Technical boundaries and lonely souls

  Patrick Suskind’s “Perfume” is a masterpiece that reflects on the boundaries of modern technological civilization. On the one hand, the author visualizes the ultimate product of unrestricted technical rationality as an invincible perfume that is enough to pour sentient beings once mastered. It can make the master of technology become the “God of the world” after “God is dead”; The boundary of a miraculous technology is described as the disillusionment of the master of technology in solitude. Perfume cannot satisfy the protagonist Grenoye’s most coveted desire, that is, “let others love yourself”. Grenoye “grew up without love”, “without the soul of a warm soul” survives by his own stubbornness and the disgust of others. He was born with no scent that belongs to him alone, he is a person with no personality and a superfluous person. He asks for love without fruit, and asks for hatred without success, and he cannot have a real relationship with others throughout his life. Grenoye tried to confirm the existence of his absolute subjectivity, imagining that by using perfume technology to transform the world into his own “Scented Garden of Eden”, completely objectifying and objectifying others and the world; but he yearned for the intersubjectivity so much. The interactivity is so unavailable that they return with perfume in despair, return to the place of birth, and eventually become the “Holy Supper” for everyone wandering in the rancid fish restaurant late at night.
  Destined to complete the “Prometheus’ performance” and rule the “transient kingdom of smell” with perfume-making technology, Grenoye was born in Paris and even in the most stinking place in France. His mother not only ignored the smell of the internal organs of the dead fish because of the long-term treatment, but also completely lost the feeling of the outside world because of the pain of labor, and was eager to get rid of the fetus. Grenoye didn’t even possess the “minimum natural friendliness” when he was born. He chose to survive “good considerations” of “pure resistance and pure viciousness”. This “reason” of Grenoye is not an adult’s choice in a complicated life, but a baby-like instinct and a matter of course.
  The nurse disgusted Grenoye because he “did not emit the smell that a human child should have”, and the elders of the monastery were also terrified because he had no smell but could use his nose to look around and others. Only because the sense of smell is the “most primitive” and “lowest of the five senses” organ, and Grenoye “sniffs him shamelessly” and so “thoroughly”, making the elders feel like they are being sniffed through the skin and deep in the heart . The elder was supposed to embody the love of gods and men, but like the hermit who escaped into the deep forest in the second verse of Nietzsche’s “So Says Zarathustra”, he reserved love to the dead God in the abstract, People love no one but themselves, and they abstract and deify themselves in the juxtaposition of God and themselves. Grenoye made the elders feel his humanity and filth concretely, so he was discarded to the illegal nursery of Mrs. Galal whose “soul is dead”. Grenoye was very comfortable with such an environment where no one was paying attention or even treating him as a human being, and lived silently like a tick.
  The “sensible” Grenoye has been disinterested in abstract names since childhood, and especially hates abstract concepts such as ethics and morality, and only likes various specific smells, such as wood. The abstract naming of “wood” saves Grenoye’s suffocation and immersion in the specific taste of wood. The boundaries of Grenoye’s scent world soon surpassed the boundaries of the existing human language: others can’t smell the subtle differences between smells, he can distinguish clearly, but there is no language to express. From this, Grenoye doubted the relationship between language and the world, decided to bypass language, and began to create something from nothing: not only can be used in imagination, but also can be mixed and modulated in imagination through recombination technology to create Scents that don’t exist in reality, I can enjoy myself in loneliness, and I don’t think it’s a problem that I cannot share it with others through language. Grenoye uses the entire Paris as a scent hunting area. Others are not people, but the source of smells. For most people, a city is a complex structure, a space where strangers meet and relate. With tasteless smell and taste, Grenoye disassembled the whole of the city weaving into thin threads that cannot be divided, without being interfered by customs and language, directly smelling each individual itself.
