In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about existentialism. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom. You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone
Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can.

1. What urban legend was created in Todos Santos?

2. How is Don Henley responsible for refuting this claim?

3. How has the 'new' Hotel California added to the mystique surrounding the Eagles?

4. What is the Hotel California a metaphor for in the meaning of life? Be prepared to site specific examples to make your connections.

Existentialism: An Introduction - Existentialism attempts to describe our desire to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. Unfortunately, life might be without inherent meaning (existential atheists) or it might be without a meaning we can understand (existential theists). Either way, the human desires for logic and immortality are futile. We are forced to define our own meanings, knowing they might be temporary. In this existence...The Individual Defines Everything.
Existentialism - Existentialism is a philosophical movement or tendency, emphasizing individual existence, freedom, and choice, that influenced many diverse writers in the 19th and 20th centuries. This site provides background information necessary to make the connections.
Todos Santos Pages - Did the Eagles ever come to Todos Santos? Did Don Henley write the song while staying at the Hotel California in Todos Santos, during the hippie heyday of the late 1960's and early 1970's?
Todos Santos Pages - Eagles member, Don Henley's reply to the Hotel California urban legend.
Hotel California - Origins of the Eagles' 1976 album Hotel California.
Welcome to the (new) Hotel California - Twenty-seven years after the tale of an ethereal desert oasis hit the charts, the hotel linked by urban legend to the southern California country-rock band celebrates its grand opening.
Eagles' lyrics - The song list for the Eagles' nine albums from 1972-1979.
Don Henley's Dirty Laundry Lyrics - Lyrics to the song that exposes the media and its take on presenting the news.
Eagles: A Rare Interview with the High School Desperados - After earning two gold and two platinum albums, composing an uninterrupted string of hit singles long enough to comprise a greatest hits album in only four years, making numerous television appearances, acting as back-up band to the Rolling Stones and completing a world concert tour, it is safe to say the Eagles have reached a pinnacle in the rock industry. Named the 'Best Band' of 1975 over the Stones and Zeppelin by the judges of Don Kirschner's Rock Music Awards, The Eagles also won the Best Song award for 'Best of My Love' last summer while their fourth album, One Of These Nights, topped the charts for most of the year. They are the yardstick against which critics measure country-rock, so 'big' their manager refuses to allow the media to interview them.
Desperado: The Official site of The Eagles - The Eagles fan site.

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives


1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to SOREN KIERKEGAARD:

1. How does Kierkegaard reject the Hegelian system? Make sure that you focus on truth as subjective meaning.

2. Review the lyrics of any one of the Eagles tunes and provide examples for Kierkegaard's 'stages on life's way.'

A. Aesthetic
B. Ethical
C. Religious

3. Discuss Kierkegaard's view of anxiety (angst) as it relates to the fear that one faces of one's own freedom. What Eagle song best describes this?

4. Kierkegaard had a firm belief in 'a leap of faith' that being that truth cannot be understood rationally, but requires a personal choice to believe in the truth. How do the lyrics to 'Take It Easy' help explain this?

Kierkegaard on the Internet - A website devoted to the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).
Soren Kirkegaard - His work crosses the boundaries of philosophy, theology, psychology, literary criticism, devotional literature and fiction. Kierkegaard brought this potent mixture of discourses to bear as social critique and for the purpose of renewing Christian faith within Christendom.


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to FRIEDERICH NIETZSCHE:

1. Nietzsche had a firm belief that there is no absolute truth (perspectivism). If this is true, how do the Eagles and Nietzsche agree in this philosophy?

2. Nietzsche invented the overman (superman), someone who has so refined his will to power that he has freed himself from all outside influences and created his own values. Which Eagles' members have written songs that relate to this and what are the titles? Be prepared to defend your choices.

3. If faith is no longer a generally accepted basis for morality, as Nietzsche believed, how have the Eagles and their music influenced us to evaluate life?

4. Examine the lyrics to New York Minute and the Nietzche works 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra, A Book for All and None' and 'Geneology of Morals' and consider Nietzsche's reference to a higher mode of being as 'superhuman' (übermenschlich), and association to his doctrine of eternal recurrence -- a doctrine for only the healthiest who can love life in its entirety -- with this spiritual standpoint, in relation to which all-too-often downhearted, all-too-commonly-human attitudes stand as a mere bridge to be crossed and overcome. Find parallel themes in both book and song.

Friederich Nietzsche - Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of traditional morality and Christianity. He believed in life, creativity, health, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to Nietzsche's philosophy is the idea of 'life-affirmation,' which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines which drain life's energies, however socially prevalent those views might be. Often referred to as one of the first 'existentialist' philosophers, Nietzsche has inspired leading figures in all walks of cultural life, including dancers, poets, novelists, painters, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and social revolutionaries.
Lyrics to New York Minute - New York Minute lyrics contain a subtle transcendental absurdity concerning time, faith and existence.


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to MARTIN HEIDEGGER:

1. Heidegger is best known for helping us focus on the problem of actually 'being' rather than reflecting on consciousness. Examine any three Eagle songs that best explain this philosophy and site the lyrics that explains this.

2. In Heidegger's SEIN UND ZEIT, Being replaces peoples' own consciousness of their place in the world. That means that each of us has a freedom and existence in the world separate from others. Much of the Eagles' music reflects this. Identify at least three of their titles that prove this and provide examples from the lyrics to prove your point.

