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PUSH THE ENVELOPE

To stretch established limits, as in technological advance or social innovation.

The phrase has its origins in the world of aviation, where ‘envelope’ has, since at least the late 60s, had the meaning ‘a set of performance limits that may not be safely exceeded.’ Test pilots are often called on to ‘push’ a new aircraft’s performance envelope by going beyond known safety limits, as in determining just how fast an airplane can be flown. In 1979 Tom Wolfe’s best-seller ‘The Right Stuff’ vividly described the life of test pilots during the 50s and 60s, and it appears that this book, and the subsequent movie, did much to popularize the notion of pushing the envelope. [Stuart Leichter reports that the words used in the movie are “pushing the outside of the envelope”;
The idea of an envelope as a kind of enclosing boundary is of course not new. In 1899 Arnold Bennett wrote: ‘My desire is to depict the deeper beauty while abiding by the envelope of facts.’

Lyrics: Billy Attwell © 2009
Music: Joshua Irwin © 2009

Lyrics

As man we try
To go beyond
The realm of expectations
Beyond the pale
Extend the scope
Of our imaginations

Higher further & faster
Just how far can we go?
Mathematics & Perfection
Fuels our desire to know

We’ve built machines
In the extreme
Defied the realms of reason
Escaped the pull of gravity
& even changed the seasons

How much higher can we go?
How much faster can we go?
Just how much further can we go?

The Oceans we’ve sailed them,
The Mountains, we’ve climbed them,
Distance, we’ve shrunk it,
The sky, we fly it,
The moon, we’ve been there
The stars? we’re on our way

Grey matter's at work
We’ve shaped the past
Innovation is under control
The science it moves along so fast
Now survival is the goal

We strive to grow
Desire to know
We learn from our pitfalls
Continually PUSH THE ENVELOPE
Innovation it has no walls
& in our minds we see
Fantastic things beyond our dreams
We know no boundaries

Expand our scope
Push The Envelope
We live in hope
Push The Envelope
We’re on the outside
Enjoy the ride
Keep Pushing That Envelope

Expand our scope
Push The Envelope
We live in hope
Push The Envelope
We’re on the outside
Enjoy the ride
Keep Pushing That Envelope

The Oceans we’ve sailed them,
The Mountains, we’ve climbed them,
Distance, we’ve shrunk it,
The sky, we fly it,
The moon, we’ve been there
The stars? we’re on our way

The Oceans we’ve sailed them,
The Mountains, we’ve climbed them,
Distance, we’ve shrunk it,
The sky, we fly it,
The moon, we’ve been there
The stars? we’re on our way
The stars? we’re on our way

Today’s become our future
Today’s become our future
OUR FUTURE!

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