Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work


Jedi Master
Body odors were processed by a network that was distinctly separate from common odors, indicating a separation in the processing of odors based on their source. Smelling a friend's body odor activated regions previously seen for familiar stimuli, whereas smelling a stranger activated amygdala and insular regions akin to what has previously been demonstrated for fearful stimuli. The results provide evidence that social olfactory stimuli of high ecological relevance are processed by specialized neuronal networks similar to what has previously been demonstrated for auditory and visual stimuli.

The vibration theory of smell proposes that a molecule's smell character is due to its vibrational frequency in the infrared range. This controversial theory is an alternative to the more widely accepted docking theory of olfaction (formerly termed the shape theory of olfaction), which proposes that a molecule's smell character is due to a range of weak non-covalent interactions between its protein odorant receptor (found in the nasalepithelium), such as electrostatic and Van der Waals interactions as well as H-bonding, dipole attraction, pi-stacking, metal ion, Cation–pi interaction, and hydrophobic effects, in addition to the molecule's conformation.[1][2][3]

Its interesting that all the Covid business is supposedly over Horseshoe bats, family Rhinolophidae.

Mrs. Peel

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Anybody have any ideas on this? Any experiences?
So much is said about what "their eyes" were saying in various books I've read over the years but to me, an eye is an eye. There isn't much you can change about it.. The pupils can enlarge or get tiny, but that is usually because of light or lack of. One can narrow/squint their eyes with certain emotions (or sunlight) and widen them. But, when I read things like "his eyes were flat" or "cold" or "full of humor" or whatever, what I picture is the minute expressions of the rest of the face making up that impression. I mean, I've never heard anyone say "his elbow looked angry!" :-D

As for smell, well I've never had much of a sense of smell my entire life so I can't testify to any emotions there. I usually can't smell anything unless it's practically shoved up my nose. Right now I can't even do that. I was sick with a fever a few weeks ago with what I believe was a bacterial infection, and was given Cipro which I took twice. It made me lightheaded so I quit. But since then, I can't smell a thing. Hoping even my limited sense comes back at some point. I don't it was Covid (did that in November of 2019), I had no respiratory symptoms and never lost my sense of taste. I did read one of the numerous side effects of Cipro was loss of smell.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
There are a few things about these books that I've noticed:

1) The authors talk about scents, smells quite a bit. It's very noticeable. The scent of perfume, hair, soap, bodies, etc.

2) A LOT of attention is given to reactions that are read from eyes.

It's this last thing that has me thinking. How many people can actually read such emotions in the eyes of another? And how many people are actually any good at that when encountering a stranger or someone they do not know really well? ARE they reading emotions from eyes, or is it more likely that the author is trying to find a way to describe the unconscious reading of micro-expressions? You would have to be a highly trained psychological expert to do the kind of reading that many of the characters in these books are said to do.

Anybody have any ideas on this? Any experiences?
Now that we are wearing masks everywhere eyes are extremely important for communication. It is not easy to look in the eyes of the other, eyes express so many things. So now we can do this exercise of perception and communication, yes or yes. There is no other alternative. I always look the eyes of others, and the most part of the time I see fatigue and solitude. When I go to the store, because I try always to be gentle with people I smile under my mask and I can see the smile of the other in their eyes.

Some eyes have light, some not. Some have eye bags.

When with people that I know I try to look in the eye of the person. Now I am not a psychologue so I am aware that in some eyes I see my solitude or my fears.


FOTCM Member
What if emotional intelligence is a skill that has to be developed and maintained, and nowadays is being hindered by technology.
Yes, this seems so.

Thinking on the original question, sensory awareness of the other that develops with time. You know, in the immediate family, sense for parents, siblings, ones own child becomes acute - not much escapes because it is developed; eyes (brightness, blackness, distant - and the extremities of crows feet that are expressive), the lift of eyebrows, blush of the skin, tone of voice, that turning up or down of the mouth, or just one side et cetera et cetera. And yes, smell plays a roll for many reasons, as does overall body language as other have said. It all comes to play, and even just one thing will emit emotional understanding.

Branching away from family, from friends (again developed in time) to colleagues and people on the street, the same things apply, and yet there are not often so well understood, so emotional intelligence needs to be heightened.

