The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Image of the Week #88, April 22th, 2013: From: It Is in Our Nature to Be Self-Deficient by Jag Bhalla at the Guest Blog. Source: Cartoon by The New Yorker Cartoonist Julia Suits. Mushroom men spring forth from the earth fully formed and ready for battle, entirely self-sufficient entities that never knew dependency of any sort. This is the image conjured by a classic Hobbesian thought experiment that author Jag Bhalla cites in his post, "Is it in Our Nature to be Self-Deficient?" The metaphor suits his argument particularly well since mushrooms are the fruit of sometimes vast networks of fungi that exist unseen and (perhaps) under-appreciated. We celebrate individualism in our society, but is it possible to be truly self-sufficient? Biology suggests not.