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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?


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