As I reflect on these first associations in the Baha’i community I can’t help but also reflect on Aristotle's concept of mimesis "The instinct for imitation,” writes Aristotle, “is inherent in human beings from our earliest days; we differ from other animals in that we are the most imitative of creatures and learn our earliest lessons by imitation.” My association with the Baha’i community began when I was nine or ten and these several individuals whose homes I entered and who entered the home of my family had qualities worthy of emulation. We all have a sense of a public self, and we keep refashioning ourselves according to the information we process. In one form or another, we are performers. In 1953/4 I entered a world of performers. They were not paid for honing their craft as Shakespeare was in plays like Hamlet. But they were all performers who were keenly aware of their audience, as we all are.
Socrates once complained, in his Apology, of the inability of poets to talk analytically about their work. According to the significance of the Greek root of the word ‘poetry’ it covers all forms of art or human productivity. In the tradition of the great books, novelists like Cervantes, Fielding or Melville called themselves poets. Poetry with these writers was regarded as narrative, the invention of good stories. A poet was a teller of tales. Aristotle in his Poetics emphasizes subject matter in poetry not language; plot was the most important thing made by the poet in narrative poetry, not the verses, not the rhyme or metre, according to Aristotle. So, the historian and the poet differed not. “Epics,” wrote Cervantes, “may be as well written in prose as in verse.” So it is in this epic, this series of thousands of poems written in the fourth epoch of the Formative Age, that I continue a form of poetry, a poetic tradition, going back to the Greeks. -Ron Price with thanks to The Great ideas: A Synopticon of Great Books of the Western World, Vol. 2, William Benton, Toronto, 1952, p.400.