An example of this is meeting someone unknown for work - immediately senses take on a bit of their overall, yet there are limits and nuances (think of that one Duke who was standoffish or a number of the Aunts - dragons, where what was on the surface was not what was in their core.) There is also often artifice because people want to be liked. Those false over-real smiles, and their voice in tone and words (and meaning), and grins and frowns say one thing, and even anger or uncomfortableness, another. What is the authentic them? It is easy to get hoodwinked, to be presented with the false them (predatory, as history has shown with some, and manipulative by the usual political types) - this used to happen when talking to someone overly exuberant with niceness, only to discover that it is the opposite (seeing their artifice as real until their mask drops). On the other hand, there is often misinterpreting someone who exhibits some expressive anger (one may want to avoid is initiated in mind), wherein given time, they were more the salt of the earth types - authentic human beings.

There is this human sensory feedback loop that takes closeness and time to develop. There are also those immediate interpretations as @Doug was saying with customers, and this is true elsewhere in everyday life, even registering those hairs on the back of the neck when it happens has importance of meaning - the gift of fear.

Humans do seem to have this miraculous ability to understand people based on sense (and the subconscious - which is underrated, osit), and agree that these need to be continuously honed and maintained on so many levels. One thing that gave me pause, was in one section of the book Blackmailed by the Beast by Le Carre in the other romance thread, wherein the character interacts with his AI creation (Yama) and the AI says "You are breathing faster than normal... Are you upset about something? are showing signs of fear. Since there is no one else here, you must fear me." That was spooky.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
There are a few things about these books that I've noticed:

1) The authors talk about scents, smells quite a bit. It's very noticeable. The scent of perfume, hair, soap, bodies, etc.

2) A LOT of attention is given to reactions that are read from eyes.

It's this last thing that has me thinking. How many people can actually read such emotions in the eyes of another? And how many people are actually any good at that when encountering a stranger or someone they do not know really well? ARE they reading emotions from eyes, or is it more likely that the author is trying to find a way to describe the unconscious reading of micro-expressions? You would have to be a highly trained psychological expert to do the kind of reading that many of the characters in these books are said to do.

Anybody have any ideas on this? Any experiences?

Those are interesting questions for sure. I can't say much about smells aside from finding certain smells that seem to register at a deep level. As for reading emotions with the eyes I have experienced it and I also tend feel my own emotions in my eyes as well as my body, I think. In once instance while working at a restaurant I remember noticing that a co-worker had sad/depressed eyes. It looked like she was dealing with depression, despite no one else noticing as she was smiling and laughing and working energetically and enthusiastically. I asked her later that shift if she was ok, she asked me why I thought something was wrong, and I told her I noticed her emotion in her eyes. She was very shocked and told me she didn't think anyone could see that, I told her I noticed it but I didn't think anyone else saw it. I had only noticed that she was faking being happy when she came close to me and we made eye contact, and I just got an impression of what she was going through. I sometimes wonder if even our sense are very programed to only accept what is physical and linear but there is a whole gamut of impression/information we receive through our sense that may register at a deeper level.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
About scents and smells in the books, I have a recent story about that.

I was on my way into town. Recently I've been trying on a certain different mindset - instead of a boring trip to town, comprising only a chore list and having to face the brainwashed masses, I've tried setting out with the idea that anything can happen - anything! It's a way of attempting to ground an FRV of non-anticipation. The impetus for this comes from this reading project, where love starts to happen in the most unlikely places.

It's a cool way to be - it has helped me to look much more keenly at all the life that's happening around me.

So I went into town this time - and met a girl. Who asked for my number, for crying out loud! That hasn't happened in years. I did remind myself I have no clue who she is and to not get too excited. Maybe she's an authoritarian follower of sorts. But still, I allowed myself to be a little excited.

We met up, and I held myself in non-anticipation as best I could. But the first thing we talked about was the lies of the masks, lockdowns, and all the rest! At one point, she asked me - "Have you heard of the ice age?" My jaw nearly hit the floor. Apparently she found out a good deal of this information on her own, through her own innate drive to know. So that was all pretty mind-blowing, to meet someone incredibly co-linear, talk about everything from the Great Reset and the plandemic and psychopaths to fasting, etc. But it also felt quite normal, to have a good, factual discussion with a normal human being. I mentioned the forum, and in particular the Earth Changes book, which she was super interested in.

Rewind to the night before we hung out. My close friend had a car accident and rolled her car off the road. She was quite shaken, but okay physically. I spent a number of hours with her, talking about it and processing everything that was coming up. Because of the late night, I woke up late. And was nearly late for the date. I didn't even think to shower before I left. I had also had acupuncture recently, too, and had applied some of those quite smelly liniment patches on my back. And I've also been taking DMSO for my back - which can turn your body into quite the pungent thing.

So anyways, at one point when we were hanging out, she turns to me and says, "I'm going to be both kind and honest - but did you not shower today?" Talk about an embarrassing lack of external consideration. In a first date situation, no less. I must have smelled like a mix of sulphur and camphor. Sigh. She was graceful about it, but direct, which I appreciated - she kind of told me to have a shower, which I accepted very sheepishly. The rest of it went pretty well.

