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Gabe Ozoani

Engineer, Aerospace Engineering

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What is cheating.....really?

In the wake of Lance Armstrong's "confession", most are calling him a cheat. A majority of the most famous and wealthy people have cut corners to get to where they are. If you get a job because you know the hiring manager over a more qualified candidate, have you cheated? If you sleep with a director to get the role...have you cheated? Yes, there are well spelled out rules in sports (among other professions) but what about other areas in life where our morality defines the rules?

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    Jan 18 2013: Gabe, The label cheater is a funny ole dog. Movie stars cheat and are caught all of the time but people buy their posters, books, and pay a high price to go see their movies. Stockbrokers go to prison for the use of insider trading yet Nancy Pelosi used insider information gained from a bill she was voting on in Congress and made a fortune .. but she is a honest politician. Bill Clinton cannot keep his pants up ... Kennedy was a womanizer .... and are both famous and well regarded and as funny as it may seem Bill Clinton who was impeached and lost his law license for cheating on his wife has been nominated for "Father of the Year". Now that there is funny.

    So the bottom line is that we accept that politicians are corrupt, liers, and cheaters with little or no morals and movie stars are immoral and would sleep with anyone to get a part, get naked for bucks, etc ... Barry Bonds and Pete Rose in baseball scandals ... olympic scandals ... and the list goes on. It is amazing that Jim and Tammy Baker still have a following ...

    So the question is why are some labeled cheats and sent to prison ... and other accepted and are "only human". Where is that line drawn and by whom.

    Is this another example of the power of the media or are we really that dumb.

    I wish you well. Bob.
  • Jan 22 2013: What is wrong is wrong, and as Mr Long has said "Honesty is the best policy". Even if a million people believe in lies it is still a lie; evil behaviour can not be justified by simply pointing to the common fault of others:
    Every sector of the civilised societies are governed by peculiar laws and ethical guidelines. Any violation of such is cheating.
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    Gail . 50+

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    Jan 18 2013: Cheating is nothing more than self-deception. Too many of us are too adept at the practice, but we deceive ourselves about our implicit participation in the practice.
    • Jan 18 2013: ı am between to accept and not accept... :p
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    Jan 18 2013: You write "A majority of the most famous and wealthy people have cut corners to get where they are." Could you explain what you mean by cutting corners and then defend your claim?

    I ask this, because one reason some people cheat is that they believe, typically without looking very hard for evidence, that "everybody does it."
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    Jan 23 2013: Cheating is a very interesting concept. It only really exists when you get caught or admit to it. We thought forever that Lance Armstrong was the most incredible athlete ever. He inspired people and got rich doing it and if had died before all this, we would still be building statues to him. I don't advocate cheating at all...I just find it interesting whenever the man behind the curtain is revealed...ya got us.

    It also depends whats at stake. People tend to not forgive independent gain, but what about national gain? We have intelligence agencies in place to sneak around and help us cheat in warfare and find antagonists. We don't line up in front of each other with muskets anymore.

    Cheating takes so much skill...a skill that makes it not exist
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    Jan 19 2013: Honesty is the best policy. To default on honesty is to cheat.
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    Jan 20 2013: It depends on who is judging your actions. If it's yourself, then it depends on your own moral rules. If you think you are not cheating, then you are not.
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      Jan 23 2013: For example: A person secretly exchanges lottery tickets with an unwitting co-worker. The stolen ticket wins! The cheater was caught making the exchange on 5 separate surveillance cameras and witnessed by numerous onlookers who unanimously swear under oath what and who they saw. The original owner of the ticket had marked it with tiny identifying letters and took a high-resolution digital picture. All these precautions were observed and verified by expert witnesses. The original owners fingerprints and DNA were all over the winning ticket. In court the defense pleaded that the cheater "did not think it was cheating" to exchange the tickets. The judge immediately dismissed the charges and the thief retired to Montego Bay and lived happily ever after.
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        Jan 23 2013: I don't quite understand your point. What I said is that if the cheater thought he was not cheating, then that's true for HIM, but it might not be the case for the others, as it turned out. Of course, we have to abide by the law, but we are also entitled to judge our actions with our own moral code. That's why I said it depends on who is judging a particular action.
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          Jan 23 2013: In a social context, which is where we all live, actions have consequences. I cannot alter the social consequences for my actions by simply announcing that I don't think my actions were what society says they were. Cheating is not subjective. There are not 7-billion definitions of cheating, there is only one per society. I think the OP is asking what that definition is for the Western world. Each personal act can be subjected to investigation as to whether it is cheating or not. That investigation is not arbitrary, it is not subjective. Do we disagree?
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        Jan 23 2013: Yes, I think we disagree in part. Granted, cheating should not be subjective when it comes to enforcing the law, even though different judges sometimes give different sentences in comparable cases.

        However, everyone is entitled to their opinion and the law shouldn't shape our moral code, rather the other way around, in my view.

