Don’t educate yourself on the well thought of ideas of prolific writers and thinkers. Don’t seek out the most knowledge-dense piece.
Do you really want to know or do you just want to regurgitate a bunch of historical facts so as to win arguments?
Think for yourself first. Try to reach an understanding on your own. Don’t squander the chance to come across a unique perspective formulated by your unique mind by jumping right into what others said. That’s a waste of creativity. Only seek to know what others have said to expand your consciousness and to learn of angles you didn’t see before. But don’t let that replace your responsibility to think for yourself.
Plato, Aristotles, Marcus Aurelius, Alkindi, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard
These were prolific thinkers not because they were excellent debaters, but because they reached unique ideas through seeing life from their perspective. The point isn’t to copy them or take their words for absolute truth or absolute falsehood. A lot of it is truth mixed up with their personal biases, blindspots, vices, dishonesty, prejudices, etc. A human can’t form an opinion that is 100% objective. It’s not possible, because an opinion isn’t discovered in its complete form, it’s molded and shaped by the person’s intellectual and creative faculties.
The end goal of expressing your point of view shouldn’t be to establish ideas of ontological superiority; that’s just a hidden desire for domination over others. The end goal should be the process of expression. It should be to channel a hue or shade from the rich colour palette of your soul, onto the collective canvas of life.
It should be just to experience a part of yourself that otherwise would have remained dormant within the recesses of your mind, and birth something marvellous to connect you with the rest of humanity.
When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. In learning to write, the pupil goes over with his pen what the teacher has outlined in pencil: so in reading; the greater part of the work of thought is already done for us. This is why it relieves us to take up a book after being occupied with our own thoughts. And in reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another’s thoughts. So it comes about that if anyone spends almost the whole day in reading, and by way of relaxation devotes the intervals to some thoughtless pastime, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking; just as the man who always rides, at last forgets how to walk. This is the case with many learned persons: they have read themselves stupid.
― Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms
(See what I did there?;))