If you're in school, you're being held back. Our educational system has been reduced to a constant cycle of input and output. Many assignments that we all partake in day to day are merely summarizing or memorizing information that someone else (oftentimes far in the past) has produced. Where are the new ideas? Where are the new philosophers? How far can we move when intellect has been leveled to being able to ramble off quotes from something someone else published years ago?
There is and always will be validity in studying what has come before us. Without that knowledge our species could spend the rest of its existence rediscovering the same overt concepts. But we need to grow, we need to continue to push the envelope. In my studies I found myself reading the works of brilliant minds, Descartes, Marx, Freud, all the names that we all know. I saw constant evidence of the texts that I read from them in the world around me, which was wonderful. Its like being handed guidebooks on how to view the world. But then changes in the way my mind processed things began to happen. I've always been accustomed to skepticism, I question and reevaluate everything that I observe and am told. But I found the skeptic in me being replaced by this voice of regurgitation. Everywhere I was going I was merely quoting the words of past thinkers. I began to lose the part of myself that was always redefining and discovering. I was no longer synthesizing new ideas, which is it imperative that we all do in order to make any new steps.
So, what do we do? We need the knowledge of those who came before us, but how do we not become stagnant robots quoting lines from Plato's Republic until we pass it on to someone else?
You fight, its a war of the mind. Every idea being presented to you is a addition to your intellect, but a shot at your unique perspective. Its important while in school, to readily participate and understand all the information you're being fed. But don't believe it. Learn all the information, but hold it at arms distance. Schooling now holds the common idea that what is to be known has already been discovered. There is little room for orthogonality and synthesis, we are taught to please those in authority. But as opposed to fulfilling expectation, redefine them.
Readily take in all the information you are given. But fight to keep your individual perspective. Fight to bring your unique signature in the world. Because that's what we need. Not millions of nicely dressed robots reciting the indoctrination of societies long past.
Be a warrior of you own mind. Protect it with your life. Your body will die someday, but original ideas will live forever.