A Formal Inductive Proof of
Cosmological Theory of Potentialism
A Formal Inductive Proof of
Cosmological Theory of Potentialism
as presented in Birnbaum's
[ see www.SummaMetaphysica.com ]
The 45 page proof - outline below - is crafted and presented
and approved by D. Birnbaum
April 7, 2016
“... for we perceive that this miraculous development is not the result of our own efforts: an eternal Perfection is molding us into its own image.”
― Sri Aurobindo
As a chemist, mathematician, philosopher and person of faith, I have long been accustomed to wearing an ever changing assortment of hats. “Hard science” is the tool for everyday observation. As such, I have always followed the clean logic and well-rigored science of my peers when trying to understand the universe and how it could run with such wondrous, clock-work precision.
Yet there was always something lacking. Like putting a puzzle together only to find the picture would not make sense – something was missing. It never occurred to me that looking at the what of the universe would never truly lead me to the why of it. I could show how a star formed, but I could never actually answer why it formed. Why life existed. Why, even, the universe was here.
My faith was of little solace. I had wonderful parables on how to live a just and meaningful life, but as a tool of science and understanding it was meaningless. There was no reconciling Genesis with the observable universe. Genesis could only be considered seriously as yet another parable, a story devoid of real scientific information.
Likewise, philosophy gave me no insight. It was a wonderful tool for trying to discern the nature of consciousness and morality, but it offered little in the way of understanding the physical universe save for the outdated and incorrect geocentric Aristotelian and Platonic models.
Then I came across the work of Manhattan cosmologist David Birnbaum. His groundbreaking work on Potentialism Theory changed the very approach I had on cosmology. Potentialism provides a framework for understanding the universe by analyzing it through the multiple lenses of science, philosophy and even faith and spirituality. Where I was seeking the “best tool”, it had never occurred to me I needed them all at once to see the “picture in the puzzle”.
In this work, I intend to provide a layman's guide to the Theory of Potentialism in hopes to make the theory as accessible as possible for the broadest audience possible. Further, I seek to provide an inductive proof that will support the strength of this simple, yet powerful, theory.
“The menu is not the meal.”
- Alan W. Watts
In 1988, cosmologist David Birnbaum published the first of his three part Summa Metaphysica series. Within its pages contained the foundations of a new cosmological model which sharply diverged from commonly held scientific theories. Birnbaum would challenge directly the very preconceptions that bound then modern cosmology together.
To begin, Birnbaum would toss away several assumptions of modern physics of the time. The most important of these would be the supremacy of quantifiable evidence. Physics and, more broadly, modern science is based on observation. More precisely, it is based on what can be measured and quantified - we test for elements with spectroscopy, we study movement with redshift, we weigh, we measure, we time, we calculate and we record. These are the tools of physics to understand the universe around us and they are excellent at performing their function.
However, the 20th Century saw a continued encroachment on the field of cosmology from physicists who sought to explain the universe. But they didn't seek only to explain physical phenomena, which was very rightly within their realm of knowledge and expertise, they also tried to explain the overall nature and meaning of the universe as well.
Cosmology is defined as:
a : a branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of the universe
b : a theory or doctrine describing the natural order of the universe
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Cosmology does not belong to physics or physical science and never has. It belongs to a discipline of philosophy called metaphysics. Metaphysics focuses on the root or “principle” of a thing. It often deals in purely abstract concepts such as the nature of self and being and time. However, cosmology is a more narrow branch of metaphysics which deals solely with the nature of the universe itself in both concrete and abstract terms.
Why metaphysics for cosmology?
Physical science lacks all the necessary tools in its “toolbox” to understand the universe in its totality. This is because it can only understand the universe based on quantitative analysis. Physical science cannot account well for qualitative properties. This is something Birnbaum full well understood. Consider something as simple as an apple. A physicist can describe the shape and density of an apple; a chemist the complex molecules within it; a botanist its reproductive cycle and preferred climate.
But none of these describe its texture, its taste - the experience of eating the apple. These things cannot be measured. Yet, these things are part of the whole of the apple, the experience of it, the essence of it. As Watts said, “the menu is not the meal”. Reading about something is not truly experiencing it. And that qualitative part is an essential part of the whole. So, when speaking of something as all encompassing as “what is the universe” it is necessary to give validity to both the quantitative and qualitative in equal measure.
Likewise, by extension, phenomena in the universe such as thought, morality, love and altruism can be demonstrated as real. While obviously not directly observable or tangible, they have an impact on the physical universe which is readily provable. You may not be able to point at something physically and call it love, but a quick walk in the park will let you indirectly observe its tangible effect on reality. It is this necessary inclusion of the intangible and qualitative which disqualifies physical science from cosmology. Unarguably, science has a valuable skill-set to help form a cosmological model, but something more expansive is needed for a complete universal model.
Metaphysics is designed to encompass the qualitative and exclude nothing – even spiritual and religious phenomena and belief. From its earliest roots in Greek philosophy to modern cosmologies such as Potentialism, metaphysics has provided a bridge for the seemingly dichotomous concepts of science and spirituality, matter and thought, as well as form and concept.
Inductive vs. deductive logic
There are two options for providing a proof to a theory – an inductive proof or a deductive proof. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Selecting which to use is usually dictated by circumstance, not preference. One must select the method most appropriate for the task.
Ideally, one uses a deductive proof. Deductive proofs, done correctly, are 100% conclusive. This may make them seem the perfect form of proof, but there is a caveat. There is a limit to what a deductive proof can accomplish. They can only truly work when looking at a closed system from outside. To put this more simply, deductive reasoning relies on starting with known, indisputable facts.
Why can a deductive proof never be achieved for a universal origin theory? Observers live within the universe itself. This creates two intractable problems. Firstly, we can never truly take an objective measurement while being within a system and subjected to the system's rules – the rules of the universe itself. While quantum physics, relativity and time seem to be accepted constants in the universe and a good starting point, scientists concede that rules of the universe were much different in its first moments. Thus, this “constancy” is not constant at all, only fixed currently. Secondly, to explain the universe and its beginnings in a deductive conclusion, one would need starting assumptions about what was before the beginning of the universe and outside of it – an impossible and irrational task.
Because of this, there is a defining line between where each type of proof can be used. As pure physics, the theories of Galileo, Einstein and Hawkings are rightly to be expected to show their validity using deductive reasoning and proofs. But metaphysics requires induction. Thus the works of Aristotle, Spinoza and Birmbaum will always require inductive proofs to prove the validity of their theories.
Given this, we must turn to an inductive proof for this paper. Unlike a deductive proof, an inductive proof relies on an overwhelming preponderance of evidence. Instead of starting with a known fact, one observes particular phenomena to find more general conclusions. Likewise, unlike deductive proofs, inductive proofs can never be truly,100% conclusive. However, it does allow for logical analysis and conclusions without the need for the known premises. As the true strength of an inductive proof depends on the breadth and depth of specific observations, we will look at the ubiquitous nature of Potentialism throughout the perceivable universe. As a unifying theory on the nature and direction of the universe, Birnbaum asserts that Potentialism should be shown to be pervasive in nature and a logical explanation for a multiplicity of phenomenon and universal questions.
II. The Theory of Potentialism
“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”
- Stephen Hawking
What is Potentialism?
The central concept of Potentialism Theory is that there is an innate and universal drive to the universe and everything within it which has caused its existence from the beginning in the Big Bang and continuing to drive it forward as it evolves even today. To Birnbaum, the drive is Potential itself. Potential is a natural precursor of actuality. It logically stands to reason that before the Big Bang occurred, the Potential for it to occur had to exist. The logic for this presumption is self-evident: Nothing can exist if it does not have the potential to exist first. This is a hallmark of Potentialism in that its cornerstones are so logically self-evident they are truly irrefutable.
Potential, not surprisingly, is at the core of Potentialism theory. It is the presumption that because something has Potential, there is an innate impetus for it to be. Whether it expresses itself in actuality is immaterial. It is the Potential which is important. Moreover, Potential not only encompasses what something can be currently but what it has the Potential to be in the future.
Further, by extension, we can state that Potential is temporally independent. If human life exists now, then the Potential for human life to exist has always existed. Likewise, while the universe had a definable beginning, the Potential for it to exist is truly eternal and without beginning. Thus, Potential can be seen to predate the entirety of the universe, unique as it actually extends externally outside of what we call our universe. This is a distinction for Potential as physics can describe nothing with the ability to exist, meaningfully, before the birth of our universe.
