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Natural things ought to be respected as “natural” beings , which means that we should try our best to avoid interfering with their natural existence and when it is necessary, to restore them into their natural state.(self-made)

Obviously, here I use "nutural things" to mean things like trees,flowers, animals,fish. But "thing" has such a broad range of meaning, that "natural things" may cover human body and human imagination, human emotion. So does anyone have any better alternative? Maybe "natural object" suits to my purpose? But it seems too technical a term?

  • There is an unfortunate ambiguity in English between two meanings of the word "nature" - non-artificial things, and everything that exists - which makes this a particularly tricky question, I think. – Robin Green Dec 1 '13 at 9:34
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    Also look up the term flora and fauna. – Autoresponder Dec 1 '13 at 9:58
  • I think we have a winner! Flora and fauna may be exactly what you are looking for! – Robin Green Dec 1 '13 at 10:03
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    No, By natural things I also mean rivers, wind, air, fire, natural disasters, etc. anything that is not artificial. – benlogos Dec 1 '13 at 15:05
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To remove the ambiguity of "natural things", you could possible use "Our natural environment" as a collective noun to set the initial scope of your sentence, which would then focus the meaning of "things" later on to the broadest sense of nature, rather than natural yoghurt, make-up, etc:

Our natural environment ought to be respected, which means that we should try our best to avoid interfering with the natural existence of things, and when it is necessary, to restore them into their natural state.

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You could try All natural phenomena or All life, both animal and vegetable or, more fancifully, The whole of creation.

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Depending on what you intend to include in those "natural things", the following words could convey fine shades of meaning:

All living creatures (usually excludes trees and plants)
All life (as suggested by Barrie England, also all of life)
Everything (will also include water, rocks, etc.)

  • I think "Everything" is too broad for what is intended here. – Robin Green Dec 1 '13 at 9:30
  • I tried to figure out which word the original passage uses. I believe that it is from some ancient Chinese text. According to my exposure to some Chinese literature (translated to my own mother tongue), all those three words can be used, depending on the context. – Damkerng T. Dec 1 '13 at 9:32
  • The subject of my sentence should include everything in the environment in which human lives except human beings themselves. As you perceptively noted, this idea comes from an ancient text, more precisely, from many ancient texts. It is just one of the core values of ancient Chinese. It emphasizes that although humans are part of nature, they often tend to be the enemy of nature. In order to be a harmonial part of the whole of nature, humans should strive to overcome what is against nature in themselves, and reintegrating themselves into the whole. – benlogos Dec 1 '13 at 15:28
  • If I figured the term correctly, a typical translation (to Thai language) seems to tend to use "everything" (สรรพสิ่ง or ทุกสรรพสิ่ง) and let the reader deduces the extent of that "everything" from the context. This is quite similar to "Everything is an illusion," (สรรพสิ่งล้วนมายา) where the exclusion of human beings is implied. Sometimes, I saw the term was translated explicitly to "everything around us" (ทุกสรรพสิ่งรอบตัวเรา). – Damkerng T. Dec 1 '13 at 15:31
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It's a bit long-winded, but "All things that are part of the natural world" is what I would choose, for the sake of clarity. Unfortunately, even this long-winded form is open to misinterpretation, because some people may think that it includes humans.

  • In fact, I think "all things that are part of the natural world" is easily to be interpreted as including humans. – benlogos Dec 1 '13 at 15:15

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