One of the measures of character and maturity which place one at odds with the masses of the modern world is possession of a well-developed aptitude for discernment.
At first, the topic of quality and its perception appears a paradox. Discernment is the capacity to recognize excellence in an object. The object may perhaps be a remarkable imitation of a perfect Form. Such things are excellent to the degree that they resemble perfection. Discernment is simply the capacity to see the individual object and its perfect Form simultaneously.
Is the object of such perception subjectively affirmed to be excellent by the observer? Is it just a whim? Or rather is it so, objectively, and the observer is merely incidental?
Rather than taking on all of what excellence means, we can consider what a threat that the exercise of discernment represents.
Our Retail Civilization insists constantly that the average individual is not capable of discerning excellence. Should one eat the apple that allows one to perceive degrees of quality, by analogy to the Tree of Life, one’s hubris should likewise deserve banishment from the Garden.
But the assurance is bogus. A statement is of good quality if it is true. It is valueless if it is false. The end, or purpose, of a statement is Truth; Truth is also its Form, or Ideal.
Reality is the best perception that we can muster of the world around us, gathering the best statements of truth to best understand what Is.
Before getting too lost, well, why scent? The nose is the organ least susceptible to manipulation. Smells can be wordlessly pondered without language; or we can speak only aesthetically, rationally or such. The experience of scent is one of the hardest to connect to language; and language forms most of our post-verbal impressions of things, since childhood. From the linguists to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity, to psychoanalysis, there is an understanding that our conscious minds can only rationally order what can be named and linguistically processed. The proto-verbal, the early preverbal stuff and that which is not in the world of language – perhaps, like the substance of dreams – is behind a veil.