Potentialism, by its very nature as an overarching metaphysical cosmology, has its own lexicon, conventions, and complimentary formulaic derivatives; much like any branch of science. These require some explanation as to what they are and how they fit into the broader philosophy of Birnbaum's Potentialism. All these elements fit into the broader tapestry of Potential Theory – not as standalone precepts, but as organic parts of the whole of Potential Theory.
Potential is best seen as the infinite potential energy of everything that has and will exist. But Potential energy doesn't do work or create change and gives no explanation for it being the catalyst of the Big Bang. The potential energy would have to be converted to kinetic energy. Birnbaum describes how this occurs through the SuperEquation.
The SuperEquation: Q4P∞ > C+ > E+
Birnbaum describes the central mechanism of the universe with the SuperEquation. The three short-handed elements in this equation are the Quest for Infinite Potential, Complexification and Extraordinariation.
The first element, Q4P∞ (also sometimes shortened as Q4P** or simply Q4P), is potential itself. This is the raw energy and potential of the universe itself. Just as with potential energy in physics, there must a catalyst to convert this potential energy into kinetic energy to affect change. This catalyst is represented by E+, or Extraordinariation at the end of the equation.
The middle element , C+, represents Complexification. Complexification is similar to complexity. However, complexity is a strictly mechanistic term. Complexification encompasses both the quantitative and qualitative; mechanistic as well as organic/metaphysical processes; incremental as well as neo-quantum advances; and the closed system of our universe as well as the open system which potential permeates as well.
Complexification is the evidence in the universe that it continually strives towards Extraordinariation. Extraordinariation is the goal of the universe, its reason for existence and what defines how Q4P unfolds in the universe around us. It is the purpose and road map for universal evolution. Taken together the equation expresses that the Quest for Infinite Potential is drawn forward by an innate drive to seek Extraordinariation which creates Complexification.
As to the nature of Extraordinariation itself, it is the end-goal of the universe as it continuously seeks higher levels of Complexification, striving towards a final state of hyper-Complexification. Extraordinariation is an end-goal and a guide.
Q4P in detail
Q4P derives its strength as a force in the universe by its infinite and infinitely nested nature. To illustrate, consider an individual human. That person has within them the potential for everything they can become during their life. There is an infinite number of ways they can grow and realize their potential. That person can physically grow, can learn new skills to increase their individual complexity and they can affect the world around them by creating or changing their environment. All this infinite potential is within everything in the universe.
Still more though, there are infinitely nested layers of potential for that one person. Beyond their individual potential, that person is capable of creating life. Thus they have not only the potential inherent to themselves, but the potential of all the children they may have. Logically, this continues ad infinitum as those children have the potential for children of their own.
Mathematically, it is usually sufficient to end an equation when it reaches infinite. But higher mathematics also shows that every infinity is not equal. Such is the mature of Potential as well. Potential is an infinite, nested within an infinite, infinitely. This is one of the core mathematical foundations of Birnbaum's Theory.
C+ in detail
C+ is the metaphysical by-product of the interplay between Q4P and E+. It represents fundamental increases in the complexity of the universe itself. Complexity and Complexification represent two different phenomena in Potentialism. Complexity is just as it sounds, it's things or phenomena simply increasing in mechanistic complexity, which is only part of the function of Potential.
Complexification, by contrast, is not limited to mechanistic events. It takes a broader, metaphysical aspect of the universe into consideration. Consider such events as intelligent life, self-awareness and morality. Birnbaum explains that there is not always necessarily a physical component to Complexification, yet there is an undeniable change in the complexity of the universe as Complexification increases.
What is the hallmark of Complexification is the landmark and fundamental change such an event represent. While things may grow in complexity daily, Complexification represents a “game changer”, a step in a new direction never before seen.
A similar way of viewing Complexification is to consider musical notes. Playing a string of random notes shows mechanistic complexity. However, playing an actual musical piece has complexity beyond this. It is capable of evoking emotion and conveying a message in its arrangement. While it looks no different on a musical score sheet, no one would argue that there are intangible layers of complexity in the composed piece which are, nevertheless, real.
E+ in detail
While Q4P is often called the push for Potentialism, Extraordinariation is the pull. The Yin and Yang of this cosmic duality is ever-present in how they intermingle to create and drive the universe forward towards greater Complexification. Where Q4P provides the power, Extraordinariation provides the direction.
