I think this story focus on the fear for future that every human can not avoid and escape from. We fear the appearance of a more intelligent specie. We fear that we are robed off all the reasons we still exist in the world. We fear that we are get ridden of by the nature. But this fading is our destiny. It is like we are afraid of dying because death means ending. After death we are no longer possible to prove existence for most of us which is why for centuries human still believe in ghosts, hell and heaven and this belief becomes the comfort for us that we may not vanish after death simply. Some people in the story holds the point that even though the synth surpass us, we still have our own value just like the animals. But some could not accept. They refute that will becoming a experimental mouse be our values and shouldn’t we try to forbid this coming true? To this conflict, I think where there is a dominator, there is a submitter. Human become the dominator of the nature as we arise and the other animals which used to be the dominated power fell into the position of submitter. We deprived their lives and values. One day we human may fall into the same situation just like an empire collapses and be conquered. We could fight against it as long as possible but we could not deny even if we are not defeated by another species, we will be extinct in the tides of time.
Haven't you been questioned about the issue that why we save the endangered species? Sure, it will be sad if there are not any pandas on the planet, but its not like we depend on them. And of course, there are quite a number of ugly species like insects and predators like tigers. However we do protect them as well.
If life starts approximately a billion years ago, we will have to wait 400,000 years to see the aberration of the first nerve cell. This is where life, as we know it, begins. Brains in formation of only a few milligrams. It's not possible to determine any sign of intelligence yet. It acts more as a reflex. One neuron, you're alive. Two neurons, you're moving. And with movements, interesting things begin to happen. Animal life on earth goes back millions of years. Yet, most species only use 3 to 5 percent of their cerebral capacity. But it is not until we reach human being at the top of the animal chain that we finally see a species uses more of the cerebral capacity. 10% may not seem like much, but it's a lot if you look at all that we have done with. Now let's discuss a special case. The only living being that uses its brain better than us. The dolphin. It is estimated that this incredible animal uses up to 20% of its cerebral capacity. In particular, this allows it to have an echo-location system that is more efficient than any sonar invented by mankind. But the dolphin did not invent the sonar. It developed it, naturally. And this is the crucial part of our philosophical reflection we have today. Can we therefore conclude that humans are concerned more with Having than Being. Let's imagine for a few moments what our lives would be like if we could access like, let's say, 20% of our brain's capacity. This first stage would give us access to and control over our own bodies. For the moment, it's just hypothesis, I confess. But if you think about it, it's troubling to realize that the Greeks, Egyptians and the Indians had notion of cells centuries before the invention ofthe microscope. And what to say abou Darwin, whom everybody took for a fool when he put forth his Theory of Evolution. It's up to us to push the rules and laws, and go from evolution to revolution. 100 billion neurons per human of which only 15% are activated. There are more connections in a human body than there are stars in the galaxy. We possess a gigantic network of information to which we have almost no access. The next stage would probably be control of other people. But for that we would need to access at least 40% of our brains's capacity. After control of ourselves and others, come control of matter. But now we're entering into the realm of science fiction, and we don't know any more than the dog who watches the moon. || Every cell knows and talks to every other cell. They exchange a thousand bits of information between themselves per second. Cells grouped together forming a joint web of communication, which in turn forms matter. Cells get together, take on one form, deform, reform, makes no difference, they're all the same. Humans consider themselves unique, so they rooted their whole theory of existence on their uniqueness. One is their unit of Measure. But it's not. All social systems we put into place are mere sketch One plus one equals two. That's all we've learnt. But one plus one has never equaled two. There are in fact no numbers and no letters. We codify our existence to bring it down to human size. To make it comprehensible. We've created a scale so we can forget it's unfathomable scales. Normal car speeding down the road. Speed up the image infinitely. The car disappears. So what proof do we have of its existence? Time gives legitimacy to its existence. Time is the only true unit of measure. It gives proof to the existence of matter. Without time, we don't exist.
