Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wisdom of Confucius

#entarch My friend @taotwit appeals to a saying of Confucius in relation to enterprise architecture.

What is necessary is to call things by their right names. ... If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and harmony will not flourish. When proprieties and harmony do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires, is that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.” [Analects of Confucius]

Many enterprise architects will strongly agree with this thought, and may even wish to apply it to the question of Defining Enterprise Architecture itself. However, we should remember that Confucius was a highly conservative thinker, who believed in a fixed body of knowledge. (His comment about names was apparently provoked by his disapproval of the Duke of Wei, who had usurped his father's title.)

In Daoism, of course, a name can be named, (but) this is not the constant naming. Thus, whatever one may say about the Dao, cannot but fall short of reality [ReligionFacts]. The same is almost certainly true of enterprise archtecture, as well as the most central topics addressed by enterprise architecture practice.

However, I can wholeheartedly agree with Confucius when he said
“To rule a country, there must be reverent attention to business, and sincerity; economy in expenditure, and love for men; and the employment of the people at the proper seasons.”

For country, read enterprise.


Doug said...

The "superios" "man" uses only approved language so that he can avoid punishment. What a great company! Sign me up!

2400HaodiZhang said...

Hi Richard,

Just want to raise a point that the "Name" stated in the analect above is not only the how or what a thing can be named. Also, the "Name" can be interpreted as the origination of an idea.

So, this portion of the analect is the discussion of if the original intention was not proper, and so are other communications and actions after it.

Anyways, Great Blog. I just came across it during my SOA research.