Creative commentary plus crafty composition

According to an article in the August issue of Psychology Today, there are numerous excuses athletes may posit for cheating, such as by doping – obviously a high profile issue in any spotlighted athletic competition such as the current Summer Olympics.

The catch-all category of ‘moral disengagement’, based on disconnecting one’s behaviour from negative emotions such as guilt, has emerged as the strongest defence. It has at least six manifestations:

  • morally justifying, because it helps the team
  • using euphemistic labelling, such in describing performance enhancers
  • comparing one’s actions to others who are supposedly doing worse things
  • shifting responsibility, such as to the coach
  • diffusing responsibility to one’s peer group (teammates)
  • distorting consequences, by disputing the impact of one’s actions

Considering the pressure placed on athletes from both external sources, such as sports organizations, sponsors, or coaches, as well as from internal competitive emotions, it’s little wonder that the temptation to take advantage of a questionable, if not outright unethical, advantage can be strong. People being people, at times some cannot or won’t resist.

So, if athletes face this issue more or less constantly, and clearly a meaningful percentage do find ways to live with advantages from such compromising, what’s to stop the rest of us from acting out for self interest, or nominally on behalf of others, when the stakes of disengagement are favourable, if less dramatic…

  • Park in a usually empty space designated for the disabled, helping to ensure its use doesn’t go to waste
  • Use a portable hook to ‘connect’ with someone standing up right in front of you and others at a ticketed event
  • Put an indoor mini-drone to good use to distract a monotonous speaker
  • When someone disrupts those waiting at an airport luggage carrousel, sneak something personal from their hand luggage and send it for a trip on the merry-go-round
  • if using an outdoor privy right after someone extremely un-hygienic, stagger out and collapse on them while asking for a respirator
  • Put an inconsiderate co-worker on their heels by anonymously adding their link to shaming websites
  • To prepare for the possibility of being stuck near a noisy child on a bus or train, bring a 3D printed, portable cone of silence
  • If confronted by a particularly annoying panhandler, hand out a treasure map to pennies hidden in alleys

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