SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SENSE OF SMELL
The scent released from any type of product, from designer cologne to everyday soap, originates from the essences, both natural (essential oils) and reconstituted (compounds), used to produce the item.
It is probably very important to get used to recognising and associating smells from a young age, both pleasant and foul, so as to ward off “olfactory illiteracy”, a sort of “quick spreading pandemic” experienced in modern times. The recent generations, often brought up inside towns and cities, far away from plant and animal life, in today's hygienic household characterised by claims of cleanliness as well as by an overwhelming standardisation of smells, are the “victims” of this world of mass consumerism. The current trend would seem to lead to the extinction of the pleasure of smelling and sniffing, vocations which are not necessarily “canine” but are all-important elements of human interaction with the material world (be it animal, vegetable or mineral).
In short just like other aspects of human knowledge, possessing a “refined sense of smell” enriches the imagination and helps us to enjoy many more ways and stimuli for assessing, appreciating, scorning, desiring, savouring and recalling the world around us.
Moreover we can note that making good use of our (often) half-starved sense of smell helps us get in touch with our origins, and would seem to offer unmistakable proof that this sense, which is increasingly "tamed and anaesthetised " by modernity (or better still by the logics of the market of mass consumerism) is one of the most important element of human knowledge.
Knowledge of essences, being able to associate a name or adjective with a smell does not just mean that you can raise your own intellectual profile but that you can also have a deeper knowledge of the origin of perceptions and sensations which have been part of our world since birth. Indeed it is our “miraculous sense of smell” that makes it possible to activate biochemical processes inside our bodies which can induce a specific mood or clearly (and instantly) bring to mind situations and circumstances experienced during other moments of our lives.
Having said that … is it worthwhile living in a condition of “olfactory short-sightedness”?