Saturday, October 11, 2014
The Great Beer Question!
I have read several articles in which archaeologists and anthropologists combine to opine that beer served to unify prehistoric savages into cohesive, diplomatic, social and political groups. The collection, cultivation and preparation of grains purely for food may not have been the entire object. Brewing and fermentation resulted in great parties at which intra-and-inter-tribal friendships were forged. Civilization followed.
Reverse could be equally valid. When humans discovered brewing and fermenting they needed social stability in which to do it properly without having to move their crocks and vats around with every nomadic episode. Savagery is very aerobic and one's things jostle and chip. Getting civilized was the obvious solution.
We can imagine a typical prehistoric domestic exchange:
She: I'm having neighbors over this evening for pot-luck.
He: Good! Oh wait, you haven't invited the Savages, have you?
She: You always ask that but always compliment what they bring over.
He: Well, yes, I like roast enemy as much as the next fellow but enough's enough!
She: Then you'll be pleased to hear the Savages have lately got civilized.
He: Great! They can help with beer then.
So the question is: does the eons-long, astonishingly arduous ascent of humankind into civilization owe its success to the fact that guys will do anything for a beer, even become civilized?