Gut Questions

Gut Questions for Conceptual Theorist Birnbaum
on Potentialism Theory

( note- Q4P =  Quest for Potential)

See and for basic intro here.

question: Complexification is described as the intermediate dynamic, the conceptual mechanismthat implements the goals of Quest for Potential. But what is the actual (scientific/mechanical) mechanism implementing  Complexification (C+)?

answer: Perhaps it is the universe quantum computer hypothesized by MIT physicist Seth Lloyd. In his 2006 seminal work Programming the Universe (First VintageBooks/Knopf). Lloyd hypothesizes that there is an inexorable cosmic drive towards more complexity which is implemented by the universe-as-quantum-computer. Meaning, that the entire universe is one big super computer – and we are all bio-feedback mechanisms, continuously passing information back-and-forth. Thus Lloyd/2006 essentially offers-up a scientific mechanism to implement the metaphysical construct of Birnbaum/1988. See

Note that this (organic) supercomputer would, as well, be ‘giving the genetic instructions’ for Evolution, as well. Meaning that Evolution is driven by Quest for Potential driving Complexification (C+) driving the universe-quantum-super-computer to optimize/maximize Potential; and Darwin’s ‘survivability’ is just one component in the grander Q4P equation. See

question:  But what motivates Quest for Potential  in the first place?  We understand its core direction and drive – Potential – but what is at its own core?

answer: Perhaps ‘way back’ all that existed (in metaphysical realms) were  three ‘digits -1, 0, +1  (see WIKI –  ‘It from Bit’ theory of  the late physicist John Wheeler of Princeton). Maybe those metaphysical digits wanted more – i.e. realization and actualization. Maybe they wanted corporeal form, and indeed, even consciousness? Maybe they even wanted to be able to someday be able to give and receive love? Maybe a universe was needed to achieve these ends? Therefore, Big Bang > supernova explosions of Stars >  Elements >  Humans. Maybe, in their (-1, 0, +1) estimation, love is worth it?
Finally, maybe they are still ambivalent about showing their so to speak ‘primitive’ It-from-Bit cores? And maybe that is why they have ‘cloaked’ their origins to this point.

question: But why allow ‘inter-disciplinary warrior’ Messr. Birnbaum to blow their cover at this point in the cosmic continuum?

answer: Maybe, Mankind is headed towards the nuclear and/or ecological precipice?  Maybe all their (-1, 0, +1) ‘work’ over the billions of eons is now at-risk?  Maybe, just maybe, a fuller understanding by Mankind of the cosmic imperatives of Potential, might somehow arrest the march towards the precipice?

question: Why does theorist Birnbaum posit that Infinite Quest for Potential is Eternal?

answer:  # By Definition, Potential/Possibility is eternal.

# It is Self-evident that Potential/Possibility is eternal. Why? There is, indeed a universe; thus, there must have been the Potential for it to exist.

Birnbaum believes that his little By Definition/Self-evident ‘1-2 punch’ makes-the-case that Potential/Possibility is eternal; he may just be right, as the logic seems to hold – and has not been challenged.

On the fact or evidence front, all known data stretching back billions of years to the Big Bang is consonant with a Quest for Infinite Potential hypothesis.

question: Theorist Birnbaum accords extraordinary power to this one hypothesized dynamic  Quest for Potential after he makes-the-case (effectively) that it is the only dynamic which can be  hypothesized with near-certitude as being eternal; but why did this dynamic need to exist in the first place?

answer: Birnbaum would answer that, indeed, the dynamic need not have existed; but if Q4P did not exist, there would, indeed, be no universe.

One can almost theorize as follows:
(1) If Q4P, then universe is possible;
(2) If no Q4P, then no universe. Why?  Q4P is the only dynamic which can both (a) legitimately be hypothesized as being eternal, and (b) have the power to get us to this point.  See

In any event, Q4P > C+  > E+ summarizes the unfolding cosmic drama/dynamic/process: Quest for Potential (Q4P) via Complexification (C+) drives the universe ever-onwards towards Extraordinariation (E+).

question: But, per Birnbaum,  how  might Q4P have ‘materialized’ out of nothingness to-begin-with ?

answer: This answer will be subtle and nuanced,  but clear-enough.

Please bear-in-mind that so to speak ‘cracking the cosmic code’ is not so simple.

We are looking for a ‘primordial play’ which is –

            more than ‘nothing’, but less than ‘something’.

Per Birnbaum, this ‘primordial play’,  i.e. ‘primordial Q4P’, is ‘Potential/Possibility’.

See – reprinted  below (originally  posted in 2005.)


‘Possibility’ is just that -
More than ‘nothing’; less than ’something’.
In and of itself, ‘Potentia/Possibility’ is not ‘something’.
As opposed to Q4P which is sort-of ‘something’.

Again, we like ‘Potential/Possibility’, because it is more than ‘nothing’, but less than ‘something’.
It is sort-of  ‘nothing+’  or ‘something-’.
we can see how close it is to Q4P – our overarching cosmic dynamic - conceptually.

