Who are the Gods of Information Architecture?

For much of humanity's history, polytheism was the norm. The nature of the multiple gods, and their relationships with each other, was deeply intertwined with how people constructed the world around them. Their mental models of how the world worked had to be consistent with these personalities.

I wonder if anyone has ever studied the many pantheons used by different societies, with an eye toward Information Architecture. After all, what more straightforward record of externalized concepts exists for an entire culture? Comparing Greek, Norse, Mesopotamian, Egyptian (etc.) pantheons might reveal interesting patterns in both similarities and differences between times, places and people.

The seemingly disparate qualities which certain gods embodied has always piqued my interest. Athena, for example, was the goddess of both hunting and virginity. Odd, that--though it must have made sense to the Greeks. Even the division of the 9 Muses is revealing.

Now, the fact that the modern world has more or less embraced the "one God" belief is not necessarily to be lamented. In fact, it probably says something about mankind's current information architecture. An anthropologist would probably point out that while we may have formally renounced polytheism, we have modern-day pantheons of our own: near-deified Hollywood celebrities, politicians and the like. Unfortunately, getting the IA out of that much messier web might well be impossible.

Are there other, culture- (or even subculture-) wide IA indicators today? Something implicitly designed and tacitly agreed upon by very large groups? If it hasn't been already, how can the value of such indicators be extracted and applied to explicit design?



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