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Thomas Neville – 10A1/ AR

Why Forms of Deception Can be Used Positively.


Sophocles once said, “I would prefer even to fail with honour than to win by
cheating”. Dead now.
He fell with honour and lost his life, but had he cheated and won, he would've
lived, full stop. Even if he had cheated and lost, he wouldn't have lost
anything and if he indeed fell with honour, it would just mean that Sophocles
had gave up, which in itself is a form of weakness (Suicide?).... One that is
not good for you.

People perform deceitful acts to each-other all the time. Men, women,
children, negotiators, priests, drug addicts and, most commonly, parents.
Deception is a natural part of life.
Even some animals are masters of deception, the most obvious of course
being the chameleon, who's skin is used to avoid many different predators.
This is a survival instinct that keeps the chameleon alive.

In this essay, I'll be trying to win over my point that deception really can be
used for good and others, and not just for evil and selfish gains.
And, as an added bonus to you, my faithful readers, I promise to you that,
under no circumstances, shall I attempt to lie or deceive you in order to win
my point across, which would, of course, be the obvious thing to do.

To, hopefully, prove my loyalty to the reader, I will warn you that, if you do
side with me and say that lying can be used positively, then you will be going
up against God. For as it says in the New Testament, “"Thou shalt not bear
false witness".

Now, we all tend to believe theft is wrong. In almost all cases, taking
someone's property, without exchanging it for money or other property, is
extremely inappropriate.
However, would it be immoral for a penniless parent to break into a doctor's
to get medicine for his sick infant? In this case, most would say not.
But why? Although this is still considered stealing, it's overshadowed by
something good: caring for a helpless child.
This shows how even a disagreeable idea can be made proper under the
right circumstances.

However, here is a story about a determined monk who vowed to never tell a
lie or deceive. This monk is obviously someone committed to staying moral.
One day, while meditating under an oak tree, he was interrupted by a young
boy. The boy said that people were after him, but he claimed innocent to any
wrongdoing. The youth further stated that he would now climb up the oak tree
and urged the monk not to tell anybody where he's hiding. The monk believed
Thomas Neville – 10A1/ AR
him and promised to not say a word.

When a group of angry people came and questioned the monk if he knew
whether a young boy had passed his way, the monk thought hard about the
inquiry. If he tells them where the boy is, then he would break his promise.
If he tells them no, then he would be lying. Finally the monk had the solution:
he simply pointed up -- in the direction of the youth. The boy was then
dragged down and subsequently punished.

Of course, the monk was relieved he had kept his unbroken record of never
telling a lie. However, he had placed his ideals above bringing harm to
someone innocent. This act is cruel and hardly moral.
This second case shows how an agreeable idea can be made improper under
some circumstances.

People wonder if it's ethically allowable to use deception in psychological


experiments?
I argue that, provided some requirements are satisfied, it is possible to
use deceptive methods without producing significant harm to research
participants and without any significant violation of their autonomy. We also
argue that methodological deception is at least at the moment the only
effective means by which one can acquire morally significant information
about certain behavioural tendencies.
Individuals in general, and research participants in particular, gain self-
knowledge which can help them improve their autonomous decision-making.
The community gains collective self-knowledge that, once shared, can play a
role in shaping education, informing policies and in general creating a more
efficient and just society.

Really, I should be able to stop there and I'd instantly win over any empathic
people, but, to myself, that would be an injustice for the rest of you so I will
now list a famous case of when someone has deceived and how that has
helped them.

Appealing to the comedy fans here, think back to Little Britain. One of the
many sketches involved the two main actors playing flatmates. I am, of
course, talking about Lou and Andy, played by David Walliams and Matt
Lucas respectively.
In case you have no idea what I'm on about, Andy is supposedly a special-
needs wheelchair bound man while Lou is his friend and carer. However,
Andy holds a dark secret, he's no handicapped in any way (physically or
mentally) and, while putting Lou through various pains and “kerfuffles”, gets
up and walks about, usually to undermine whatever Lou has previously done
to help Andy.
Thomas Neville – 10A1/ AR
Although it might seem an evil thing to do as Andy is treating Lou as a slave,
holding him back in life by deceiving him, but when has Lou ever shown even
a slight hint of remorse or when has he ever given/ got fed up and left Andy
alone. So, if Lou's happy helping Andy and Andy is getting whatever he wants
through deceit, where is the harm?
One of the biggest deceptions in the modern world might not be thought of
until you're really thorough in finding famous deceptions, I myself had to have
it pointed out to me. I'm talking about Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, the
Tooth Fairy and all the other gift-bearing strangers that visit you in bed at
special times of the year or your life.
We all know that these people don't really exist and it's just a really nice idea
to get kids into the festive moods while providing them with something to
keep them preoccupied (Also known as a form of bribery in most modern
family).
Now, can you really say that these imaginary people are harming or bringing
misery to anyone? I need not say any more on the subject.

I was planning to include more examples but “theories” involving the royal
family and it turns out I've been told “Don't mention the war”..... or goose-step.
But still, we now know that it can be good to deceive, animals do so to hide
from predators, parents do so to protect and bring happiness to their
children's lives and lazy people do it so that they don't have to stand up as
much.

I don't ever predict that my argument will ever win the majority of votes.
Mostly because, if asked this question “Can deception be used positively?”,
most would answer dishonestly because their paranoia tells them that if they
said “yes”, they would be the only ones and people would somehow keep
track of your answers.

Either way, I'd like to thank you for reading and hope that you join my
cause..... we could start a Facebook petition to involve deceit more in our
lives?
1

1 I stated at the beginning that I would not lie to you. Well, I did lie to you to prove a point that lying can be good for you. By lying through my keyboard, I've been able
to successfully persuade you (Ironically, don't lie to me here, unless I didn't persuade you) that deception can be used for positive ways.
This is my final argument to persuade my point over to you. From the bottom of my heart, thanks again for reading.

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