Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ethics and honor

Where does everyone get the moral yardstick they try to measure up to? After a recent conversation with a friend, I found out that he had no moral compunction with reusing old papers, copying someone's work, anything to simplify the assignment... as long as he didn't get caught. Now, I'm not sure how many people will actually admit to it, but somehow I doubt he's the only one that feels that way. I know at Duke, for one, there was no lack of students who were willing to do whatever was necessary to get the grades they wanted. Fraternity and sorority test and homework files, literally copying engineering code, and of course the peering over someone's shoulder during an exam, for such an academically respected school, we had it all. After all, most reasoned, this is what the real world entails.

I'll be the first to admit it. I've cheated before. On an AP government quiz in high school one day, I memorized the multiple choice answers. Everyone else was doing it, it was one of our teacher's many pointless quizzes, and I caved. But TO THIS DAY, that memory still bothers me. I can't imagine how I would handle more major offenses, let alone trying to justify them. It just doesn't feel right, like I'm not being true to myself and my values, if I put forth something that's not my own work or effort. Really, what's the point of your word if it can't be trusted?

Maybe people just don't have high ethical boundaries for themselves. I mean, look at this study about teachers cheating. If our own educators can't themselves behave morally, how can they teach our children to care? Copyright infringements, rampant plagiarism, forging timecards, bosses taking credit for their people's ideas... yes, it's prevalent in the real world, but does that really make it right?

In today's exceedingly competitive world, why do very few people care about ethics? I mean really, who sticks to moral guidelines if it will cost them an extra few hours of their time?


SikWit said...

LOL you gotta let people know you are blogging if you want them to read.

I think that you pretty much think in right and wrong when it is not that simple. People are raised differently and have their OWN code of ethics and honor. THAT is why it is not as big a deal for them. I'm not saying THEY are right. I'm saying that because you do what society tells you to do...doesn't really make you a good guy. It makes you sort of a puppet. If you have issues with what someone else does then you are also proally wishing harm on them for doing bad. And when Karma doesn't work, it's tough for you huh?

My father would try to get me on stuff like that. He was always complaining about stuff we didn't see eye to eye on. Then he tried to guilt me by being like "I'm not going to punish you....God will see to it that you are punished." then he walked away and I was like "Thank God" cause I KNEW he wasn't going to punish me. Just like Bush isn't going to be punished for killing so many people for money. Just like Mel Gibson will come out with another movie that everyone will see because they forgot about Jews. Just like R Kelly got off the hook for fuckin an underage girl and peeing in her face (people STILL sing along on the songs too). Anyway my father would come back and take something of mine because his faith in the "System" was BAD.

Oh's good that people have a clear definition about ethics. But they are just GUIDELINES.

Katie (little little!) said...

I don't think reusing your own work is necessarily unethical. If you've already done the original work, it's not copying. But it took me a while to reach that conclusion.