The dictionary says that it is a process to gain an advantage. But for the advantage to be recognized, there need to be known rules in current use. You can’t be considered a cheater in sports if you have sex with someone who is not you wife. Those are different rules for cheating. It’s just like copying off of someone elses test is not cheating when you survive an outcome that most people may have died in.
It seems like the word cheating is defined for to individuals label other people as a stigma and gives permission for shaming. It is largely an office politics or play ground behavior that people use as a game. In order to control the game, you need to define who are the cheaters, but not only that, you need to make the punishment so severe that other people will be too scared to follow in the cheating too. Otherwise, the cheating will be end being absorbed and integrated into the game as normal behavior.
Who gets to decide who is cheating or not? We may like to think that the rules are voted on by the majority, but the whole process of elections and voting have a lot of flaws. Plus, many people end up misinformed about the subject and may make a wrong decision. In the end, the decisions tend to be left up to the enthusiasts with the power. You can figure out the enthusiasts with power by their lack of need to work for a living.
Most people have to step away from the debates to tend to their farms, families and selves. Most of us aren’t in strong positions to decide the rules of cheating because we would place our own livelihoods in jeopardy. The systems are designed by people who have a vast wealth saved up and can have other people serve their other needs while they decide on the rules and fates of cheaters. With that extra edge in power, they can set up more rules to maintain that the majority of people are left to work harder to enjoy a comfortable livelihood. As we know, with leisure comes opportunity to change public views.
People can lower their standards so that they can stay in the debates longer. Look at the Occupy New York. The people showed that they are capable of lowering their living standards to effect change. They slept in tents and ate outside. They were willing to live like homeless people. It was a protest of will power that had an influence over the lawmakers, or rule-makers. The protesters cheated against the laws that made homelessness illegal. I find it amazing how 150 years ago, sleeping outside in that same spot would have had no rules or laws to drive anyone out, unless if it was a sacred Indian burial ground.
Anything that breaks rules and laws is a form of cheating. More cheating is occurring every year too as more rules and laws are added to the books. I just read that Eau Claire, WI requires 24 hours to remove snow off the sidewalk rather than the previous standard of 5 days. Once people, formerly known as noncheaters, turn into cheaters, we envelop more people into playing the same game.
The rules for matrimony have changed significantly as more gay marriages become central protest rallies. Homosexuals can consider each other cheating if they sleep with someone else. That never used to exist as powerfully as it does today. What does that do to the culture of relationships?