umair haque – betterness
[need to clean this up.. will soon]
mediocre vs breathtaking
status quo vs brilliance
living lives that matter in human terms.
we’ve been measuring the wrong things.. no?
Why is the generally accepted definition of prosperity the growth of industrial output, not the emotional, social, intellectual, physical, or ethical growth ofhumans?
book links to amazon
recent post: wanting meaningful work is not a first world problem
a reason is not a corporate mission statement (“To leverage my educational assets and optimize my career path!!”): it is the very opposite: a radically simple statement of why your life matters enough to you to fully, dangerously live it…past the edge.
The point here is not to create arbitrary divisions between which reasons are valid and which are lacking. The point is to start asking yourself, really: what is your reason?
Reason is rebellion. It is through the creation of reasons to live fully that we rebel — and ignite lives worth living, instead of merely resigning ourselves to those that feel as if they aren’t.
And that is what a life that feels burstingly whole, achingly full, timelessly true, is really all about: the power to love.
ramblings from us – because of Umair’s inspiration:
what i’m experiencing, is these incredible one-on-one convos with people.. and in essence, what they all keep asking is.. is it legal for me to think for myself?
this is huge.. but i don’t think it’s about getting more people to out right ask that.. it’s about helping people realize – that that is the question they are already asking.. if they just listen to themselves.
if people would realize that.. that the (one of the) question(s) is – is it legal for me to think for myself, talk to myself…
their gut will see how ridiculous it is… where have we come to that we need even ask that.
i believe that realization will create the boldness – the radicalness – needed for this quiet revolution.
by the way.. i’m thinking.. that most kids get this. they are growing up in a timewhere they can find out whatever they want whenever they want.. they can connect to whoever, whenever.
they are actually being very polite in still playing the – go to a school building 7 hours a day – and then do what i choose after hours.. or after i graduate.. because they know and use and live more options.
we just keep (with good intent) changing up our verbiage, and believing that things will be different. beefing up our work-load, our expectations, and believing that things will be different.
what if.. the core of what we are changing the verbiage about and beefing up our workload for – isn’t what we need – isn’t what we (our souls) are really after..
we need to pause long enough to figure out what we are really after first. [sit on the blue car like millman in the way of the peaceful warrior] i think most will find out – that our obsession with better test scores [which is how many determine teacher salary – how we have been spending most of our 7 hours a day in the classroom – how we have been spending most of our edreform-ish funding – and what we are molding or selling to the human spirit – et al] – is not really what they want to pursue.
there is no safety in the organizational structure of our current [even the current edreformed version] measuring/labeling/credentialing system. that assumed safety net – that that’s how we’ve always done things.. let’s just start doing it better – is a myth. we have so much research that creativity, curiosity, that people knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do, is what is needed, is what will make us indispensable.
today especially, how we’ve been doing things, even beefed up and verbiagely cleaned up, is the greater risk.
via @umairh The future will be created by kids in slums and garages. The past, protected by suits at conferences.
a big disruptor in ed – how/why/should we prove things.
first we need to decide if it’s really about proving, or about improving. and if it’s about improving, what things like cheating and grades even mean toward that.
so i would push a little on Debbie’s 2nd incredible post i read today: competency-based-learning/ – do we need the badges.. the ways to measure, in the first place..?
i do really like her practical suggestions of what we can be doing now, today, in readiness for this disruption:
What Educators Need-to-KnowWhat does this mean for educators? What are the implications? There are several. First, the obvious, that there is much pressure on higher ed institutions from many stakeholders to justify the price of tuition and show value to students and parents. Though this is out of most educators control, below are the need-to-know or need-to-dos for educators:
- Define competencies or learning outcomes for instruction provided, whether online or face-to-face classes (in anticipation of this ‘potential’ requirement in the future).
- Define what students should be able to do, after a given course is complete – beyond the final assessment – the practical applications.
