In past centuries, humans were altered by the acceleration and spread of their most profound achievement, the outsourcing of their labors to machines. In our century, we are being transformed by the acceleration and spread of our most profound achievement, the outsourcing of our thinking to machines.
We are outsourcing the rational.
Crazy is our future. Expression our currency.
Storytelling will become valued just as in the beginning.
Hunter-gatherer storytellers were essential in promoting co-operative and egalitarian values before comparable mechanisms evolved in larger agricultural societies, such as moralising high-gods. Storytellers were also more popular than even the best foragers, had greater reproductive success, and were more likely to be co-operated with by other members of the camp.
In the history of popular music — which is long — few have been grander storytellers than The Eagles.
“They even brought a neon sign ‘Jesus is Coming’,
Brought the white man’s burden down, brought the white man’s reign
Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here
We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny and in the name of God.”
Words powerful enough to put out the fire, joined with music powerful enough to stir the wanderlust. You can’t hear the song and not want to leave — or else make it all go away.
Don Henley and Glenn Frey were musically gifted, both desperately wanted to be pop stars, and possessed of that rare ability to construct radio-friendly hooks, awakening riffs, tightly crafted harmonies, and memorable lines. Often, they transformed those memorable lines into stories which weaved inside the listener’s heart, forever activated by just a few notes on a keyboard or beats from a drum, or the call to prayer of a Glenn Frey chord.
The pair were well rewarded for their gifts.
As are we.
The Last Resort may be the very best song from the Eagles’ very best album, Hotel California, which is one of the very best albums of the modern rock era.
The Last Resort is a layered re-telling of ourselves being our most human.
We destroyed paradise.
This was our very first declaration of human power, a defiance of godly supremacy.
Foolish, foolish pride.
We’ve spent the past many millennia attempting to make good, resurrect paradise, piece it all back together, and return once again to the garden.
I am not certain we will ever succeed, but the effort certainly drives our best stories, just as its rejection drives our most fantastical failures.