'I should have thought that a pack of British boys—you're all British aren't you?—would have been able to put up a better show than that—I mean—' 'It was like that at first/ said Ralph, 'before things—' He stopped. 'We were together then—' The officer nodded helpfully. 'I know. Jolly good show. Like the CoralIsland.'
(William Golding, Lord of the Flies, 192)
R. M.Ballantyne's Coral Island is a story in which three English boys are marooned(为...所困) on a desert island. Through courage,intelligence, and cooperation they repel pirates and native savages to enjoy anidyllic(田园般的) life in the South Seas. William Golding's characters also find themselves on a bountiful coral island, but soon fall first into dispute, and then into desperate tribal warfare. In telling their stories as they do,Ballantyne and Golding suggest opposing pictures in answer to our first question: what would life be like in a 'natural' state, a world without government?
Why ask this question? What is its relevance for political philosophy? We take for granted that we live in a world of political institutions: central government,local government, the police, the law courts. These institutions distribute and administer political power. They place people in offices of responsibility, and these people then claim to have the right to command us to act in various ways. And, if we disobey and are caught, we will be punished. The life of each one of us is structured and controlled, in part, by the decisions of others. This level of interference in our lives can seem intolerable. But what is the alternative?
A natural starting-point for thinking about the state is to ask: what would things be like without it? To understand why we have something, it is often a good tactic to consider its absence. Of course, we could hardly abolish the state just to find out what life would be like without it, so the best we can do in practice is carry out this process as a thought- experiment. We imagine a'state of nature'; a situation where no state exists and no one possesses political power. Then we try to decide what it would be like to live under those conditions. This way we can come to a view about how things would be without the state, and this, we hope, will help us to see just why we have a state. Perhaps we will come to understand how the state is justified, if it is,and also what form it should take.
Was there ever a state of nature? Many philosophers seem reluctant to commit themselves on this topic. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78), for example, thought that so much time would have been required to pass from a state of nature to'civil society' (a society governed by a formal state) that it would be blasphemous to assume that modern societies had arisen in this way. He argued that the amount of time needed for the transition was longer than the age ofthe world, as recorded in the scriptures. Yet, on the other hand, Rousseau also believed that there were contemporary examples of peoples living in a state of nature, while John Locke (1632-1704) thought this was true of many groupsliving in seventeenth-century America.
But even if there never has been a true state of nature we can still consider the question of what life would be like if, hypothetically, we found ourselves without a state. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), deeply worried by the English Civil War, thought he saw his country falling into a state of nature. In Leviathan he drew a picture of how unpleasant this would be, hoping to persuade his readers of the advantages of government. Accordingly, for the purposes of this chapter we need not spend much time discussing the question of whether, as a matter offact, human beings have ever lived in a state of nature. All we need to argueis that it is possible.
Is it possible? Sometimes it is claimed that not only have human beings always lived under a state, but that it is the only way they possibly could live. On this view, the state exists naturally in the sense of being natural to humanbeings. Maybe we would not be human beings if we lived in a society without a state. Perhaps we would be a lower form of animal. If human beings exist, then so does the state. If this is true then speculation about the state of natureis redundant.
In response some theorists claim that we have plenty of evidence that human beings have been able to live without the state, and such claims have been vital to the case made by anarchist writers (we will return to these later in the chapter). But even if human beings have never actually lived for any length of time without a state, it is very hard to see how it could be established that it is absolutely impossible. And so, as a way of trying to work out why we have the state, we will assume that human beings could find themselves in a world without it. What would that world be like?
Thomas Hobbes(5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679)
In[the state of nature] there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof(由此) is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing of things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.
(Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 186)
Hobbes's greatest work, Leviathan(published in 1651), pursues a theme that had obsessed him for more than twenty years: the evils of civil war and the anarchy by which it would be accompanied.Nothing could be worse than life without the protection of the state, Hobbes argued, and therefore strong government is essential to ensure that we do not lapse into the war of all against all.
