Quotation by Doris Lessing

I did not lose my Sirian perspectives, the Sirian scope of time and space. But I was inside, too, this civilisation's view of itself as all there was of the known world—for on its edges were, to the north, the threatening horsemen, to the northwest, very far away, dark forests full of barbarians whom these people scarcely accounted as human at all, believing them not much more than beasts—and from their point of view, accurately—... The world as understood by this great and powerful Queen was, though it stretched from one end of the main landmass to the other, circumscribed indeed, and the stars that roofed it were understood only—and to a limited extend—by their influences on their movements ... on our movements ... an odd, a startling, a disturbing, clash of focusses and perspectives encompassed me; and as for the historical aspect, this queen knew the story of her own civilisation and some legends, mostly inaccurate, of a "distant" past, which to me, and my mind, was virtually contemporary with her.
Doris Lessing (b. 1919), British novelist. Ambien II, in The Sirian Experiments, "The Horsemen," p. 247, Knopf (1981).
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