Potential/Possibility: In primordial realms, the Potential/Possibility of Christopher Columbus  (in material form) in-the-future in  1492 might ‘exist’, and the possibility of  Mr. John Doe (in material form) in Greenwich, CT, in  2015 might ‘exist’;  but in the primordial realms there is no actual ‘something’  This is a crucial divide.
Potential/Possibility? Yes; ‘Something’?  No.

Now, Summa focuses on Q4P, not heavily on primordial ‘Potential/Possibility’.
Because the author was not quite ready to do so.
Now,  Thanksgiving 2014, twenty-six years after Summa I was published by KTAV in November 1988, (and thirty-two years after conceptualizing Q4P in the first place in early 1982) he is more ready to do so.

So, the (hypothesized)  ‘sequence’ is -
Potential/Possibility > Q4P > C+ > E+

‘Potential/Possibility’ is even more ethereal than already-ethereal Q4P.
And we want our ‘eternal play’ to be very, very ethereal; ‘Potential/Possibility’ would seem to fit the bill.

question:  How does Lurianic primordial dynamic  En Sof   stack-up to  Summa’s  primordial Potwential/Possibility?

answer:  re: Lurianic parallel to Summa

Powerful and legitimate parallels are drawn between Summa’s Q4P and Lurianic En Sof (the Lurianic-hypothesized No End primordial Divine);  see and;  but, this parallel (delineated in Summa I itself) leaves-out the crucial point of Summa’s own hypothesized  ‘Potential/Possibility’ as the primordial (origin of) Q4P.

Summa’s ‘primordial play’ (Potential/Possibility) is not ‘something’, whereas Luria’s  ‘primordial  En Sof (No End)  seems closer  to  being ‘something’.  As is Q4P.

Thus, Luria’s En Sof can probably ‘successfully’ be ‘challenged’ with the classic Theogony/Eternal Origins question: Wherefrom En Sof ? Summa’s Potential/Possibilty cannot (hopefully) truly effectively be challenged on the same grounds - It is just that, Potential/Possibility.

[Of course, a  21st century kabbalah could simply insert-in  Potential/Possibility as primordial En Sof (itself primordial Divine) – and so-to-speak  ‘solve the problem’; this insertion would not necessarily be a cavalier play - as Birnbaum has elucidated how Potential is  embedded in Mesorah via  the Eheyeh asher Eheyeh  name of God at the Burning Bush saga in  Sefer Shemoth, i.e.  -  in English, the I Will  Be that Which I Will Be  self-proclaimed name of God in the Book of Exodus.

Note that Birnbaum in Summa I devotes considerable attention to how potential is embedded across the Torah and Mesorah,in general,, aside from the Eheyeh asher Eheyeh instance.
See  Summa I  sections  -
100.04: Buttress and Elaboration (pps. 69-73);
100.05 Man- and the Quest for Potential (pps. 72-73)
100.06: Linkage: Linking of God’s Potential to Man’s Potential (pps. 73-74)
100.07: Focus: Potential and the Mitzvot (pps. 75-78).

Yes; deploying the Potential/Possibility >  Q4P  1-2 punch in-particular gives us some unique metaphysical maneuverability. Precisely. That is why Summa seized upon it in the first place.  The term Potential/Possibility has unique properties, and, indeed, myriad ‘faces’ and projections.  Once he discerned the term, the author invested several decades deploying it as the central motif across his 3-volume metaphysics.

Remember, we need to skate-at-the-edge here to have a (powerful) progenitor of the Cosmic Order on-the-one-hand; and a super-ethereal non-‘something’ which neutralizes the ‘Eternal Origins’ question, on-the-orginal-hand.  Potential/Possibility is proposed as that suis generis ‘double-play’.
(See also

The emergence of our universe was not - Classic ‘Subject  A’  causes classic ‘Subject B’. We know how all those neo-Aristotelian metaphycs constructs ultimately crash & burn.

Rather, our hypothesis is that non-‘something’ ‘Potential/Possibilty’ morphs to its ‘first cousin’ and ‘sort-of something’ Q4P (Quest for Potential).

We need to push-the-envelope to resolve the key Eternal Origins issue. But we must do so astutely to so to speak ‘crack the cosmic code.’ We respectfully believe that we have done so (via Potential/Possibility > Q4P > reality.

Now is there a 100% divide between any of the sequential (four) key stages noted in our proposed
‘enhanced SuperLaw’
Potential/Possibility >  Q4P > C+ > E+  ?

No; each presumably has wide range and spectrum; they each merge/morph/underpin (into) the next stage; but they are still each distinct enough;  and ‘distinct enough’ is all we need here.

Q.E.D.   (quod erat demonstrandum)
November 24, 2014

[See also,]

note:  Potentialism Theory  =  Quest for Potential Theory  =  Q4P-Theory  =  Theory of Potential


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