But why did Hobbes believe that the state of nature would be so desperate, a state of war, a state of constant fear and danger of a violent death? The essence of Hobbes's view is that, in the absence of government, human nature will inevitably bring us into severe conflict.
For Hobbes, then, political philosophy begins with the study of human nature.
Hobbes suggests that there are two keys to the understanding of human nature. One is self-knowledge. Honest introspection tells us a great deal about what human beings are like: the nature of their thoughts, hopes, and fears. The other is knowledge of the general principles of physics. Just as to understand the citizen (the individual in political society) you have to understand human nature; Hobbes believed, as a materialist, that to understand human nature you must first understand 'body' or matter, of which, he urged, we are entirely composed.
For our purposes, the most important aspect of Hobbes's account of matter is his adoption of Galileo's principle of the conservation of motion. Prior to Galileo, philosophers and scientists had been puzzled by the question of what kept objects in motion. By what mechanism, for example, does a cannon-ballremain in flight once it has been fired? Galileo's revolutionary answer was to say that this was the wrong question. We should assume that objects will continue to travel at a constant motion and direction until acted on by another force. What needs to be explained is not why things keep going, but why they change direction and why they stop. In Hobbes's lifetime this view was still a novelty, and, he pointed out, defied the common-sense thought that, just as we tire and seek rest after moving, objects will naturally do this too. But the truth, he claims, is that 'when a thing is in motion, it will eternally be in motion, unless somewhat els stay it' (Leviathan, 87). This, he thought, was true for us too. Becoming tired and desiring rest is simply to have a different motion act upon us.
So the principle of the conservation of motion was used by Hobbes in developing a materialist, mechanist view of human beings. The broad outlines of this accountare laid out in the introduction to Leviathan: 'What is the Heart, but a Spring(弹簧); and the Nerves but so many Strings(神弦); and the Joynts(关节), but so many Wheeles, giving motion to the whole Body . . . ?' (p. 81). Thus human beings are animated through motion. Sensation, for example, is a 'pressing' on an organ. Imagination is a 'decaying relic' of sensation. A desire is an 'internal motion towards an object'. All of this is meant quite literally.(科学怪人的既视感：感觉就是施加于接收器的压力；想象就是感觉过后的映像‘欲望就是对追求的内在运动。)
The importance of the theory of the conservation of motion is that with it Hobbes paints a picture of human beings as always searching for something, never atrest. 'There is no such thing as perpetuall Tranquillity of mind while we live here; because Life it selfe is but Motion, and can never be without Desire'(Leviathan, 129-30). Human beings, Hobbes argues, seek what he calls'felicity'(幸福), continual success in achieving the objects of desire. It is the search to secure felicity that will bring us to war in the state of nature.Ultimately, Hobbes thought, our fear of death would bring human beings to create a state. But without a state, in the state of nature, Hobbes thought that the search for felicity would lead to a war of all against all. Why did Hobbes think this?
One clue can be found in Hobbes's definition of power: one's 'present means to obtain some future apparent Good' (Leviathan, 150). So to be assured of achieving felicity one must become powerful. Sources of power, Hobbes claims,include riches, reputations, and friends, and human beings have 'a restlesse desire of Power after power, that ceaseth(终止) onely in Death' (Leviathan, 161).This is not only because humans can never reach a state of complete satisfaction, but also because a person 'cannot assure the power and means to live well, which he hath present, without the acquisition of more' (Leviathan,161). For others will also seek to increase their power, and so the search forpower, is by its nature, competitive.
Everyone's natural, continual, attempt to increase power—to have riches and people underone's command—will lead to competition. But competition is not war. So why should competition in the state of nature lead to war? An important further step is Hobbes's assumption that human beings are by nature 'equal'. An assumption of natural equality is often used in political and moral philosophyas a basis for the argument that we should respect other people, treating oneanother with care and concern. But for Hobbes the assumption is put to a quite different use, as we might suspect when we see how he states the point: we are equal in that all humans possess roughly the same level of strength and skill,and so any human being has the capacity to kill any other. 'The weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others' (Leviathan, 183).
