Abstract thought begins with the God gene,


the need to get beyond oneself, the need to go ‘out there’ to explain the unexplainable. The logic gene remains as a vestige of some prior need, for events to have cause and effect in a mechanical universe, the need to survive in a world of danger, the need to find order in chaos. Scientists now tend to find chaos even in order. The urge to find God is the same as the urge to ‘get high’. That’s what separates us from the great apes. The fact that pygmy chimps use the missionary position and give blow jobs (I hear) removes sex as the mark of human distinction. We must have evolved from some semi-erect stoner mutants that got ostracized from the group and just kept going. The Celts invaded Italy to get the wine, even though their Bohemian brethren had long perfected beer and spread it around the continent, as the Celtic word cerveza suggests. Boredom and the need for novelty might be a related distinctive mark of humanity. Cannabis has long had many adherents and other stupefiers their users, but alcohol has always been the drug of choice for the vast majority. Of course the real fruit is abstract thought itself, to be found in the arts and sciences of no other species. It’s not hard to imagine language itself evolving out of a drunken reverie gone transcendent. Three-quarters of the earth’s surface is covered in alcohol. The battles with bottles come later.

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