There is a individual and functional part on how we perceive a smell. But there is also a social and functional part with a double implication for us: the way in which we perceive the smell and what that it means to us – if the meat smells bad, we don’t eat it -, but there is also a relational aspect when we associate smells to situations and people –through our memories and behavior–.
That is why attempting to build a model that allows us to relate everything is so rewarding for our mind and for our smell. Learning to go a little beyond “this smells bad” or “that smells good” offers us, from our perspective, the possibility of giving other dimensions and meanings to smells, integrating smell in a conscious way in our life.
We have to take care of putting into practice physical and intellectual activities for this to happen, in which we start the functioning of smell without including other senses.
There are many schemes already for perfumery or for wines, to put some examples. There are also less orthodox ones, like astrology schemes, and more traditional ones like in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Wood-Stale, old / Fire-Burned / Earth-Fragrant Perfumed / Metal-Putrid, rotten, fetid / Water-Acre, caustic , fermented).
A good initial exercise involves working with the starter kit and encouraging and insisting on changing the language we use to explain what we smell, learning not to fall into the mental “shortcuts” of explaining everything from the point of view of other senses.
From our perspective, there is much to praise about the already known schemes, because they not only give meaning to smells, but also tend to integrate other senses.
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