To this Hobbes adds the reasonable assumption that in the state of nature there is a scarcity of goods, so that two people who desire the same kind of thing will often desire to possess the same thing. Finally, Hobbes points out that no one in the state of nature can make himself invulnerable against the possibility of attack. Whatever I possess, others may desire, and so I must constantly be on my guard. Yet even if I possess nothing I cannot be free from fear. Others may take me to be a threat to them and so I could easily end up the victim of a pre-emptive strike(先发制人). From these assumptions of equality, scarcity, and uncertainty, it follows, thinks Hobbes, that the state of nature will be a state of war:
From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our Ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which never the- lesse they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their End,(which is principally their owne conservation, and sometimes their delectation only) endeavour to destroy, or subdue one another. And from hence it comes to pass, that where an Invader hath no more to feare than an other mans single power;if one plant, sow, build, or possesse a convenient Seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared with forces united, to dispossesse, and deprive him,not only of the fruit of his labour, but also of his life or liberty. And the Invader again is in the like danger of another.
Worse still, Hobbes argues, people seek not only the means of immediate satisfaction,but also power in order to satisfy whatever future desires they will have. Now,as reputation of power is power, some people will attack others, even those who pose no threat, purely to gain a reputation of strength as a means of future protection. As in the school playground, those with a reputation for winning fights are least likely to be attacked for their goods, and may even have good ssurrendered to them by others who feel unable to defend themselves. (Of course,those with a reputation for strength cannot relax either: they are the most likely victims of those seeking to enhance their own reputations.)
In sum, Hobbes sees three principal reasons for attack in the state of nature: for gain, for safety (to pre-empt invaders), and for glory or reputation. At bottom, Hobbes relies on the idea that human beings, in the search for felicity, constantly try to increase their power (their present means to obtain future goods). When we add that human beings are roughly equal in strength and ability; that desired goods are scarce; and that no one can be sure that they will not be invaded by others, it seems reasonable to conclude that rational human action will make the state of nature a battlefield. No one is strongenough to ward off all possible attackers, nor so weak that attacking others,with accomplices if need be, is never a possibility. The motive to attack falls into place when we also recognize that attacking others in the state of natureis often the surest way of getting (or keeping) what you want.
Should it be objected that this depiction of our likely plight in the state of nature relies on an assumption that human beings are unrealistically cruel, or unrealistically selfish? But Hobbes would reply that both objections miss the point. Human beings, Hobbes argues, are not cruel, 'that any man should take pleasure in other mens great harms, without other end of his own, I do not conceive it possible' (Leviathan, 126). As for selfishness, he would agree that human beings do generally, if not always, seek to satisfy their self-centred desires. But of equal or greater importance as a source of war is fear: the fear that others around you may try to take from you what you have. This can lead you to attack; not for gain, but for safety or perhaps even reputation.Thus we come close to the idea of a war in which everyone is fighting everyoneelse in self-defence.
Still,it might be said, it is unreasonable to suppose that everyone will be so suspicious of each other that they will always be at each others' throats. But Hobbes accepts that there will be moments without actual conflict. He defines the state of war not as constant fighting, but as a constant readiness to fight, so that no one can relax and let down their guard. Is he right that we should be so suspicious? Why not assume that people in the state of nature will adopt the motto 'live and let live'? But consider, says Hobbes, how we liveeven under the authority of the state. What opinion of your neighbours do you express when you lock your doors against them? And of other members of your household when you lock your chests and drawers? If we are so suspicious when we live with the protection of law, just think how afraid we would be in the state of nature.
永利，At this point it might be argued that, while Hobbes has told us an amusing story,he has overlooked one thing: morality. Although creatures with no moral sense might behave as Hobbes outlines, we are different. The great majority of us accept that we should not attack other people or take their property. Of course in a state of nature a minority would steal and kill, as they do now, but there would be enough people with a moral sense to stop the rot spreading and prevent the immoral minority from bringing us to a general war.
