New Criticals

In fact, complex organisms can be considered nested dissipative structures, because they are dynamic, dissipative structures as a whole composed of parts that are themselves dissipative structures in their own right. That is, you are a dissipative structure, and so is every one of your 100 trillion or so cells, and inside those cells yet further structures like mitochondria and ribosomes which are also very much in the same universal business of potential-dissipation, while each level of that dynamic hierarchy is itself composed of parts that have some degree of static stability as well, again directly related to the amount of potential energy consumed during the formation of that structure. This nested hierachy of structure is the evidence of the long causal history, or logical depth,  involved in the formation of living things. 

One simple way to recognize a dissipative structure is that it is a fueled process which ceases when the fuel source is drained. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as “needing” food, because that is how it appears from our perspective. In fact, its only in our designed machines that the causality of the work-dissipation relationship is reversed. We use gas to get down the road, but natural dissipative structures don’t care where they go as long as they get to burn fuel. That’s the fundamental, thermodynamic reason for their existence. This also explains the initially, apparent contradiction between the second law and evolution. When analyzing a steam engine, dissipation appears only as a kind of inneficiency or lost work term. But "work" is about our capacity to control the expenditure of potential, and the distinction between heat and work is immaterial until the emergence of living processes that have goal-oriented functions. To nature, heat and work are both just kinetic energy, and tornadoes don't care where they end up as long as they equalize the pressure and temperature gradients in the atmosphere in the process. Now, you aren’t a designed machine, but a naturally occurring dissipative structure. I submit the hypothesis that it is possible that we have entirely misconstrued our existence, although certain humans in the fullness of youth seem to innately sense that clinging is useless.