Aug 2019

Let's have some hands-free... 


It is easy to forget your nose. A whole day can go by without noticing a smell or remembering those you did. Unless you're cooking or testing deodorant, our sense of smell is most often a low-priority sensation that lurks below our attention until a bad or alarming scent comes along and suddenly everyone knows they have a nose.

Compare this to the unrelenting roar from OUR EYEBALLS. Vision gives us far more to do, like finding corollaries in the detailed picture, even long after we've looked at what the picture is made up of. There are a broad range of discernable scents but they are a quick and simple matter of being pleasant or offensive or familiar. Scents can be learned and recognized and can have a sense of volume or loudness from strong to faint. Nothing further is assembled from the stimuli. Our human brains put more effort and time into vision but not all animals share our priorities. We don't know what we're missing. Imagine if, just for while, YOUR EYEBALLS and NOSTRILS could swap places. Not on your face but in your brain. Smell would have priority over vision all day. Smell would get the special extra treatment granted to vision instead.

What would vision be like with no conscious picture of your field of view? Having no mental picture would not change our basic abilities. As with blind sight, finding darkness where a bright, live-streaming visual monitor was expected does not necessarily mean that the rest of your brain isn't seeing the world, figuring it out and acting upon it. The straight path from retina to brain to motor action would be enough to dash through the forest and escape the grizzly or billionaire. The only ability we would lack is making corollaries from features and items in the mind's picture. Instead of a dark blindness, imagine being conscious of something less than a panoramic picture.

A scent lilac brings to our attention a lilac sensation from among a hundred quieter scents. Likewise, there would be a single visual sensation. Among all of what you can see, one feature is chopped out and is the picture in your mind. It does not float in blankness. The visual field stops at the edges of the item pictured or, if judging a color, there is only a size-less field of the color. If there is a lot being looked at, the mind might see a rapid stream of features, colors and objects but there is no assembly to see at once or means of finding corollaries between the visions that stream by. You could see your in-laws across the table but not say if in-dad was on the left or right.

We would carry on as automatons with all our actions unconsidered. Impulses would rule us without supervision because our mental picture is Super Vision. There would be no corollaries made about ourselves or our behavior.

What if, in place of Super Vision, we had Smell-O-Rama? What if smelling something for ten seconds had more information than smelling for one second? Imagine if sniffing around slowly assembled a mental scent-space that re-oriented as you moved and remained tangible enough to find corollaries in what your nose has observed. Scents that increase or fade even a smidge are interpreted as movement within the scent-scape. With Smell-O-Rama, few scents are observed as simply good or bad. Most are shades of grey and depend on the context in which they are smelled.

The news would be full of stories about fake scents with the day's aroma analyzed by a panel of experts. It would come from a TV with a panel of fans instead of a screen. Dolby 3D Aroma with Nose-Reduction would present Star Wars as a landscape of odors in your living room. Smell the ozone as the light sabers ignite. Smell the inside of Vader's suit when that helmet comes off. If you sit back and relax and inhale, your mind will show you the story. If you keep correlating the smells, at the end of the blow-vie, the moral will appear or aromate as the essential smell of it, arrived at by all the continuous correlating of the corollaries consumed by OUR stereodorous NOSTRILS.

Any morality we could have would show in what we smell like to ourselves. A discipline would work like this- I promise myself that if I smell this, this and this, I will stop myself from deciding to do that. We could supersmell ourselves. Or imagine God's Wrath as a swift and terrible odor or Purgatory as a place with no scents at all. The Blood of Christ would be served with one of those TV nose-flushers at Communion. Our minds would still perceive outer space as dark but only because it doesn't smell like anything.

We already possess Super Vision. What if our evolutionary future included Smell-O-Rama all in the same brain? Think of how moral we could be then.

Smell-O-Rama may have been set aside long ago by our ancestors in favor of Super Vision. If we did not always have Super Vision, did a simple mono-vision precede it? If that were so, then it could be that at times of stress or excitement, Super Vision defaults to mono-vision. That would leave our brains without any way to supervise or supersmell ourselves. We would carry on without knowing what we were doing. People might shout, "Have you left your senses?" We would respond "Yes. I have left them without supervision. Whoops."

Even if the picture doesn't go dark, that doesn't mean it's a Super Vision picture. If so, then what you're looking at cannot know what you're doing. One could be mesmerized by torchlight without super-knowing it. Oxygen deprivation caused by hours of shouting or over-excitement at a distant glimpse of orange hair could rob the brain of the extra oomph needed to do any super-sense at all. Be it heroic or homicidal, our resulting unchecked behavior would be sincere and heart-felt.

Since we are not always and only stuck in mono-vision, in those moments when we are, we also sincerely demonstrate what corollaries we have been making when we are supervising ourselves. Or not making.

Society are built on confidence that every citizen possesses an ability to supervise themselves to the culture's current specifications.  Most of us were trained as children to make the needed corollaries to know when to keep our hands away from OUR NOSTRILS. 

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