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MANIPULATION, ARTIFICIAL MEANS, AND EDUCATION - page 8 / 42

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alienation from reality, and thus to madness. This is why all cultures, throughout history, have always sought to clearly separate the world of fiction from daily reality. Fiction could only take place in a specially dedicated and specific space and time: the temple altar initially. Then, with the progressive secularization of drama, it took place on the theater stage, and finally, up until a few decades ago, in the movie theater. These spaces were all clearly distinct from the spaces where daily life took place, which were marked by imposing architecture, long flights of stairs, sumptuous entrances, decorations and clearly visible signs, according to the cases. To gain access to such spaces, particular rituals had to be complied with, although towards the end of this trivialization process, the ritual consisted in the mere purchase of a ticket.

Today instead our television screens, and increasingly, the screens of the computers in our homes invade our day-to-day living with a constant flow of scenes from soap operas and documentaries, news and commercials, video games and sports events, with no physical or ritual marker indicating the transition from one to the other.

The religious or secular nature of a ritual is not that important. What really matters is for the ritual to be exercised, and for its collective dimension to be respected. That is what counts if we want one space to be different from another, a time to be different from another, the virtual world to be different from the real world, and if we want the values that make up and underlie our culture not to blend into a single uniform magma, where all things, all levels of reality, all judgments and all values are the same.

What can we do to ensure that our educational initiatives restore the important role of rituals, as necessary practices for the development of cultural identification processes? What can we do to promote the symbolic competence required to grasp the meaning of the events making up our world, and to reach full awareness of the profound meaning of our actions?

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