Friedrich Nietzsche was a prolific 19th-century philosopher and thinker, who is often thought of as the great systems destroyer. He believed from birth that we’re burdened with ideas and scripts which seek to confine our ability to self-actualize. In fact, the highest act of self-reflection in Nietzsche’s opinion was the revaluation of all values. This meant reconsidering your thoughts on good vs. evil, what constitutes a good life, and other foundational concepts that have been conditioned into you from a young age. To that extent, he offers the following analogy as a method for metamorphosis and coming into your own.

The Camel

Life has us start as camels, burdened with cultural baggage. These are things passed down throughout generations without question. For example, the idea that subverting authority is bad, and that being docile and meek is good. The baggage can also be familial, for example, certain generational trauma that seeks to constrain our actions and ability to self-actualize.

The Lion

To evolve beyond the camel, one must become a lion. This entails embracing nonconformity, conquering your will, and creating freedom for yourself. It’s about saying “No” and shaking off excess baggage. This is typical of the teenage rebellion years, however, those who stay in this stage tend to become hardened cynics unable to evolve into the final life-affirming stage.

The Child

At a certain point, however, you need to evolve once again into the child, which represents innocence, forgetting, and a new beginning. The child embodies the sacred yes. A person that is capable of saying yes without reservation, even to suffering.