What if we thought about the stream of consciousness quite literally as a stream of water? Our thoughts, then, would be the flow of water through the nooks and crannies of our brains.
This comparison might help us to think about what happens when brains grow older. Water carves its ways. The longer our stream of thought flows down one path, the broader and deeper it becomes. We get used to thinking in a specific way. Some day, the water will not be able to flow any other way. We stop being able to think about different ways to see an issue. We stop contemplating our way might be wrong.
I am 26 years old. Nearly every day I discover rivers in my brain that are broad and deep. I have to work hard to get my stream of thought flowing a different path, adopting a different perspective.
I can only imagine how bad it must be for a person twice my age. That’s the typical age for a leader in our society.