“Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition. This statement is valid for all organisms, with or without a nervous system.”
This is called the Santiago theory of cognition.
I had heard this my whole life from different places but never knew what it was called or where / when it came from. Late 1970s, Santiago, Chile as a direct consequence to the theory of autopoiesis, which is from the early 1970s, of self-creating/self-sustaining systems.