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The AIDS survivor

The single mother

The pawn broker

The freed man

The fire fighter

The professor

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The adviser

Deepak Chopra, 53, has written 25 books translated into three-dozen languages. He has also recorded more than 100 audio, video and CD-ROMs. A native of India and a physician by training, he was called "the poet-prophet of alternative medicine" by TIME magazine, which named him one of the icons and heroes of the 20th century. Chopra is an enormously popular speaker and the CEO and founder of The Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, California.

As I look back over the past eight years, I am most amazed by the explosive growth of technology -- Palm Pilots, wireless devices, video streaming, broadband, and even, more important, biotechnology.

We are entering a new era. In many ways the Internet is the cloning of our collective soul. To know where the human psyche stands, just go to the Internet. We do not yet recognize the importance of information and technology, and how it is going to influence our evolution as a human species. It is going to completely transform us and the world we live in.

If we use it wisely, we will be able to bring about a phase transition change in the collective consciousness of humanity, and create not just a knowledge-based, but a wisdom-based civilization. We will have the tools to positively influence the health of people all over the planet, heal the ecosystem and eliminate poverty.

The most significant development of all is the deciphering of the human genome. I predict that in the near future we will have the technology for selective cloning and the ability to replace body parts from an individual's own cells.

The cloning of our cells and the cloning of our psyches are going to create new raw materials for our imagination. We are going to explore not only outer space but inner space. Magic, mystery, wonder and adventure are once again going to become part of our collective reality, and with that will come an age such as Homer never dreamed of.

You ask me about my personal self. I've definitely become a so-called public figure, and I'm not used to it. I'm not used to being recognized at airports, restaurants and shopping malls. My children and my wife make sure that I don't take myself too seriously.

I know that, like any other phenomenon, it's a temporary thing. Hopefully I have grown and matured over the last eight years. I think I'm not attached to success in the conventional sense.

It's time to be more reflective and write books that I really want to. I have five books planned this coming year. I don't worry any more whether they'll be successful or not, and I can relate to the Sufi poet Rumi when he says, "I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think."

I'm excited about the future. Like any other person, my personal evolution has gone through many phases. I hope I'm transitioning from asking myself, "What's in it for me?" to, "How can I help?"

I thought President Clinton was a great statesman. I travel all over the world and it was obvious to me that Bill Clinton had endeared himself and the American people to the world in a very big way. He's had a major influence in the Middle East, in Ireland, India and Vietnam. I just hope that Bush is able to continue that trend.

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