Society will become a lot less creative and easy going if we keep giving up the booze, an expert warns.
Boffin Edward Slingerland reckons the trend among young adults to become teetotal could damage the nation.
Alcohol-free beers are on the rise with a huge range displayed on supermarket shelves nationwide.
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One in five of us is now teetotal and many more are cutting back on the booze, a study by drink firm Diageo found.
The professor of philosophy at the University of British Columbia said there will be obvious health benefits but other drink boosts to culture will be lost.
“We often take a narrow view of the role alcohol has played in the formation of society,” he said.
“But if you take a broader scientific, anthropological and historical view of alcohol, it’s not just about medicine.
“Alcohol is a cultural technology that we have developed to briefly get us back to our five-year-old brains when it comes to flexibility and creativity.
“After a few hours it wears off and we can glean the results. There’s good evidence it increases creativity, which as a society we need.”
He reckons without booze there will be “a less creative and more atomised society”, arguing that throughout history alcohol has been associated with creatives.
“If it’s true that young people aren’t getting intoxicated in social environments, I’d predict a reduction in innovation, and a decline in cooperation, too,” he said.
And he says alcohol can play a key role in forming relationships and gaining trust with other people.
“In the same way that shaking hands started out as a way to show we aren’t carrying weapons, drinking beers… is like putting our mental weapons on the side.”
Mr Slingerland also says alcohol increases feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
He said: “Because we feel positive about each other, it creates a sense of bonding that’s crucial for humankind.”
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