What are the (maybe subtle) differences between the three words in the question? Which one would you prefer in which context?
I am translating a text from German where the word "Sockel" is used, and in the text it has the three meanings:
- basis or ground layer of a natural structure
- metaphorically, something which serves as a base for higher (mental or spiritual) achievements
- something on which you put a statue
Ideally, the English word should have all these connotations too.
Additional question: Could a simple "base" or "foundation" work too?