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Old 08-27-2014, 05:31 PM   #1
Mr Ron Price
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Joined: Aug 2009
From: George Town Tasmania Australia
Posts: 73
The archives of writers

Part 1:

When writers who are Baha'is die sometimes their work lives on in the papers, the manuscripts, the letters, indeed, in a wide range of memorabilia which they donate to some scholarly and secular institution, some Baha'i Centre of Learning or a Baha段 archive at the local, national or international level in the increasing labyrinth of elected and appointed institutions that have emerged in the last century and more of an evolving and expanding Baha段 administration, the nascent Faith of Baha'u'llah, the harbinger of the New World Order.

This is especially true in the new Baha'i culture of learning and growth, the evolving paradigm of the last two decades (1996-2016) in the more than 200 national communities and territories around the world. In the last 15 years, 2000-2014, a number of internet sites have also been created, some by individual Baha'is and Baha'i institutions, and others by a host of interest groups, individuals and institutions, at which writers like myself can post or file their literary work. Such authors are assured, by these various means, of at least a modicum of earthly immortality, as much as one can be assured of anything in this transient and inconstant existence.

These several and various archives and this increasing number of institutional-sites on the internet are collecting points for the manuscripts and correspondence of writers and authors, editors and publishers of various ilks. How such collections of papers change hands, find a monetary value if any, and obtain a secure place on some dry set of shelves, boxes and files, or a place in an electronic archive, is the result of a peculiar alchemy between market forces, literary reputations and the growing significance of this Faith, this harbinger of a New World Order.

Part 1.1

The typical archive of literary materials of a non-Baha段 writer of some degree of fame and significance, I am informed, was worth between $50,000 and $250,000 in New York or London in 2011. (1) At least that was the information I came across in The New York Times recently. Often that potential archive is not even saleable. The market in literary archives is a rarefied one and it is not my intention to discuss this subject here in any detial.

Archives like mine are not saleable in any sense. If there is something extraordinary in a collection on sale, like possibly a cache of letters from the famous poet Sylvia Plath, the market currently draws on what is known as a price/value range. The book/archive seller decides where in that band, that range, the writer痴 archive belongs. If an author has a literary correspondence with, say, 10 important people, that makes a big difference to the archive's sale price.

If the Baha段 Faith comes to play a significant role in world affairs in the decades and centuries ahead; if it comes to be what it now claims it will one day be, namely, the emerging world religion on this planet, my archive may come to have some value. But I知 not going to hold my breath waiting. If I do, I will die due to a shortage of oxygen in connection with some health problem. The emergence from obscurity of this new world Faith has been significant in my lifetime, but it has seemed slow in many ways to its votaries in the more than sixty years in which I have been associated with its growth and consolidation around the planet. When my mother first investigated the Baha'i Faith in 1953, 90 per cent of the then 200,000 Baha'is in the world at that time lived in Iran.

More than sixty years later there are some 5 to 8 million Baha'is found for the most part outside Iran with perhaps 10 per cent of the international Baha'i community in the home of its birth, what used to be called Persia.(2) Ron Price with thanks to (1) Rachel Donadio, 典he Paper Chase, The New York Times, March 25, 2007; and (2) See Wikipedia for a discussion of the complex subject of Baha'i Faith Statistics.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:23 PM   #2
Just a member
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Joined: Oct 2013
From: Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 695
Good morning Ron

Some aspects of the content of your post is one that has occupied my own thought, in regard to the work that am doing myself. The Internet being what it is, as a general rule once an individual dies, their web-site and their work dies with them.

I see two sides to this issue.

The first is in the preservation of work that is useful and beneficial. Helping the future to not have to re-invent the wheel. There are considerable treatises, reflections, presentations and other labour, all of which have had many hours of loving and selfless attention. It is too much to expect the Institutions to take on board all this great wealth of material - not only is it outside the scope and purpose of their websites, but when one prioritises the work that is needed for the execution of the Plans and the expansion and consolidation of the Faith over the years ahead, this would add an extra burden, the collection, assessment, categorisation, storage and indexation required. These bodies have far more important work to do, and with resources stretched almost to the limit, financially and in personel.

Sites such as Baha'i Library Online, as magnificent and comprehensive as it is, is still a personal initiative. Jonah has put many many hours of his time into the site, and still does. Others, such as Brett, provide assistance, help to relieve some of the workload,. But it is still a personal site, and without some sort of an arrangement, will vanish the same as any other site on his passing. Last I heard, however, is that there were some arrangements being considered, so I am very hopeful Baha'i Library Online will continue into the future.

The obvious solution is also a difficult one. It would require a dedicated small group of people, acting as a committee, to develop a site where all this material could be stored, and which has built into the staffing a means of continuance into the future. Sort of like a Internet Archives, but only for Baha'i related material. The idea, simple as it seems on the surface, does have a number of considerations and ramifications which make implementation less than simple. The collection, assessment, categorisation, storage and indexation required, not to mention financing, and likewise the guidelines for functioning, just to name a few.

The second side is more personal.

It is a human trait to wish to be able to leave something behind so that they will be remembered. More especially when this work, this effort, is beneficial to future generations, whether in advancing knowledge and understanding, in in leaving something that the historians of the future will find valuable.

At the same time, this desire can be seen to be in opposition to detachment. There are all these issues of trusting in God, and resignation to His will. Of desirting nothing for one's self. This, in turn, forcves one to examine one's own work, to attempt to assess its real value, checking always for the involvement of ego which clouds the judgement.


The middle way. To remain detached and unconcerned about the future of one's own material, yet at the same time to be able to recognise that which has true worth and should be retained for future generations. This middle way strongly implies humility, for without this humility then we have left behind the importance of detachment.

ALTHOUGH the Realm of Glory hath none of the vanities of the world, yet within the treasury of trust and resignation We have bequeathed to Our heirs an excellent and priceless heritage.
(Tablets of Bah’u’ll疉, p. 219)
With my warnest greetings


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