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Phil Rizzo: Believe it or not, most of us have filters

Posted: January 26, 2010 9:52 p.m.
Updated: January 27, 2010 4:55 a.m.
It may be possible we each come into this world with an inclination to believe in a certain way. That brings to mind the terms "liberal" and "conservative," but there are many other manifestations.

I have friends who are the nicest, most loving, most lovable people you would want to know.

They were terribly devoted, too. Remember Y2K? One of them was giving lectures on the subject in churches. They definitely were chagrined when the turn of the millennium turned out to be a non-event.

I am guessing there are those out there who would deny the force of gravity and think the world is flat. There is a large number of religious people who choose to deny all the scientific evidence of the age of the earth. Some claim it was created a few thousand years ago, rather than the billions of years ago that science suggests.

These same people are skeptical of science in general. They tend not to believe in global warming.

Global warming deniers fear that change caused by remedies to reduce global warming may affect man's basic ways of life - causing, especially, economic disruptions.

Some say this view fails to take into consideration, regardless of the source of warming, that the planet will be affected in ways that will cause monumental disruptions, wreaking havoc on humanity. Choose your side.

The other day I talked to the same friends and they are now passing out pamphlets to jurists at court that state jurists can contest the judge and decisions based on some constitutional issues that apparently few people know about.

Oh, how about not paying your taxes? That is, after all, unconstitutional, right? They thankfully changed their minds on that one.

Their latest inspiration involves holding a constitutional convention. In fact, those who are in accord on the subject met in Illinois recently.

I may never know the results of that convention, but no doubt they are going to create a more perfect union that will adhere to their version of the Constitution. It comes down to radically abbreviating the power of the government.

These people feel that government is currently depriving them of their free existence. Their ultimate view is that somehow, "they" - undefined forces - are taking over the world to form a dictatorship and make us into robot slaves, forcing us to adopt that view of the world.

The part that's tricky is there is considerable material many would consider mainstream opinion woven into their ideology. But their minority opinions are not backed up with what most of us would call verifiable facts, and they twist information to suit their ends.

The "birther" issue is an example. No official evidence presented to so-called "birthers" will convince them that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

What we choose to believe in becomes a measure of who we are. Added together, the ideas become a system which colors all our thoughts and actions.

We seem to have a sponge in our brains that is eager to absorb all kinds of interesting ideas. Of course, my ideas are acceptable to me and are conventional, but yours may be off-the-wall and far from the mainstream, so far as I'm concerned.

I find myself baffled by the ideas we choose to wholeheartedly adopt. Intellectuals, politicians, government and private sector leaders all try to sell us their message. We rally around them if their message clears the filter in our belief system sponge.

One measure of your beliefs might be, are they taking you where you want to go? Do they reduce your fears and bring you peace of mind?

There is little more that a person can ask.

So you think the world is flat and deny the force of gravity? There's nothing wrong with that, if it hurts no one and brings you comfort.

Most of us have strong beliefs that others would find unbelievable, believe it or not.

Phil Rizzo is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Full Speed to Port!" appears Wednesday in The Signal.


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