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Part I: "Of the Three Metamorphoses"

Part 1 of the similarities between the book, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” by Friedrich Nietzcshe and Taoist thought.

In the section, “Of the Three Metamorphoses,” Nietzsche mentions the important qualities of a baby, an idea often visited by Taoists. In this passage Nietzsche explains the evolution we can experience as humans to realize our full potential through an analogy including a camel , a lion, and a baby. First he says:

“There are many heavy things for the spirit, for the strong, weight-bearing spirit in which dwell respect and awe: its strength longs for the heavy, for the heaviest. What is heavy? Thus asks the weight-bearing spirit, thus it kneels down like the camel and wants to be well laden. “

This reminds me well of the spirit of one beginning a study or training in the Taoist arts, particularly of the martial quality. After one searches and finally meets a teacher they find wise, do they not bow and ask humbly for their teaching? And do they not often desire a heavy load, or even the heaviest load of training in order to fully realize their quest?

Then, one must become a lion:

My brothers, why is the lion needed in the spirit? … To create new values – even the lion is incapable of that: but to create itself freedom for new creation – that the might of the lion can do … To seize the right to new values – that is the most terrible proceeding for a weight-bearing and reverential spirit. Truly, to this spirit it is a theft and a work for an animal of prey. “

In order to make way for “new” learning, we must destroy the old. I think in Taoism, and again particularly in the martial arts, one is encouraged to learn and forget. To forget and to kill I believe are the same here. How can one possibly learn more, and in the end ideally express themselves freely with so many old thoughts, ways, forms, and habits? We must cleanse our palates as the winter does for the earth. The winter, the lion, to forget.

Now, for what I started this for:

“The child is innocence and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a sport, a self-propelling wheel, a first motion, a sacred Yes. Yes, a sacred Yes is needed, my brothers, for the sport of creation: the spirit now wills its own will, the spirit sundered from the world now wins its own world. “

Yes! We must create and experience from and for our own experience. Innocence is pure, untainted by ego’s folly one acquires after many years. To experience the world around us fully and in our own most personal way is the ideal, and to Nietzsche and the Taoists, it seems there is no better example of this than the infant. After years of training, and a period of forgetting, destroying, and clearing, one may emerge again, reforged and with NOTHING … the great Nothing from which one can truly see again, and inevitably start the process once again.

Ever spiraling upwards towards our enlightenment. It must be seen through the eyes of a babe.

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