A Japanese philosoher once said that Peter van Inwagen is a philosopher with such genius that by reading his books he almost got discouraged from going on as a philosopher. I agree with him. Peter van Inwagen is a supergenius. But what was more discouraging to me was, this very Japanese philosopher is for me a van Inwagen. Moreover, since I entered the graduate school I have met too many van Inwagens.
But sometimes words of a genius feel encouraging. Another Japanese philosopher said in a class, "Even if you don't understand part of a book or a paper, try reading it again, say, a week later. Then you often understand it." What was encouraging to me was not what was said, for I knew it by myself, but the fact that he said it. He was another genius but the words of his told me that a man as brilliant as him can sometimes make nothing of what he has read.