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21st Century Storytelling: Ben Underwood’s Story

It’s 2011! Happy New Year, friends!

Initially, my first post for the new year was going to be about my new do’ and about all of my blog plans for the year.

NOT. And certainly NOT after I read…

This Year, Change Your Mind by OLIVER SACKS at the NYT.  I decided to do just that, CHANGE MY MIND!

Sacks talks about the need for us to re-train our brains. “People like Ben Underwood and Ved Mehta, who had some early visual experience but then lost their sight, seem to instantly convert the information they receive from touch or sound into a visual image — “seeing” the dots, for instance, as they read Braille with a finger. Researchers using functional brain imagery have confirmed that in such situations the blind person activates not only the parts of the cortex devoted to touch, but parts of the visual cortex as well.”

That is essentially the goal of  bloggers. Pushing people to think differently. Which is why when Ben Underwood‘s story jumped off the page, I had to know more. 

Ben’s story had a profound impact on me because although he lost his sight at an early age, the message he left to the world, at the young age of 16, provides as a navigational tool to guide us into the new year. Ben’s mother writes, “When he hears someone say that someone else is ugly, or anything negative towards someone else. He says, “That’s whats wrong with sighted people, you all look at one another and judge what you look like,” I see that statement being so true. The most powerful part of it is that he can’t judge from looks, only from spirit. This world would be a much better place if we all couldn’t see.” (by Aquanetta (Ben’s Mom)


  1. Wow, thank you for this posting…I am going to be thinking about it for “a good long while” I know. Thank you again……….

  2. Thank you so much for your continued support, Rasco from RIF!!! :)

  3. Wow. I am accomplishing so little in my one & only life.
    Inspires me even as I feel unworthy.
    Must do more & do it better in 2011.
    Many many thanks always for W.A.R. Amy.


    • Jan, thank you for your comment! I’m so excited to meet the challenges that lie ahead and people like Ben, have forged the path. Happy New Year, my friend.

  4. B Herrera says:

    The key word in the story is “judge.” If we quit judging people and started listening to them, wouldn’t we live in a friendlier world? We look. We decide. But we don’t listen most of the time. It’s not surprising that someone who has lost his sight is so insightful. From early Greek and Roman times, the person who could see into the future would be blind. The same is true of many of us. We cannot see the trees for the forest – we are so busy looking for something wrong that we cannot see what is right.

    • B, you said it right! We have to do better and make the changes in this world. I feel like we talk too much about it and the action doesn’t happen. Thanks for your thoughts, as always. :)


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