More from the fun guy:
The politics of symbiosis have always been fraught. Is nature fundamentally competitive or co-operative? A lot turns on this question. For many, it changes the way we understand ourselves.
The dominant narrative in the United States and western Europe since the development of evolutionary theory in the late nineteenth century was one of conflict and competition, and it mirrored views of social progress within an industrialist capitalist system. […] Mutualistic relationships, such as those that give rise to lichens, or plants’ relationships with mycorrhizal fungi, were curious exceptions to the rule […] Opposition to this view didn’t fall neatly down East-West lines, Nonetheless the ideas of mutual aid and co-operation in evolution were more prominent in Russia than in western European evolutionary circles. The strongest riposte to the dog-eat-dog vision of ‘Nature red in tooth and claw’ came from the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin in his bestselling Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, in 1902.