Whereas this page has been composed as an invitation of a kind, with a hypothetical patron in mind, an imagined benefactor who we’d like to find, the following text serves primarily to relate the idea of the Perfume of Life (POL) Study Center, the planned outreach arm of the written work.
Our hope for the Study Center is that financial patronage will, to start with, subsidize the acquisition of infochemicals and help provide a stipend to an assistant who will curate the aromatic accessions. Among other benefits, this reference collection will support the author’s intellectual and aesthetic investigation in furtherance of future volumes in the book series. One such volume, already in the works, is an abridged and reworked edition of the trilogy, consisting only of master classes, lessons pertaining to plant perfumes.
The forthcoming Study Guide is likely to be the most original and instructive text available to students working in the field of essential oil studies, as well as associated lines of inquiry like botanical perfumery and aromathérapie. Presently there are few published compilations featuring authoritative treatments of individual fragrant plant materials, and most of these are marketed to academic and corporate customers. Much as the POL set of books already in print comprises a standout collection of such underivative detailed monographs, the new revised version will be yet more amenable to being employed as a reference.
The second goal of the Study Center is that of actual outreach. This initiative is probably more interesting for followers of the POL to anticipate, and more immediately inviting to our patrons and enthusiasts. Just as lectures of upper-level courses in biology or chemistry are corroborated by demonstrations carried out in laboratory classes, readings from the POL can be enhanced by, or we might say they call out for, the odorful accompaniment of sample extracts for beholding personally. The Study Center is to be the physical place in space where such intimate olfactive encounters are to take place.
Considering that there are hundreds of pages in the POL devoted to pointing up the challenge of making mental sense of biotic fragrancy, by which we refer to the ineffability of tangled molecular expressions in the wild, what could be more apt than establishing a venue for firsthand sensorial experience? The Study Center will be the site for various guided studies, and for our aroma salons, the featured panels like those described in the books. This will be the place where students will be invited to acquaint themselves with the scentful subjects of our inquiry.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the POL and our plant perfume panels, the basis of the observance rests on our recognition of scentful metabolites as the primary wellspring of information in the matter of the enigmatic phenomenon of Earthly Life. So we tap assorted volatile fragments of biological portfolios in order to gain insights into the nature of Nature.
But now, I need to explain—really, I need to emphasize—and perhaps I should have made this point straightaway—that our endeavor is not simply about sharing and teaching in the circumscribed matter of aromatic oils. Rather, the crux of this crowdsourcing appeal concerns our privilege, bestowed upon us by plant perfumes, to witness, from a unique vantage point, the gathering siege being laid to the particularities of the Natural World. This webpage, this overture, is part of our effort to assert and earn that privilege.
The central premise of the POL is that volatile metabolites in Nature are elemental messaging transmissions of Life, and that fragrance, by reason of its interwoven heritage and trademark suite of attributes, mirrors Life, more than any other currency of information or energy, any other medium of communication or potential form of art. So it follows that by regarding the story that is faithfully channeled by perfume, we are led to understand the history and plight of Life on Earth.
The worldwide assault is tricky to pin down, described variously by commentators viewing from different angles, through different filters. But by means of our investigations, we are afforded an exceptional awareness of the state of Nature. The all-out offensive against Life, against aliveness and even lifelikeness, is singularly revealed to us by the vaporous voicings of perfume.
Those who advocate on behalf of xenobiotic odorants, who are in the business, we’re sad to bear witness, of modern perfumery, such as the iconic figures of the Industry, along with their Nature-estranged sycophantic clientele, and all their many and different idealogical allies, all the other self-congratulating ravagers of the Earth, they all figure in the onslaught, they all play a part.
The driving idea, then, is to make a difference, which we intend to accomplish, all the more with a little help.