In a Disenchanted Universe, the modern Dystopia, where a multitude of causes and "little truths" compete for recognition, Nietzsche remains a towering presence. This is the time when Marx is being hurriedly dragged down from the high pedestal he occupied in the shady groves of Academe. The infatuations of old don't look quite the same with all the changes in global political landscape. Neither the Church nor the State are held in high esteem and many grizzled veterans of ideological wars hope no one is looking while they remove the somewhat embarrassing insignia from their dusty tunics. Why is Nietzsche attractive to so many readers nowadays? The voice of Nietzsche is clear and strong, it is full of animal vigour, for him doubt and vacillation don't exist. And he speaks for the complete Being: both the intellectual and the sensual parts of our personality. There is an aesthetic and psychological orientation in Nietzsche that foreshadowed both Freud and Jung, the fathers of the modern psychology. Some have also seen Nietzsche, along with Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky, as the founders of Existentialism. APOLLO AND DIONYSUS Nietzsche defined a certain aesthetic and world-transforming duality that proved to be very influential in the history of ideas. He saw the world as a battle-ground where two fundamental forces of Nature struggle for supremacy: the Apollonian and the Dionysian. Apollo - the placid god of tranquillity and unity is the eternal opponent of Dionysus, the riotous, orgiastic, at once a creative and a destructive god, somewhat akin to Shiva of India. Although from the standpoint of modern anthropology this mythic metaphor may seem somewhat problematic, nevertheless, there is something very enchanting and appealing about it that helps us gain some insight into our world of rapid social change, confusion and uncertainty. THE SUPERMAN Nietzsche's theory of the Superman indicates that Nietzsche espoused a hierarchical view of social organisation. Of course, in the present age of Political Correctness, hierarchy is next only to the Devil in popularity. Yet hierarchies are inherent in Nature - that much is obvious to any biologist or ecologist. Every animal society on this planet is hierarchical in some measure (a subject studied by Sociobiology, a much misunderstood and maligned science). Multitudes of examples may be cited. Among mammals, who are almost all extremely social animals, rigid hierarchies determine most feeding and sexual behaviour. Birds have their "pecking order". "Slavery" has been described as practised by a number of ant species (Slave Raider ants capture members of another specie of ants to serve them as workers). There seems to be something inherently Utopian and irrational in the modern Left-wing-Anarchist tendency to dismiss hierarchy out of hand: to demonise it. Nietzsche was fascinated by strong leaders of history. He believed that the strong had an intrinsic right to dominate the rest of the population. Therefore, in some sense, he can be seen as a Social Darwinist, a sort of an ideological forefather of Margaret Thatcher. Yet recognising that human societies are hierarchical and competitive by nature, that human nature is competitive, doesn't yet imply that we should all rush headlong into competition. To the contrary, if we recognise the truth about our own nature, this may allow us to understand ourselves better and to control our natural competitiveness through the intervention of reason. Debate still rages how much Nietzsche's theories affected the course of the XX century. Is Nietzsche to be blamed for the rise of XX century dictators? Who can tell? But could his guilt be any greater than that of Marx? Let us keep in mind that Stalin never read any Nietzsche. THE RELIGION OF THE VICTIM The main criticism of Christianity offered by Nietzsche was that it is a religion of the weak and the wretched - of the lowly mob. According to him, a strong spirit can only suffocate in the Christian atmosphere of sin and guilt. He had trouble swallowing the biblical doctrine of the Original Sin, a doctrine that is, admittedly, very difficult to reconcile with the evolutionary view of the Universe. According to Nietzsche, Christianity is the religion of the slave, of the pathetic and the deformed - religion worshipping powerlessness, pain and suffering. There's a certain irony and contradiction in Nietzsche. Why, if Christianity is the religion of the weak, did it conquer the mighty Roman Empire, and then the world? Why are the Judeo-Christian religions (including Islam) the ruling religious doctrines of the world? If Christianity truly is the religion of the weak - why, it should have stayed, 2000 years ago, a tiny sect of disaffected Jews, and should have withered long ago! Obviously, within the complex and, in the main, self-contradictory body of Christian doctrine there were other elements than just wallowing in self-pity. The rigid hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church may indeed have nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus, the man, yet as most people know, you can base just about anything on the Bible. HIERARCHIES Nietzsche's views on hierarchy may encourage us to take an inquiring look at this important issue. One of the lessons of history is that an all-too-violent and over-eager rejection of the hierarchical world order may be an attempt - both self-deceiving and counterproductive - to reject reality. The best example of what happens when hierarchy is rejected too vehemently is the history of Marxist doctrine. Marx, as most people know, was strongly anti-hierarchical and anti-State. His famous prediction was that under Marxist rule the State will "wither away". It would be funny (if it wasn't so sad) to