by Anthony J. Marsella, July 4, 2017
Shakespeare’s oft quoted lines from Julius Caesar are well known. They are used often in conversations to remind us of the perils lurking among auspicious and inauspicious dates and places: “Beware the Ides of March.”
The lines are notable for the 15th day of Caesar’s death at the hands of those he trusted, even as he alienated their friendship. And who can forget the immortal lines: “Et tu, Brutus!” These the final mournful gasp of knowing in one’s final moments, a friend’s betrayal.
“Ides” refers to the fifteenth day of March, May, July, or October. The “Fifteenth” day was considered a day to pay off all financial debts owed. Perhaps, however, it was also a day for personal debts of gratitude and appreciation to be repaid, lest we forget obligations to those who cared for us. The “Thirteenth” day was used for similar purposes for the other months. “Ides” is much more complex. For my purposes, however, it is a poignant departure place for writing about “Cides,” the “Act of Killing.”
“Cides” (Root: “Cidium” refers to the act of killing), is a term joined with many nouns to describe the intentional, deliberate, extermination by killing, murder, and slaying. The tragedy is so many things are subject to killing. “Aye, that the rub!”
I began to think of the many “Cides” following various words; in the process, I became aware of how many terms there are preceding “Cide,” and what this means for us as we use the terms each day. Too, often perhaps, we use the terms without thought or their implication.
I decided to create a graphic display to call attention to the collection of terms, rather than writing a long prose article. It is coincidental, perhaps, I prepared this article on July 4, 2017, Independence Day, the USA celebration of its founding. Coincidence! How many have died for independence? How many have died because of the USA’s existence?
Chart 1 displays some terms associated with “Cides.” It is, in some ways, a lexicon of killing. “Killing, murder, death,” they have become commonplace across the world. Have we become habituated to killing?
A LEXICON OF “CIDES”
Is there a method in this piece? “Yes!” The method is combining iconic literature, words and meanings (i.e., theoretical l lexicography), socio-political commentary, and graphic display. Is there a purpose in this piece? “Yes!” The purpose is to share an awareness of killing, and its omnipresence in our lives.
“Killing, murder, slaying” is committed by individuals, couples, groups, societies, nations, groups of nations (allies). It is an act done for a thousand reasons, often under the aegis of “justified.” The criminality of the act, the illegality of the act, and the immorality of the act, is too often subject to controversy and debate. In the end, something has died.
In a recent paper, entitled “Total War: Weaponizing and Exporting USA Popular Culture” (Marsella, A.J. . Transcend Media Service, March 27, 2017. https://www.transcend.org/…/2017/…total-war-weaponizing–and-exporting-usa-popular-culture-1/ I pointed out how many different ways there are to kill, many of the ways subtle and insidious. But the consequence and the motives are the same (e.g., wealth, power, position, hatred, envy, control).
A 50-year lifetime friend and colleague at the University of Hawaii, Professor Glenn Paige (1929-2017), devoted much of his life to promoting “non-killing.” In his books and talks, Professor Paige illuminated the consequences of killing, and the potential of embracing a ‘non-killing” philosophy and ideology. We spoke often and long. Here’s to you, Glenn! Here is to halting “killing, murder, slaying” everywhere.
Let us make July 4, more than a celebration of independence, let us also make it a day we pledge to stop killing in all its obvious and nuanced forms.
May our nation, on this important day, celebrate the “ideals” of our creation, and vow to halt the “violence, killing, and murder” now prevailing. Regardless of source, motive, or rationale, let us “Beware the “Cides” of July/. “ Let us do so for all days, months, years.
Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D. Emeritus Professor, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 firstname.lastname@example.org. .
Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., a member of the TRANSCEND Network, is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, and past director of the World Health Organization Psychiatric Research Center in Honolulu. He is known nationally and internationally as a pioneer figure in the study of culture and psychopathology who challenged the ethnocentrism and racial biases of many assumptions, theories, and practices in psychology and psychiatry. In more recent years, he has been writing and lecturing on peace and social justice. He has published 15 edited books, and more than 250 articles, chapters, book reviews, and popular pieces. He can be reached at email@example.com.