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?

grazie Umair – perfect timing.. was hoping for a succinct invite/summary of your book –betterness [$2.69 on kindle, kindle app free] –
and here it is – in your july 4 post on beingradical.


book links to amazon


recent post: wanting meaningful work is not a first world problem

and how_to_create_your_reason

 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.

umair haque (@umairh)
7/5/12 6:03 AM
Remember when I was like “Unless we fix stuff, kiss the future goodbye” and the punditocracy was like “whatever”? Yeah.

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:

how to fix the world


umair 5 dirty

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.


none of us are free


june 2014:

stop fighting over fistfuls of dust, and decide to plant another field instead.


july 2011:

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..

View at


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.



“ The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today. It is…” —@umairh…

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..

a nother way

self talk as data – hosting life bits


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?

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake


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.



“Coming Home to Being” @umairh…

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.


money ness


where power is hiding

in you.. naked you.. in the light


(@umairh) tweeted at 8:34 AM – 10 May 2017 :

By drowning it’s institutions, gov, public goods in a tub, America was only ever giving up national sovereignty. Now we see the result. (

good riddens to national sovereignty ness

(@umairh) tweeted at 8:32 AM – 10 May 2017 :

Three, the most important by a mile, what happens when you sabotage your own institutions, gov, public goods? *You lose your nation* (

? gov..? institutions..? nation..?

(@umairh) tweeted at 8:39 AM – 10 May 2017 :

You know, no other nation in history has been as colossally foolish as America in the preceding way. To sabotage and ruin itself so. None. (

great opp then.. no?

(@umairh) tweeted at 9:11 AM – 10 May 2017 :

See what I mean? No incentive left for anyone to do the right thing, including lil old me. That’s when a society really is done. (

society ness done => begin again


Dominic Campbell (@dominiccampbell) tweeted at 4:53 AM – 26 May 2017 :

To Value Human Life | @umairh (

the survival of the fittest may be a good principle for evolution. But it is a poor principle by which to run human societies

What I mean by that is that America values uber men, super beings, tycoons and billionaires, above all, so much so that everyone else holds negative value.

The survival of the fittest is another way to say: America doesn’t value human possibility. It only values actuality, or “self-actualization”.

To genuinely value human life is to value possibility, not actuality. That is most mature and sophisticated way of valuing life at all.

equity.. everyone getting a go everyday

You value your child precisely because you do not value his objective actuality, only his subjective possibility.

We cannot assign numbers to human possibility in the truest way.

to value human possibility is to embrace the possibility of redemption for every human heart. And that is the greatest way in which America has failed. There are no second chances in that broken country,

Human beings are not here to be selected according to their fitness. That way we only produce predators with sharper teeth.

To value human life. It is the highest human art. And yet, curiously, also the simplest.


fb share by paul hartzog

*Society needs better currencies that can yield greater, more enduring investments in higher qualities of life. But digital currencies as they stand aren’t there yet. Those making them haven’t really understood the roles money plays in a society yet, and so they don’t improve the three functions of money. Buy them, sell them, play with them, have fun, by all means. But **if it’s revolution you want, there’s more work to be done.

*why..? why do we need to measure anything toward betterness..?

**perhaps there’s more disengaging to be done .. ie: let’s try sans money/measure

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


I just published “(Why We’re) Failing the Test of Civilization”

Original Tweet:

depends more on what we mean by – civilization ie: begs training

equation that matters.. leading to eudaimoniative surplus ie: no train


jan 2018

the treatment will have to be novel, too

roots of healing

2 convos .. as the day


Robert Went (@went1955) tweeted at 11:09 PM – 28 Feb 2018 :

‘Vote with your wallet’? Why capitalism isn’t a substitute for democracy — @umairh (

Perhaps you suppose, as many do, that Walmart and Dick’s no longer selling assault rifles is a good thing, a triumph for decency after a terrible massacre of schoolkids. No doubt it is. Yet here’s the ugly truth. Walmart already pledged to stop selling assault rfiles in 2004 , only it never followed through — and Dick’s did stop after the Sandy Hook massacre, only it quickly backtracked when no one was looking. LOL. Maybe you see the problem. If not, let me put it another way.