I couldn't help but think I'd ruined my chances, given what I've been reading about sandalwood-smelling gentlemen and how I didn't measure up to that in the slightest. I'd even started research into making my own cologne. Rather that get too down about it, I recalled how the main characters in the books often annoy each other in some way, and how relationships sometimes start off with some kind of learning friction.

Anyways, all I can really do at this point is shake my head and laugh at myself, and do better next time. Otherwise it'll turn into the story of the 'triple bad date', to make a bad pun on the C's warning for the Rockefellers...


Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
How interesting about the smells and the look, thank you Laura.

For me, regarding the smells in the novels, I found that with Mary Balogh's stories I felt that the air was closed in, cold and damp and a little stale or a little smelly, that was my impression of the smell in some of the stories I read by this author. Another scent that I remember a lot was the smell of cream pie that Honoraria and Marcus share inside the car, I had the sensation of smelling the cream pie, the sweet and enveloping aroma. Another very marked aroma, was in the novel The Truth About Cads and Dukes, by Elisa Braden, in it I had the impression of smelling also the aroma of Jane Huxley, the aroma of apples that the author describes, gave me the impression of being a sweet and faint aroma mixed with a little clean or subtle aroma of sweat, as if it were the sweat of small children.

In general about scents, after I quit smoking several years ago my sense of smell returned and sometimes when smells are too strong I get a headache especially with perfumes or they make me nauseous.

About the look or reading through the eyes, it happened to me that when I was a teenager, it happened to me sometimes that through my eyes I could detect something that I did not like, or unpleasant things in others even if those people seemed the most cheerful and friendly people, I could not describe it, just instinctively when I saw certain people they caused me much displeasure. As a child and teenager I always kept a few friends, but reliable and honest.
I never knew very well how to handle this in my youth, having feelings of others just by seeing them, naturally I felt a strong rejection towards certain people, I could not explain it, later I learned to be kind and in certain occasions to avoid making eye contact for safety reasons when someone could be dangerous.

It has also happened to me that I have had strong impressions or clear sensation of something when I have seen it in my eyes, there have been few occasions and actually have been people quite familiar to me, a former boyfriend with whom I lived, he had a tendency to drink on weekends, he had training as a theater actor, on one occasion when he was drinking, he began to talk about that he was an element of the earth, and made strange sounds and seeing him in the eyes gave me a little chill, I had the strong feeling that something was inside him.
The second time it happened to me with my older sister, since I remember we never had friendship or mutual sympathy, the last time I visited my mother in Mexico, we had a slight argument and when I looked into her eyes I had a strong feeling of emptiness in her, I don't know if she felt much emptiness or there was nothing inside her, it was a strange and ugly feeling.
A more positive one is the eye contact with my little daughter many times when I look into her eyes I can tell when she is not feeling well, especially physically because she still can't express herself very well when she feels sick, but I can see it in her eyes, if I am attentive, I have a strong bond with her, sometimes when she gets sick I get sick too.

Many years ago I had the opportunity to learn from and share closely with people who were trained as theater actors, around 4 years,
through my ex-boyfriend, I think I learned a lot from them, about reading body language and how to express emotions, at that time I was almost like a rock, super hard for expressions of emotions, I think I learned a lot from them, in that moment was a very strong and emotional impression, shortly after I separated from my ex-boyfriend, I think I began to experience for myself the freedom to express myself a little more.
Also around that time I got to know the Teatro de los Sentidos, a group that works from Barcelona, but performs theater performances internationally, I had the wonderful opportunity to study a short one-month course in Barcelona in 2008, it was beautiful.
This group works incorporating the senses; the smell, the touch, the taste, the spatial sense in a labyrinth montage made with black fabrics incorporating mythical stories and facilitating the spectacle to have a personal experience in the company of the actor who many times are not professional actors but simply people with a lot of sensitivity in the path of the theatrical montage. This experience for me was quite a dreamlike sensation and with a strong link to emotional-sensory memory.


FOTCM Member

I'd even started research into making my own cologne.

Try Mountain Rose Herbs for some exceptionally nice smelling colognes. I've used this company for years for herbal teas, cooking spices, and essential oils. Inspired by this thread I recently bought some sandalwood essential oil for cologne purposes and boy is it intoxicating! Mountain Rose is comparatively expensive but they are the best of the best and well worth the money. Even the smallest (5ml) essential oil bottles can last a long time.

Sounds like things went well enough for a second date!


