So many of our most challenging problems in society have spiraled into unproductive myths that impede progress.

Do you love a good story?

How about the tempest surrounding the thought that vaccinating children will cause autism?

Simply understanding the history of autism could set us on an entirely new path towards working with this matter to a very positive end for everyone. But first we have to completely extinguish the accidental fires that often engulfed and sidetracked positive progress.

Off the topic of autism:

Could this concept of “understanding where we came from” inform the other debates that swirl in society, often hindering potential solutions?

Today on Ever Widening Circles, we will again bring you good news and prove this is still an amazing world. (Our EWC motto) I had no idea how history can inform many of the unnecessary and dangerous debates our negative news media likes to promote. History can help us move on safely.

Take a look and then we will consider how we can harness this example to solve other great debates. First, let’s experience a paradigm shift…

Via: TED 1

After I finished this TED Talk, I have to admit I was a little miffed. Why doesn’t everyone in the throws of this particular debate know about this video? Where is the news media in responding responsibly to this tempest? There was a time when “the news people” would do the research that Steve Silberman has done: publish a story to set the record straight and then we would all move on sensibly.

Now it seems the role of “the news” is to fan the flames of fear and shame.

I don’t know if I’ve ever run into a better example of this unfortunate media development in modern society. How about you?

Can you think of an example of an issue like this, where cooler heads have not prevailed, and an emotionally driven story has trumped history at the expense of positive progress? Maybe something to do with your specialty or profession?

Image: A painter explaining his work

Source: Joe Flood // Flickr

Fabulous insight here into the power of story telling and misunderstanding. This TED Talk made me pause to questions so many things we are squabbling about in society. Now, whenever I’m being drawn into a conversation where others are raving about some injustice, I sit quietly and ponder how much I actually know.

In many of the most heated debates in society – political, public health, religious, environmental, social – what do you really know about the details? The science, or the motives of the folks who are sponsors of “your side” of the debate?

When I was visiting relatives recently, I was caught up in many, many conversations about the complexities in our world. I was dumbstruck by how eager I was to throw my strong opinions into the ring, but I’d already seen this video, and it reminded me to keep my comments to what I knew only from my own experience. The rest of my “knowledge” might be something I heard on a biased news report, or a left or right leaning media piece. Those might just be stories.

Maybe when we start to feel our blood boil on an issue,  it’s healthier to keep calm and ask ourselves how much we really know. That would make us thought leaders in almost every situation and encourage others to find a positive role in the way forward.

I can feel my blood pressure and peace of mind improving already!

Moving our impulses from joining in, to asking questions, is a great way to stay open, curious and hopeful.

Have a great day!

~ Louisa Ulrich-Verderber

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  1. Silberman, Steve. “Steve Silberman: The Forgotten History of Autism.”YouTube. TED, 17 June 2015. Web. 23 Aug. 2015. <>.

Louisa Ulrich-Verderber grew up in Fairfield, VT and was a “thought leader” in several fields by the time she was 20 years old. She had invented an entirely new way of going to high school and was able to graduate with a provisional patent on a new Wind Turbine technology. She was given the EF Global Citizen award and has spoken on stage in front of audiences of 400 to 1000 people. She is also an artist, making enormous metal sculptures that can be seen at Louisa now attends Clarkson University as a Presidential Scholar studying engineering.