        There is no denying that we have to respect and obey the law, however, we also have the right to disagree with it. So that's why I think "cheating" is subjective, except when the law is applied.
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          Jan 23 2013: I cannot comment on the scenario where Law does not apply other than to say it sounds like anything goes, there is no right and wrong. Isn't the question moot at that point? If there are no rules there is no cheating because cheating is the breaking of rules.
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        Jan 23 2013: I did not say that there are no rules. Actually, every country/community/family/person has their own different rules.

        The point is every person has their own views, regardless of the law. In fact, I cannot think of an individual who agrees with every single law in the country.

        I personally am not going to change my moral code just because the law says so, which is not to say that I won't conform to the law, though. But that's just my view, anyway.
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          Jan 23 2013: Well said sir. You point out that lawbreaking is not the same as cheating depending upon the definition of cheating embraced by the accused. In my example of the lottery ticket the thief can claim innocence on the charge of cheating because he/she does not believe it was cheating. Personal moral codes cannot get us to the answer the OP asks about. Cheating has to be more narrowly defined than "whatever the individual believes cheating is." I say a dishonest act is cheating. You say it is strictly in the eye of the beholder. We disagree.
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    Jan 19 2013: I see cheating as an adaptive process,based on a real or exaggerated need for survival...In some peoples minds you can add status,respect,power ect ..all the things different people feel are essential,or just wanted...I am fairly good at school and never cheated...and yet I was surrounded by others that did...They lacked the skills to comprehend math,science,literature...so they used cunning and stealth to advance. I myself have a deer in headlights approach to life,so I deserve failure if I am unable..self sacrifice...As a result their children are in big homes with accolades,and had I had kids my children would be living in one room with me..I was unwilling to cheat to ensure my safety,my livelyhood,my career in the army,..but I could have (maybe not). Some how I intuited I would be able to endure a life of "less"..others are uninterested,or are unable to subject themselves to this graduational system of wealth and opportunity.The effect of failure,lack of resources and its accompaniying lack of safety,is not easily self imposed...I do not condone cheating,but I see it at an angle that is somewhat logical and based on projection of cause and effect. My question is then ,why do we impose such HARSH REPERCUSSIONS FOR FAILURE, or why success brings about on overabundance or reward?
  • Jan 19 2013: Studies have shown that in order to deceive others, one has to become, or does become, more adept at deceiving themselves.
    Deceiving oneself and deceiving others becomes a cyclical condition if you will, and I believe it works both ways.
    If, as TEDLover said, it is self-deception (and I agree, to some degree), that can be defined as the "active misrepresention of reality to ones own mind/self." Deception is, "the active misrepresentation of reality to anothers mind/self."
    I think the studies done by Robert Trivers showed that both are important if not actually necessary. They both do however become sharpened on both sides of the blade.

    Otherwise, cheating is just another way of getting something, just as stealing is.
    There is a point at which I don't think either is wrong or immoral.
  • Jan 18 2013: It seems to me that your question is about your very vague phrase, "cut corners."

    Generally, anytime anyone does something immoral or illegal to obtain money, promote their career, or obtain any other value, they are cheating. Also some activities, especially sports, have specific rules, and breaking those rules is cheating.

    Unfortunately, cheating has become the norm in some activities, and has become accepted practice just because it is so widespread. Politics is an obvious example. One of my pet peeves is advertising; people make the most unbelievable claims for their products. Some commercials make statements which are each true when examined individually, but when they are strung together give an impression which is completely false. I think this is cheating, and people are building their careers with these methods. Even when cheating is common, it is still cheating, and people who cheat should not be praised.

    Some people believe that cheating on your taxes is normal. IMO, Congress has promoted this idea by building a tax code that is immoral. Getting a tax credit put into law depends not on whether it is good for the country, but on how much you donate to election funds.

    "Cutting corners" can include moral as well as immoral behavior, so it is not a good phrase to use to draw the line.
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    Jan 18 2013: I would think the vast majority of famous and wealthy people have worked like dogs to get where they are.

    Cheating I would say has an aspect of violence. Emotional or physical violence done to others, a lack of empathy, a lack of self-esteem and self-respect.

    Every scenario would have to be viewed individually to see whether cheating occurred. And the degree of harm would have to be considered as well. In the scenario where you get a job because of knowing someone, we still must assume that you are capable of doing the job. We would also assume that you didn't know who else was competing for the job, whether they were better than you or not. With the actress, we still know that she must be capable of playing the role. So if these are cheats, they are relatively minor. In fact, it's hard for me to believe that whoever would hire these people would choose the person who can't do the job as well, because how well they do the job determines the success of the business, and reflects back on who hired them. I'm more inclined to think that if two people are equal, the hiring manager might choose the person he or she knows, and the same with the actress.
  • Jan 18 2013: ı wish ı understood u :(
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      Jan 18 2013: Just trying to say it is easy to label someone a cheat, but when you cut corners in life to get an advantage, is that not cheating as well..?