Τοὺς δ’ ἀργοὺς ἐκείνους παρακαλῶμεν, ὅταν τὰ κεφάλαια τῇ νοήσει περιλάβωσιν, αὐτοὺς δι’ αὑτῶν τὰ λοιπὰ συντιθέναι, καὶ τῇ μνήμῃ χειραγωγεῖν τὴν εὕρεσιν, καὶ τὸν ἀλλότριον λόγον οἷον ἀρχὴν καὶ σπέρμα λαβόντας ἐκτρέφειν καὶ αὔξειν. οὐ γὰρ ὡς ἀγγεῖον ὁ νοῦς ἀποπληρώσεως ἀλλ’ ὑπεκκαύματος μόνον ὥσπερ ὕλη δεῖται, ὁρμὴν ἐμποιοῦντος εὑρετικὴν καὶ ὄρεξιν ἐπὶ τὴν ἀλήθειαν. ὥσπερ οὖν εἴ τις ἐκ γειτόνων πυρὸς δεόμενος, εἶτα πολὺ καὶ λαμπρὸν εὑρὼν αὐτοῦ καταμένοι διὰ τέλους θαλπόμενος, οὕτως εἴ τις ἥκων λόγου μεταλαβεῖν πρὸς ἄλλον οὐχ οἴεται δεῖν φῶς οἰκεῖον ἐξάπτειν καὶ νοῦν ἴδιον, ἀλλὰ χαίρων τῇ ἀκροάσει κάθηται θελγόμενος, οἷον ἔρευθος ἕλκει καὶ γάνωμα τὴν δόξαν ἀπὸ τῶν λόγων, τὸν δ’ ἐντὸς εὐρῶτα τῆς ψυχῆς καὶ ζόφον οὐκ ἐκτεθέρμαγκεν οὐδ’ ἐξέωκε διὰ φιλοσοφίας.
(Plutarch, Peri tou akouein 48b-d)

But as for those lazy persons whom we have mentioned, let us urge them that, when their intelligence has comprehended the main points, they put the rest together by their own efforts, and use their memory as a guide in thinking for themselves, and, taking the discourse of another as a germ and seed, develop and expand it. For the mind does not require filing like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth. Imagine, then, that a man should need to get fire from a neighbour, and, upon finding a big bright fire there, should stay there continually warming himself; just so it is if a man comes to another to share the benefit of a discourse, and does not think it necessary to kindle from it some illumination for himself and some thinking of his own, but, delighting in the discourse, sit enchanted; he gets, as it were, a bright and ruddy glow in the form of opinion imparted to him by what is said, but the mouldiness and darkness of his inner mind he has not dissipated nor banished by the warm glow of philosophy. (tr. Frank Cole Babbitt)

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