• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Alcohol helped shape civilization and ferment innovation, says author


Army.ca Relic
Reaction score
I knew it.... beer saved the world :)

Alcohol helped shape civilization and ferment innovation, says author

Edward Slingerland argues intoxication sparked innovation and civilization throughout human history

Edward Slingerland will be the first person in the room to acknowledge that drinking alcohol can cause all kinds of damage. But his latest work makes an audacious claim: that we could not have had civilization without intoxication.

Slingerland is a professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia, where he also holds appointments in the Departments of Psychology and Asian Studies. He's the author of Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization.

He says we devote so much attention to the dark side of the bottle — that we ignore all the good that drinking can do. And the good, he says, is profound.
Here is part of his conversation with Tapestry host Mary Hynes about how the drive to get intoxicated may have predated, and even propelled, the rise of civilization — and how alcohol continues to support innovation and collaboration in modern society.

How has getting drunk actually paved the way for civilization? I mean, that's an astonishing claim.

In the same way that we're told that it's just an evolutionary mistake that we like to drink, we've also been told that our ability to drink, our ability to have access to alcohol is also a mistake.

So the standard story is that we, for whatever reason, settled down and started doing agriculture and living in larger communities. And then at some point after that, someone left their sourdough starter out for a little too long and it started to ferment. They figured out, "Oh, this makes something that's interesting to drink and makes us feel happy." So we discovered beer.


Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
Well duh! Everyone knows that the majority of the worlds problems are solved over a beer down at the local pub, now if only we could remember what those solutions were the next morning.....


Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
Fermentation as a process is part of every human culture, anyone who has netflix I recommend watching the show cooked, particularly it's "Earth" episode.