Hermann vo Helmholtz...on immortality

...what arouses our moral feeling at the thought of a future cessation of all living creation on earth, remote as this may be, is above all, the question of whether all life is but an aimless sport, which will ultimately fall prey to destruction by brute force. In the light of Darwin's great thoughts, we begin to see that not only pleasure and joy, but also pain, struggle, and death, are the powerful means by which nature has built up her finer and more perfect forms of life. And we men know that in our intelligence, our civic order, and our morality, we are living on the inheritance which our forefathers gathered for us through labor, struggle, and sacrifice. We also know that what we acquire will in like manner ennoble the lives of our descendants. Thus the individual, who works for the ideals of humanity, even if in a modest position and in a limited sphere of activity, can bear without fear the thought that the thread of his own consciousness will one day break.

- Uber die Entstehung des Planetensystems, 1871