An Aphantasia Sense of Smell


An Aphantasia Sense of Smell

Larry Neal Gowdy - Copyright ©2024 - January 04, 2024

Aphantasia is not a Blank Mind

A core necessity for any topic is the necessity for firsthand observation gained through firsthand experience. The quality of the observation is evidenced by how well the individual is able to intricately describe the firsthand experience. From What is Aphantasia: "[5] If a thing cannot be intricately described, then the person does not know what the thing is, nor can the person form a rational theory of what the unknown thing is."

The five normal sensory perceptions are common for most people regardless of whether the people are 'aphantasic' or 'hyperphantasic'. However, it is useful to point at the differences of which sensory perceptions are given conscious attention, and which sensory perceptions are mostly ignored in ones life. The following is a very brief example of illustrating one sensory perception that most everyone ignores.

Intricately Describe the Scent of Scurvy

Most people's minds are blank when the people are asked to describe the aroma of scurvy (as 'blank' as what most aphantasia people say of their not imagining imaginary imagery). People do say that they have noses that can smell, but very few people ever self-learn how to self-develop their sense of smell.

The inability to smell scurvy, indicates that the individual has not given conscious attention to the sensory perception of smell. Some individuals who do not imagine imaginary imagery, they have not given high importance to the sensory perception of sight.

The aroma of scurvy is displeasing, unmistakable, and almost reason enough to wish that oneself could not smell it.

As 'phantasia' is an invented word from the same Latin word (meaning 'imagination, fantasy, apparition, phantom'), perhaps we might playfully invent a new name and call it 'vacuus olfactus', meaning 'empty of olfaction'. But if we did so, then some people might begin claiming that it is a brain defect, and other people might begin believing it to be true. And so, no, let's not do that.

Intricately Describe the Scent of Cellular Decay

Intricately describe the differences of scent of cellular decay within individuals under the age of 20, and within individuals over the age of fifty. Cells have specific inner odors, and when the odors are strong to bystanders, it is obvious that the individual is suffering from failing health.

The ability to smell differences of aromas, requires conscious attention, conscious effort, and other mental ingredients. Without the conscious attention and conscious effort, a person's mind will be as blank as most 'aphantasic' individuals' ability to imagine imaginary imagery.

Is Hyperphantasia Also Blank?

The point here is to help illustrate that everyone is different, and most everyone has a 'blank mind' on one to four different sensory perceptions. Being 'blank' of sight is of no disadvantage if the other sensory perceptions are lit brightly within one's mind.

Aphantasia Advantage

When seeing something that we wish we had not seen (such as creepy people on creepy television commercials), aphantasic individuals have the advantage of closing their eyes and to not see the thing again. Poor hyperphantasia people may see the unwanted imagery even with eyes closed.

Perhaps, in some ways, it has been an advantage to various genres of humans to have developed the inability to smell more than what is useful for survival. Most people can no longer smell their dogs, cats, garbage, neighbors, males, females, nor even themselves.

Unfortunately, the ignoring of too much, too easily leads into people too easily believing falsehoods about aphantasia.

Related articles are on the HHAP Home Page.