurred and yield words like religion, sense of righteousness, discrimination between good and bad, morals and ethics or that which is lawful. All these fall short of fully grasping the essence of Dharma.
Every language has an ecosystem of words, categories and grammar which allow a user to stitch words together to maximum effect such that meaning permeates the text without necessarily being explicitly explained at each point. Sanskrit words such dharma, karma, sloka, mantra, guru etc., now incorporated in English, lose thei…

How Linguistic States strengthened Indian Unity

Be like a garland maker, O king; not like a charcoal burner.” --Mahabharata
[It asks the king to preserve and protect diversity, in a coherent way. The metaphor used is that of a garland, in which flowers of many colors and forms are strung together for a pleasing effect. The contrast is given against charcoal, which is the result of burning all kinds of wood and reducing diversity to homogeneous dead matter. The charcoal burner is reductionist and destroys diversity, whereas the garland maker celebrates diversity.]
Unification of Germany and Italy populated by similar people was achieved by huge armies spanning across decades. In sharp contrast, India under Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel managed to unite a much larger area divided by culture & languages within few years.
The European experience where new nations were carved over little differences in identity, made the Indian experiment appear poised for a breakup sooner than later. Yet, India managed to stay united though the journey wa…

Chetan Bhagat : His Literary Style and Criticism

Chetan Bhagat’s (CB) recent column created a furore, chiefly because of his audacity to speak for Muslim community and what many people conflate with his support for Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial ambitions.  
But what interested me most - and what this post would focus on - is questioning of his literary merit (or lack of it). Many journalists ridicule CB’s style of writing and his oversimplistic portrayals of characters sans nuance or sophistication. But I suspect this has more to do with the fact that his readers alone far outnumber the combined readers of many journalists - a point that many don’t appear capable of digesting.
No takers for layman’s language!
When Tulsidas rewrote Ramayana in Avadhi (a local contemporary dialect then), many conservative sections of society came down heavily upon him for defiling the sanctity of a much revered epic (originally written in Sanskrit). When Quran was first translated in Urdu (by Shah Abdul Qadir in 1798), it faced intense opposition by …