  Outside the park, Grenoye smelled the perfume for the first time, realizing that the fragrances as the various components of the perfume were good, but there was a problem with the mixed whole (a metaphor for the social integrity at that time). Grenoye wanted to change the overall structure of perfume, but changing the standard is not good or bad, but new and old: new is good, and it is best to create new out of nothing. Soon, Grenoye smelled something more beautiful than perfume, which seemed to help him unlock the mysteries of all other fragrances. Looking for it, the man was in the dimly lit alley; the candlelight was swaying, and a young girl was cutting Huangxiangli. Grenoye wanted to rearrange other scents based on the model of the pure maiden scent guidelines. The fragrance of the girl became the meaning of Grenoye’s life. Grenoye wanted to press this “deified fragrance” into his “messy black soul”; from then on, he only thought and lived according to the “magic formula” brought by the fragrance. He killed the girl and sniffed a scent of soul, as if in heaven. Through this “fragrance revolution”, Grenoye felt the happiness of being a human for the first time, and thus aspired to become the greatest perfume creator of all times. This world is not perfect in terms of smell. He wants to transform the world into a perfect smell of Eden, to achieve perfection that eliminates all imperfections, and it doesn’t matter to kill people.
  Grenoye helped an old perfumer to copy a perfume “Cupidand Psyche” (Cupidand Psyche). In the myth of the same name, Pusuk (soul) cannot live alone because of the loss of Cupid (love), and when he is dying, he is revived by a kiss from the sky by Cupid. Love is the soul of a person, the last breath of a person, and it makes people feel that they are unique and irreplaceable. People yearn for the connection between each other, and desire to complete themselves in the close connection of body and soul. Grenoye helped the old perfumer grasp the “structure of the soul” of this perfume. Although Grenoyer could not come up with a molecular formula or clarify the mixing ratio of the perfume, he was able to get started directly and let the perfume show and reappear as it is. He wants to start from this perfume shop to “completely transform the world” and create a magical and abundance world, so that people will instantly forget the struggles around them, and instantly become rich, happy, free, and full…
  Grenoyer wanted to use effective technology at the material level to break through the boundaries of the soul and use technology to realize love, but the scope of application of the existing technology is very limited and cannot help him extract the scent of specific animals, plants or even inorganic substances. Seeing that Grenoye was dying in despair, the old perfumer had to tell him that there were other techniques. So Grenoye used three years of outstanding service in exchange for his full teacher certificate and his freedom, and went to Grasse to learn new techniques. On the road, his nose led him to a remote place, pushing him to the “loneliest magnetic pole” far from everyone. Grenoye enjoys loneliness in an impersonal cave, crying silently with happiness but not knowing whom to thank. He arbitrarily formulates in the imaginary kingdom of smells, and enjoys the various perfumes in his mind like tasting wine. Until one day, Grenoye took out the most precious collection, the fragrance of the yellow fragrant and plum girl on Marais Street, with a cup of sorrow in his arms. It was only seven years later that he understood the source of sorrow in a spiritual disaster: Grenoye had no humanity of his own, it was a kind of utter loneliness.
  Grenoye began to study the common human odor and found that human odor is first of all a commonality, a common sourness of sweat. Only above this basic commonality can there be a molecular-level personality. People cannot perceive or even fear their own scent personality, because they feel safe in commonality. Thus, Grenoye determined the initial direction of his perfume revolution: making ordinary human perfume. He succeeded and was treated as a normal person by everyone for the first time. But Grenoye is not satisfied that he is only accepted as an ordinary person. He wants to make himself a unique person to be loved, even as the only loved one. If human perfume makes him acceptable, then superhuman perfume should make him loved, even worshipped, and become a god with technology. He believes that the technology of perfume is enough to allow him to control people’s souls. Grenoye doesn’t understand that love lies in appreciation and needs to keep a distance. For him, love means possession, which means letting the object of love belong to him. Grenoye made a god-level perfume at the cost of the lives of twenty-five girls. He was arrested and sentenced to death.