Cosmic T-Shirt

August 21, 2014

Cosmic T-Shirt


The Cosmic T-Shirt

In 1989, Nobel Prize winning physicist Leon Lederman of Illinois wrote, “We hope to explain the entire universe in a simple formula you can put on your T-shirt.” Ironically enough, a year before Lederman published his observation, metaphysicist and independent scholar, David Birnbaum of Manhattan, had actually given this very formula.

Birnbaum’s quite super-concise “T-Shirt formula?


In his three part Summa Metaphysica series, Birnbaum laid out the most audacious, groundbreaking and, indeed, complete cosmological theory ever presented (see Not only did Summa I (1988) include a theory of cosmic evolution and design, it explicitly gave the formula to Lederman's to-be (1989) ‘T-Shirt Theory of Everything’ challenge. And just as Lederman, as well as such other notable minds as Albert Einstein had predicted, it was indeed as simple as expected and hoped- for.

The Quest for Infinite Potential drives the universe forward.

(See also

The formula was also graphically portrayed as

Q4P (Q4P (Q4P (


Quest for Potential ( Quest for Potential ( Quest for Potential (

For our T-shirt, let us simply call it Q4P.

See also

That is, Quest for Potential (infinitely iterated) actually defines the cosmic order. A quarter of a century after Summa I was released by Ktav Publishing, Birnbaum’s Q4P remains unchallenged – and at the very pinnacle of cosmological theory (see

What does this simple equation mean? What is this Quest for Infinite Potential?

The theory is as simple as the formula itself: Infinite Potential seeks after ever-greater Infinite Potential. Birnbaum, when investigating the cosmological origins of the universe, was struck by one simple fact – everything in the universe was getting more complex – and, over time seemingly more sophisticated and extraordinary. Not just a few physical phenomena, but everything that was not inanimate. (see

Sometimes something is so pervasive, like the air we breathe, that we take it for granted and don't even see what is right before our very eyes. Such is the case with Potential. And it is literally everywhere.

On our very planet we can see it in the evolution of plants and trees; we see it in the broader ecosystem looking at our planet as a whole with its myriad of environments and different microcosms of complex interactions. And it all came into existence on a ball of rock with a molten core.

Birnbaum observes: Everything in the universe has a natural, inborn need to seek its own higher Complexification. Birnbaum defines Complexification (shorthand notation: C+ ) as the drive towards greater complexity/sophistication/richness/variety/wondrousness. Entities seek Complexification: Whether that be by morphing into an atom, a molecule, or an organism, the drive is Complexification. As well, entities can advance in C+ by reproducing – as sheer numbers increase the complexity of something as well.

Complexification: Take, for instance, Birnbaum's description of human Complexification. On the surface, humanity is arguably the most complex creature we know. Among other profound abilities, humans can reason, dream, fashion tools, shape its own environment – and over many thousands of years, it has evolved to do so.

But humanity also makes small changes in Complexification on an individual level every day. Broadly, personal complexity can be thought of as either intrinsic complexity or multiplicative complexity. Intrinsic is when a person grows in complexity through knowledge and experience, literally becoming more complex as they mature. Multiplicative complexity is expressed by humanity's ability to procreate. In short, when two people create a third, the sum of their Potential complexity rises.

This holds true, no less, when observing things on a more universal scale. Galaxies are intrinsically more complex when they form and the stars they form in turn increase the multiplicative complexity of the galaxy itself. What's more is that the original, simple formula needs no bylaws to account for exceptions and no modification to work, as is, in describing anything in the universe – even the abstract.

Yes, the abstract. Potentialism is used to describe such concepts as thoughts, feelings, love, altruism, beauty, art and emotion as easily as it describes the physical and natural world around us. And for a true metaphysicist, that is a necessary part of cosmology. If you truly seek to understand the entirety of the universe, there is no way to say “well, the physical universe at least.” The universe is everything – from the solar winds that wash over our planet to the notes of a symphony. If you've experienced, then it is part of the universe – no exceptions. But Potentialism doesn't even bat an eye, the same cosmic formula just as apt at explaining morals as molecules. See

In fact, you'll find the universal drive towards greater complexity – enroute towards ever-more-extraordinary Potential – universal and applicable to anything. That is what makes it, in fact, such a powerful Theory of Everything. Quest for Potential (infinitely iterating) drives the cosmos forward via Complexification towards Extraordinariation. The shorthand for Quest for Potential (infinitely iterating) is Q4P; the shorthand for Complexification is C+; the shorthand for Extraordinariation is E+. So, our new SuperLaw of the cosmic order is Q4P > C+ > E+. The super-shorthand defining the cosmos remains simply Q4P.

Thus, Quest for Potential is both the hidden – and ubiquitous – drive of the universe; it has been hiding in plain sight waiting to be uncovered./discerned/discovered. And there is only one thing that makes this discovery even better – it actually does fit on a T-Shirt with plenty of room to spare.


No flaw has been discerned in Birnbaum’s Theory of Potential since first introduced to the world
via Summa I (Ktav Publishing, 1988). Summa Metaphysica was the featured and prime focus of a 3+ day international academic conference hosted by Bard College (Upstate NY, March 2012). See

A Course Text at over a dozen colleges (see ), Summa Metaphysica
has been the focus of over fifty feature articles in 2013-2014 alone. Recent hi-level academic works dovetailing with Birnbaum's Theory of Potential include the following:

Programming the Universe (Knopf, 2006) by Professor of Quantum Mechanics Seth Lloyd of MIT;

Mind & Cosmos (Oxford Press, 2012) by Professor of Philosophy & Law Thomas Nagel of NYU;
Our Mathematical Universe (Knopf, 2014) by Professor of Physics Max Tegmark of MIT





Cosmology, Metaphysics & Philosophy: See sample testimonial on Summa Metaphysica, David Birnbaum's philosophy treatise:


“I have read GOD and EVIL with interest and profit. It is a searching, knowledgeable, and readable attempt to confront the fundamental moral problem of theodicy with its most severe contemporary test, that of the Holocaust.”

- Berel Lang, Professor of Philosophy and Humanistic Studies, Chairman, Department of Philosophy, State University of New York at Albany

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