It is, perhaps, not good literary style to begin an essay with a negative but this essay has everything to do with life and nothing to do with a Last Will and Testament.  It does deal with beginnings, however, and I think it finds its genesis with the first microbes on the ocean floor near those heat giving tubules billowing out energy form the center of the earth. 

 Identifying and linking the 'Will to Live" is the focus of this essay and it seems to me same is a great constant of life from moment one.  Is it possible that life could go on without "The Will to Live"?  It would seem impossible for me to imagine life surviving without 'the will to live' as a constant from its origin.

 In the last century, I see three great minds setting forth major contributions in the evolution of this vision.  The first was Arthur Schopenhauer.  He was apparently the first to set forth 'The Will to Live' as the core for which all other psycho-social-intellectual-sexual-emotions stem.

Upon discussing my ideas with an old friend who is an extremely well read intellectual, he was the one that gave me the idea that Schopenhauer should have top billing if for no other reason than he was at the chronological origin.  

Next comes an Englishman that I have called an intellectual hero since college.  Charles Darwin's voyage around the world doing research, data and specimen collecting etc. has seldom, if ever, found its equal in adding to the intellectual evolution of mankind.     

To quote Darwin is to understand we stand in the shadow of his grand contribution to the mind of us all.  'The Will to Live' is  the most powerful force in all living things.  What a powerful perspective!  Also, it is an extremely sad thing when the will to live is driven down so forcefully that an individual contemplates suicide.    Last, I wish to share a prejudice of mine that deals with the third man I want to add to the great minds enumerated above.  To place all three in order is simple  1. Arthur Schopenhauer,  2. Charles Darwin,  3. Albert Schweitzer. 

Schweitzer is an intellectual and moral giant.  He loved learning and serving.  However, it should be noted here that Monsieur Albert, as he preferred to be addressed, had Charles Darwin as a hero.  Schweitzer served for over a half century as a medical missionary (self appointed...long story) in Africa and he considered Africa his home and he and Helena are buried there.    In spite of his great life of service, he saw the great potential of one simple phrase to hopefully have a perpetual influence on history which is, in German "Ehrfurcht vor dem leben," Reverence for all LIFE.  Is not 'life' encompassed by the Will to Live? 

 Schweitzer may have said it best:                                                                                                               "I am life that wills to live in the midst of life that wills to live."             True or not, all religion confirms the will to live via a soul.