Author Topic: Dissolution of Ethics  (Read 2392 times)

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May 27, 2011, 07:32:49 PM
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Aurafire

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I'm not sure at what point I decided to make posts which contribute to something but I had some thoughts about this (completely unrelated to psionics).

I have found that there are 2 things which act similarly which cause ethics to dissolve under certain conditions: Competition and high expectations.

Unless competition is very closely regulated and controllable, there will always be unethical behavior. We see this a lot in business. If you try to outperform your competitors, the employees underneath you, or you yourself maybe engage in unethical decision making to make it happen. More so, the problem lies in the high expectations that competition typically creates. Of course these factors are not mutually exclusive, in fact they often coincide. Suppose a firm is facing heat from their investors to report a higher net income. There are many things a firm can do to make this happen without actually creating a better result. For example, a firm could potentially delay recognizing expenses so they end up on a different financial statement.

In sports we often see this. It can be a sad story at times because a college athlete trying to make it to the professional level may do what they can in order to make this happen. Some universities face allegations for bribes they offer to star players.

My question is, would this still occur without high expectations? And if so, what would the difference?

I have the ultimate viewpoint that it is VERY difficult, if not impossible, to teach or even legislate ethics. Additionally, ethics may depend largely on circumstance. 
Patience is never inherited nor acquired, but only practiced everyday.

June 14, 2011, 03:22:47 PM
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Mindlessinvalid

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I'm of the firm belief that the only competition worth having is with yourself.

I used to play Team Fortress 2 religiously, and I found that people who think that they have to compete with someone else, always resort to cursing and mudslinging.

These people also never get very high scores, neither in class scores nor kills.

I reached a level of proficiency in this game that could only be called the video game equivalent of being a kensei (sword saint).

I did this by relegating other players to the role of test subjects and instead of sharpening my skills on them as the plebeians of the gaming world are wont to do. I used my critical thought to sharpen my own skills. After every match I thought about what I could do better. Any given match was merely a testing ground for me to observe my own faults on.

There are two piece of flavor text (silly or wise quotes to make something more interesting) from magic the gathering (a card game) that people have applied to me in the past:

"His teammates call him the angel of death, his opponents don't call him at all."(paraphrased)

and

"[as a sniper] he would have been renowned for his deadly accuracy if it weren't for his deadly accuracy"

The idea is the looking outside of one's self for competition breeds inferiority and ill will. These two things breed false or unrealistic expectations. That in itself leads to unethical behavior because of a misguided need to catch up.
Clothes make the man, and naked people have little or no say in society.

June 15, 2011, 01:43:03 AM
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Violet

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Quote from: Mindlessinvalid
I used to play Team Fortress 2 religiously, and I found that people who think that they have to compete with someone else, always resort to cursing and mudslinging.
I would assume that this is more likely because of people taking a game too seriously, or just having bad habits. I like to think of games as a way of competing with someone else, but I do not curse. Thus, your 'always' would be an exaggeration at the least.

Quote from: Mindlessinvalid
The idea is the looking outside of one's self for competition breeds inferiority and ill will. These two things breed false or unrealistic expectations. That in itself leads to unethical behavior because of a misguided need to catch up.
Hm, I, for one, am thankful that there is competition between different companies.

June 15, 2011, 04:37:12 PM
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Watchtower

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Without someone against whom to compete, particularly someone capable of matching or surpassing you, you really don't learn as much.  Your faults are made more apparent when there is someone who can intentionally draw them out, which an opponent will try to do.  It's always good to be mindful of the faults in yourself that you recognize, but competition against things beyond yourself tends to also show you faults you may not have been aware of.  You also learn your strengths and how to apply them when trying to overcome an external opponent.  Internally you may always see it as a struggle against yourself toward perfection, but competition against someone else is a great place to have that struggle.

To the OP:  I think people will occasionally behave unethically in order to get the best result for themselves and possibly their families and/or friends.  What the "best result" is depends on the circumstances in which they find themselves.  The high expectations from heavy competition creates high expectations for reward or compensation, and thus a stronger motivator.  While this can cause dishonest behavior, it also pushes the boundaries of the human standard.

Ultimately, competition will likely always exist in human life in some form or another, and while increasing the intensity of competition and the rewards of victory may cause some "unethical" behavior in the short term, in the long term we move forward as a species by pushing ourselves harder.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 04:51:23 PM by Watchtower »
"For no matter how holy works may be, they do not make us holy because we do them, but in so far as we within ourselves are as we should be, we make holy all that we do, whether it be eating, or sleeping, or working, or what it may."

-Eckhart von Hochheim

June 16, 2011, 03:13:11 PM
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Aurafire

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Ultimately, competition will likely always exist in human life in some form or another, and while increasing the intensity of competition and the rewards of victory may cause some "unethical" behavior in the short term, in the long term we move forward as a species by pushing ourselves harder.

Good reply, Watchtower. Something I feel that I could add that I may have even left out here is the competition can have the inverse reaction of more ethical behavior if done at many angles. If you actually compete on things that prevent ethical behavior, there will probably be less unethical behavior. For example, a manager who must compete on how much slack they put in their budget in relevance to other departments will probably behave more ethically by including less slack. But sometimes this can become a game of whack-a-mole: 1 problem solved, 3 more pop up. This appears to be never ending phenomenon without a complete answer.

Another example I just thought of is housing. Before the recession, a lot of banks were facing pressure from government entities (not sure of all parties involved) to issue more loans for housing to help more citizens establish a more permanent residence. What happened as a result of this added pressure? People defaulted on loans and banks failed. However, if banks competed on quality of lendors (based on credit rating or other means), then maybe we would not have had this result. It seems to really come down to the evaluation and reward process. Firms and people will do what they are rewarded for, not necessarily what they are asked to do. In other words, it is important to be careful to reward the right stuff.

@MIV - I do think it is helpful to compare yourself to others. However, if you're the best of the best at Team Fortress 2, you only have yourself to compare yourself to. I often feel this way about foosball. I wish it was a competitive sport with lots of money involved because I would be a rich man if it was. Everyone I've played at foosball that has said "oh man I rock at foosball, I can take anyone" got stomped by me. By stomped, I mean usually skunked. I have beaten people that play recreationally a lot to people that have played in tournaments (which I think it's sort of goofy that there are tourneys for this activity but I can't judge :P). I have a very short list of matches that I have lost, and for the people on that list I still have their number. To make a long story longer, I wish I had the ability to play myself, because I feel that I woud benefit greatly from this. Not only would I continue to own my competitors, but I would create my own league, above the league I have already created.

Have you ever posted something and realized that it made you sound incredibly nerdy and no one will look at you the same? That sums up my previous paragraph. :-D
Patience is never inherited nor acquired, but only practiced everyday.

June 16, 2011, 06:16:31 PM
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Mindlessinvalid

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My friends who I played TF2 regularly against refused to play against me if I played sniper or spy, because those classes have the highest potential despite having the steepest difficulty curve.

They voted on a class to make me play for the duration of our session, and the decided on demoman.

I've never seen an entire team turn simultaneously into giblets except for that one time I played quake 3 and got a hold of the rocket launcher.

So, apparently you can use your own grenades to move your sticky bombs, and by piling them in the center of a small bottleneck area and then blasting them with a grenade as if to scare the encroaching opponents, they other team immediately forgets that the room is rigged to explode.

The only person who I could ever find competition in moved away and stopped logging in.

He played the Heavy Weapons Specialist (Fat russian with a chaingun) as a stealth class.

Between my technical skill and his unconventional ingenuity, we were pretty much always at a stalemate.
Clothes make the man, and naked people have little or no say in society.