This objection raises two central questions. First, does Hobbes believe that we can make sense of the ideas of morality in a state of nature?Second,if we can, would he allow that the recognition of moral duty, in the absence of the state, is sufficient motivation to override the temptation to invade others for their goods? Let us consider Hobbes's position on the first of these questions.
Hobbes seems to deny that there can be a morality in the state of nature: 'To this warre of every man against every man . . . nothing can be Unjust. The notions of Right and Wrong, Justice and Injustice, have no place' (Leviathan, 188). The argument Hobbes uses at this point is that injustice consists of the breach of some law, but for a law to exist there must be a lawgiver, a common power, able to enforce that law. In the state of nature there is no common power, so no law, so no breach of law, and so no injustice. Each person has 'the Liberty ...to use his own power ... for the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say of his own Life; and consequently, of doing any thing, which in his Judgement,and Reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto' (.Leviathan,189). One of the consequences of this, claims Hobbes, is that 'in such a condition every man has a Right to every thing; even to one anothers body'(Leviathan, 190). Hobbes calls the liberty to act as you think fit to preserve yourself the 'right of nature': its consequence seems to be that, in the state of nature, you are permitted to do anything, even take another's life, if you believe that this will help you survive.
Why does Hobbes take such an extreme position, granting everyone liberty to do anything they think fit in the state of nature? But perhaps his position is not so extreme. We would find it hard to disagree that people in the state of nature have the right to defend themselves. That said, it also seems evident that individuals must decide for themselves what reasonably counts as a threat to them, and further, what is the most appropriate action to take in the face of such a threat. No one, it would seem, could reasonably be criticized for any action they take to defend themselves. As pre-emption is a form of defence,invading others can often be seen as the most rational form of self-protection.
This,then, is the simple initial account of Hobbes's view. In the state of nature there is no justice or injustice, no right or wrong. Moral notions have no application. This is what Hobbes calls the 'Natural Right of Liberty'. But as we shall see, Hobbes's view does have further complications.
In addition to the Natural Right of Liberty, Hobbes also argues that what he calls the 'Laws of Nature' also exist in the state of nature. The first 'fundamental law' is this: 'Every man ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of Warre' (.Leviathan, 190). A second law instructs us to give up our right to all things, provided others are willing as well, and each should 'be contented with as much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himselfe' (Leviathan, 190). The third, which is particularly important for Hobbes's later social contract argument for the state, is to perform whatever covenants you make. In fact, Hobbes spells out a total of nineteen Laws of Nature, concerning justice, property, gratitude, arrogance,and other matters of moral conduct. All these laws, Hobbes supposes, can be deduced from the fundamental law, although he realizes that few people would beable(可能) to carry out the deduction, for most people 'are too busie getting food,and the rest too negligent to understand' (Leviathan, 214). But the Laws ofNature can be 'contracted into one easy sum ... Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thy selfe', a negative formulation of the biblical 'golden rule' (do unto others as you would have them do unto you).
The Laws of Nature, then, could easily be called a moral code. But if Hobbes intends these as a set of moral rules which govern the state of nature, then this seems to contradict his earlier statement that there is no right or wrong in such a condition. Furthermore, if people are motivated to obey the moral law perhaps this will make the state of nature rather more peaceful than Hobbes allows. However, Hobbes does not describe the Laws of Nature as moral laws, but rather as theorems or conclusions of reason. That is, Hobbes believes that following these laws gives each person the best chance of preserving his or her own life.
This,however, seems to lead into a different problem. The fundamental Law of Nature tells us it is rational to seek peace. But Hobbes has already argued that the state of nature will be a state of war, because it is rational, in the state of nature, to invade others. How can Hobbes say that rationality requires both war and peace?
