October 28, 2014



David Birnbaum’s Integrated Philosophical Paradigm:

Unifying Science, Spirituality & Philosophy


By Mark Davis


Independent metaphysicist, Manhattan's David Birnbaum, set out on a stunningly bold endeavor in the l970s and 1980s: Play a long-shot and lance the Cosmic Code with one simple concept/dynamic.

In response to the defeatist, nihilistic and entropic atheist cosmology of the academically-entrenched Randomness proponents, cosmologist and Conceptual Theorist Birnbaum set out to discern the eternal and underlying core dynamic of the Cosmic Order; he sought the universal Common Denominator, the potential ’arrow’ of the universe.

The concept/dynamic would ultimately become the centerpiece of cutting-edge Potentialism Theory – and would re-boot metaphysics, cosmology and philosophy for the 21st century. In turn, all major fields of study would be impacted.

Birnbaum had daringly vectored onto one seemingly ethereal dynamic – Potential - which he finessed into his hypothesized Infinite Quest for Potential. Subtle and seemingly intangible, the proposed dynamic seemed to be the ‘universal plug’; no matter which major intractable philosophical problem it was plugged into, it seemed to be a ‘magic key’ unlocking secrets.

The eternal cosmic dynamic? Infinite Quest for Potential
The ‘trigger’ of the Cosmic Order? Infinite Quest for Potential
The underlying dynamic of Evolution? Infinite Quest for Potential
The purpose of Man? Quest for maximal/optimal individual Potential
The goal of the Cosmic Order? The maximal unfolding of Infinite Potential
See PotentialismTheory.com for more in-depth regarding each of these issues.

The discovery would shake the inter-related worlds of metaphysics and cosmology; it would rattle the vested interests of the philosophical/scientific establishment which was deeply invested in Randomness theory for well-over a hundred years. Bridging into the 21st century, the Birnbaum theory would set the stage for a veritable explosion in scientific theory advance in America. From NYU to MIT to Yale to University of Maine, elite Thought Leaders stepped-forward with important books and articles dovetailing with Birnbaum’s paradigm-shattering theory. See ParadigmChallenge.com.

Birnbaum discerned ‘life-affirming global advance’ where Randomnists had only discerned ‘cosmic decay’; he discerned ‘organic growth’ where these same others had discerned ‘aimless atrophy’; he discerned ‘direction/purpose’ where others had seen only ‘pointless chaos’.

Birnbaum had unleashed an intellectual tsunami; in turn, the iconoclast Conceptual Theorist became a ‘lightning rod’ for reactionary push-back – particularly by the British Atheist establishment. But Birnbaum’s intellectual allies would, in turn, counter-attack here as well; his intellectual allies – would expose the hollowness of the desperate vituperation of the entrenched Randomness junta.

Birnbaum is an outlier to the academic establishment; in turn, this entrenched establishment would radically underestimate the formidable intellectual threat which the yeshiva-educated and Harvard-educated scholar would pose to their entrenched (Randomness) interests.

With a self-manipulated monopoly on discourse for decades, the Randomness/Atheist crew was not used to being frontally challenged; in turn, they would simply prove unable to handle the intellectual maverick from Manhattan; Birnbaum had a propensity for projecting globally – including on the core turf of Randomness, the British universities; of course, the American Conceptual Theorist also happened to be armed with a potentially bullet-proof theory; and, of course this theory happened to undermine the entire superstructure of Randomness/Atheism.
In his three-part treatise – Summa Metaphysica, Birnbaum lays-out a fully-integrated cosmology which can elegantly be viewed through different key lenses. The series ‘covers the bases’. It elegantly unifies the three fields with their Common Denominator – Infinite Quest for Potential – the Birnbaum-proposed overarching cosmic dynamic. Of course, the Randomness/Atheist crew had maintained as Holy Writ for well over a century that there could not possibly be an overarching dynamic to the Cosmic Order.
Birnbam’s Theory of Potential is a ‘game changer’ for the science of cosmology; it effects a quantum shift in how humanity views the universe around itself - and humanity’s place within it.

