The Ability to Search Not Enough

“We know how to say: ‘Cicero says thus; such are the morals of Plato; these are the very words of Aristotle.’ But what do we say ourselves? What do we judge? What do we do? A parrot could well say as much. This habit makes me think of that rich Roman who went to much trouble and very great expense to procure men learned in every field of knowledge, whom he kept continually around him, so that when there should befall among his friends some occasion to speak of one thing or another, they should fill his place and all be ready to furnish him, one with an argument, one with a verse of Homer, each one according to his quarry; and he thought that his knowledge was his own because it was in the heads of his men, as those also do whose ability dwells in their sumptuous libraries. We take the opinions and the knowledge of others into our keeping, and that is all. We must make them our own. We are just like a man who, needing fire, should go and fetch some at his neighbors house, and, having found a fine big fire there, should stop there and warm himself, forgetting to carry any back home. What good does it do us to have our belly full of meat if it is not digested, if it is not transformed into us, if it does not make us bigger and stronger?” (I:25, 120, Frame)