David Birnbaum, metaphysicist and private scholar, set out on an audacious odyssey in 1988 to redefine modern cosmology as we know it. What he gave the world was Potentialism. The Infinite Quest for Potential is the unifying cosmic drive – the reason for how things are – and the path for what they will become – as the universe grows. In 1988, Birnbaum released Summa Metaphysica I: Religious Man (Ktav, 1988), followed by Summa Metaphysica II: Spiritual Man (New Paradigm Matrix, 2005) and Summa Metaphysica III: Secular Man (New Paradigm Matrix, 2014).
Potentialism Theory: The Superlaw Overarching Formula
Birnbaum laid out a simple formula underlying the cosmic order and regulating its ongoing evolution:
Quest for Potential∞
This formula describes the basic mechanics of Potentialist cosmology. It states that there is an inherent drive in the universe, the Quest for Infinite Potential (Q4P). This is the drive that causes everything in the universe to achieve increasingly higher levels of potential. The dynamic is infinite in every conceivable frame of reference.
Potentialism Theory: More detailed formula
The first formula above is a simplification of the Potentialist model.
For a more detailed analysis of Potentialism, it is necessary to look at a fuller mathematical model governing the Potentialism process.
Q4P∞ → C+ → QJ → E+
This follows the Potentialism model on a finer detail of scale. Q4P gives direct rise to what Birnbaum refers to as Complexification (C+), which in turn gives rise to Quantum Jumps (QJ), which are all enroute to Extraordinariation (E+).
Thus, ‘the plot thickens’, but the core thrust remains the same: Infinite Potential drives the Cosmic Order.
Complexification (C+) is defined as the ongoing process of advancing the complexity/sophistication/variety/wondrousness of everything existing in the universe. When C+ reaches a critical mass point, a Quantum Jump (QJ) is the result. Some QJs are more dramatic than others.
For instance, the Big Bang is probably the most distinct QJ known to us. But QJs permeate the stream of cosmic history. And more are to come, for sure.
C+ can be witnessed in terms of simple, mechanistic/physical terms – such as two hydrogen and an oxygen atom combining to form water (an intrinsic complexity event), or when a cell divides (a multiplicative or extrinsic complexity event). However, Complexification covers far more than mechanistic complexity. C+ is used to denote the myriad ways outside of the mechanistic in which complexity can increase.
As an example, consider two pieces of music. Our first piece is written entirely in one key, so it is harmonically sound. The notes are all standard lengths, but random. There is nothing integrally incorrect with this piece, but it, arguably, doesn't sound much like music. Our second piece may be, perhaps, a moving sonata – emotion evoking and transcendent beyond what is printed on the sheet music because of this. Both pieces, on paper, look the same – but one is unarguably more sophisticated; however on a mechanistic level they are identical. This is the meaning of Complexification. C+ not only accounts for the mechanistic complexity of the sheet music, but also for the complexity of the emotion it evokes, the beauty of the piece itself. It eludes physical science to explain what makes the sonata more complex than the random piece – but it is humanly self-evident that it is more complex. Thus, C+ necessarily encompasses more than the mechanistic alone. Like Extraordinariation, it is the sum of its mechanistic, intellectual, emotive, spiritual and beautific qualities – both the qualitative as well as the quantitative.
Focus: Quantum Jumps
Quantum Jumps (shorthand: QJ) can appear, on the surface, as very similar to Complexification+. They display the same overarching properties as C+, showing complexity in its myriad quantitative and qualitative forms. But, C+ displays complexity in known forms. QJs express complexity in fundamentally new, never before seen expressions. QJs also introduce a fundamentally higher, “game changing” if you will, level of complexity. Finally, QJs are episodic. Whereas, C+ occurs continuously, a QJ happens only rarely and does so dramatically.
To explain QJs, it is easiest to illustrate them. Imagine a universe where only atoms exist. Without molecules, there is no life. Even water itself cannot exist – that is a combination of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. In such a universe, the complexity we take for granted cannot exist at all. At one point, in our distant past, that was the universe. Beyond that, there was an era where even atoms did not exist yet. As you can imagine, the universe itself was fundamentally different – less complex. But QJ events, in the form of first atom creation, then molecular creation, gave rise to a universe where more complex forms could coalesce.
QJ: Rungs on the ladder to Extraordinariation
This the nature of QJ events. They are game changers, opening up the universe to unfold in new directions and levels of complexity impossible to even imagine until they occurred. QJs both form and follow the scientific rules governing the universe. They are an expression of the increasing maturity, driven by Potential, of cosmic evolution as it steers ever onwards towards Extraordinariation.
As mentioned though, QJs, like C+, are driven by more than mechanistic design – they are an expression of all levels of complexity. As such, they encompass such universal phenomena as the creation of language, music, reason, emotion, altruism. While some of these phenomena are not quantitative, they are all self-evident in their existence and perfectly qualitative. It is the metaphysical nature of Potentialism itself which allows Potentialism to smoothly and easily explain these aspects of reality where pure, analytic science fails.
Complexification+ > Quantum Jump
It is this ongoing interplay of Complexification and Quantum Jumps that govern existence and define how it evolves. Both are created/driven by Q4P, the drive of everything within the universe to seek its own higher levels of complexity. C+ and QJs are the visible evidence of that eternal Quest for Potential. All are items in the universe's tool box which lets it seek out and strive towards its quest for ultimate Extraordinariation.
Potentialism Theory: For more in-depth: