May 30, 2020

why we got hooked on alcohol

Why was it the best test of self-control for the Greeks to grab a melopea? How did the Egyptians celebrate the so-called Drunken Festival? And why did Tsar Nicholas II prohibit the sale of alcohol throughout Russia? Of all that goes this book. Of the great melopeas, monkeys, hake, slices, whiners, pedals … Mankind has drunk throughout history for a thousand different reasons, and this language historian deals in a chronological, ingenious and enjoyable summary. Its pages cover the practices in front of the bottle throughout the world from the first effervescence of fermentation to the present day and how they may have changed the course of events. From the gratuitous abuse to the great sorrows, going through the immense bacchanalia, the excesses, the defects and the glasses colliding to seal periods of war … or of peace.

The drug allowed

Almost everything that has happened to us from the East to the West, from the North to the South, seems to have brewed in front of a glass half full … or half empty. We drink to forget, to mitigate the evil of love, to celebrate weddings, baptisms or funerals. We empty the glasses when they hire us and also when they fire us, when the countries sign ententes and when they decide to enter into conflict. We do it when we are afraid and when we feel raging. On the street, at home, in a bar … we drink, we drink and we don't stop drinking. We simply do it by ancestral, genetic or environmental culture. It is the socially allowed and accepted drug that defines us as human or portrays us as primates. All civilizations have fallen into the ethyl networks: from China that distilled rice wine 8000 years before Christ to Victorian England rendered by gin, not forgetting the Paris of the mad 20 subjugated to absinthe or eighties Spain. ..

All this without forgetting the pre-Columbian America that dipped its sorrows in chicha or the Far West that drowned its fear in bourbon doubles. We drink, period. Some may, others should not and for some it is a true disease. Let's keep everything in mind. The history of alcohol and man is a long romance. From the taverns of Ur to the current bars with "charme", before a drink, one forgets his portfolio, social class, sexuality, nationality or marital status. It has the rare virtue of becoming polyglots, achieving the exaltation of friendship, building bridges with the enemy and loving more and better, although then we do not remember. There have been conflicts over their famine, celebration in the homelands for their arrival, ceasefire among gangsters, joy in families and, most unfortunate, extreme violence for those who do not enjoy emotional balance and rely on the glass as in a cane that will never give them peace. But it is undeniable that the ethyl hobby is present in all towns and latitudes. The author reveals to us the origins and cultural associations of certain alcoholic beverages to show us that drunkenness says "yes to everything": to good and to general ruin. Alcohol is sometimes similar to the verb "pitufar", it serves for what we want … but, above all, for what our genetics allow.

Plato and a cup

The Sumerians saw the bottle as collective joy and the Greeks stepped back, stroked their beards and reflected. Plato said that getting drunk was like going to the gym: "The first time you feel really bad and sore, but practice makes perfect." Horacio wrote that "the wine that flows makes the verses circulate, and liberates the poor and the humble," and Franklin declared that the grape nectar is "proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy." The apostles drank at the last supper and few writers we remember have stopped drinking starting with Shakespeare and ending with our most admired author. There are sporadic drinkers, bar corner loners, housewives who sneak drinks, celebratory fans when they win their equipment, bank drunkards in the street, minibar executives, abandoned teenagers or politicians celebrating their election night.

Forsyth puts the focus on attitudes derived from drinking and concludes that the environment is key so that whoever steers the elbow ends up being a vandal or a saint. He comes to tell us that he releases our hair to be who we really are – or isn't he? -. Even paleoanthropologist Robert Dudley suggests that there is a link between the evolution of hominids and alcohol consumption. The human being always underlies: the aggressive and the calls to have a "good wine". The author of "A cosmic drunkenness" shares the thesis and goes further when he states that man began to cultivate in the Neolithic, not because he wanted to have more food, but because he wanted to guarantee the supply of alcohol. We have inherited an ancestral bias that associates its consumption with the nutritional increase. In short, we continue to fulfill our destiny for good and for bad.

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