Parasyte Episode 14: The Selfish Gene

In Parasyte episode 14, we watch a university lecture that talks about a legitimate topic: the “selfish gene” theory. I have a BA in Psychology and one of my course books was the famous book, The Selfish Gene.

Sorry, I Stuttered. — Parasyte Episode 14 The Selfish Gene

I transcribed the lecture because I find it easier to absorb information when it’s in one space (rather than looking through minutes of subtitles).

Altruism is action undertaken for the benefit of others. It’s the opposite of self-interest, and would seem to have no benefit for oneself. If anything, this action tends to help others while being disadvantageous to the actor. While this may not be surprising, among human beings, altruistic behaviour has actually been reported in several animal species. For example, honeybees will sacrifice themselves, one after the next, to protect the hive if predators appear. While this could just be instinct, some actions would not seem to preserve the species. The prime of example of this could be said to be… infanticide. Why kill the offspring of one’s own species? In recent years, what’s often brought up is… the “selfish gene” theory. Put simply, all animals are manipulated by their own body’s DNA. What’s important is the self, and the offspring that will inherit that DNA, rather than the species as a whole. If we expand on this theory, we can explain all altruistic behaviour, such as caring for others in one’s “pack,” familial love, marital love, and even maternal love. This would mean that love and compassion don’t actually exist. All behaviour appearing to be love is just behaviour to aid to transmitting one’s own DNA. Of course, this theory is not without its problems. There have been countless examples of animals helping others completely unrelated to their DNA strain, or protecting those of a different species altogether. What’s more, can a theory like this fully encompass the complexity, the depth of human consciousness? In which case, it’s interesting to consider whether human efforts in environmental and natural conservation are altruistic or selfish. 

It’s pretty long! I’ve bolded the parts I thought were most thought-provoking. Having learned this before, I can say that the professor gave a really good lecture. I don’t know any other anime that actually teaches the audience something for this long. Usually it’s a 15-second explanation or something like that. Parasyte is an amazing anime and it’s also one of my top 5. Consider giving it a try.

Honestly, I’m not quite sure what the point of this post is. However, it’s here for anyone who is interested LOL.

Anime Quote: Fune wo Amu

This is a continuation of my << Tonegawa’s Speech [Kaiji] >> post. In that post, I talked about how I realized that I am living my actual, real life at this very moment, at all times. For more context, read the post…

However, when I finished writing that post, I was still confused because I didn’t have enough information. What does living a fulfilling life look like? Did Tonegawa follow what he preached?

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Then I watched Fune wo Amu. It’s a highly underrated anime and I don’t have anything negative to say about it. Go check it out.

Fune wo Amu follows the life of Mitsuya Majime. Majime dedicates his life towards creating The Great Passage, a dictionary that will always remain incomplete. Why incomplete? Because words are alive and are constantly changing, so the dictionary will need to be continuously revised and edited. It is Majime’s life’s work. The Great Passage will help people better understand one another and make society a better place.

This line is from the last episode. I feel a lot of respect towards people who have something to live for, people who dedicate their entire lives towards something they are passionate about. When people pour their hearts into a piece of work, it’s very admirable and honourable. Perhaps this is an answer to what I’ve been thinking about.

Tonegawa’s Speech [Kaiji]

I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (this is nothing new) and I came across this meme.

I immediately thought about Tonegawa from Kaiji. So I rewatched his speeches and I really like this one.

Normally, those people would never wake up from their fantasy worlds. They live meaningless lives. They waste their precious days over nothing. No matter how old they get, they’ll continue to say, “My real life hasn’t started yet. The real me is still asleep, so that’s why my life is such garbage.” They continue to tell themselves that. And they age. Then die. And on their deathbeds, they will finally realize: the life they lived was the real thing. People don’t live provisional lives, nor do they die provisional deaths. That’s a simple fact! The problem… is whether they realize that simple fact.” – Yukio Tonegawa

Frankly, I felt called out. I often tell myself that I don’t belong here and that I wish I could teleport to another world. That I feel like an alien sometimes. I frequently think, “If only I could do this… If only I had this…”

Tonegawa’s speech makes a lot of sense to me. Whatever fantasy world I’m dreaming of, I need to wake up from it. I need to recognize that I am living my real life right now. It is a simple fact…

Let’s say you recognize that you’ve been wasting your life away. Then what?? Thinking is easy, but taking action is not.