Educational myth: Persistence, resistances, breaks and connections. The secret of telematic art | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533


As Malinowsky states, myth is closely related to rite, presenting the social and moral values that rite asserts in each cyclical repetition. Rite marks the threshold between the sacred and profane, allowing access to myth as an art form, as a narrative expression both of the sacred – in the extension of meaning Emile Durkheim introduced with the term ‘collective consciousness’ – and of the ‘collective unconscious’ as Jung defined it. If it is true that the rite of passage to the adult world, the initiation rite, is one of the most archaic rites in aiming to protect society against the risk of cultural innovation inherent in the younger generations, then it is legitimate to ask what our new myths are regarding education. When technology accelerates the mechanisms eroding collective memory, which rites renew educational myths in everyday practice? When technology dematerializes the devices on which rite and its inherent techniques of control are based, what new forms does mythological narration assume? What roles do new media play in creating a direct channel between the collective consciousness and individual experience, between the nervous system and our environment, enveloping individuals in the telematic embrace Roy Ascott described in 2003, and which not only explains the concept of the Global Village that Marshall McLuhan introduced in 1966, but also delineates the space – time of students in contemporary learning processes? Reading the contemporary educational system through the lens of myth and rite, where new technologies play a central role, allows us to follow a path that traces the progressive impact of media on cognitive processes from the initial emergence of the concept ‘collective consciousness’ onwards, and that offers one of the most interesting interpretations of the ‘open school’ experience in Derrick de Kerkhove’s concept of ‘connective intelligence’ (analysed in my Ph.D. thesis). But myth also allows us to observe those cracks, breaks and discontinuities that mark the places in which contemporary knowledge is created, which is why we find Nietzsche (who dedicated much of his work to myth), Michel Foucault and Ivan Illich at the centre of International Debate on Education for the last decade due to their critical approach to institutions.


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