Summa Metaphysica has brought forth more than a new scientific model – it has brought forth a new metaphysics wrapping-around his new scientific model. The theory offers extraordinary context and a rich view of our universe; the theory presents a breathtaking, new and all-embracing conceptual understanding for the 21st century.

Potentialism is often referred-to as the ‘Inter-Disciplinary unifier’; it unifies Einsteinian Physics with Quantum Physics; then it unifies all the hard sciences with the soft sciences; then, it unifies all science in general with the gamut of other fields; then it wraps-around the entire gamut of fields and provides an overarching and eternal cosmic context. One can begin to understand why Birnbaum invested in it.

As noted, David Birnbaum discerns that there is, indeed, one conceptual uniting theme/dynamic/force which brings-together science, religion, philosophy and spirituality: his proposed Infinite Quest for Potential (Q4P for short). In the 7,000 year span of human culture, no philosophy/cosmology endeavor has come to this point. See TheoryCore.com.

Birnbaum discerns this one hypothesized dynamic (Q4P) as both scientifically consonant and metaphysically powerful; the suis generis concept has overarching implications across not only religious, spiritual, philosophical domains, but equally across the domains of physics, astrophysics and quantum mechanics - for starters. See XQuantumUniverse.com.
Scientists have long held that there was some elusive Theory of Everything which would unite all branches of science. As matters unfolded with Birnbaum’ Summa Metaphysica, it became increasingly clear that - whether deliberately or accidentally - he had potentially uncovered this true Theory of Everything; Potentialism is a theory which unites not only the internal branches of science, but actually unites the complete fields of - science, spirituality and philosophy. See TTOE1000.com.



Potentialism describes the infinite Quest for Potential as the central, cosmic drive of the universe (see SummaMetaphysica.com). Eternal Q4P ignited the Cosmic Order, regulates it, and gives it direction. [Is there ‘space’ for classic God in all this? Yes. See MetaphysicalAnchoring.com.]



On the intermediate level the universe inherently strives towards greater and greater levels of what Birnbaum coins as Complexification (shorthand: C+) the drive for ever-greater complexity, sophistication/richness/integration/diversity/wondrousness.



In turn, this C+ drives the universe towards what Birnbaum coins as Extraordinariation (shorthand: E+). Extraordinariation is a goal/horizon of sublime and utter super-Complexification – both in form and quality (see Extraordinariation.com).

The three key components noted just-above, in turn combine into the SuperLaw of Potentialism:


The SuperLaw

Q4P > C+ > E+
Quest for Potential > Complexification > Extraordinariation

According to Birnbaum, the universe's universal and infinite drive towards its own maximal/optimal Potential can be witnessed in the day-to-day increases in Complexification of everything in the universe. We can witness the theory at-work in the (historical) formation of atoms, then molecules, as well as in the birth of the stars and galaxies – and, indeed, in the birth and development of our very own Earth.

Potentialism is governed by one core concept and formula – Q4P → E+. This states that the Quest for Infinite Potential infinitely drives the cosmos towards Extraordinariation. What does this mean exactly? Q4P is the prime mover, the divine spark if you will, the force that thrusts the universe forward to greater and greater, ever increasing levels of Complexity. Extraordinariation provides the direction for Potential. Extraordinariation represents an abstract level of hyper-Complexity and perfection. It is sometimes useful to think of this equation as a parabola. You can continually follow the axis along higher and higher levels of Complexity infinitely, each point rising in ever greater degrees of magnitude of Complexity, while never actually reaching the end, or E+.

But what does this mean in terms of science, spirituality and philosophy? We will analyze Potentialism in context of each separately.



In scientific terms, Potentialism Theory describes the mechanics of the physical universe. Potentialism dictates how the universe coalesced from energy and primitive particles to atoms and molecules. Further, Potentialism describes the necessity of the formation of stars and solar bodies as well as the development of ecosystems and life.

