3 Stages of Development
With a secret hidden 4th stage
In “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, Nietzsche elaborates on the 3 stages of metamorphosis of the human spirit, 3 stages of spiritual development represented by 3 animals as in the tradition of fables:
The first and initial stage is that of the lowest form in the animal kingdom. Known for its stubbornness, the donkey is convinced by its own ideas. The donkey is the hardworking slave to a master that beats it and orders it around. It is always loudly complaining of its misery.
The camel is the second form. It is the animal known to carry a heavy burden and roam around the barren desert in search for a drop of salvation.
The final form is that of the Lion. Highest in the ladder of the animal kingdom and “final evolution” of the donkey. The lion is the animal that has survived many hardships and yet manages to remain calm, dominant over its dominion. It is always vigilant and ready to jump at any opportunity and attack any challenge it encounters with royal grace.
This 3 stages concept resonates with Hegel’s own: Thesis/Antithesis/Synthesis where the synthesis is not simply a reconciliation of two opposing views, but a transcendance.
A. Religion and the 3 stages of spiritual development of any faithful or believer:
At the beginning, the religious person, like a child, is the donkey. Stubbornly believing, without understanding, every dogma they hear. They repeat loudly without comprehending what they are saying. If the donkey hears an opinion that contradicts their teachings, they go mad. The donkey is a zealot, a fanatic.
During the second stage, the donkey has its core beliefs shaken. Maybe the donkey has seen its spiritual Master preaching one thing and doing the complete opposite. It enters the adolescent camel phase. The believer now feels lost in an empty world without meaning. It carries a heavy burden of its own history and traditions. It is trying to reconcile opposing beliefs, confused by what is right or wrong. The camel is agnostic, bordering on atheist.
At the last stage, having gone through many perils, many trips to hell and back, the camel has regained the strength to hold itself (“Être adulte c’est être seul” or “To be an adult is to be alone” said Jean Rostand) and be master of its dominion. It transforms into a lion. The lion is the religious reborn.
The final stage is the same as the first stage; the only difference is the final transformation has made that religious person return back to the faith but more enlightened, capable of having an open conversation about their belief. It is as if the whole process of development was not linear, but circular. The donkey turned camel turned lion returned back to the starting point, the donkey. But it is a new and clear beginning.
Nietzsche also talks about a 4th phase hidden inside the 3rd phase. That is the Lion being a child. Once the Lion is secure of its beliefs, it can become a child again and rediscover religion with new eyes, possibly even creating something new.
B. Women’s emancipation and the 3 stages (using the Hegelian method):
Thesis: A donkey society would look at women at the workplace as something wrong. A woman should be at home raising the children to become men. Luddites see women working as degrading. Donkeys would see foreign policies encouraging women working as propaganda with the intent of destroying the traditional way of life.
Antithesis: A camel society still clings to the traditional belief of having women stay at home, but one bread earner is not enough to make ends meet. It is a necessity for women to work. Maybe one woman can invent something to make it more bearable for everyone. It is degrading or looked down at if a woman stays at home; maybe she is incapable of finding a job, doesn’t have a skill or talent.
Synthesis: A lion society doesn’t care if women or men work. It is a place where both or only one works and one’s job is enough to cover expenses. It is a return to the traditional society but more elevated. It is not degrading to work or be at home.
C. Sexuality and the 3 stages:
Thesis: stubborn anti-gay movement, and the gay population stays under the radar. Famous people stay inside the closet leading a double life. Homosexuality is persecuted and not encouraged. Same as the before, conspiracy donkeys see a foreign propaganda in all forms of media to endoctrinate and encourage homosexuality.
The antithesis: The exact opposite of the spectrum, where homosexuality is encouraged and the woke LGBTQ+ keep pushing for more rights (and add letters to their brand).
The synthesis: reaching a middle ground but without compromises. It is a certain return to a traditional society, where sexuality was simply a private affair and not the concern to the public. And if someone comes out as gay, the reaction would be blasé (better translated as “طز”). A straight lion/lioness might accidentally walk in a gay bar and be secure without feeling confused or doubt their own sexuality.
I think I have given enough relatively simplistic examples of how the concept works.
But how does it apply to a small nation like Jordan. And at which stage do we find ourselves?
Sometimes people make fun of Jordan for still being a “small village” and not a cosmopolitan complex urban tech centre.
What I personally hope for the final stage to look like:
Going to governmental agency to get some paperwork done, I wouldn’t need to make a phone call to someone to “assist” in facilitating my process, expediting the procedure. The system would actually be a lean, mean, efficient machine capable of handling my paperwork within seconds. The old, time-wasting, and frustrating bureaucracy of needing multiple signatures from multiple departments would be gone. There wouldn’t be queues or ticket machines or robot assistants. The personal touch, on the other hand, remains. A person would still go to a public unit, greet a friend or relative working there or even have coffee with the head of the department without asking for a corruptible favour.
This is the final stage of Jordan I wish for: a village, but a transcendent village that has all the perks of a cosmopolitan tech urban lifestyle.