observe what happened to the State after Marxists seized power in Russia. The State became the Monster. (To that school of thought among today's Marxists who claim that Marxism was perverted by the Russians - we can only observe that there must be something drastically wrong with a doctrine that is so amazingly easy to pervert and to turn into its exact opposite.) Hierarchy was intrinsic in human social organisation for at least 5000 years, ever since the rise of great ancient empires in the Fertile Crescent of Eastern Mediterranean. To pretend that hierarchy would disappear in the near future, in the coming world of poverty, violence and overpopulation, when most of humanity will be living in monstrous 30-million plus urban slums is delusionary, to say the least. THE UNIFIER Joseph Campbell, in his awesome tome, CREATIVE MYTHOLOGY, sees Nietzsche as a powerful exponent of the Unity of Being - the Unity of all living things. Campbell traces a long and complicated evolution of this concept of the World as One. This trajectory moves through mystical illuminations of the Shaman's Dream Flight, the matriarchal Nature cults of ancient Europe, on to the Indian Vedas, the ancient Gnostics, the Cabbalists, mediaeval alchemists, Spinoza, and on towards such latter-day Gnostics as William Blake, Goethe and Karl Jung. Campbell decries the hopelessly split and dualistic world of mainstream Western culture, based on the Bible, that sees Creation as fragmented and divided. He sees the official Christianity as hopelessly dualistic: Christian dualism is the body-soul dualism. The body, according to this view, is inherently evil - the soul can only be free and happy after death. Yet, as Campbell sees it, the philosophic views of Descartes, the founding spirit of the Scientific Enlightenment, are also hopelessly dualistic. Cartesian dualism is the mind-body dualism. As opposed to both of these dualisms, Nietzsche celebrated the healthy sensuality of the corporal - the purity and joy of deep-reaching Dionysian creative spirit - the Life Force of the Universe as Will-To-Power. Nietzsche chose Zarathustra as his narrator primarily because he saw in Zarathustra, a sage who was pre-Biblical, the voice for the Unity of Being. Nietzsche's Zarathustra is the poet-sage who combines both logical and the sensual. Thus Zarathustra could express the Reality the way it was before it was "corrupted" by biblical morality: the reality beyond Good and Evil. A CRYPTO-CHRISTIAN? Obviously, Nietzsche's ideas cannot be accepted uncritically in our day and age. There are a number of clear contradictions in his work that we should be cautious about. For Nietzsche, while quite prepared to celebrate strength, sensuality, and the body, was very ambiguous about the role of suffering in human life. While he condemned Christianity as morbid and suffering-obsessed - curiously, he saw the destiny of the Super-Man as... suffering. Thus, Nietzsche continued to see suffering as something quite noble, and, therefore, he was accused by some of being a crypto-Christian. His own life-story probably affected his philosophy in this respect. For Nietzsche was an invalid, a sufferer from a deadly disease: syphilis. A troubling point is Nietzsche's attitude towards women. His misogyny is never far from the surface and this misogyny obviously came into conflict with his inclusionary instinct as a Unifier of the fragmented Being. How, indeed, could he formulate the philosophy of Unity while excluding half of humanity? But, obviously, he was not the only one suffering from the delusions of patriarchy in the XIX century. The voices of women provide a crucial perspective to our redefining of the existing moral order as we enter the new millennium. When, in a typical Nietzscheanism, he said that the philosophical Truth is just like a woman (in the sense that she is so difficult for philosophers to please), he probably didn't imply by this either his approval of women, or his acceptance of the view that the Truth exists. BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL As we stare into the Future where dark clouds drift abundantly on the horizon, what can we make of Nietzsche's injunction to go beyond Good and Evil? To me, Nietzsche's phrase means very clearly that we should escape from the oppressive moral dualism of the patriarchal, nature-hating Judeo-Christian ethical code. The Evil, as is defined by our existing moral authority, is a myth. It is bound too closely with such other myths as the Apocalypse, the Last Judgement, the Original Sin, and the Devil. The Evil must be demythologised and redefined. That the Apocalypse is coming there's little doubt, and yet it is not the God but the Christians who are bringing it about. I would suggest that the moral code of the future would define Evil as any attitude that is destructive of Nature and sustainability. The Christian Apocalypse still colours our perception far too powerfully. The End-is-nigh philosophy, so beloved of St. Paul, still makes most members of our society assume that we shouldn't worry too much about the benefit of the future generations who will live on this planet, and about what kind of a planet they will inherit: the legacy of polluted and destroyed eco-systems. The Judeo-Christian God - most certainly a false God, rooted far too powerfully in the past - may have become the biggest obstacle to environmental awareness and action in our time. The negative attitude of the Church and the Mosque to contraception and abortion is only one proof of that. We may rejoice with Nietzsche that "the God (the patriarchal, intolerant god) is dead". Yet we may be sad it is not yet buried. To move "beyond Good and Evil" may be simply to try to see the Good and Bad, and to act on this understanding.