Two-way tesseract?

Creatively, it’s been a few weeks of absorbing lots of input without producing any output. Olfactorily, I haven’t been particularly adventurous, but I have encountered some contradictions to my usual preconceptions:

  • Carthusia Terra Mia has charmed me to the gourmand side with its featured coffee note—one of the most challenging notes to do right in perfumery. Hats off to perfumer Luca Maffei!
  • Keiko Mecheri Les Nuits d’Izu managed to take a list of what look like many of my favorite notes (yuzu, rose, jasmine, moss, hinoki, and “crystalline musk”) and turn it into a bright, office-floral perfume that just felt very “not me”

Besides greedily devouring Nez magazine issue #10, From the Nose to the Mouth, I’ve also done some non–perfume-related reading, notably Finite and Infinite Games by James Carse. Many of the concepts are vague and hard to grasp, but a key idea is that “finite games” are played to win and are theatrical (one takes on a role as an actor) while “infinite games” are played to keep the game going and are dramatic (one chooses to be the character). For me, the lack of physical separation of work from life has resulted in a leaky mental barrier between the two, such that the lines between my role and my character have become unhealthily blurred.

As with anything, awareness is a good first step to change.

It’s been a long time since I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle as a child, but I’ve never forgotten the premise of the tesseract, the “wrinkle in time” that enabled time travel. A more modern prototype might be called a “trigger,” a cue that brings us suddenly, without warning, into a moment in the past—in which we feel the same emotions just as intensely as we did then (or more so, without the element of confusion caused by surprise that might have accompanied the first incidence). In the fugue, it’s as though all the time that passed between then and now were nonexistent or inconsequential.

In mathematical terms, a tesseract is “the four-dimensional analogue of the cube.” While a cube has 8 vertices (corners), a tesseract has 16. In a cube, every edge is shared by 2 squares—in a tesseract, 3 squares meet at every edge. In other words, the possibilities for transposing to another dimension are vast, unlike a memory trigger, which can land you only in one direction: the past.

Is there a way to design perfume as a tool for time travel to the future in the flare of a nostril? Perhaps. Preliminary, anecdotal evidence of perfume inducing desired feelings and imagined personas suggests that it might be doable—or even done?

2 thoughts on “Two-way tesseract?

  1. What’s the goal of that book? Is it just an observation and classification, or are there any practical “blueprints” for dealing with those “games”?
    Many years ago I read and quite enjoyed Eric Berne’s Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships, but I don’t think I read any other books on a similar subject (though, I listened to a couple of Coursera courses on different aspects of psychology). The book you read it slightly “younger” than the one I mentioned, but it is quite old: does it still feel topical?

    Smiled at your “office-floral.”


    1. It seems more the former, an attempt to explain why cultures have operated the way they did. In that sense, the content doesn’t really go “out of date,” but it doesn’t give much of a “so what” either. Simon Sinek wrote “The Infinite Game” (2019) to apply some of the ideas to business; I haven’t read it so can’t comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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