Life Is The Network, Not The Self: The fundamental unit of biology is not the “self,” but the network. This view of life has practical consequences. The fungal growths swarming my Petri dishes have a lesson beyond the immediate practical benefits of managing and studying living networks. Every textbook diagram and every written metaphor shape how we imagine the world. Microbiology and genetics are calling us to expand that imaginative space. When we gaze at a maple leaf, we now see not an individual made of plant cells, but a thrumming conversation, an embodied network. The “self” is a society.