Lectures / 30/09/2009 7:30 pmPerception?
Smell is information - a tool for communication and navigation
The disregard for the nose and smell by the elite has had a lasting effect on the status of smell in our society. Even on those rare occasions when it is the subject of popular discourse for example, in certain contemporary works of fiction it tends to be presented in terms of its stereotypical as-sociation with moral and mental degeneracy.
In the twenty-first-century Western culture, the ideal society is presented as deodorized. Indeed, the fantasy worlds created for us by Hollywood on film are totally odorless, existing only in the sensory domains of sight and hearing. These scentless representations of the world reinforce the so-cial drive for deodorization.
What are we missing out on here? The result is that we do not have the in-formation from the full range of smells. Our sanitized cities are depriving us of the chance to use our noses for navigation and information.
The five percent of our genes that are related to smell are not called into play.
In many cultures, smell has provided and still provides a basic means of defining and interacting with the world.
Nothing stinks, but thinking makes it so.