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Pickup Progress: The Camel, Lion, and Child

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In his book, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” Friedrich Nietzsche lays out the path to the “ubermensch,” or the ultra-man. There are three spiritual metamorphoses along the way, starting with the camel.


The camel, as camels do, kneels to shoulder its burden. It is raised in a society where hard work is expected, and it similarly expects all the rewards of society, should it dutifully fulfill its role. It braces itself to carry a particularly heavy role, so that it may redeem greater rewards later on, and follows the ways of the world. You might liken this stage to a young student taking on law school or medical school at the request of their parents, or a man working hard to buy a house or a car to impress the girls.


In this manner, we burden ourselves and work hard to reap the rewards we desire.

This is you

Its last Lord it here seeketh: hostile will it be to him, and to its last God; for victory will it struggle with the great dragon.

What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call Lord and God? ‘Thou-shalt,’ is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion saith, “I will.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Lion, in other words, rejects the “Thou Shalt” of the dragon. This is the ultimate rejection of the duties borne by the world onto the newbie. The beginning of the Lion stage is where many newbies find themselves as they delve into the study of pickup and success with women.


Whereas previously, the camel had been ready to shoulder a heavy burden and “play by the rules” of society – namely, accumulating money and status to attract women (or not, by shrinking away and admitting defeat) – now, the lion refuses to play the game of society. The lion says “no” to the burdens of society and instead says “I will,” a supreme affirmation of his own desire to single-handedly go in pursuit of his desires rather than the path which society has laid out before him.


The lion refuses to buy girls drinks, or date them endlessly. He refuses to go on group dates or dates far from his house or a hotel. He refuses to make simply pleasant and friendly conversation and hope that the girl will make things happen. Now, in the lion stage, the man on his mission learns to reject the “rules” of traditional dating, and instead modify them for his own needs. He pushes girls to meet him on his own terms, and leads the whole encounter.


The lion makes himself known, takes up space, and rejects any situation unfavorable to him and his goals. And this serves the lion very well – he makes a great deal of progress and feels happy that he is asserting his own will on the world rather than merely accepting what comes to him.

This stamp shows the spirit of the Lion!

As its holiest, it once loved ‘Thou-shalt’: now is it forced to find illusion and arbitrariness even in the holiest things, that it may capture freedom from its love: the lion is needed for this capture.

Friedrich Nietzsche

The camel was made asking for burdens, duty, and other rules which “Thou shalt,” yet now has defeated those very things which it had previously sought to carry and follow. The holiest virtue has become transparent and hollow. Now the lion must “find illusion and arbitrariness” in everything. The lion must use the sword of “I will” and “No” to cut through all previously held phantoms and societal rules.


He pushes harder and harder, and then..

NO, Fluffy doesn’t want bathtime!

But tell me, my brethren, what the child can do, which even the lion could not do? Why hath the preying lion still to become a child?

Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea.

Aye, for the game of creating, my brethren, there is needed a holy Yea unto life

Friedrich Nietzsche

After the lion has exhausted his need to say no to the world, he can begin to say yes. However, this is not the same mindless “yes” of the camel, accepting all burdens and responsibilities. Rather, the child says the “holy yes,” which accepts all which creates and loves, nourishes and provides. Now, rather than trying to prove himself as he was in the camel and lion stage (through society’s and his own values, respectively), the child simply is free to exist and go through life with a sense of ease.


In relation to pickup, this is the stage where “no-technique” arises. All the rules and beliefs you once had which helped you in your lion stage are undone, and you can do whatever date plan or whatever opener you wish and the interaction goes much the same. In short, the child frees you up to possibility and the ability to have any sort of beneficial dynamic you would like. Not obsessed with saying “No” to the world, you realize you were missing out on lots of opportunities by saying “No” that now you can explore.


The zen mind, beginners’ mind of the new Child stage opens you up to possibility and sets your purpose as one deeper; less about “getting sex” or proving your worth to girls, and more about checking for affinity and compatibility, and being free to act as you wish. Regardless, you cannot skip the lion phase, a long and important step along the path.

To hear more about The Three Metamorphoses check out the original text or this analysis.  Finally, you can watch the inspiring Elliott Hulse here:

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