The mind is man’s greatest natural resource

By By [email protected]

By [email protected]

I want to express my agreement with, and appreciation of, Rasoul Sorkhabi’s article “Oil is first discovered in the mind” (Oct. 21). It was especially nice to read in the Chronicle as a simple refutation, in one field, of the Marxist apologetics that have been printed recently.

The claim that we are going to run out of oil is not a serious scientific viewpoint, but rather a political scare tactic used by environmentalist pressure groups–not to preserve precious natural resources, but to preserve vast tracts of “pristine” arctic wasteland.

In fact, as Sorkhabi explained so eloquently, there is no reason to fear the depletion of oil reserves–because, as novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand pointed out, the greatest natural resource is the human mind. Sorkhabi notes that unrecoverable reserves and unconventional forms of oil may become recoverable or conventional tomorrow–through human ingenuity and effort. Rand used this exact example in her fictional masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged, in which one of the heroes is an oil tycoon who discovers a way to tap reserves that were previously thought unusable.

And even if oil were to become scarce, we would likely find some better source of energy–just as when wood become scarce in medieval Europe, coal was discovered as an alternative energy source, and when some thought that coal was running out, people in 19th-century America learned how to derive energy from oil. There is no reason to fear the depletion of our oil reserves. We should use it while it is available and convenient, in the meantime searching for other energy sources or improving and increasing our use of more recently discovered ones such as nuclear power.

Andrew “Ash” VidrineObjectivist Club presidentPhilosophy, [email protected]