The invention of imperfection: the difference upon which product marketing can be hung and through which target-audience differentiation can be asserted as gender-inflected or sociological significance. This is a source of psychosocial entropy-as-insecurity from which profit or economic advantage can, for better or for worse, be entrepeneurially obtained.
Imagine a world in which body odour was not demonised and exorcised through application of chemical interdiction; granted – not a pleasant concept from this side of the corporeal, chemical and historical facts. Coping with unpleasant smells is very likely akin to developing thick skin on the soles of one’s feet by regularly walking barefoot; common irritants become trivial.
An entire grammar and rules-based logic of odour-ranking may have emerged (in an alternative, deodorant-free, world), generating its own unique and olfactory cultural niche: a symbolic economy in which proactive refinement of the sense of smell could provide both financial and sociological advantage. The long march of biological and evolutionary history, having equipped us with contextualised and survival-oriented olfactory senses and their refined perceptual instincts, finds itself in this sensory domain – suppressed.
The shortest form of technological solution is generally that of negation. It is in the essential and axiomatic logic of both communication and technology more generally to seek advantage through reduction, negation, compression. Even where we add, aggregate and gather – the embodied value of that collection or constellation of entities, artefacts or concepts is invariably in the way that it provides acceleration or aspirational simplicity via compression.
The logical principle of negation is in this sense foundational to any system of complex self-reference undergoing relentless and accelerating metamorphosis. The interpretation of unperfumed body odour as being an undesirable expression (of bodily presence) is merely the semantic and superficial layer of an underlying, culturally and sociologically automated tendency towards compression in information encoding and transmission. Any globally-considered or notionally self-enclosed information and communications space undergoing recursive hyper-inflation does so first logically and structurally before appearing at a semantic or cultural layer of meaning and interpretation.
The only fear I smell here is that of a manufactured and socially-engineered product development team chained between oscillating horses on the carousel of mandatory innovation and product differentiation. The slippery slope of business requirements for innovation in diminishing, accelerating cycles and spirals produces opportunity for the insertion of novelty and creative thinking: perhaps mocha or chocolate cake scented deodorant could become a viable product-line ?
In as much as human beings live and express themselves through the cultural, social and economic world of their existence, they are also constructed by it. The choices and methods through which self-identity and psychological individuation are performed or cultivated are almost exclusively (and in a variety of ways) pre-fabricated, even where they are notionally new or unique. Culture reinvents itself through human choice: humans beings are the “choice machines” which fuel the engines of economy and technology.