“belief is always minimally `reflective’, a `belief in the belief of the other’ & `I still believe in communism’ equals saying `I believe there are still people who believe in communism'” – knowledge is precisely not knowledge about the fact that there is another who knows. For this reason, I can BELIEVE through the other, but I cannot KNOW through the other. That is to say, due to the inherent reflectivity of belief, when another believes in my place, I myself believe through him; knowledge is not reflective in the same way: when the other is supposed to know, I do not know through him. According to a well-known anthropological anecdote, the `primitives’ to whom certain `superstitious beliefs’ were attributed, when directly asked about them, answered that `some people believe …’; they immediately displaced their belief, transferring it onto another. And, again, are we not doing the same with our children: we go through the ritual of Santa Claus since our children (are supposed to) believe in it and we do not want to disappoint them. Is this not also the usual excuse of the mythical crooked or cynical politician who turns honest? ¬± `I cannot disappoint them (the mythical “ordinary people”) who believe in it (or in me)’. And, furthermore, is this need to find another who `really believes’ not also what propels us in our need to stigmatise the Other as (religious or ethnic) `fundamentalist’? In an uncanny way, belief seems always to function in the guise of such a `belief at a distance’: in order for the belief to function, there has to be some ultimate guarantor of it, yet this guarantor is always deferred, displaced, never here in persona.7 How, then, is belief possible? How is this vicious cycle of deferred belief cut short? The point, of course, is that the subject who directly believes need not exist for the belief to be operative: it is enough precisely to presuppose its existence; that is, to believe in it, either in the guise of the mythological founding figure who is not part of our experiential reality, or in the guise of the impersonal `one’ (`one believes …’). – SLAVOJ ZIZEK http://ift.tt/1hPzkzo


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