The Living Force
And how many people are actually any good at that when encountering a stranger or someone they do not know really well? ARE they reading emotions from eyes, or is it more likely that the author is trying to find a way to describe the unconscious reading of micro-expressions? You would have to be a highly trained psychological expert to do the kind of reading that many of the characters in these books are said to do.

Anybody have any ideas on this? Any experiences?
It began with obsessively reading facial micro-expressions and trying to find out people's moods, because I got sensitized as a child.

But with the years this strictly physical expression-reading exercise stopped unfortunately. Through people's voice and body language I began to receive way too much incoming data like The Flood and that overload forced me into shutting my eyes and turning away from people, into a hermit lifestyle.

Surprisingly the only thing I can't read the normal-physical way are the vibes / thoughts behind the strange looks & behavior I get from girls, when they are staring at my muscles: I only recognize their physical reaction, their body movements, but I get nothing otherwise whats going on in their head or what they are feeling.

For example it was easy to sense the distinct vibe/energy change after the hairdresser girl (I got a crush on 25 years ago) lost her virginity to an other guy. G. mentioned this. I tested this on multiple hairdresser girls and young female clerks.

Most of the time unfortunately[!] I just auto-read people [psychically]: Its enough if they are walking by / turned away / I don't need to see their faces at all.. For example if they are arguing with somebody else and they lose control its easy to see the energy thundering out of them like an angry freight train. When I ask them something and read their lies. Frequently can sense the [spiritual] sickness and corruption infesting them.
Determining [the establishing of of] social connections - as day or night - I'm affected by the presence of a strong soul in people: if they give off a strong radiance of a soul - or complete lack of it. That powerful shining coming off of them forcefully re-colors and overwrites any social / strictly physically read expressions of theirs I would have the normal way.
For example I detest most gypsies in general, but if I get close to one and I look at him/her from any angle -- and if his/her body gives off the unmistakably strong radiance of a soul [a ball of "light"-radiance with gravity], then my animosity instantly disappears and I get a flood of / connection a feeling of 'Alliance of Souls in Compassionate Communion': I see their "mission-situation" and respect their life-pain & life-suffering attached to their soul.

Castaneda described that technique well, looking at anybody or anything from only the corner of your eyes. From any angle I look at them and if I get a reading, their face / body turns to a skin or cloth colored mist:

1. Most of the time I glimpse their rejuvenated selves. Possibly how they will see themselves in 5thD.
2. Or 'in them' / as if they would be a mirror I see their mother or a family member, who is close to them
3. In case of elderly: enough times I see their "'death faces'" always with white hair. The connection is profound. Signalling they are getting close to their time of death.
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NewEngland Seeker

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I have also notice that the stories describe the color of the main character's eyes, which are usually green, gray or piercing blue. Here are fun facts about eye colors.

Green eyes:
  • About 2 percent of people have green eyes.
  • Green eyes are most common in Northern, Central, and Western Europe.
  • About 16 percent of people with green eyes are of Celtic and Germanic ancestry.
  • The iris contains a pigment called lipochrome and only a little melanin.
Gray eyes:
  • Less than 1 percent of people have gray eyes.
  • Gray eyes are very rare.
  • Gray eyes are most common in Northern and Eastern Europe.
  • Scientists think gray eyes have even less melanin than blue eyes.
  • Gray eyes scatter light differently, which makes them pale.
Blue eyes:
  • Blue is the second most common eye color globally, with estimates suggesting that 8–10% of people have blue eyes.
  • In the U.S., that proportion is higher, at about 27%.
  • It is possible to trace all blue-eyed people back to a common ancestor, who likely had a genetic mutation that reduced the amount of melanin in the iris.
  • Most people with blue eyes are of European descent.


FOTCM Member
Hey everyone,

I have just finished the Wescott series' Someone to Cheris by Mary Balogh, there were a few ideas that I picked up on that I'd like to share with you. I shall be looking forward to Someone Perfect, which is part of the series but won't be published until sometime November this year. For now, on to the spoiler section.

So, this is the story that ties it all together, it is probably one of the stories that takes place in the shortest amount of time. It's a beautiful story I must say, and as a culmination of the Wescott family's "disaster" it does it justice. The story follows the only unarmed member of the family, Harry Wescott and Lydia Tavernor a widow of a former Reverend.

The story follows the formula, what is interesting is that she's the one that makes the first move on Harry. She's a widow yet a virgin and her solitude leads her to seek Harry's casual and intimate company and as part of that process, and their honesty (and character), they find each other and love in the process.

