Ambrose Bierce defined “decide” as ‘to succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another.’ But let’s inquire further. What is it that is doing the “succumbing”? It may actually be — which many people will not care to face — that conditioned reactions help to constitute what one set of influences does over another… and that the knee-jerk concept of “I” or “me” is basically a conditioned protrusion of thought that occurs later (as it falsely appears to take the credit for “deciding”). Additionally, it may be that the conception of “I” or “me,” before any apparent “deciding” takes place, is also merely a learned social projection (of thinking) that is (essentially) unnecessary. Transcending this illusory “center” — that never truly was a center in the first place — takes the intelligence of wisdom. (Such wisdom is of an eternity beyond the falsity of a learned center.)
Are we merely at the mercy of inevitable conditioned responses that render us to be merely rather robotic and computer-like in nature? We say, “Not necessarily.” The (healthy and wise) mind can look holistically, in a manner that is more in-tune with the whole and not merely immersed in (and “as”) fragmentary parts and conditioned robotic reactions. However, there is no “green flag” that pops up in the mind, revealing that one is looking holistically. One cannot “know” that holistic mindfulness is happening. In truth, this may tie into the fact that holistic insight (as profound understanding) is beyond the field of the known.
Real compassion — not the phony kind set up for everyone to see — relies very little on the “I” or the “me.” The poor bloke who is in love with himself (i.e., in love with his “I” and “me”) cares little, for the most part, for others. The real jewel in life may not be what you were taught; it may not be what is construed as being your special center. There is, psychologically, no special center. Thank goodness!