Once upon a time – “a long time ago,” perhaps, “in a galaxy far, far away” – there was an advanced civilization, free, liberal, individualistic, on a planet whose ice caps began to grow. All the civilization in the world could not halt the march of the ice. The citizens of that ideal state built a mighty wall, which would resist the glaciers for a time but not forever. The time came when the ice, uncaring, implacable, stepped across their lines and crushed them. Their last act was to choose a group of men and women to travel across the ice sheet to the far side of the planet, to bring news of their civilization´s death, and to preserve, in some small way, the meaning of what that civilization had been: to be its representatives. On their difficult journey across the ice cap, the group learned that, in order to survive, they would need to change. Their several individualisms had to be merged into a collectivity, and it was the collective entity – the Representative – that made it to the far side of the planet. What it represented, however, was not what it had set out to represent. The journey creates us. We become the frontiers we cross.
Salman Rushdie – STEP ACROSS THIS LINE
bought in Calcatta 2006