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Thursday, March 14, 2013
The Nose Knows
One of my favorite smells is the hallway by the office at my elementary school. It was a little musty, and to me it smelled like 'I was growing up'. I used to get sent to the office on a routine basis--and it was not what you think! I was not a day dreamer. I was quite the opposite. I would finish my work so quickly that the teacher would find 'an errand for me to do' or else I would talk in class. I would take films back to the office, or go to pick up some other thing. And on those brief trips across the campus, I truly felt joy to be alive.
Another of my favorite scents is the sweet peas that grew outside my bedroom window. In the Spring I would open the windows and drift off to sleep in my fresh sheets and inhale the floral scent on the ocean breeze.
Nothing can trigger the memory like scent.
Did you know I researched it? Long before I ever got in to medicine. I worked for a consumer products company, and in order to design a winning fragrance product (a dilutable, high-fragrance cleaner--if you have lemon PineSol, you have a piece of my work! I built that formula from the ground up.) I had to understand how it works.
Basically, there are ten odors that are universally agreed upon as unpleasant--sulfur, rotting fish, you get the picture. You might not speak the same language but once you smell them everyone will go 'ICK!'.
The pleasant fragrances are more subtle. They are the sum total of an individual's experiences with fragrance in the past, their memory of them, and their cultural upbringing. For example, mom used to clean the toilet with old fashioned PineSol. It had to smell 'strong and bad' in order for it to be 'clean'. Latin cultures were more open to 'clean', and could accept lavender, ocean, floral, citrus as equally 'clean'. It helped because in humid climates it was difficult to make the bathroom smell right after you cleaned it, yes? You get the picture.
But what is going on when you hear somebody say, 'I smell a rat!' ? Are there actual rats in the vicinity? Or are you 'picking up' that 'something funny is going on'?
Olfaction involves the inhalation of microscopic parts of things (yes, even poop!) that go up through the nasal passages, practically INTO the brain, and bind to receptors that send messages to the brain to analyze what it is. Doesn't that make sense that things that smell rotten would 'hard wire' into the human race for sheer survival?
Well, what about the area of your face that is about six inches above your nostrils? Right between the eyes? What is THAT?
It is your Third Eye that is 'smelling the rat' for you--I call it 'intuition'!
Your limbic system, pituitary, and ability to smell are very close to one another. Wouldn't it make sense for another form of perception for defense to be in the same 'real estate' neighborhood too?
We are intuitive beings. We 'sense' a good deal at the store. We 'know' to fold our cards, when to hold them, and when to run ( smile). We 'pick up a vibe' and never think twice about it.
The nose knows. So does the Third Eye. And now you get to think about it!