G. K. Chesterton on Beer

It is now an established fact that all human motive and action is due to Beer; not merely among adults but also among children.

The whole life of a child (of either sex) is actuated by Beer. The first action of which a child is capable is a lusty yell; we have established that this is no less than a cry for Beer, or at any rate for some kind of drink. The next action of the child is to drink. If it does not drink beer it is because its system is not yet capable of drinking beer. But behind the relish of milk is the desire for beer. These we call the primary instincts. The secondary instincts are to be found in the love of popping corks, of yellow-brown colours, of frothy substances (like soup), and so on. The child instinctively calls his father Papa (which represents the popping of the cork), and his mother Mamma (which gives the noise of the liquid being poured into a glass). All the gurgling noises of childhood go to prove the strength of the instinct.

Most of our knowledge is based upon dreams, which we have taken as the most reliable evidence scientifically possible. We know (by means too long and elaborate to tell here) that even very young children dream about beer; nay, more, that they dream about nothing else. When a child dreams of a boat upon a lake, what is it but a symbol of beer? Of a shower of rain, a river, a sea? Everything yellow or brown is beer. Everything frothy or sparkling is beer. Everything in something else is beer (a nut in its shell, for example, is obviously representative of beer in the bottle). Everything issuing from an aperture is beer. Everything that moves is beer, particularly quick-moving, jerky things, which are reminiscent of “hops.” In fact, we may say that the child cannot dream of anything but beer. There is no dream possible but beer.

Here is an example. The patient was Miss X. She came to us in great trouble. “My nerves are all gone to pieces,” she said. “I want you to help me.” Professor Bosh questioned her, and kept her under observation. He discovered that before going to bed she was in the habit of brushing her hair. “The brush was of an amber colour, and was transparent. The patient would raise it slowly to her lips, pause and then proceed to brush her hair. This was quite unconscious. In reply to my questions it transpired that several years before she had been forbidden by the family doctor to drink anything alcoholic. She had been in the habit of taking a glass of ale every night at supper.” Professor Bosh explained this to her, and at once convinced her of its truth. She submitted herself to treatment, and was soon perfectly well and strong.

From G. K.’s Weekly, by G. K. Chesterton. Public Domain.
Photo: “Weizenbier” by Trexer, CC-BY-SA-3.0,

Add a Comment Here (This Means You!):

Your email is safe and will not be published, shared, sold, bought, or used to order doughnuts. Required fields are marked *

Note that, in an effort to prevent comment spam and manipulation by computational bacteria, certain words (including a number of brand names) will prevent your comment from being submitted.