"He shall be the greatest who can be the loneliest, the most hidden, the most deviating, the human being beyond good and evil..."
Friedrich Nietzsche died over a century ago, but his writings speak to today's world perhaps more than any other philosopher. After the September 11th attacks, the world was plunged into a period of uncertainty. No longer did fundamental assumptions hold true, and the issues facing the world seemed far from black and white.
Nietzsche himself challenged the fundamental bases of the world a century ago, and concluded that one must constantly challenge what the world assumes to be true.
"The snake that cannot shed its skin perishes," Nietzsche wrote. "So do the spirits who are prevented from changing their opinions."
In response to September 11th, the nation rallied around patriotism and religion and its president, without questioning anything. President Bush called everyone he didn't like "evil," proving that the world was far from moving beyond good and evil as Nietzsche had hoped.
This hour, we examine the message that Friedrich Nietzsche brings to a world struggling to figure out what it all means.
Peter Berkowitz, professor of law at George Mason University, author of "Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist"
Richard Schacht, professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois, Executive Director of the North American Nietzsche Society
This program aired on April 18, 2002.