3. Examine Heidegger’s section Religion, and the Transience of Digital Memory questioning, “What Are Poets For?'. . . . Time of the world's night is the destitute time, because it becomes ever more destitute”. . . . The world's night is spreading its darkness. The era is defined by the god's failure to arrive, by the 'default of God,' ... It is indicative of a sort of thinking that proclaims itself free to think in its movement, but simply in a naïve conception of freedom. Theologically speaking, this is to suggest that thinking religion cannot merely think itself past theology and into theory without an estimation of the trace, of the occurrence of thinking the death of god, the close of history and the book, and the vanishing of the subject. Religious theory must always re-think and re-articulate these closures, not as if they are up for grabs once again, but because theory must continually root itself in the memory of its own becoming.

Poets are the mortals who, singing earnestly of the wine-god, sense the trace of the fugitive gods, stay on the gods' tracks, and so trace for their kindred mortals the way toward the turning. … This is why the poet in the time of the world's night utters the holy. A- After examination of Heidegger’s’ statements, read the lyrics of Hotel California and look for religious allusions and religious hypocrisy drawing parallels to the imagery and poetry, and develop pro and con data concerning religion that cannot merely think itself past theology.

B- Are the Eagles religious, atheistic, or absurd existentialists? Or not? Reference Heidegger with Eagle lyrics, explain.

4. Read 'The Case of Martin Heidegger, Philosopher and Nazi' and the lyrics to the Eagle song 'Desparado'

A- Develop common threads between the outlaw in the song Desperado and the philosopher Heidegger.

B- Examine SEIN UND ZEIT philosophy and determine what one may consider rational thinking and consider how then irrational judgment fits into the conception of existentialism while considering the following:

Existentialism attempts to describe our desire to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. Unfortunately, life might be without inherent meaning or it might be without a meaning we can understand.

Ereignis - Welcome to my Heidegger site. It contains information on the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).
Martin Heidegger- The Realm of Existentialism - The life and times of Martin Heidegger including quotations and links.


Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to JEAN-PAUL SARTRE:

1. Sartre is best known for his political and ideological questions. His entire philosophy is concerned entirely with the nature of human life and the structure of the consciousness. Consult the Eagles' play list at the end of this WebQuest and comprise a list of songs that connect with Sartre's idealism.

2. Sarte despised forced responses to situations not of our own making. He claimed that we were denying ourselves 'our own authorship of our actions.' Review the play list and choose the ONE song that BEST depicts this view AND site the specific lyrics to defend your choice.

3. Because Sartre believed that 'existence preceeds essence' then there is no essential 'human nature.' Which Eagles' tunes provide a snapshot of this way of life? List the lyrics and provide a real-world connection to their meaning.

4. Sartre's mantra was that we define who we are by the choices we make. Examine the lyrics to 'Hotel California' and list the implications for the lines that relate to choices.

Jean-Paul Sartre Philosophy & Existentialism - An in-depth look at the philosopher who taught us to define ourselves by the choices that we make.
Jean-Paul Sartre - French novelist, playwright, existentialist philosopher, and literary critic. Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1964, but he declined the award in protest of the values of bourgeois society.

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus
You have all learned about a different part of philosophical. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task / Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.

Phase 4 - Real World Feedback
You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles. Now's the time to put your learning into an excel file that you'll send out for real world feedback. Together you will construct an excel file that contains song titles, the philosopher that most closely aligns to the meanings of that song and perspectives that you've gained. Here's the process:

1. Begin your file by examining the lyrics of the song titles given.

2. To the immediate right of the song title decide as a group which philosopher is most closely related to the lyrics of that song.

3. Next, make a real-world connection for each song title listed below by considering the lyrics and their meaning, the philosopher that you have chosen and what he represents, and finally what relationship exists today. This can be connected to politics, education, family values, the media, social criticism or any area that you feel makes the connection.

Here's the play list:

After The Thrill Is Gone
Already Gone
Best of My Love
Chug All Night
Heartache Tonight
Hotel California
I Can't Tell You Why
In The City
James Dean
Life In The Fast Lane
Life's Been Good
Love Will Keep Us Alive
Lyin' Eyes
Most Of Us Are Sad
New Kid In Town
New York Minute
On The Border
One Of These Nights
Peaceful Easy Feeling
Pretty Maids All In A Row
Seven Bridges Road
Take It Easy
Take It To The Limit
Tequila Sunrise
The Best Of My Love
The Disco Strangler
The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks
The Long Run
The Sad Cafe
Those Shoes
Victim Of Love
Wasted Time
Witchy Woman


4. Each student will research one noted personality within a specific genre and develop a parallel between the music/lyric and their life and times. Each group will work together to create a magazine detailing a specific musical style to include all the researched material of the members of each group. Group members must also take on specific roles in the production of the magazine to include illustrator, editor/writer, announcer, and all members must participate in their own research.


5. Each group must develop a concept map for existentialism using Inspiration software. This can be obtained from the media center. This serves as a visual and your point of reference to understand how the Eagles' lyrics reflect truth as subjective meaning. This concept map will evolve as you further your understanding of modern philosophy.

Your Contact is: Oscar Siflinger