While everything is the cosmos can rightly be attributed to Q4P, Q4P itself has no innate drive. It is a limitless, infinite store of potential energy with no actual directive on how to proceed. This is the function of E+. It provides a direction to Q4P upon which to act. Without E+, there is no Big Bang. There is nothing to channel and direct all the limitless potential of the universe as a whole and coaxing it forward into what it is today. Without E+, the universe would still be simply a speck of infinite Potential at pre-Planck values with no reason to occur.
Extraordinariation is not something that will be achieved in the foreseeable future. It is a long, perhaps infinite goal. It is more a guide for the universe to follow. Where the universe is ultimately headed is impossible to tell, but it is certain that it will be towards ever greater Complexification. Complexification falls into two main categories in Potential Theory – Quantum Jumps and Potential Arrays.
Potential Arrays (PAs), as Birnbaum explains, represent the constant, daily increases in Complexification throughout the universe. From when atoms come together to form molecules to when a person learns to speak a new language, these are all expressions of PAs.
PAs occur both through replicative and intrinsic complexification. Replicative PAs occur when cells divide and multiply, when plants seed or, in the case of more complex animals, when they give birth. Intrinsic PAs occur when any thing in the universe increases its own Complexification.
PAs are essentially the day to day workhorse of the cosmos. They are the uneventful, largely unnoticeable ways everything in the universe continues on its quest for Potential. But they happen universally and with stunning frequency. This makes their place as a shaper in cosmological complexity and Complexification largely underestimated for the powerful force they actually are.
Unlike PAs, Quantum Jumps (QJs) are not common occurrences. In fact, they are the mirror opposite. Quantum Jumps are so drastic that they are, literally, unknowable in quality until they have occurred. QJs are so called because they represent a fundamental, quantum leap in the level of Complexification in the universe. They are characterized by presenting new forms for Complexification to assume.
Historic QJ events include when particles joined to form the first atoms, when the first star formed, when life began – first plants then animals. A QJ is defined as a fundamental shift in the complexity of the universe. The nature of a QJ can never be predicted because it is not represented in the universe until it arrives. Its very purpose is to create a form of Complexification that is entirely new.
At one time the universe was without a single atom. A QJ event was marked when the first came into existence. It was something that had never occurred before and it opened an entire new direction for Complexification to expand into. New atoms formed, obviously, after the first one, but these were simpler PA events as the possibilities for elements filled the universe. Once the periodic table was filled and atoms were about as reasonably complex as they could get, a new QJ event took place as the first molecules formed. This steady path of QJs can be followed all the way from the atom to plant life, to animals and finally to human beings in our current age.
As mentioned, QJs are episodic in nature. They occur when the universe itself reaches a quanta of Complexification. This is a point where the current means of increasing Complexification is at a tipping point and there is nowhere, reasonably, the universe can go under its current rules of existence. When this point is reached, the universe must still respond to the the inescapable pull of E+, so it does so by changing the nature of the universe itself to accommodate the need.
The “0”-Point is what Birnbaum refers to as the starting point of our universe. Quantum physicists refer to a point at the beginning of the universe called the Planck Epoch. When the universe was 1 Planck in diameter, 1 Planck old and had a Planck temperature of 1, the fundamental forces of the universe as we know it came into existence.
The “0”-Point is what existed before that moment. This metaphysical beginning was in the pre-”known” universe of pure potential which Extraordinariation ignited into the Big Bang and spawned the physical laws as we currently understand them and the four fundamental forces - gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear.
The “0”-Point necessarily exists outside the time-scape of the universe as we know it. Physicists do not debate this. That there was something before the Planck Epoch is known, just not its exact nature aside from that the fundamental forces were unified. Potentialism provides the time for this to occur. It also defines the place for it to occur.
The “0”-Point is when and where the Potential of the universe became the actuality of the universe.
The Cosmic Womb of Potential
The Cosmic Womb of Potential (CWP) is a metaphysical place of creation. It is not a physical place by definition, but rather a metaphysical place within which Potential, QJs, PAs, and E+ convene to shape the ongoing evolution of the universe. Much like Plato's theory of Forms, the CWP acts as the birthing chamber of creation and Complexification. As it is metaphysical in nature, it is equally adept at bringing to existence the physical and the abstract. It is useful to consider the CWP as analogous to the sciences. It has the capacity to create phenomena in the physical universe, from the matter and energy in the universe to the laws which govern them. But it also encompasses the abstract sciences like mathematics and philosophy, thus able to be fertile ground for concepts, morality, altruism and ideas as well.
