Strengthen your personal knowledge with some contrary ideas. Teach yourself to flirt with dissent. Keep your spiritual fontanel open. As you get older, the fontanel—the fibrous tissue that separates the bones that make up your skull—starts closing, never again to open. Before that happens, you need to cultivate the new ideas that normally do not fit in with your preconceptions. Look in the mirror and let the reflection play devil's-advocate to your point-of-view. At least, you can establish the foundation of a contrary culture, a counterweight that will defeat the blinders most Americans start wearing in their adult lives.

The song by The Who titled "Go to the Mirror!" contains the lyrics, "I wonder what he is feeling/ Has he ever heard a word I've said?"

Absorb all you can while the fontanel is open. Your ability to keep it open defines you as a member of the leadership class. Once it closes, you will never again do more than parrot others' opinions of anything, even as you claim them bogusly as your own. You should hear people my age try to talk about important subjects. They should respond to questions like individuals, searching for the right answers.

Instead they talk like members of a cult, programmed by TV commentators to respond right off the bat—bristling brightly with doctrinaire talking-points. If you only ask how they are doing, they will turn snarky and start railing about opposition party-leaders, opposition TV networks, commentators, rail about their dishonesty, and partisanship. In reality, they are telling you, "Don't ask me so many questions!" But if I suggest the obvious solution to the partisanship—a division of the counry—they will stare at me incredulously, "Are you out of your mind? Think of the logistical problems." What about the established networks, transportation routes, and border-crossings? As if all I want to do is upset it all.

We have overcome all kinds of problems before. Think of the heaps of outdated concepts, disused technologies, and rubbage piles of obsolete equipment. They didn't stop anyone from embracing new things. Basically, people my age have lost personal definition. German psychologists use the term "Einstellung." The Wikipedia article on "Einstellung" defines it as a "mechanized mindset." People my age don't particularly wnat to think. All they want is talking-points to cover their bases, to confirm their existing orientation to things. They need the wherewithal to fend off doubt, and to remain part of their tribe.
In their need for self-definition and identity, they dig themselves into an ideological hole—apart from all the other ideological holes—that senselessly enhances the disunity of the country, scaring the rest of us half to death!

And a Merry Christmas to all my readers.