An important addendum to the fact that humans are social animals is that we are socially constrained animals. Constraint, says Jeffrey Kahn, associate professor of psychiatry at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, is the glue that fastens the bonds of civilization. Our socially prescribed limitations have “kept us safely codependent with our fellow clan members, assigned us a rank in the pecking order, made sure we all did our chores, discouraged us from offending others, and removed us from this social coil when we became a drag on shared resources.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Obedience to social norms only gets us so far, however. Where would art, exploration, romance and experimentation be if we fell in line all the time? Over the course of human history, one liquid has consistently given us the courage to speak out. With the accidental discovery of beer, “humans could quell the angst of defying those herd instincts. Conversations around the campfire, no doubt, took on a new dimension: the painfully shy, their angst suddenly quelled, could now speak their minds.” Beer’s place in the establishment of a more dynamic civilization should not be ignored.