05 June 2007

Hypothesis: The Smell of Enlightenment?

Having just returned from a weekend trip to Nebraska, I'm behind on my thinking and therefore my blogging. Most posts to come, but in the meantime I offer you "the world's first spiritual perfume" (via Feministing). According to the press release, Virtue has a frankincense/myrrh base and culminates in an apricot top note (biblical scholars have apparently determined that apricots, not apples, are the 'forbidden fruit' mentioned in Genesis).

All well and good, but on a philosophical note: one of the fragrance's designers notes that “almost every religion and spiritual system worldwide acknowledges that many individuals of high spiritual attainment give off a fragrance attributed to their virtue.” This is interesting. If fear has a smell (as cops and animal trainers both claim), then is it possible that 'enlightenment' does too? Hear me out: fear is a specific physiological and mental state tied to specific neurological and hormonal changes; this is what creates the odor of fear (spent adrenalin, to be exact). Deep meditation has also been tied to specific physical, hormonal and neurochemical changes -- could these changes also generate an odor? I think probably not, but enjoyable to contemplate anyway.


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