LONDON — Amid discussion about transgender accommodations, and following reports of men in the U.K. who live as dogs in their private lives as a means of escapism, another story has emerged—this time about a man in London who took a “holiday from being human” to live as a goat.
Thomas Thwaites, 35, details his research project to live as a goat in the Swiss Alps in his book “GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human,” which was released on May 17.
“The dazzling success of The Toaster Project, including TV appearances and an international book tour, leaves Thomas Thwaites in a slump. His friends increasingly behave like adults, while Thwaites still lives at home, ‘stuck in a big, dark hole,'” a description of the book reads. “Luckily, a research grant offers the perfect out: a chance to take a holiday from the complications of being human—by transforming himself into a goat.”
Thwaites says that in 2014, he was discouraged after finding himself in debt, living at home with his father and not being able to find a job. He concluded that it would be beneficial to “step away from the complexities of the world and have a lovely holiday, not just . . . away from your job (if you have one), but away from your very self.”
“One day I was walking with the dog of a friend, and I noticed that the dog just seemed really happy about life—without any worries—and I thought to myself, ‘It would be really great to be you for a day,'” he told the Daily Mail.
But Thwaites didn’t want to live as a dog and decided rather to be an elephant. However, he learned that elephants experience stress, which is what he was attempting to escape. Thwaites was told by a shaman that his plan was “idiotic”—that he was more akin spiritually to a goat than an elephant.
So Thwaites studied goats and decided to move forward. He applied for a university grant to study goat psychology and searched for a herder that would let him live among the goats.
Thwaites also contacted prosthetic experts in executing his project, seeking out the creation of arms and legs that would be similar to a goat’s. He additionally had an artificial stomach created, which was strapped to his waist and allowed him to spit up grass after crawling around on all fours with the herd.
“I could then strap this bag to my torso and spit chewed up grass into one opening and suck the cultured microbes and volatile fatty acids out another opening like a milkshake, so I can digest them in my true stomach and live off grass in the Alps like a goat,” Thwaites said.
He likewise wore a helmet as a means to disguise himself, but says that at first, not all the goats took kindly to him.
“I later realized that they were just letting me know there was a hierarchy, and I should know my place,” Thwaites explained. “The best moment was when one of the goats suddenly decided she was going to be my friend, and she just followed me everywhere.”
He also realized that he had not taken sexuality into account in contemplating the project.
“From a Darwinian perspective, sex is the whole point of animal life,” Thwaites wrote in his book. “However, I am sure my girlfriend would be extremely upset if she were cuckolded by a goat. … I will only have had sex with a goat if I wanted to have sex with a goat, and [that will only have happened] if I have managed to adopt the mindset of a goat.”
Thwaites soon realized that life as a goat wasn’t so easy after all, and he looked forward to getting out of his suit by the end of the day, sitting by a warm fire and eating a human meal.
He concluded his study deciding that it would be better to be a herder than a goat, and moved back to the U.K. where he is now studying the future of work. Thwaites is also working on an online service called Nebo, which is named after the Babylonian god of wisdom and writing.
Romans 1:21-25 reads, “[W]hen they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves, who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Commentary offered by Matthew Henry on Romans 1 also outlines, “For whatever may be pretended, as to the sufficiency of man’s reason to discover Divine truth and moral obligation, or to govern the practice aright, facts cannot be denied. And these plainly show that men have dishonored God by the most absurd idolatries and superstitions; and have degraded themselves by the vilest affections and most abominable deeds.”