The answer, I think, is that we have to distinguish between individual and collective rationality. Collective rationality is what is best for each individual, on the assumption that everyone else will act the same way. The Laws of Nature express what is collectively rational. We can illustrate this distinction with an example from Jean-Paul Sartre. Consider a group ofpeasants, who each farm their own plot on a steep hillside. One by one they realize that they could increase the usable part of their plot by cutting down their trees and growing more crops. So they all cut down their trees. But in the next heavy storm the rain washes the soil off the hill, ruining the land.Here we can say that the individually rational thing for each peasant is to cutdown his or her trees, to increase the amount of land available for farming.(Cutting down the trees on just one plot will not make any significant difference to soil erosion.) But collectively this is a disaster, for if they all cut down their trees everyone's farm will be ruined. So the collectively rational thing to do is leave most, if not all, of the trees standing.
The interesting feature of cases of this nature (known in the literature as the'prisoners' dilemma') is that, where individual and collective rationality diverge,it is very hard to achieve co-operation on the collectively rational outcome.Every individual has an incentive to 'defect' in favour of the individually rational behaviour. Suppose the peasants understand the structure of their situation, and so agree to refrain from cutting down trees. Then any given peasant can reason that he or she will personally increase yield by felling trees (remember that clearing just one plot will not lead to significant soil erosion). But what is true for one is true for all, and so they may each begin to clear their plots, to gain an individual advantage. Even if they make anagreement, everyone has good reason to break that agreement. Hence the collectively rational position is unstable, and individuals will tend to defect,even if they know the consequences of everyone acting that way.
With this in mind, one way of thinking about Hobbes's argument is that, in the state of nature, the individually rational behaviour is to attack others (for reasons we have already seen) and this will lead to the state of war. However, the Laws of Nature tell us that the state of war is not the inevitable situation for human beings because another level of behaviour—collective rationality—may also be available. If only we could somehow ascend to the level of collective rationality and obey the Laws of Nature we can live in peace, without fear.
The question now is whether Hobbes believed that each person in the state of nature has a duty to obey the Laws of Nature, and if so whether the recognition of such a duty should be sufficient to motivate people to obey the Laws. Hobbes'sanswer here is subtle(微妙的). He says that the Laws bind 'in foro interno' (in the internal forum), but not always 'in foro externo' (in the external forum). What he means is that we should all desire that the Laws take effect, and take them into account in our deliberations, but this does not mean that we should always obey them under all circumstances. If other people around me are disobeying the Laws, or, as will often be the case in the state of nature, I have reasonable suspicion that they will break the Laws, then it is simply stupid and self-defeating for me to obey. If someone does obey in these circumstances then hewill 'make himselfe a prey to others, and procure his certain mine' (Leviathan,215). (In the technical language of contemporary game theory, anyone actingthis way is a 'sucker'!)
In sum, then, Hobbes's position is that we have a duty to obey the Laws of Nature when others around us are known (or can reasonably be expected) to be obeying them too, and so our compliance will not be exploited. But if we are in aposition of insecurity, the attempt to seek peace and act with moral virtuewill lead to an individual's certain ruin and so we are permitted to 'use allthe advantages of war'. The real point, then, seems to be, not exactly that moral notions have no application in the state of nature, but that the level of mutual suspicion and fear in the state of nature is so high that we can generally be excused for not obeying the law. We should only act morally when we can be assured that those around us are doing so too, but this is so rare in the state of nature that the Laws of Nature will, in effect, almost never come into play.
Hobbes sees the way out of this predicament(困境) as being the creation of a sovereign who will severely punish those who disobey the Laws. If the sovereign is effective in keeping people to the Laws, then, and only then, can no one have reasonable suspicion that others will attack. In that case there is no longer an excuse to start an invasion. The great advantage of the state, argues Hobbes, is that it creates conditions under which people can securely follow the Laws of Nature.