- Learn how MOOCs work – take a course through Coursera or MIT Opencourseware other provider to find out how MOOCs operate. They are free – and give educators another perspective on education, as the ‘student’.
- Be prepared for the competency-based learning discussion – being aware of how it works, and who is doing it, allows for constructive dialogue and discussion.
the only way we can change the world – is if you change – if i change..
that will require that each one of us starts thinking for themselves, talking to themselves.
as is – most of us aren’t even asking the right questions.. we aren’t asking the questions that matter to us.
are we alive today for mediocre, for standardization, for doing what we’re told?
or are we interested in becoming breathtakingly indispensable..
be you. be us. – breathtaking rather than mediocre.
game is on.
disruption will happen, best to disrupt yourself (personal, local, global) .. no?
The unhappiest people I know are the ones who made all the right decisions.”—Umair Haque
project with Jimmy Greer:
Where will the money come from? Dirty secret number three: It doesn’t matter. Print it. Borrow it. Tax it from the super-rich, in whose coffers it’s merely sitting idly. It does not matter one bit. It’s a second order question. If the U.S. doesn’t invest in public goods, it will not prosper; and if it doesn’t prosper, it cannot pay off the debts it already has. Conversely, if it does invest in public goods, and creates millions of decent jobs, the source of investment will matter little; for the economy will have grown and people will be prosperous. We can debate until kingdom come whether to borrow; print; tax; and we should. But we are having a fake “debate” if we pretend that we cannot invest in society first; andthen wring our hands that society is falling apart.
why don’t the pundits want you to know any of that? Duh. Because if you did, well, then theymight be out of jobs.
You know all the dirty secrets now. Live like they weren’t.
stop fighting over fistfuls of dust, and decide to plant another field instead.
Let’s go somewhere that matters — not just somewhere that glitters.
how to dream
But the fact is: living our lives as perfect optimizers, we are not dreamers anymore — we are cautious, timid janitors of desire, diligently scrubbing away the dangerous stains of our dreams — not defiant captains of the human spirit.
Until, at last, having settled comfortably into the ample delights of rational empiricist materialism, we ourselves come to regard our dreams as dangerous fantasies to our own happiness. We are sensible now, civilized, socialized, our sharp edges dulled — and also, perhaps, anesthetized.
Here is my tiny theory. We have been vaccinated against dreaming. That is why we dream poorly, and how we came to forget the lost art of dreaming well.
the paradox of this Age of Broken Dreams is this. We’re encouraged and exhorted at every turn, ten thousand times a day, to dream. And so we work at dreams as diligently as if they were jobs. Follow your Dreams! Dream Big! Dream, goddamit, dream! Big Passion Is Watching You — Better Not Slack off and Stop Dreaming! And yet. Though dreams have never been more ubiquitous, are we really dreaming? Consider. It is easy to idly say, in a job interview, or during a presentation, something like: “I dream of world peace!” But that is not a dream. It is merely something we utter, to win our desires.
I think that the fact is this. We are admonished and encouraged to dream — so long as our dreams are not really dreams at all. We are told to dream — as long as our dreams are to be middle managers, administrators, bureaucrats, tycoons, impresarios, celebrities.
most of us have dreams that are barely worthy of the word. What are they — if we are to drop our pretenses and admit the truth? ..Advertisements for the lives we have been told to want.
Fulfillment lies hidden where it has always been — not in the world, but in our selves as they may fully be. Those are our truest selves. It is not in rationally optimizing material payoffs, but in awakening those selves. And it is only dreams that can awaken them.
And that we do not learn the art of dreaming well is perhaps why we so often living lives that do not feel like our own. Because they are founded upon dreams which are not our own.
We do not merely dream when we are asleep. We do not awaken unless we dream.
The dreamers’ dilemma is this. Every person must ask themselves the Greatest Question. But to truly answer it, each must suffer. It is a great dilemma. Composed of two undesirable options. If a person asks the question, they must face the pain of renouncing who they believe themselves to be. And yet, if they do not ask it, they will suffer. The pain of never having become who they truly are.
