"When we speak of a "system" we often speak of something that exists only in our mind. For example, a "theological system" or a "system of logic" exists solely in the minds of human beings and not in the world that they inhabit. ... This has now changed."
"The concepts "life" and "matter"--or organic and inorganic--have lost much of their usefulness as the ultimate and defining categories of what things are in the light of organizational invariances."
"The proper term for this highest level of organizational invariance is "natural system." In this use "natural" contrasts with "artificial" and not with "social."
"We don't know the basic nature of our son until we know him as a system arising in nature with properties shared with all other such systems; his unique characteristics are but specifications of these properties. When he cries because a favorite toy has been accidentally switched to a lower shelf, you encounter traits of specific individuality. When he laughs because his older brother repeated the family joke, you meet with a family characteristic. When he comes home from school with knowledge and pride in the work of his class, you encounter a social characteristic. When his throat hurts because of inflamed tonsils you are confronted with a trait of human physiology. And so on, down the line until we come up against the basic structuring of energies, information, and substances which permits the child, as a system of organized complexity, to counteract the wear and tear on his components and grow rather than decay."