Can you fight capitalism with capitalism? Or do you need something else entirely?


2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

Yet this is what Americans tend to do — time and again, predictably, consistently. They try to fight capitalism with capitalism. To fight the ills of capitalism with yet more capitalism

Consumers aren’t punishing them (by not buying from them), self-evidently — because they just don’t have the power to.

So because Americans have reduced each to other to consumers — doling out largely harmless, temporary, penny-ante economic punishments — instead of acting as citizens, American capitalism has not improved in any significant way for decades now. Instead, it has only learned to externalize hidden costs better, harder, and faster.

Yet you will think you have achieved a great victory — while you have only spun your wheels. You are out of energy, time, and passion — and have achieved exactly nothing, no new rights, laws, rules, norms, codes — while capitalism has moved on and grown in power, money, and scale..t.. This game has been going in America for decades now. Hence, American capitalism has only grown more predatory the more that people try to fight capitalism with capitalism.

by believing themselves to be consumers instead of citizens, ended up trapped in a dystopia that they do not even hazily remember anymore they still have the power to fix.


“Why We Need an Economics of Well-Being” — @umairh

Original Tweet:

six dimensions of well-being that compose Net National Eudaimonia

2 dimensions of eudaimoniative surplus

Without information about what is really good for us, how can we expect institutions and organizations to compete to get better at improving our lives?..t

maté basic needs as infra


“(How to Build) The Organizations of the Future” by @umairh

Original Tweet:

Broken compasses take us in circles,..t

broken feedback loop

good bye cycle..

To be an organizational leader today means stepping forward and modelling the better world that you want to create. Building a little version of it. That can set a true north.

That will not be easy. It will require those who really wish to innovate to turn it all upside down. To throw out many of the old rules. Of “boards”, of “structures”, of “rewards”, of “roles” and “titles” and “bosses”. What good do they really do now?

We must build organizations that are models of the world we want to create. .t

perhaps.. organization ness is part of the old rules.. broken compass

p12 – krishnamurti’s total freedom

truth, being limitless, unconditioned unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path


why capitalism is most unnatural

 (@umairh) tweeted at 7:14 AM – 24 Nov 2018 :
“(Why) Capitalism is the Most Unnatural Thing in the World” by @umairh (

Nature operates by a very different principle than capitalist greed, brutality, and dominion. It takes only as much as it needs..t

have/need ness – only works in an undisturbed ecosystem.. let’s get back/to that

Nothing in nature takes more than what it needs to survive. Not a single thing.. No living beings hoard, profiteer, plunder, or pillage, to the point that some grow billions of times more than others do — except us — and the only reason we do it is because our ideologies justify it. That is because nothing else in nature derives pleasure or gratification or meaning from violence — because, of course, these are acts of symbolic intelligence, or maybe, and more accurately, human vanity and folly. 

Only we are different. We are the ones who take more than we need ..because we must feel deeply inadequate, insecure, and hope that more, more, more will give us security and safety in what we perceive as a hostile universe..

The universe is not hostile..t.. we, perceiving a hostile world — what do we do? We feel a sense of menace, threat, inadequacy. So we take more and more and more than we need..

We build systems of violence and domination, hoping to control the hostile universe we perceive ourselves to be in..t


(@umairh) tweeted at 5:26 AM – 22 Jan 2019 :
Yes, it has been, but I think we have this caricature of it as overt violence and we need to see it for what it is which is a structural thing. Especially now (

new/diff infra: 2 convers as infra


(@umairh) tweeted at 4:38 AM – 30 Jan 2019 :
At this point in history, rich societies have more or less infinite resources. That is, if we wanted healthcare systems, retirement systems, green new deals, we could have them overnight. How else is it that we’ve paid for endless wars and bank bailouts and CEO bonuses? (

