"A systems view of life treats environmental fluxes and biological fluxes together as a "reciprocity of influence", and a reciprocal relation with environment is arguably as important for understanding life as it is for understanding ecosystems. As Harold J. Morowitz (1992) explains it, life is a property of an ecological system rather than a single organism or species. He argues that an ecosystemic definition of life is preferable to a strictly biochemical or physical one. Robert Ulanowicz (2009) also highlights mutualism as the key to understand the systemic, order-generating behavior of life and ecosystems." Wikipedia: living Systems Theories
"Mutualism is a biological interaction between two organisms, where each individual derives a fitness benefit (i.e. increased survivorship). Similar interactions within a species are known as co-operation.
mutualism has historically received less attention than other interactions such as predation and parasitism.
mutualistic interactions are vital for terrestrial ecosystem function as more than 70% of land plants rely on mycorrhizal relationships with fungi to provide them with inorganic compounds and trace elements. In addition, mutualism is thought to have driven the evolution of much of the biological diversity we see, such as flower forms (important for pollination mutualisms) and co-evolution between groups of species.
Humans also engage in mutualisms with other species, including our gut flora (without which we would not be able to digest food efficiently) and domesticated animals such as horses, which provide transportation in return for food and shelter. In traditional agriculture, many plants will function mutualistically as companion plants, providing each other with shelter, soil fertility and the repelling of pests. For example, beans may grow up cornstalks as a trellis, while fixing nitrogen in the soil for the corn, as exploited in the Three Sisters gardening technique. The question how and why species might cooperate has been addressed philosophically by a number of people." Wikipedia: Mutualism
Life can support Life - even outside of species. If we trace our Life Process back through time - to the first cells, we can see that it is just one big family. No wonder cooperative and mutualist interactions can emerge. "A diverse array of living organisms (life forms) can be found in the biosphere on Earth, and properties common to these organisms—plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea, and bacteria — are a carbon- and water-based cellular form with complex organization and heritable genetic information." Wikipedia: Life
Nature red in tooth and claw indeed! ........ well... it's part of it of course, but it's not the complete picture apparently.