“functioning without recourse”
Is here anyone in this world who is NOT functioning without resource? The Sudanese refugee crossing the Sinai desert to get into Israel, is not functioning without resource? The runaway 15 years old girl in America is not functioning without resource? The Bronx accountant sent to jail has any resource? We are all forced sometime in our lives to survive without any outer help and direction. From the amoeba up, we are all self motivated automathons.
I think EY meant functioning without recourse to somebody above you that already knows about this stuff and can guide you…
In all the examples you gave, the person has access to somebody that knows about that kind of thing, but it is possible, for example, to learn so much of something—that there is nobody else that knows as much about it as you. What do you do then to figure out a problem that nobody else has the ability to help you with it?
But even in well-known fields—there is nothing wrong with asking for help on something… but if you are incapable of solving problems without help—then you will be restricted to solving problems for which help is available (both available in general, and available right now when you need it). What will you do if suddenly you have a problem and nobody is available to help you?
If you are the kind of person who can still figure things out, even when help is not available to you right now, then you are able to solve more problems and thus rise higher.
I think this is what the post was driving at.