(@umairh) tweeted at 4:40 AM – 30 Jan 2019 :
The problem isn’t resources, aka time, money, effort. The problem is there’s a coterie of billionaires at the tippy top standing in the way. They’re mostly old white dudes, and in that respect, societies like America and Britain are now colonizing themselves, ironically. (

(@umairh) tweeted at 4:50 AM – 30 Jan 2019 :
So this all has to do with our attitudes and beliefs, fundamentally. If we believe in one another, that each of us has intrinsic worth, we invest. If we’re deluded by billionaires, we keep on exploiting each other for the very things we could just give each other. (

and maybe a jump start.. a returning of the shell.. a filling of the holes..

and.. having everyone in sync begs we leap


douglas rushkoff (@rushkoff) tweeted at 9:11 AM on Fri, Mar 01, 2019:
Umair Haque, a real vampire and cultural critic, on how humans are losing the night.

(just listened to his parts)

11 min – for me.. if sunlight reaches my blood it causes my blood vessels to burst.. but you don’t have to have an illness like mine to be deeply affected by the cycles of light and dark

16 min – how radically/strangely diff are things we do at daylight/nightlight.. night.. dream/social/human.. day.. competitive/hierarchical.. hide in offices.. t

24 min – when i got sick i thought i was losing the day.. i didn’t know that i was gaining the night.. we think of ourselves as modern.. but the truth is.. when the night falls.. we’re doing the very same thing we’ve done for millennium: sing/dance/laugh/cry/grieve/forgive.. we become truer versions of ourselves.. selves that stay hidden in the daytime..t

we reset..

25 min – and then we seek to share them.. night impels us to go on our deepest journeys toward finding meaning/purpose/truth of who we are

the economist in me says we produce things at night too.. things that economics ignores.. because it doesn’t know how to value.. relationships.. communities.. selves.. the person in me says those are better just called happiness/truth/meaning/belonging

this is why as the day ness is so important.. it’s more that we don’t feel we have permission to say no to ie: the supposed to’s.. of school/work during the day

and as i watch the world go by at night.. i’m thinking.. could much of the loneliness/alienation/disconnection in the air today be linked somehow to losing the night..t

more from losing the day.. the day should be more like the night

that’s a thing that i miss.. that feeling of freedom in the daytime..t

yes.. that’s it.. it’s not that we are losing the night (well we are.. day bleeding into night et al).. but that we have long lost the freedom of the day

let’s do this firstfree art-ists..for (blank)’s sake


(@umairh) tweeted at 1:53 PM – 28 Aug 2019 :
Every kid on planet earth should be considered an equal human being with inalienable rights to healthcare, food, education, safety, and so on…before anyone is a “citizen” of anything. Humanity should precede politics and eventually hopefully replace it entirely (

ie: cure ios city

nationality: human

citizenry et al


So what is life like in an authoritarian state like? I feel we survivors haven’t made our warnings concrete enough. So here is what life is like in an authoritarian-fascist state. (Thread) 1/x
Original Tweet:


via michel fb share – what does world look like after capitalism – by umair haque – []

This isn’t some kind of victory against capitalism. It’s average Americans treating each other like Wall St treats them — and everyone celebrating it thoughtlessly, because America is too conditioned and brainwashed to understand how toxic that really is, to ever really question the idea that maybe we should not have to exploit each other in order to live.

haven’t read it all.. but did skim to this:

Let me make a modest proposal to you. Everybody on planet earth should have an income.

which (to me) is just another version of the same broken feedback loop – ‘too conditioned and brainwashed to understand how toxic that really is’

and then to this:

To make all that happen, we are going to have build a whole new global financial and banking system based around giving everyone and everything enough money to live, grow, mature, and develop. .That’s going to take generations of work, reinventing the idea of “banks” and “incomes” and ”funds” and “capital” totally, and it’s going to create whole new sectors of jobs and careers,.. It is about radically, radically rethinking and reinventing everything.

all these ie’s though are not radical enough.. not everything enough..

we have to let go of any form of m\a\p

imagine if we