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December 18, 2014

focus: Potentialism Theory by David Birnbaum

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Q4P: What is it? Why do we care?
Potentialism Theory challenges

Posted by Admin On December 18th, 2013 09:27 PM | Philosophy

 

Q4P  is a  shorthand notation for Quest for Potential.   Potential is the centerpiece of an audacious contemporary theory in philosophy causing a stir around the globe.  It was conceptualized by David Birnbaum at age 32 in 1982.

In 1988 Ktav Publishing House (NJ)  published the first of three volumes of a cutting-edge philosophy work.  The ultimate name of the 3-volume series was  Summa Metaphysica  - which modestly translates into ‘the sum of all metaphysics’.

Metaphyics is a corner of philosophy which deals in the bedrock currents of the cosmic order.  It is the turf of Aristotle, Maimonides, Aquinas and Spinoza.  Few writers dare to tread here.  Historically, the field ‘takes no prisoners.’  Many thousands of metaphysics schemas have been proposed over the past five thousand years; not one has truly withstood the ‘test of time’, including those by the aforementioned philosophical giants.

The second volume of Summa Metaphysica was issued in 2005, seventeen years after the first volume.  At that point its author was 55 years-old.

In 2012,  seven years after the issuance of Summa Metaphysica II,  Bard College, Upstate, NY hosted a  3 ½  day international academic conference on Science & Religion focused on the work and its apparent unification of science, religion, philosophy and spirituality.  Neither at the conference, nor over the past twenty-five years has any flaw been discerned in Summa.  Key conference panelists proposed that Summa achieved ‘aesthetic elegance’, the sine qua non for a great  metaphysics.   The panelists could not come up with the name of any seriously competing paradigm to Summa ( see Bard:  Summa Metaphysica ).   The groundbreaking Bard conference closed on a fine and harmonious note, and all the illustrious conference panelists embarked back home to their respective institutions around the globe.

Eleven months after the close of the conference,  this past May 2013,  as if by ‘spontaneous combustion’,  the academic world erupted in intense global battle over the core proposition of the treatise, the author’s signature theme of  Q4P (Quest for Potential).

The author of Summa Metaphysica, David Birnbaum,  is a Manhattan-based yeshiva-educated and Harvard-educated private scholar. Birnbaum divides his time between what he calls his ’day job’ as an international rare gem dealer, and his so to speak  ‘night job’  wherein he has pursued his academic interests since he  exited Cambridge, Mass. for Manhattan in 1974.

Birnbaum’s  publishing platform, New Paradigm Matrix, which now has over 180 global thought leaders under its aegis, has placed him at the crossroads of discussion. Birnbaum’s academic ‘night job’  has not only gained him a global intellectual platform, but has landed him in the vortex of an international storm over his proposed Theory of Potential,  of which Q4P is the centerpiece.

Academic ‘outsider’ Birnbaum’s cutting-edge Theory of Potential challenges the currently entrenched Theory of Randomness of the Establishment. Although Birnbaum’s philosophy works have been used as course texts at well-over a dozen institutions of higher learning globally the concept of an ‘outsider’ frontally challenging the vey core Establishment wisdom has  outraged many ‘insiders’.  The fact that he might actually be right, has apparently only further incensed matters.

Since 1988 Birnbaum has garnered quite significant support from inside the academic/scientific;  however this  is cavalierly brushed aside by the on the warpath  Establishment group.  To the zealots protecting ‘randomness’, Birnbaum is ‘the horseman of doom’ frontally galloping towards them.

Birnbaum is a ‘universalist’, not hostage to either ‘religious fundamentalism’ or ‘secularist atheism’. His suis generis concept of Quest for Potential (Q4P) straddles the divide between religious and secular. His core Potentialism Theory concept is transcendent; it so-to-speak overarches the cosmic order.

The ‘insider’’ Establishment theory of randomness, however,  championed heavily by the hard-line atheistic academic community, is not only anti-religion, but rejects any transcending dynamic whatsoever, in any shape, manner or form.  Therein lies the seeds of the conflict - and the threat to the ‘entrenched orthodoxy’.

Let us step back a moment at look at the metaphysics chessboard.  Roughly a dozen inter-related classic metaphysics questions have been at the fore of discussion from time immemorial.  All the iconic figures noted above grappled with these issues in their respective writings, and respectively none of their schemas is accepted by the academic community today

Let us look at  a  selection of core metaphysics questions and see how Birnbaum’s Potentialism Theory  - and then the  entrenched  establishment’s Theory of Randomness  - come down on each of these issues.

1) Is there an eternal dynamic ?
Birnbaum:  Yes, Quest for Potential (Q4P)
Establishment: No, none

2) What ignited the Big  Bang?
Birnbaum:  Q4P
Establishment:  Random accident
playing-out across infinite universes

3) What drives the cosmic order?
Birnbaum:  Q4P
Establishment:  Random chance

4) If there is a God what is the essence of God?
Birnbaum:  Potential
Establishment: No God or any transcendent force

5) What was the catalyst for life?
Birnbaum:  Quest for Potential (Q4P)
Establishment:   Random accident

6)What sustains life?
Birnbaum: Q4P
Establishment: no answer

7) What drives  Evolution?
Birnbaum: Q4P ( which includes  genetic survival)
Establishment:  genetic survival alone and  random chance

8)  What was the catalyst for consciousness?
Birnbaum:  Q4P
Establishment:  Random chance

9) Does Man have a purpose?
Birnbaum: To quest for his/her optimal potential
Establishment: No / none

10) Does Mankind have a purpose?
Birnbaum: To quest for its optimal potential
Establishment: No / none

11) Is there a purpose to the universe?
Birnbaum:  The universe seeks its fullest possible potential
Establishment: no purpose

Thus, the battle lines are clear-cut.  Birnbaum layers one single elegant concept across the entire spectrum of issues – and across the timeless cosmic continuum.  Aside from the one issue of Evolution, the Establishment does not even purport to provide one single answer.

The Establishment cannot attack Birnbaum's Potentialism Theory as it has attacked the ‘intelligent design’ proponents as being a ‘stalking horse’ for Creationism, as he clearly is not.
Birnbaum methodically and clearly addresses all key issues. The Establishment does not. Birnbaum clearly lays-out his Potentialism Theory proposition in a 20+ panel presentation.  The Establishment offers no such blueprint.

Birnbaum’s Q4P construct is a ‘lean and mean’ pure intellectual play. It is so to speak ‘fat free’.  It is, as well, unburdened by any ‘baggage’ from any dogma.

Essentially, Birnbaum's Potentialism Theory is proposing a new ‘framing concept’ - Q4P - as the underlying bedrock dynamic of the cosmic order. If Summa is essentially on-the- mark, the consequence would, indeed be, a grand unification at a minimum of spirituality, science and philosophy. Many or most fields of study would be impacted to a greater or lesser extent.

As a consequence of Birnbaum’s  offering-up the his  cosmic centerpiece ‘Infinite Potential’ in 1988 and steadfastly advancing the theory both via Summa Metaphysica II and via other modalities, many notables view Birnbaum as the progenitor/originator/founder of a new field, Potentialism.  The author is clear to point out, however, that he views his role as a ‘supporting’ one, and not as a stand-alone field or belief system. See PotentialismTheory.com.

focus: David Birnbaum's Potentialism Theory

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