Forward Wave

October 7, 2014

Forward Wave


Potentialism & Cosmic Consciousness:

The Forward Wave

Are we the forward wave of the consciousness of the universe? Are we, cumulatively, the updated lens of the universe?

Metaphysicist, David Birnbaum has set out to tackle this question. Birnbaum, author of the Theory of Potential, has put forth the theory that humankind may be the result of Potential honing its own skills, so to speak, as it seeks higher levels of Complexity (see This would make humankind not only a product of the universe, but an integral, necessary tool of the universe as well.

Starting in 1988, Birnbaum was thrust onto the center stage of cosmology when he unleashed his first book on Potentialism, Summa Metaphysica I (Ktav, 1988). This would be followed by Summa Metaphysica II and III (New Paradigm Matrix, 2005 and New Paradigm Matrix, 2014). In it, Birnbaum states that the universe is driven by the Quest for Infinite Potential. Q4P for short, this Quest for Infinite Potential is a universal force which drives the universe towards infinitely more complex states (see

The cosmos itself follows a predetermined path towards what Birnbaum calls Extraordinariation, or E+. This Extraordinariation is, as described by Birnbaum, the ultimate state of super-complexity – an unimaginable state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and intellectual complexity. Extraordinariation is an infinite goal. It is not so much a destination as a provider of the road map, or direction, for the universe to unfold in.

But Birnbaum describes the rising complexity in terms of Complexification, (shorthand notation: C+). The Theory of Potential hypothesizes regarding C+, that the universe seeks ever-higher levels of Complexification – complexity/sophistication/variety/wondrousness. This observation regarding Complexification has been shown to be true on all levels of the universe – ranging from macro to micro.

Indeed, previous levels of Complexification (like the emergence of our known universe from the Big Bang) lay the foundation for future, higher levels of complexity (like the emergence of Life on earth). Think of them as successive layers of Complexification, with each previous one being the necessary agent for the next.

Which begs the question – Is human kind an active component in the current Complexification of the universe?

The Complexification of consciousness

To answer the question, we must first define consciousness. On a most basic level, consciousness can be defined as being aware of one's surroundings. But this is more strictly correct for sentience. Sentience is the state of being able to experience – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Clearly this fits most everything in the animal kingdom to a greater or lesser extent.

For our purposes, consciousness refers to a higher state of sentience – self awareness, an awareness of one's own mind and those around us. Even the act of self-reflection to acknowledge our own consciousness is a far higher, more complex act of reason than most animals are capable of (at least, we believe so). And, for sure, none but humankind is able to act and write on the nature of our existence and consciousness. So, as we can see, humanity itself is the current pinnacle of consciousness. Of course, that is pretty much self-evident (see

Was this level of Complexification built on the foundation of a previous C+ layer? Certainly. Sentience was a prerequisite for the far more complicated state of consciousness. Thus, the question is what form of complexity will take us from the current level of Complexification to the next one? What will be the template which the next layer is built upon? While it is not clear what form the actual next step of Complexification will take, it seems fairly evident humanity will be its ‘launch platform’.

Humanity as an aspect of Q4P itself

But this brings up another point, the one central to Birnbaum's theory regarding Q4P (see If humanity is the catalyst/platform for the next Complexification, is it not reasonable to see humanity as part of Q4P itself – the conscious part. That is to say, humanity may be the lens through which Q4P currently views its work. Humankind may be the consciousness through which Q4P reflects on its progress – and then boots-up to the next level.

This audacious concept happens-to-be rooted fundamentally in scientific theory. Carl Sagan once noted, “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” While this may perhaps sound simply poetic, mathematician and quantum mechanic Pascual Jordon stated it more clearly scientifically: “Observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it... We ourselves produce the result of the experiment”.

What Jordan was getting at was that it is the nature of a quantum universe for observation itself to help define reality – not in mental terms, but in real, tangible ways. Following this logical line of thinking places humanity and Q4P in a very different relationship with one another:


  1. Q4P has created something that can observe, through its inherent consciousness.
  2. Observation is a catalyst for creating physical reality.
  3. Q4P is the creative force of the universe itself.


Humanity must be an extension of Q4P itself, that is, humanity is both the means for Q4P to observe itself as well as create the next level of Complexification.

This is, in fact, one of the many logically observable proofs of the infinite pervasiveness of Potential. Potential not only creates, but is inherently part of everything it creates. And as we move forward though time, with the universe ever-growing in complexity, humankind stands as the forward wave of Q4P, driving it onwards through additional Complexification.

What form will the new level take? ESP? Some evolution of consciousness humankind doesn't even have a name for? That can be hard to predict as Complexification occasionally goes into uncharted waters of complexity. But what we can see is humanity's central place as the forward wave of Potential – and consciousness. See




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


"a bold and highly original synthesis… audacious yet sensitive, traditional and yet highly innovative…yet within the parameters of an authentically Jewish halakhic point of view…an intellectual odyssey."


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