I was recently reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, and this passage caught my eye.
“What do you think?” shouted Razumihin, louder than ever, “you think I am attacking them for talking nonsense? Not a bit! I like them to talk nonsense. That’s man’s one privilege over all creation. Through error you come to the truth! I am a man because I err! You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes and very likely a hundred and fourteen. And a fine thing, too, in its way; but we can’t even make mistakes on our own account! Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I’ll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one’s own way is better than to go right in someone else’s. In the first case you are a man, in the second you’re no better than a bird. Truth won’t escape you, but life can be cramped. There have been examples. And what are we doing now? In science, development, thought, invention, ideals, aims, liberalism, judgement, experience, and everything, everything, everything, we are still in the preparatory class at school. We prefer to live on other people’s ideas, it’s what we are used to! Am I right, am I right?”
It made me remember a passage in one of my textbook when I was studying in GaiDai:
(Very, very roughly translated to): If you are too absorbed in a great book, there is a danger that the writer’s thoughts and point of view will infect you. This infection is unexpected, unnoticed. In that condition, there is a danger that you will talk about that writer’s thoughts. You may even write about it. The greater the book, the more power, the more danger it contains. Even just one book can change the world. Because of that we shouldn’t swallow whatever we read whole, but we must converse with it.
I would love to agree with both writers, but wouldn’t that mean that I was not thinking my own thoughts, exactly like they feared?
*this calls for a Philosoraptor meme, but I’m just too lazy*