Further, it even describes the formation of sentient life, reasoning and emotion – in abstract terms – as the inexorable evolution of complexity-advance. Truly, science is the basic realm of Potentialism, and the dynamic exists most easily and demonstrably there, as expected. As a key to cosmic growth and complexity-advance, Quest for Potential is pervasive and self-apparent in the way our universe has evolved.



Potentialism Theory also exists comfortably within the purview of philosophy, though. As an overarching cosmological theory, it exists both tangibly and in the realm of ideals and perfect constructs. Extraordinariation is its most ambitious tool for defining the philosophical aspects of Potentialism.

Extraordinariation itself is a perfect state – one defined by its super-complexity. As such it represents an abstract state of existence. Plato once referred to the “ideal form” that reality mimics. Such is the realm of Extraordinariation. It is an abstract ideal, an idea, something which does not exist in our universe. However, Extraordinariation binds the philosophical to the scientific because it has measurable impact on the quality of existence itself.

Reverberations of Extraordinariation occur in what Birnbaum calls Quantum Jumps. Think of it as the signatures Extraordinariation leaves on physical reality. When something like the first creatures capable of reasoning come into existence, this is a Quantum Jump. QJs, as they are called, can be witnessed when, on some profound, fundamental level, the universe as a whole gives birth to an entirely new, game changing level of Complexity. Whether it be the birth of reasoning man or the formation of the first molecule – something irrevocably changes once it occurs. Because of these QJs, the philosophical concept of Extraordinariation causes purely scientific phenomena which can be witnessed or measured.



Finally, Potentialism Theory finds itself at home in the spiritual. Spiritual aspects of Potentialism are perhaps its most interesting, for both purely spiritual reasons as well as religious implications. On a spiritual level, Potentialism deals with everything in the universe. Unlike most of cosmology, when Potentialists speak of the universe, it is all inclusive – they mean the universe.

While there are certainly qualitative differences between, say, a horse and an idea such as justice – Potentialism dictates that everything exists in the same universe. Thoughts are as valid as physical items and emotions are as valid as energy. As spirituality exists in the universe, Potentialism dictates it must follow the rules of Potentialism as well. It oddly invites the mystic while simultaneously removing the mysticism from it.

Perhaps more importantly though, Potentialism Theory provides a place for the truly religious. Unlike other contemporary theories of cosmology, Potentialism has a place for the divine. While Potentialism is not a religion itself but a science, it acknowledges a place where divinity can exist. The Quest for Infinite Potential is a universal force. But what is interesting about this force, in and of itself, is it is not necessarily self-aware or intelligent, but it could be. And this uncertainty is what binds religion to Potentialism. God, in whatever form one wishes to believe in, has a place in the cosmology of Potentialism. It cannot be proven, but according to most faiths, that is the nature of the divine – it requires faith.


The Great Unifier

Thus Potentialism Theory stands as the great unifier. To scientists, it offers a grand unification of celestial creation and a dynamic to govern the sciences; to philosophy, it offers a bridge between the abstract and the concrete aspects of reality; and to the spiritual, it offers validity and a place for reason and emotion as well as a place for the divine itself. In one grand theory, Birnbaum offers a final peace to what was fractured.



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, April 2012). See Conference1000.com).

Well over 50,000 volumes of Summa I, II or III are in circulation. A Course Text at over a dozen colleges globally, Summa Metaphysica has been the focus of well-over 100 feature articles and reviews. See SummaCoverage.com.

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


Potentialism Theory:   The Summa series

Summa Metaphysica I: Religious Man: God and Evil (Ktav, November 1988);
Summa Metaphysica II: Spiritual Man: God and Good (New Paradigm Matrix, March 2005);
Summa Metaphysica III: Secular Man: The Transcendent Dynamic (New Paradigm Matrix, January 2014).
See SummaMetaphysica.com.



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