I’m Jack Beaudoin and these are working notes for a project I call Deinos. It may turn out that these notes are the project, but that remains to be seen.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Deinos is a Greek word that can mean terrible, wondrous or strange.” I first encountered it when reading about the Ode to Man passage from Sophocles’ Antigone, which begins:

Numberless wonders
Terrible wonders walk the work the world but none the match for man—
That great wonder crossing the heaving gray sea,
driven on by the blasts of winter
on through breakers crashing left and right,
holds his steady course
and the oldest of the gods he wears away—
the Earth, the immortal, the inexhaustible—
as his plows go back and forth, year in, year out
with the breed of stallions turning up the furrows.
(tr. Robert Fagles)

These notes proceed from the question: Has human nature changed, in deep and fundamental ways, over the course of several millennia? And if so, how did the changes come about? Would it be possible for us to recognize such change?