Thursday, March 22, 2007


Enterprise Architecture and Apathy

Thanks to Knowledge Crisis for motivating me to think about why should I care?

Apathy is a defense mechanism that enables you to live and work in a society that is hopelessly dysfunctional. We are in situations where we simply can't do anything about it and your only option is to just stop caring. The key thing not ever discussed is that apathy also has a positive effect.

Apathy is a powerful anaesthetic. Medical personnel in battlefields deliberately adopt an uncaring attitude to avoid burnout. This way, they can continue to function and end up saving more people than people who behaved otherwise. The key thing in this example is that they didn't ignore what motivates them.

Some will ask what is the difference between ignorance and apathy and the answer is I don't know and I don't care. Sometimes we get frustrated in the work world when we see a lack of action and we jump to the conclusion that folks just don't care. Enterprise Architects who do more than just rally and seek to practice a disciplined way of thinking understand that caring doesn't solve the problem and therefore we shouldn't focus on the need for caring.

In all reality, everybody cares; it's just that the tangible costs and benefits for each individual are skewed in the favor of inaction. In the past, I have commented on folks and their coffee clutch behaviors when it all reality this may be a method of defense that I should incorporate into my own daily life.

One of the more famous quotes on apathy is listed below:

So, should enterprise architects seek to eliminate apathy, encourage it, or become apathetic towards apathy in others...

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