Žižek: Why people are panic buying toilet paper

Žižek: Why people are panic buying toilet paper

PanARMENIAN.Net - People around the world have been panic buying toilet paper amid the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. Armenia is no exception, evidenced by a woman who was seen to have bought 108 rolls of toilet paper at a local supermarket. While there are various opinions as to why people are specifically hoarding toilet paper, prominent Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek has unveiled his version of the story, which he has come up with years before the current outbreak.

When promoting his book "The Courage of Hopelessness” back in May 2017, Žižek shared a story that happened in Yugoslavia back in the 70s.

Žižek’s story goes as follows: “There was enough toilet paper in stores. But rumors started to circulate that there will be a shortage of toilet paper. So now comes the beauty. What happened? People, contrary to what we usually assume, did not come to distrust authorities. They accepted that there is enough toilet paper but reasoned this way: “What if there are some idiots, who really think there is not enough toilet paper, so to make sure they have it they will start to buy it like crazy, and there really will not be enough toilet paper. To prevent that, it’s good for me to go now and buy a lot of toilet paper.” You see the point: nobody believed that there really is not enough toilet paper. It’s enough to presuppose that there is another one who believes in it, and the end result is the same.”

According to the philosopher, the basic miracle of social life is how there are beliefs which can function socially without anyone believing in them in the first place.

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