Akio Morita was the founder of Sony.
One of his earliest products was the first transistor radio.
By the standards of the time it was tiny, about the size of a paperback book.
Akio Morita wanted to call it the first Pocket Radio.
And he wanted his salesmen to demonstrate it would fit into a pocket.
The problem was, all salesmen worked in shirtsleeves.
And his radio was just a little bit too big to fit into a shirt pocket.
So he had lots of shirts made with oversized pockets.
Then told all his salesmen to wear them when making sales calls.
That way they could slip the radio into their shirt pocket, to show how small it was.
Was that clever?
Or was that cheating?
For me, who cares, it was creative.
Anytime you change the rules in your favour you give yourself an advantage.
Any advantage is an unfair advantage.
Otherwise it wouldn’t be an advantage.
And if it’s ‘unfair’ it must be cheating, right?
But even if it was, is that bad?
What’s the big problem with cheating?
The problem is surely what you use cheating for.
If you use it for a bad purpose, then it’s bad.
But then anything is bad when used for a bad purpose.
For instance, prayer is good, right?
How about if prayer is used for a bad purpose?
Is prayer still good, or is it bad now?
How about a gun, that’s a bad thing right?
How about if you use a gun to stop a mad dog killing a baby?
Is that still a bad thing?
We’ve become too attached to the words, and that’s stopped us thinking.
We automatically think ‘cheating’ is bad.
The Allies used massive deception to win World War Two.
Was that a bad thing?
Should we have fought the war without cheating, and lost?
Would that have been better?
Again, it depends what you use the cheating for.
The purpose defines whether the end is good or bad.
The method (cheating or whatever you call it) is just a vehicle for getting there.
This is the relativist position.
Nothing is defined in limbo, everything is defined relative to its context.
Which is pretty much the opposite of Kant.
Immanuel Kant believed the intention was more important than the result.
So, for Kant, lying was always wrong.
But what if a friend of yours was being chased by a murderer?
And your friend came to your door and asked you to hide them.
Then the murderer came to your door and asked if your friend was hiding there.
For Kant, you would have to tell the truth.
Even if it cost your friend their life.
This is not how I was brought up, in east London and New York.
This is the opposite of Bauhaus thinking.
Believing that intention is always all-important.
That the means justifies the end.
That Function should Follow Form.
These are the people who tut tut and say cheating is always wrong, without considering the circumstances.
For me, what you do depends on the result you want.
And you must take responsibility for that result.
As long as you consider it a moral result, you should be creative in how you get there.
You should look for an advantage.
And all advantage is unfair.
And that’s cheating.
And that’s just a word.
Get over it.