Beginning with viruses, moving to bacteria, cells without nuclei, cells with them, multicellular organisms, on up to humans, tribes, city-states, and nations. Then he speculated on how we might organize above the level of squabbling nations, an earthship with 200 "captains". (I'm blurring him with Bucky Fuller, I know)
anyways, from I got the idea from this essay that you can zoom in and out at any level, and still see something interesting. Everything is a hologram of everything else.
I'm trying to think of a fictional work that embodies this notion, and Tau Zero by Poul Anderson comes to mind.