Iris is a Messenger of the Gods of Olympus who travels on the rainbow. She is the Goddess of the Sky and Sea, and of communications She travels between Mount Olympus and the world of mortals to dispense messages from the Gods.
She also carried water in a pitcher from the River Styx to people who perjured themselves and puts them to sleep. She is often mentioned in the Iliad but not in the Odyssey. I confess I had overwritten her with Hermes and Mercury, but that was ignorance. I am so glad I rediscovered her.
Of course a Goddess who can travel between sea and sky, between Heaven and Earth, between the living and the world beyond the River Styx essentially travels between states of being. Only information, which Gregory Bateson defined as: any difference that makes a difference can flow in this manner.
We need a Goddess of Information for this Age of Information. Iris is perfect representation of this. Information can flow anywhere and everywhere. I have stated before that the internet is a woman. Check out my Googling Gaia from 2015 and The Feminization of the Interwebs from 2012 for some of the basics about this assessment.
The distributed nature of the internet was created as a base layer of ARPAnet the decentralized communication backbone for military ground communications in the Post World War II era in the U.S.This is how women naturally communicate. Linear communication is a male strategy. Networked information provides multiple linkages to the same bit of data so no one linkage failure endangers access to critical communication. This is essentially the village in the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
At this time when the generation of data is accelerating exponentially and it is becoming increasingly feasible to encode dense context with the data, but we still need human interpretation to make it meaningful. Meaning can be implied improperly when we allow sloppy out of context decoding and other intentional distortion of information. But the ancient understanding of communication and messaging knew that it takes women’s communication methods to handle the important stuff, and when mortals perjured themselves, lied, the appropriate punishment was meted out by the same goddess that controlled the proper handling of information and messages. This seems quite pertinent in today’s world. The complexity of women’s type of information storage and delivery systems, with built in redundancy, needs to be re-incorporated into society. We need women, of a critical number, in governance and leadership positions. A more integrated method of organizing and utilizing information in our culture could address many of the problems we currently face. Prediction never works, but we do know that single channel structures are not serving us well.
Iris approves. It is time for her comeback. Communication is iconically women’s business.