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Why Ray Dalio, Not Elon Musk, Is Right About the Most Important Area for Human Exploration

Tim Ferriss has scuba diving on the brain. The author, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed "human guinea pig" recently posted to his LinkedIn and Facebook asking his followers for recommendations on “must dive experiences.” No big deal; Ferriss is perhaps one of the world’s most recognized learners, explorers and lovers of new ideas. Nor was it surprising that Ferriss’ posts received thousands of responses with dive spots all over the world.

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One response; however, jumped out not only because of its author, Ray Dalio, but because of its ultimate message: “Ocean exploration is much more important and much more exciting than space exploration.”

Dalio’s statement may be controversial, particularly as one of the world’s most respected entrepreneurs, Elon Musk, is making headlines as his SpaceX Dragon this week delivered its second major payload to the International Space Station.

It’s also arguable that space and ocean exploration together represent the best paths to unlocking universe’s greatest mysteries and solving some of the planet’s greatest challenges.

And while space exploration may yield the kinds of discoveries that, among other things, prove that life exists beyond Earth or that humans can survive on other planets, oceans unquestionably play a much larger role in human life today; we are relying more and more on them for food, energy and other resources.

Why ocean exploration is more important than space

Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates — the world’s largest hedge fund firm — is enjoying a moment of particular fame and influence on the heels of the publishing of Principles, a leadership primer and New York Times #1 best seller. Throughout his book, Dalio shares his experiences, learnings and the principles that have shaped his life and company over several decades.

And when it comes to oceans, Dalio has a profound point of view: “Everything that’s above the ocean line that we see, this whole world that we’re used to seeing, has more than a mirror image below the ocean line that’s unexplored. And it’s a very different kind of world.”

Oceans don’t divide us, they connect us

There’s a saying on the Pacific Islands: “The ocean does not divide us, it connects us.” Unlocking the mysteries of ocean ecosystems can reveal new sources for medical drugs, food, energy resources and other products. Information from ocean research also helps us better understand natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and how we are affecting and being affected by changes in Earth’s climate and atmosphere.

Perhaps two of the hottest topics amongst environmental, business and sustainability organizations are climate change/rising sea levels and the 5 gyres — slow-moving whirlpools collecting single-use plastic waste and other garbage at an alarming rate during their rotation.

With the increasing awareness that plastics are ubiquitous, persistent and terribly damaging in natural systems, the growing crisis must be addressed at the highest international levels — and by many of the organizations attending Sustainable Brands ’18 Vancouver in June.

With regards to the rising temperatures and rising seas, Dalio warns on LinkedIn: “As a principle, deadly problems that you don’t see or feel, especially those that are communal so that nobody is clearly given the authority and resources to deal with them well, are the ones that will kill you. By the time the pain is great enough, it’s too late.”

We at SoulBuffalo are looking forward to SB’18 Vancouver, where we will explore these and other “communal deadly problems” and opportunities for our community to take action to address these with the resources and authority we’re so well positioned to do.


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