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.