A glimpse at Ivan
Ivan is a misanthrope to say the least. He doesn’t often go to the city and can’t bear to be around people. Every time he has to go into town though, he’s struck by the changes in society. He rants inwardly:
“He was appalled by men who had evolved to have no physical or moral backbone. People called them homosexual as an insult but they weren’t. He understood homosexuality – that had always been there and it wasn’t the same thing, although modern society couldn’t make the distinction. Effeminate and homosexual were not the same at all. The most masculine of men might have a predilection for other men. Feminised heterosexual men would at one time never have found a woman that paid them more than a sisterly notice. Now though, now that women were as free as men to play any role in society, a whole new type of man had emerged, one that knew nothing of what it once was to be a man. Some women now even sought these men ‘in touch with their feminine side’. But what good would they be if the world suddenly reverted to what it had been a millennium ago? It wouldn’t take much. Men were not all men anymore, and even fewer were gentlemen. But why was a gentleman needed when so few women were ladies. He couldn’t relate to these new types of people. So many distinctions, so many blurred lines, so few solid boundaries. Did it matter? Was it of any consequence what impression he made of himself when all were so self-interested anyway? Of course not. He laughed a dry laugh. Human life had tried to infect him with its desperation to belong, but it would have to be cleverer than that!
He found it a strain to blend in. It made him weary. Having to listen so closely to what anyone said, having to analyse the tone against the facial expression and both of those against the body language. People were so seldom sincere, so frequently embellishing the facts, so often using sarcasm and humour to veil a slight. He wondered how anyone lived and communicated among such a society and survived. Perhaps they didn’t really. Maybe that explained the superficiality. How could anyone afford to feel anything, to register what was really going on, to give more than a cursory glance, when to do so could only open them up to the brutality of the world beyond their tiny existence? How could they afford to have depth when it would only show them the depths to which humanity had sunk? Some, he knew, created their own micro society around them and shunned all others. That had gone on for a long time. Now it was even more complex and he wondered at the truth of it all. Who could really live like this without losing sight of true life? He could not slot in to this world. But so what? He didn’t need to make friends, only get by here for a little while.”
His thoughts are many and about everything. Don’t get him started on architecture!