“Belief more than ever, we just invented something absolutely breathtaking. Beliefs, in order to function to operate, have to be first person beliefs.  We can literally believe through others. You know you know the formula of parents, we are atheists but not to disappoint our children we pretend to believe. You know, the Santa Claus story . You ask a parent do you believe in Santa Claus? Are you stupid? Of course not. I buy the presents, but I pretend it for my children. You ask the children. Do you believe? They say, no. We pretended not to disappoint our parents. What is my point here? You have a belief which is nobody’s belief, nobody believes it in the first person. Yet it fully functions as social belief. Here you did a mega contribution. By ‘you’ I mean the United States. You here in Hollywood. Your greatest contribution to 20th century world culture I would claim, I’m sorry my old joke, is canned laughter.  Are you aware what a strange phenomenon this is? You return in the evening home, you open up stupid show like Friends or Cheers, and you are too tired to laugh. You just look. And the TV set laughs for you! It works, at least with me. Afterwards I feel relieved as if I was laughing! So much about primitive people! We have traditional examples of this, the Buddhist prayer where you write  the prayer you put it there and turn the wheel. You can think about pornography or whatever, but in reality you are praying. We are same! This is canned laughter. And I claim that beliefs function in a strictly homologous way. What we need is not belief in the first person. We need to believe that there is someone who believes; even if that someone is purely hypothetical.  An example; Roberto Benigni’s film, I don’t like it, ‘La vita e bella’ or ‘Life is beautiful’. You know the story father and son are taken to Auschwitz. Father, in order  to protect son from the trauma, tells him a bullshit story. That this is not really prison it is just a big competition site where you we can leave whenever we want. But if you remain to the end there will be a big price and so on and so on. What would have been a way to make it a much better  and desperate film? That the father were to discover at the very end, when he is to be shot, that the son knew all the time. He  just he pretended to believe his father so as to protect him. This would be the proper Christian reversal as it were. The actual movie is not strong enough. ” Slavoj Zizek