“A resource is material which is useful given some knowledge,” said “science communicator” Brett Hall, reflecting on the books of physicist David Deutsch. Take aluminum, for example. It’s a wonderful structural material. But our forefathers couldn’t use it, even though it was always under their feet. In terms of occurrence in the Earth’s crust, it ranks first among metals and third among the elements (Wikipedia). However, there is no reliable information about the production of aluminum until the 19th century. In nature, aluminum, due to its high chemical activity, occurs almost exclusively in the form of compounds. It was mankind’s accumulated knowledge that allowed Danish physicist Hans Ersted to transform worthless matter into a valuable resource in 1825.
But this insight is also applicable on a broader scale, whether micro or macro. For example, to the novice wrestler, every bout looks like a daunting clump of chaotic movements, while the experienced athlete sees an endless stream of opportunities to apply technique #1, 2 or 100. Similarly, the storm of force majeure events throws the top manager into shock and anabiosis. While the entrepreneur immediately shakes off the stress, like a dog after a fight, and begins to figure out how to turn fallen trees and debris into building blocks. Figuratively speaking, the ability to see light where others see only darkness distinguishes a professional in any field — military, engineer, entrepreneur or athlete.
By the way, this is why we should not succumb to the apocalyptic sentiments of those who yell, “Oh, that’s it! Resources are about to run out. Our planet is doomed.” This is the narrow view of people who do not understand the power of creativity and invention. There are innumerable and inexhaustible resources hidden all around us on Earth and in space. Exponential increases in knowledge will gradually open up access to them. We need to trust a little more in the potential that is hidden within us.