I am suggesting that every man’s freedom is critical to each man’s fulfillment.
A dream must do more than console us, caress us, or calm us. A dream is not merely a song we sing to ourselves, when we are sad. It is not just a book we read to ourselves, when we wish to fantasize. A dream must consume us. We must live our dreams. And not just in a trivial way. To the point that we are burnt right down to ashes by them. We must give all we have to our dreams; risk all we are for our dreams; defy all we are destined to be and reach for our dreams. If we wish our dreams to evoke in us all that we may become.
Anyone may idly dream of world peace. Fewer still can dream of constructing the institutions of a world where all can live in peace. Fewer still can dream how to lead people to choose such institutions in the first place. And fewer still than that, just a tiny handful, can devote their very lives to the endeavor — and begin their dream with themselves.
bad words stream..
It makes people servants without even making other people masters. The machine is the new master.
The planet’s melting down, the economy’s stuck, the young are toast. And the Infantilization Economy is going to make it less possible for us to change it.
I’m going to suggest in this short essay that abuse — not making money — is the great problem tech and media have. The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today. It is greater than censorship, regulation, or (ugh) monetization. It is a problem of staggering magnitude and epic scale, and worse still, it is expensive: it is a problem that can’t be fixed with the cheap, simple fixes beloved by tech: patching up code, pushing out updates.
To explain, let me be clear what I mean by abuse. I don’t just mean the obvious: violent threats. I also mean the endless bickering, the predictable snark, the general atmosphere of little violences that permeate the social web…and the fact that the average person can’t do anything about it.
we are not fighting over anything that means anything much in the first place. Is it any wonder, then, that people are checking out of this childish game?
Technology as a culture is so out of touch with reality doesn’t even understand what business it’s really in: not the code business (what is this, the 1980s?), but the enterprise of social interaction. That is not merely a matter of bits and bytes — but of norms and values. Hence, technology no longer understands the notion of quality in any meaningful way at all. “Quality” isn’t merely error-free code — but abuse-free interaction.
When a technology is used to shrink people’s possibilities, more than to expandthem, it cannot create value for them.
Abuse does not arise in a vacuum. A healthy mind does not (need to) abuse. Abuse is created of trauma, and it is the traumatized mind which abuses. Whether to externalize, bury, escape its anger and frustration — the abused mind must purge it’s hurt in some manner, or risk being broken, split apart by it entirely.
But the troubling fact is this.
We have created an abusive society. We have normalized, regularized, and routinized abuse. We are abused at work, by the very rules, norms, and expectations of our jobs, at which we are merely “human resources”, to be utilized, allocated, depleted. We are abused at play, by industries that seek to prey on our innocence and literally “target” our human weaknessses. And now we are abused at arm’s length, through the lightwaves, by people we will never meet, for things we have barely even said.
huge… and why we need – our souls are begging for – ie: gershenfeld something else law… let’s focus on that..
Our possibilities and potential, the lives that we should be living. That is what is creating a great cycle of violence. Stagnation is abuse. And we are its victims. We have been cheated not just of our savings, retirements, jobs, social contracts — but of what all those free us to be: ourselves.
actually – better off w/o savings/retirements, jobs, social contracts….. better off.. just freeing us all up in the first place… no?
The most successful social platforms will be those that reverse the cycle of abuse that is a product of stagnation. And help heal people’s emotional wounds in this age of broken dreams.
You may think the more friends and lovers a person has, the less lonely they are. But in fact the more deeply we feel the natural loneliness of being, the more we surround ourselves with people, families, friends. To gain the belonging we seek.
the first epiphany in coming home is knowing oneness.
There is no need to “prove” oneness.
The second great epiphany is to know that being is a way, not a thing.
where power is hiding
in you.. naked you.. in the light