Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.

Organisms are resilient patterns in a turbulent flow

Quote in context: “Imagine a child playing in a woodland stream, poking a stick into an eddy in the flowing current, thereby disrupting it. But the eddy quickly reforms. The child disperses it again. Again it reforms, and the fascinating game goes on. There you have it! Organisms are resilient patterns in a turbulent flow—patterns in an energy flow…. It is becoming increasingly clear that to understand living systems in any deep sense, we must come to see them not materialistically, as machines, but as stable, complex, dynamic organization.”

— Carl R. Woese. 2004. “A New Biology for a New Century.” Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2004 June; 68(2): 173–186.

doi:  10.1128/MMBR.68.2.173-186.2004