Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Smell Report

"For the Ongee of the Andaman Islands, the universe and everything in it is defined by smell. Their calendar is constructed on the basis of the odours of flowers which come into bloom at different times of the year. Each season is named after a particular odour, and possesses its own distinctive ‘aroma-force’. Personal identity is also defined by smell – to refer to oneself, one touches the tip of one’s nose, a gesture meaning both ‘me’ and ‘my odour’.
When greeting someone, the Ongee do not ask ‘How are you?’, but ‘Konyune onorange-tanka?’ meaning ‘How is your nose?’. Etiquette requires that if the person responds that he or she feels ‘heavy with odour’, the greeter must inhale deeply to remove some of the surplus. If the greeted person feels a bit short of odour-energy, it is polite to provide some extra scent by blowing on him or her."The Smell Report - Culture.

 I'd never cut it in this culture.... I'd be nasally autistic. 

I wonder how the Ongee people are on an emotional scale given that the nose has a direct line to the amygdala, the emotional seat of the brain.
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