In one of my philosophy classes, the teacher talked about our upcoming papers and what he expected of us.
He expects us to come up with completely new philosophical thought. Stuff that is as good as the scholars.
Shouldn’t I be scared?
No. Because I realized something as he was talking:
In philosophy (and in a lot of subjects), it matters not so much what we know, but what we think.
What is the difference between me and a scholar? A scholar knows more. It isn’t that their brain is better, somehow, and they are better at thinking. They just know more. If I push myself, I can think just as well as they can.
In school, we are sometimes so focused on the input of knowledge, and we think that we show how good we are by outputting that knowledge. Thus, if I don’t know as much as you, I’m not as smart as you are.
But I am severely encouraged by the idea that it isn’t how much I know, but how much I think. I can write something new philosophically simply because I have a brain.
This realization, that I am a thinking, living person, instead of a vat of knowledge, is very encouraging, because I can tell you that I know very little in comparison with other people in my classes. But I can use my brain just as well as they can.