Ned’s Atomic Dustbin’s song Selfish was playing itself in my head this morning – songs do that some times – and one line jumped out at me; “The selfish gene in me, has finally come into being“. And this sparked another memory, biologist Richard Dawkins book, The Selfish Gene.
At this point I had to stop and wonder, is Richard Dawkins a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin fan, or are the members of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin remarkably well read. I was initially guessing the former. Despite what you may think, scientist have lives and often like music that you wouldn’t expect them to like. But it this was the case, then Richard Dawkins key achievement was inspired by an alternative rock band.
That seemed unlikely. But was it more unlikely than a member of a Ned’s knowing about basically a biology book, well enough to have the lyrics in line with the books thesis? Sure the book was a best seller, but it’s not like it was a mass market paperback or anything that I remember in the news.
Well I didn’t give Ned’s enough credit. Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene was published in October 1989. Neds song Selfish was released on the album God Fodder in July of 1991.
The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
Our genes made use. We animals exist for their preservation and are nothing more than their throwaway survival machines. The world of the selfish gene is one of savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit. But what of the acts of apparent altruism found in nature – the bees who commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, or the birds who warn the flock of an approaching hawk ? Do they contravene the fundamental law of gene selfishness ? By no means: Dawkins shows that the selfish gene is also the subtle gene. And he holds out the hope that our species – alone on earth – has the power to rebel against the designs of the selfish gene. This book is a call to arms. It is both a manual and a manifesto, and it grips like a thriller.
Selfish – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
be careful, you might hear something
you don’t want to hear
be careful you might say something
that you really mean
you say “take things easy,
go and have some fun”
but my mind is hazy
about times i’ve spent alone
so be careful, you might feel something
you don’t want to feel
be careful, you might learn something
you don’t want to know
i’ll take things steady
go on and be alone
i hope your head’s aching
from having too much fun
if i don’t know what’s cool
will you call me a loser?
if i don’t bend the rules
will i stay a loser?
the selfish gene in me has finally come into being
he’s teaching me how to be mean
but that’s a sorry, sorry state to be in
stop yawning, stop yearning
and wake up
what you wanna do is wake up