Raise a glass to boozing… it’s essential to human civilisation, it is claimed.
Professor Edward Slingerland says having one too many builds trust between strangers, eases stress and aids problem-solving.
He reckons it helped form modern societies, and that it is no accident that we have had a fondness for a tipple since ancient times.
The professor said it “explains not only why we want to get drunk, but also how it might actually be good for us to tie one on now and then”.
He added: “Our desire for alcohol is not an evolutionary mistake. There are good reasons for why we get drunk.”
Prof Slingerland outlines his theory in a new book, “Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, And Stumbled Our Way To Civilisation”. It looks at our long relationship with booze and concludes it is more than just a vice.
It says: “In fact, intoxication helps solve a number of distinctively human challenges: enhancing creativity, alleviating stress, building trust, and pulling off the miracle of getting fiercely tribal primates to cooperate with strangers.”
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And it adds: “We would not have civilisation without intoxication.”
The US-based professor draws on evidence from the world of academia to show booze is a fundamental part of life, and calls on health experts to accept alcohol is a key part of our existence. He offers “a holistic defence of alcohol and intoxication, one that gives pleasure for pleasure’s sake its due”.
But Prof Slingerland does warn drinkers to stick to beer and wine, with their lower alcohol levels, rather than distilled spirits. A 21% surge in deaths from liver disease has been linked to people hitting the bottle during the pandemic.
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