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Forms of The Three Metamorphoses of the spirit, title of the first speech of Zarathustra, from Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Friedrich Nietzsche.

The parable outlines the stages the spirit must travel in order to become creative. The first stage, the camel, describes a stage of submission, a stage when the spirit is willing to be loaded with all that is difficult, a stage when the spirit is willing to work and live within an inherited tradition. But this "taking on of the burden" drives the camel spirit into the desert: the truly creative spirit can not be satisfied with what it has inherited, no more than it can be truly creative before it has humbled itself, and completely absorbed that inheritance.

Once in the desert, burdened by the load of tradition, the spirit encounters the dragon of "Thou shalt". In order to progress, this evil must be overcome. To kill the dragon, the spirit must become a lion, the spirit must say "I will." Rebellion against authority makes sense at this stage, but not earlier: rebellion is meaningful only when the authority has been absorbed, only after the spirit has carried the burden willingly.

Finally, after defeating the dragon of "Thou shalt", the creative spirit is born into its final metamorphosis: the child. As Zarathustra says of the child:
The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel, a first movement, a sacred "Yes". For the game of creation, my brothers, a sacred "Yes" is needed...
The progression of the metamorphoses of the spirit is reminiscent of Hegels Theory of Dialectic; Hegel believed all of history moved through a regular progression of thesis (the camel), antithesis (the lion), and synthesis (the child). Eventually, the child, once he has said his sacred "Yes" and brought something new into the world, after his creative act has been thoroughly completed, this child becomes a new thesis; and the process begins again with a new spirit, who must tread the same ground, defy this new creative hegemony, and so bring about another child.

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