Aikido is also about letting your self go and just practise and for me personally there is no better way to do that than to put my trust 100% in my teacher and my teachers teacher and my teachers teachers teacher.
My goal is not to invent my own aikido, or to "own the material" like you say, but to train myself in this wonderfull Martial Art.
I think the idea of re- inventing Aikido and make it my personal "thing" is absolutely irrelevant for the teaching and the learning.
if that is your goals, then that's fine. but for me, my goal is to be better than my teacher, and his and his. if i can't exceed my teacher and his and his, then i have not learned anything, but maintain status quo and eventually diminishing the arts. what i said isn't about ego, but of in search for excellence, and never satisfy. that's my budo, my way.