Life & Meaning
Does an infant born a nano-second ago, by virtue of the fact that the infant is born human, have meaning attached to his or her life?
No. Species has nothing to do with it.
The infant has meaning not because it is human, but because it has life.
Life is, at the same time, both elusively mystical and naggingly ordinary. I don't know what the thing we call “life” is – that thing that animates us with awareness. What is it? Electrical & Chemical, ala Mary Shelley, or the Touch of a Creator-Deity upon Oblivion, ala Mullah Omar? Perhaps it is something else entirely, I don't know.
Since I don't know what “life” is I cannot say it does or does not have meaning at any given point, for any given reason in time for any given animated-awareness (that is: any Be-ing). Further, in order for me to have a chance at understanding what the thing called “life” is I must observe it in all its aspects. Therefore allow “life” to do whatever “life” is meant to do to complete itself. Only then can there be any judgement on the meaning of an individual life, or even of that thing that animates us with awareness.
Being born human is a qualifying adjective to life, as in Human Be-ing, therefore it is Life that either has Meaning or does Not.
No life (any Be-ing) is inherently superior to any other life (Other Be-ing) simply because there is no adequate definition to hang on the word “life.” To say, for example, all life is here for humans to use as needed, does so by putting some life into one category: Killable, and putting some life into another category: The Chosen Ones. Humans like to kill so that first group is mob large while the second group is privately small.
“Great apes have self-control, a sense of the past and of the future, a capacity to mourn and to use tools.” Francisco Garrido
“Not only can chimpanzees learn up to 500 words and communicate through a computer, but they also use up to 50 medicinal plants for diarrhea, vomiting or parasites.” Jordi Savater Pi
“We need to break the barrier between the species.” Pedro Pozas
I think the greatest discovery yet to be made, and perhaps the greatest ever, will be the ability to communicate as completely with other animals as we do with human animals. We will then find out how what Human means.
For reference, http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/2007/1854965.htm
“The multiple steps taken by Fongoli chimpanzees in making tools to dispatch mammalian prey involve the kind of foresight and intellectual complexity that most likely typified early human relatives.” Jill Pruetz