I’m plodding my way through the dense but rewarding The Selfish Gene these days, initially because it’s an important part of my own altruistic Gene’s canon but increasingly for its own sake too. Dawkins argues that the gene is the basic unit of evolution and programs its host body to, among other things, guard its offspring so that the gene will be able to survive in the new body of the child.
Reading this, I’m starting to worry that my genes may have mutated a little on their trip from my parents to me. My immediate reaction to a screaming child, rather than an inclination to soothe or protect, is “Euagh, kill it!” I think most people only have this reaction to bugs or rodents or Carrot Top. It’s possible I’m programmed only to soothe and protect my own children, and killing other people’s children is actually a survivial mechanism ensuring less competition for my own gene machines, but what if I’m wrong?
Also, while a gene is the basic unit of evolution, a kris is a curvy-edged Malayan dagger. Basically, he creates life and I slice it to bits. None of this speaks too highly for my potential parenting abilities.
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