Unification thought recognizes that living entities (indeed all entities) fulfill dual purposes, that is, simultaneously exhibiting purposes for the whole and for the individual. Individual purpose refers to the need to support an individual's own multiplication, development, self-preservation, and self-strengthening. The purpose for the whole means that by which the individual contributes to the preservation and development of the larger entity. The individual purpose of a dolphin is rather apparent: it eats to survive and develop, reproduces to multiply members of the species, and has survival mechanism to avoid predators, prolonged beaching, or prolonged submersion without oxygen. The purpose for the whole is exhibited in a variety of ways, including playing integral roles in food chains, consuming fish and other aquatic life that might otherwise overpopulate.
Purposes also play a key role with respect to humans. Unification thought recognizes this as a main purpose for the whole among living things. In the case of dolphins, their grace, playful nature, intelligence, and reputation for often positive interactions with people make them a favorite source of joy for humans. People flock to outdoor aquariums to see dolphins in shows, take excursions to see dolphins, and numerous movies, books, and works of art have featured dolphins.
While the relationship with dolphins has often been positive for people, it has not always been so helpful for dolphins, who have been caught in fishermen's nets, been hit by propellers, and seen their habitats damaged by pollution. All of the river dolphins are critically or seriously endangered. Human beings have a responsibility to care for nature, and the gap between people's responsibility and their actions is captured in their harming more than helping the dolphins.