This paper is the reprinting under a new title of the “Foreword” of Paul A. Weiss's Life, Order, and Understanding: A Theme in Three Variations, published in 1970 as volume 8 supplement of The Graduate Journal of the University of Texas (Austin, Texas, #5.00 [hardcover], #2.50 [paperback], 157 pages). We reprint this paper here for two reasons. The first is that its beautiful, scientifically grounded imagery of living systems in relation to wave dynamics provides a significant supplement to this issue of Zygon on human values in the context of thermodynamics. The second is that it is hoped this foreword will serve better than would a book review to introduce Zygon readers to the philosophical and scientific wisdom contained in Life, Order, and Understanding.–Editor.