Contingent Audiences – Story of Dee
* Available as an audio recording with music through: https://tinyurl.com/ycwua3fz.
The story is told here and now but it is taking place in a distant time, in a distant location.
One hegemonic power is at its height and it rules over a vast region surrounding it. From each vassal state, the hegemony’s administration requires that the smartest and healthiest among the youth will be sent to the metropolitan center, be educated there by the hegemony’s institutions, and remain to serve as subservient dream interpreters to the elites. Despite being educated at the metropolitan center and despite enjoying the benefits of living comfortably in the center of the empire, D, one of the smartest and most delicate of all the dream interpreters, remembers their humble upbringing and remains loyal to the cult from which they were taken. The elites eventually respect them for that.
Life within the metropolitan center of the hegemonic power is concerned with two principles: ‘being present in public’ and ‘living in the moment’. There is a fascination with recording the mundane daily life in a new technology that is mainly available to the elites but is becoming more and more accessible to the masses. There is a hierarchical caste system in place. However, economic upward movement of individuals is somewhat common.
In the next few years, despite having just arrived at its power apex, the hegemonic power collapses and is replaced by a rising state, which previously was its subordinate. The new hegemonic power’s elite re-assigns the group of dream interpreters to its own benefit. In the following years, D delivers a series of dreams interpretations that not only reveal the future of the new empire, but also the nature of time itself and humanity’s ultimate downfall.
Under the second hegemonic power almost everyone’s daily life is being constantly and voluntarily recorded and the recordings are sent to the archives of the elites. Recording technology that was mythologized by the first hegemonic power is now almost redundant. Economic stagnation is prevalent. However, the caste system that previously dominated the metropolitan areas has been partly dismantled.
Three Often Quoted Episodes from D’s Life
The first story that is told belongs to some of the last moments in D’s life. In this episode, D is interpreting their own dream. In the dream D is seeing the same person standing on both banks of a river that crosses a city they once visited. The dream helps D understand the nature of time.
The second story is about D during the reign of the first hegemonic power. D is experiencing a time in which their ‘star’ has faded and they have been forgotten by the elites. D is addicted to a cocaine-like substance and the only thing that gives them enjoyment in life are casual sexual encounters. They spend a lot of time in their room and write a lot. They also learn to appreciate new forms of art and expression.
The third story takes place in the early days of the second hegemonic power. The people in the first hegemonic power stoped appreciating dream interpretation but the second hegemonic power is fascinated with them. D is invited to lecture in a city that belongs to the second hegemonic power and is situated on a small lake. The lake has been an inspiration for poets, garden designers and architects for centuries. D starts an affair with a very young ambitious person, who shows them the glories of the city. On their last night there, D is taken to a large banquet held by the family of D’s lover on the bank of the river, which is located a few miles from the lake. At the banquet, D meets all the members of the lover’s family – parents, cousins, aunts. They all get drunk and sing together an ancient song that was written by a poet who lived in the city a thousand years earlier.