Profound? Obvious? Confusing? Meaningless?
No matter what you might think of this blog post title, I reply: Yes, Yes, Yes, and...Yes.
In other words, I agree with you. I take this stance because I like the one-sentence statement that popped into my head a week or so ago, stimulated, I suspect, by the Buddhist books I've been re-reading lately.
So it doesn't really matter how anyone else looks upon I never was, so I always will be. Those words resonate with me, because they seem absolutely true.
Let's examine why I say this.
I never was points to the absence of an enduring, unchanging self or soul. This holds not just for me, but for everybody. So says Buddhism. So says neuroscience.
Thus I, and you, and everyone else are an ever-changing process, not a standalone entity. We are part of life, of nature, of the world, of the universe.
Certainly, we exist. Yet we don't exist in the sense most people see themselves -- as a being continuous with the baby that was given our name, and with all of the ages we experience until we die.
I never was that sort of being.
What I've been, and what I am today, is a swirling eddy in the stream of life that maintains a certain shifting shape, a certain fluid substance, but isn't in any sense a life form of which it can be said, "I am _____."
There's nothing to fill that blank. You, me, everybody, we are only an ephemeral collection of qualities produced by the seamlessly interconnected web of nature that not only surrounds us, but is us.
That's why I always will be. Because I never was.
If I'd been something that exists all on its own, my death would mark the end of that thing. (Again, there is no evidence of an enduring self or soul, so death is the last word of life's final chapter, not the beginning of a new plot line.)
However, since I never have been that sort of something, an island unto itself, I always will be. Not as me, of course, since the entity with my name attached to it is finite.
Rather, I always will be in the sense of what I already am, as we all are: nature, the natural world, reality.
I realize that this won't seem to be good news to those who believe in a form of life after death where human consciousness persists much as it is now. But I don't see I never was, so I always will be as either good news or bad news.
It simply is what appears to me to be the way things actually are, truth.
The only reason someone would be dismayed at the thought of not continuing to live after their body takes its last breath is if they feel they are something that can't die. And that's a fantasy, not reality.
The beauty of Buddhism, and also of modern neuroscience, is how doing away with the illusion of self/soul eliminates the sense of unfairness, or wrongness, that we humans will die one day.
If we never were the independently existing beings that we wrongly take ourselves to be, then death isn't the loss of anything that ever was. Since we always are changing, with no fixed center to our being, dying is the final change among countless other changes.
After that, our atoms are recycled into other entities. The world goes on. And so do we, in the only way that is possible -- as all that preceded our birth, and as all that follows our death.