As a retired teacher with 35 years behind me and a zillion meetings attended from 1958 to 2008, I have come to appreciate the wisdom of Joseph Campbell and I post this prose-poem written as a quasi-eulogy for/to him.-Ron Price,Australia

"Each individual," write Joseph Campbell, "is the centre of a mythology of his own, of which his own intelligble character is the Incarnate God, so to say, whom his empirically questing consciousness is to find."1 For Baha'is, it seems to me, this Incarnate God is the God within "mighty, powerful and self-subsistent." It is the "know thyself," from Delphi. This centre of mythology is also an unfolding of convictions derived from the effects and expression of experience, the imprintings of infancy and our peculiar and private worlds. This is what Campbell calls our "mythogenic zone." It is our interior life and its communication with others. The poem below explores the negative side of the process across our global society. -Ron Price with thanks to Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology, Viking Press, 1968, p. 93.

This poetic writing aims
to let the Word resound
behind words1 seemingly
endless words where
my mythogenic zone
is especially informed
by the metaphorical nature
of all of physical reality,
Baha'i history no less
and lived experience.
My innermost need
to express has its place
in my shaping of self
and civilization,
in my particular form
of intoxication.2

And a growing impoverishment
of symbols, spiritual poverty,
symbol-lessness fills the land,
liquidating our past,
with bleak substitutes.
A bland barrenness reaches
all the way to the stars
and history becomes a nightmare
of complex, anarchic confusion,
uninterpreted, unassimilated, alien,
and: a Waste Land fills their place.

1 ibid.,p. 93.
2 Frederick Neitzsche wrote that "for art to exist there is a physiological prerequisite: intoxication." Twilight of the Idols, quoted in Campbell, p.355.

Ron Price
10 February 2002
(updated for

married for 41 years, a teacher for 35 and a Baha'i for 49