In my opinion, this is process of philosophy: First, a person begins to search for something more than the world that he/she perceives. Second, he/she distances him/herself away from this perceived world. It is only after distancing him/herself from this perceived world that he/she realizes that there is nothing more than the perceived world, but in so doing, learns just how important this perceived world is and how important he/she is to the world while he/she was inside it. Thus enlightened, he/she returns to the perceived world with new perception, one that can remake the world.
It is not about memorizing which philosopher said what, just as in applied sciences, it's not just about memorizing the formula. It's about seeing the world in a different way, understanding it. One gains this understanding by learning what others have thought before (look back to get an idea of where you are and where you're going) and synthesizing from their thoughts.