She's someone who clings on to her recent independence, so much so that she despises owing anyone any favors, she does not want anyone to ever have control over her in any way. Harry is plagued by nightmares and PTSD, so in a sense they weren't looking for one another, yet they found each other. Harry, I must say, navigates this need for independence in a very clever manner, playing by her rules yet still asking her to step outside of her comfort zone.

It is explored, in the novel, that her independence wasn't so much a conscious choice, it was her reluctance and fear of trusting someone. And I believe we can all see how this is where we have been time and again, our independence sometimes isn't so much an exercise of our will, it's an inability to take a risk. So we maintain our independence, but forego our potential to cherish or be cherished. This sprung from her life experiences.

But it left her, and Harry as well as the story progresses, with a lovely independence, but a lonely one.

As far as Harry goes, he lived somewhat in shame, he had felt hate and jealousy to several members of his family for having upended his life as he was supposed to have lived it. He also experienced the terror of having taken lives as part of his life as a soldier. And as this is discussed, Lydia tells him something rather interesting.

She says to him that he has kind eyes, and that he's a kind man, he retorts by saying that he's done awful things and felt dark emotions for people who were innocent and loved him. She responds that "sometimes character runs deeper than consequence". That was lovely. We are who we choose to be, not what happened to us. It's our choice.

At another point, they speak of his PTSD and another lovely phrase is uttered, how Darkness can lead one to kindness instead of to further darkness. It reminded me of a series I watched once, no need to go into details, but one of the phrases that has stuck with me, is when a teacher tells his pupils, who are in the middle of a war, as he dies that they ought to live strong and be kind.

And it's so easy not to, it's so easy to allow the darkness of consequence turn one into a monster, maybe not a criminal one, but a monster, self centered and hurtful. It's easy to use life in the past and the present as a justification for cruelty, or carelessness to others and to the self. It's an act of will and choice to be able to live strong and be kind, which does not imply being a pushover. Your kindness comes from your strength, and your ability to harm, not the other way around.

Lastly, there was another lovely idea in terms of relationships, to a significant other, but to the world at large. At some point when Harry is proposing marriage to Lydia, he says the usual.. "Make me the happiest man alive..." and what she responds is very poignant, she says "Will I make you happy?" not as a question to him, but as a question to herself.

It was a humble expression of doubt, of awareness of one's limitations, but I don't think anyone can make anyone else happy, or perform at a job, or at anything really, if that person doesn't doubt how adequate they actually are for the job.

Will I make you happy, is a question that contains many others, Can I make you happy? Am I willing to make you happy? Am I willing to learn and grow and let go of myself, to make you happy. What am I willing to do? Self doubt, a healthy dose of self doubt that does not indulge in self pity is probably a good approach to almost any undertaking, not only relationships. Am I the one for the job, and if not, how do I get there?

The story ends as Harry finally takes his part of the fortune that Ana inherited, takes the property and marries Lydia. There's a lovely homage at the end to all the stories told thus far. The cycle of the Wescotts completes with everyone celebrating their youngest being whole. The grudges, resentments and unresolved issues finally reach their end in a lovely embrace in the home of the family that started it all.

I shall move on to a different series Maybe Gilded Web or Survivor's. Wescott was particularly moving and it left me with a lot to think about. My past behavior as an immature kid, my present behavior and my future. My relationship with my family, my desire to hold on to grudges for longer than it was healthy, my relationship to myself and others.

I felt joy, longing and nostalgia, I felt shame and regret, I saw my childishness and immaturity but also the potential for growth and change, I was entertained by the stories and I was touched by the characters. I am glad I finished it, though I still liked the Bedwyn Saga a bit better.

Thanks for reading.


FOTCM Member
Sorry for the double post,

As I passed post, I found another note I made on the book:

And that was the idea that "Nightmares are necessary". This was another great concept, we tend to run away from nightmares, but they remind us of who we have been, who we could be. It helps us appreciate order and peace, beauty and joy. This in the context of Harry's PTSD, who had come to accept that his nightmares would be there forever maybe, and found a utility for them.

They shine a bright light on what ought to be cherished, as they were for each other.


Jedi Master
It looks like the vaccine makers have romance on the mind. (maybe this post should go in the Covid thread)

Graphene and the Immune System: A Romance of Many Dimensions​

Graphene-based materials (GBMs) are emerging as attractive materials for biomedical applications. Understanding how these materials are perceived by and interact with the immune system is of fundamental importance.



FOTCM Member
On the subject of eyes, this video is out of context of this thread since it's from BLM protests after the George Floyd incident. In the novels they often refer to cold eyes. The eyes of the protesters that attack the reporter in this video, starting around 2:58 and continuing intermittently for the rest of the video, are beyond cold. Infact I had the impression that they were dead. Like the body is animated but there's nobody home.

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