We should conclude this section by recalling Hobbes's account of the state of nature. It is a state where everyone is rightly suspicious of everyone else,and this suspicion, not mere egoism(利己心) or sadism(残忍欲), leads to a war, where people will attack for gain, safety, and reputation. The war is self-fuelling(自励) and self-perpetuating(自保), as reasonable suspicion of violent behaviour leads to an ever-increasing spiral of violence. In such a situation life is truly miserable, not only racked by fear, but lacking material comforts and sources of well-being. As no one can be sure of retaining any possessions, few will plant or cultivate, or engage in any long-term enterprise or plan. People will spend all their time grubbing for subsistence and fighting battles. Under such circumstances there is absolutely no chance that the arts or sciences could flourish. Our short lives would be lived without anything to make them worthwhile.
所以从明天开始珍惜，爱你所爱，爱你不爱。各位晚安。(￣o￣) . z Z
On the face of it, there are plenty of reasons why we shouldn't bother to save endangered species. The most obvious is the staggering cost involved. Why should we spend all the money on wild life when we could spend it to stop people from dying of starvation or disease?
Another question we always brings it up is the distinction of dinosaurs, because if extinction is a natural process that goes on even in the absence of humans, why should we stop it? Maybe the third period of widespread extinction is on the process and we can not actually save them after all.
But beyond that, there is a simple reason to save species: because we want to. Nature is beautiful, and that aesthetics value is a reason to keep it, just as we preserve artistic masterpieces like the Mona Lisa. This argument is not so convincing as we take the tiger for example. For many villagers, they are a threat to both human and their sheep, even though some wealthy people think they are beautiful and are eager to spend their own money on saving them. However, the action of saving endangered animals is a social issue, we need a reason that are persuasive enough for the society as a whole, right?
There must be a more practical reason to keep species around. The practice of exploring nature to find commercially useful products is called bioprospecting. It does, sometimes, lead to useful new things, but it comes with a host of problems. And as we can see, most of the medicine we can synthesize by our own and thus we do not depend on certain species. Plus, the local people know that some of the species in their region has medicine value and legal battles have been fought over this. So this argument, while it has some force, doesn't get us very far.
We have another benefit that finally found itself kind of convincing, which most of us take for granted, is called "ecosystem services". The most obvious example is the bees can transfer pollen and is useful to the fruit and vegetables we grow. These are quite direct, but sometimes the services provided can be more subtle. But from the utility point of view, the ecosystem have nothing to do with me because I just sit in my office all day.
The point is that, while we could in theory do all these things artificially, it would be very difficult. It is far easier to let the existing wildlife do them for us. We took the argument a step further by asking how much we would gain by conserving biodiversity. In other words, conserving nature is a staggering good investment.
In fact, one of the good things about the idea of ecosystem services is that it is all-encompassing. As a result, the weaker arguments we mentioned before now start to make some sense. The pure natural beauty can even moved the most cold-blooded person. You may well ask how we can put a price on that. How do you objectively measure beauty? Well, you can't, but that doesn't stop as deciding what it is worth. We do it all the time with paintings, potteries and other forms of art. If we value something and we are prepared to pay to have it, then it has value. To the same thing with nature, we just need a system that allows us to pay to experience it. In principle, ecotourism offers a way to make the beauty of nature pay for itself.
I believe most of us have heard the word bio-network. In order to protect a certain kind of animal, we need to protect their meal, plants or animals, and they are part of a wider network of species, and it is difficult to separate them from it. Wiping out one of these species might not make much difference, but then again it might cause a chain reaction that alters the entire ecosystem. It is hard to predict the effect of killing off a species unless you go ahead and kill it-and then it is too late to reserve it.
So for own own good-both in terms of practical things like food and water, and less physical needs like beauty-we should protect them. Human society is a part of the ecosystem,too. In specific situations we might choose to favor one or the other, but overall we have to do both. It is not only for some solo intents to save the endangered species, instead, it is about seeing human society and wild ecosystems as one inseparable whole.