On the Three Metamorphoses

Three metamorphoses of the spirit I name for you: howthe spirit becomes a camel, and the camel a lion, and finally the lion a child.

To the spirit there is much that is heavy; to the strong, carrying spirit imbued with reverence. Its strength demands what is heavy and heaviest.

What is heavy? thus asks the carrying spirit. It kneels down like a camel and wants to be well loaded.

What is heaviest, you heroes? thus asks the carrying spirit, so that I might take it upon myself and rejoice in my strength.

Is it not this: lowering oneself in order to hurt one’s pride? Letting one’s foolishness glow in order to mock one’s wisdom?

Or is it this: abandoning our cause when it celebrates victory? Climbing high mountains in order to tempt the tempter?

Or is it this: feeding on the acorns and grass of knowledge and for the sake of truth suffering hunger in one’s soul?

Or is it this: being ill and sending the comforters home and making friends with the deaf who never hear what you want?

Or is it this: wading into dirty water when it is the water of truth, and not shrinking away from cold frogs and hot toads?

Or is it this: loving those who despise us, and extending a hand to the ghost when it wants to frighten us?

All of these heaviest things the carrying spirit takes upon itself, like a loaded camel that hurries into the desert, thus it hurries into its desert.

But in the loneliest desert the second metamorphosis occurs. Here the spirit becomes lion, it wants to hunt down its freedom and be master in its own desert.

Here it seeks its last master, and wants to fight him and its last god. For victory it wants to battle the great dragon.

Who is the great dragon whom the spirit no longer wants to call master and god? “Thou shalt” is the name of the great dragon. But the spirit of the lion says “I will.”

“Thou shalt” stands in its way, gleaming golden, a scaly animal, and upon every scale “thou shalt!” gleams like gold.

The values of millennia gleam on these scales, and thus speaks the most powerful of all dragons: “the value of all things – it gleams in me.

All value has already been created, and the value of all created things – that am I. Indeed, there shall be no more ‘I will!’” Thus speaks the dragon.

My brothers, why is the lion required by the spirit? Why does the beast of burden, renouncing and reverent, not suffice?

To create new values – not even the lion is capable of that: but to create freedom for itself for new creation – that is within the power of the lion.

To create freedom for oneself and also a sacred No to duty: for that, my brothers, the lion is required.

To take the right to new values – that is the most terrible taking for a carrying and reverent spirit. Indeed, it is preying, and the work of a predatory animal.

Once it loved “thou shalt” as its most sacred, now itmust find delusion and despotism even in what is most sacred to it, in order to wrest freedom from its love by preying. The lion is required for this preying.

But tell me, my brothers, of what is the child capable that even the lion is not? Why must the preying lion still become a child?

The child is innocence and forgetting, a newbeginning, a game, a wheel rolling out of itself, a first movement, a sacred yes-saying.

Yes, for the gameof creationmy brothers a sacred yes-saying is required.

The spirit wants its will, the one lost to the world now wins its own world.

Three metamorphoses of the spirit I named for you: how the spirit became a camel, and the camel a lion, and finally the lion a child. – Thus spoke Zarathustra. And then he sojourned in the town which is called The Motley Cow.