Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 26/05/04Everyone's moving with the digital times. Witness the press release making a gentle 'Omm…' noise in our mailbox today.

Wednesday 26/05/04

Everyone's moving with the digital times. Witness the press release making a gentle 'Omm…' noise in our mailbox today. It's from the Maharishi -- you may remember him from such films as The Beatles Go Batty In Bombay, and Botty Bounce! Yogic Flying Made Easy -- who is having a global press conference to announce that "Vedic education will create a utopian civilisation". Jolly good. "Vedic universities, colleges, and schools are being established in every country to create enlightened people who won't make mistakes." Fantastic! And how does this work? "First, you give the student the unity of total knowledge, and then through analysis this unity is elaborated and unfolded until all fields of knowledge are brought to the student’s awareness."

And so on, and so forth. Exactly how "the unity of total knowledge" is imparted is not detailed, although His Excellency Dr Bevan Morris, Minister of Enlightenment of the Global Country of World Peace, did say that 'great interest' was being shown by, er, some people. It's almost worth signing up just to get that sort of job title on your business cards, if you ask me.

But what differentiates this latest bout of cosmic bluster from the same Natural Law Will Cure Everything baloney which has issued forth from the bearded one for so many years is that now the press conferences are interactive. Not only can you phone your questions in to numbers in India, Holland and the US, but you can IM the chap.

Yes, just direct your typing fingers to Yahoo! Internet Messenger ID 'mgcwp' and your questions about transcendental enlightenment will be answered. We don't know whether the Yogi can manage l33t sp33k - perhaps you'd like to find out for me.

Peculiarly, this is the week that our office -- which also runs on Y!IM - has discovered the avatars in the new version of the software. As you know, Professor, the original avatars were incarnations in bodily form of Hindu deities: these days the polarity is reversed somewhat. The IM avatars are cartoon forms that match, to a greater or lesser extent, the real person behind the screen.

For some of us, the extent is most definitely lesser. While some chaps, like Newshund Munir, can find a near-exact match, others aren't so lucky. For a world running to fat -- due in no small part to the physical torpor required to operate computers -- it is sad that there are no porky pixels available. Every avatar is slim, young and muscular, with clear skin and perfect proportions. Is this just another example of how we lardbuckets are being made the lepers of the 21st century? It's not enough to blame us for the imminent collapse of the health service and, indeed, civilisation itself: no, we are barred from making an honest interpretation of ourselves online. How unfair.

Perhaps I'll ask Yogi for some cosmic awareness to explain it all…