Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Camel, Lion, and Baby

Nietzsche conceives of a metaphor for a spirit "that would bear much" weight (TSZ On the Three Metamorphoses). Every individual is a piece of fate, and many believe they know which direction fate should go. The 'great many' make up the herd. There spirits do not wish to carry, they only would like to see their pastures to become more safe, for a sheep needs saftey. Many carry on this task of making the grasses greener; the socialist spirit would ask, "how could one want things differently!? one would have to be insane or--evil!" But nevertheless, such spirits do come along.

The strong spirit demands to carry much, but finds that what it is given to carry is not enough, it demands only the most difficult. This spirit piles on whatever it can, becoming a Camel. This camel bears the weight of his task, but eventually finds his work meaningless and illusory, he finds himself, in a spiritual desert.

This Camel no longer finds meaning in the values subscribed to him; he is a spirit too strong to take on this task, he no longer wishes to bear the weight of values that do not come from his own. The Camel becomes a Lion, the spirit that fights against these false values in order to find his own place, his own freedom. The Lion is the no-saying spirit, but his role is not only to deny, but to make room for new yeas.

This Lion becomes a Child. What is this child? He is a new beginning. This requires first a forgetting of the old, and then, the start of a new game. He is the beginning of a new wheel, his piece the center of a motion that picks up new pieces along its path, creating a new world along its way.

What is this child one may ask? A laborer? An idol? A hero? A devil?
No! But perhaps he is--the latter!
The laborer is the Camel, the idol the Dragon, the hero the Lion. What this child is, is a God!
The Child is not a great carrier, nor a a struggler. He has suprassed toil, a God does not struggle.
The Ubermensch is like a child playing with blocks, placing the pieces where he woud will his creation. And what could be more devilish, to treat others as a piece? But that is the innocence of the Child. His creation will be built with disregard to protest; the child will grow up, and his value bloom as far as the fertile ground his Lion carved out will allow for it.

Who are these men, capable of finding their creative abilities? They are "only the rarest and most lucky" capable of the "most sublime human joys in which Life celebrates its own glorification" (Will to Power 1051). These men do not just appear, they and "their forbears have lived a long preparatory life leading to this goal, without however, having done so consciously." Not everyone is capable of Supermanhood.

It is a mistake to think of this metaphor as a linear path, it, as other aspects of Nietzsche's philosophy such as the Eternal Return, can be conceived of cyclically. A creator finds he can bear ever more weight, fight an even greater fight, and find new "happy isles" for his soil to grow on. How far can this creator go? Well that depends on the soil that he grew on.

I would like to acknowledge Sauwelios for connecting WTP 1051 with the Metamorphoses.

2 comments:

jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jason said...

I like your interpretation.