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PUSH 2006: A New Life

Photography and art direction:  Darrell Eager  

Photography and art direction: Darrell Eager 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We made it through another year of challenges, changes and surprise both large and small. Las year we focused on The Geography of Change, unearthing the ways in which the deepest, subterranean forces shaping human civilization—environment, fuel, technology, and demographics—are approaching dramatic tipping points, rearranging the terrain of future and fate.

And this year we saw a whole lot of tipping goin on: natural disasters of epic proportions rattled our consciousness: gas prices spiked then spiked some more; the hybrid car arrived into the mainstream; Google took on Microsoft and China; the South Korean government announced its plan to put a robot in every South Korean household by 2010; and the American public happily continued its migration to opposing polarities on every topic from abortion to the war.

Truly, life as we know it is coming to an end. The only constant seems to be the voracious rate of change and innovation racing across every aspect of our economic and social landscape. Conventional practices and plans are being pushed toward obsolescence, rendering a future that few have imagined.

We are crossing into a new life, a life in which all that makes us most human is being reformulated. As we’ll learn over the course of the next few days, our biology, our universe, our environment, our reality, our tools and capacities are all in the process of reconfiguration. The most pressing question through all this change is not so much how we define what it is to be human, but the ways in which we describe the human experience: love, home, family, community, innovation, hope and imagination. There, at the crossroads of dramatic change and essential humanity is where we’ll find our new life. It is also from this vantage point that we we’ll see where we, as organizations and individuals, will lay the foundation for committed action, positioning ourselves not reactively, but as co-creators, strategists, and our own best futurists.

Our hope is that you’ll take full advantage of these next few days as a privileged opportunity to open your mind, dive in, and discover what exciting new possibilities are opening up inside A New Life. We also encourage you to make the most of what’s here­—your fellow travelers—and jump into debate, discussion and discovery with those around you. Welcome to PUSH 2006!

Cecily Sommers
The Push Institute



Virtual Verite

Welcome to the alternative reality of the virtual world, complete with its own economies, games, etiquette, big players and big questions. What does it mean that more and more of us are living life through our fingertips and our imaginations? We'll take a look at where this fascinating and ambiguous new take on reality is leading us.


NEW CONSTRUCTIONS    The Recreation of the Human


The Recreation of the Human

It's been the subject of "experiment gone awry" stories from Frankenstein to The Terminator. Throughout time humans have been both fascinated with and frightened by the power to create and define life. Advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology and physics have now made this fiction an astounding reality and ethical, economic, and strategic implications are all requiring our attention at this incredible point in time. We'll get a guided tour of this next breakthrough in human evolution from some of the people leading the way.


SOCIAL DANCES    Networks, Power and Meaning


Networks, Power and Meaning

The extraordinary rate of innovation and change has been incredibly disruptive as well as stimulating, challenging the way people mediate community, power, and meaning. As social connections become both more personal and transitory, their power to move markets, movements, and social mores is being amplified at warped speed around the globe. What is the impact on globalization, and on us? How do we now define our "world" and place ourselves among these intersecting networks of values, politics, and personal meaning?


DOMESTIC BLISS    Styled Lives and Loves


Styled Lives and Loves

Miniaturization. Customization. Personalization. Everything, it seems, can be tricked out to reflect the complex and intimate "brand" of our own personal experience. how will this intersection of design and desire, style and story affect our dreams, aspirations and relationships with others?