It should not be confused with the abstract part of the universe. That is actually part of the universe itself, despite its intangible nature. Birnbaum explains that the CWP, by comparison, lies completely outside the universe as even metaphysics define it. Its purpose is to serve as a definition for what was before anything was. It is what was when there was nothing but Potential itself. It is that one step before the existence of the “0”-point.
Potential as a closed causal loop system
As Potential and Extraordinariation exist as phenomena independent of the universe (that is to say, effecting it, but not affected by it), a linear understanding of the SuperEquation can be somewhat misleading. “Potential thus Extraordinariation” is equally valid a statement as saying “Extraordinariation thus Potential”. Both can be viewed, interchangeably, as either the alpha or omega of the universe. More formally, it is expressed:
Q4P∞ → E+
The Quest for Infinite Potential causes the drive towards Infinite Extraordinariation/Complexification.
E+ → Q4P∞
The nature of Extraordinariation causes the universe to seek its own Potential Infinitely.
Temporally, the validity of either statement is dependent on the presence of QJ events. Q4P∞ → E+ is the standard model for Potential mechanics as it drives the universe onwards, spawning endless PAs throughout the cosmos. However, in those rare moments when QJ events occur, fundamentally changing the landscape of the universe, it is E+ → Q4P∞ which governs the event. In these instances Extraordinariation takes over as the initiator of causation, rewriting or adding to the rules which govern the universe itself as the central equation governing the universe reverses itself.
In physics term, this is called a closed causal system. As Birnbaum explains, Potential is both the result and cause of itself. Logically, this is a necessary conclusion for Potentialism as the sole universal and endless force in existence – the external spark that created the universe we know. As physicist Paul Davies put it in the Goldilocks Enigma (Penguin Press, 2006), “A fully satisfactory explanatory loop would have to yield a complete explanation for everything, laws included. It should also tell us why those laws are bio-friendly.”
To that affect, a proof of Potentialism by inductive reasoning should serve two purposes. One, it should satisfy the needs of a strong inductive argument by virtue of its observable pervasiveness in the universe. Two, it should satisfy the needs of a closed causal loop system by virtue of both its pervasiveness and its lack of exception. Potentialism should encompass all laws of the universe as well as function as a satisfactory answer to cosmological questions with no need of any law or universal mechanic external to itself.
III. Inductive Proof of Potentialism
“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
- Carl Sagan
To satisfy the defined levels of pervasiveness and universality set for this proof, it will be necessary to show how Potentialism governs the universe on a multitude of levels and in different capacities within different disciplines of science. Firstly, it is necessary to show that Potentialism can be found on all universal scales from the atomic to the galactic in size. Common elements should present themselves as signs of the working of Potentialism as predicted by Potential Theory.
Likewise, Potentialism should function cleanly throughout the disciplines of science. Again, as Potentialism is a metaphysical model it should fit neatly in all disciplines, not only the physical sciences but sociology and psychology as well. Also, particular focus on physics is necessary as its rules governs the largest part of the cosmos. Potentialism should demonstrate an ability to unify these seemingly disparate rules and provide a common origin for them.
As Potential addresses abstract, metaphysical elements of the universe as well, it is also necessary to explore how it can exist in a philosophical model and spiritual one. Moreover, Potentialism should provide for even a religious frame of reference in defining the cosmos.
“I... a universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.”
- Richard Feynman
Potentialism is most easily identified at the micro-level. While the larger scale universe operates in an analog capacity, Birnbaum teaches that the quantum scale universe displays the most fundamental relationship with Potentialism. This is perhaps intuitive as it represents a product of one of the first Quantum Jump events to occur after the Big Bang. A quantum is an expression of an amount of energy. The quantum universe has no half-measures. Either something is or it is not.
Whether something is or is not depends on whether a particular energy level has been attained for an event to occur. This is the build-up of Potential. Until this build-up reaches critical mass, the event will not occur. One simple way of illustrating this in a common, everyday occurrence is by how Potentialism operates on electrons when energy is added to an atom.
Take, for example, a sodium atom. In its ground state, its 11 electrons have an orbital configuration of 1s22s22p63s1 with all orbital sub-levels from lowest to highest. However, when enough Potential, in this case energy in the form of photons, is added, we see a shift of an electron from the 2p orbital to the higher energy state 3s orbital in the new excited state configuration 1s22s22p53s2.
In layman's terms, what happens is Potential is continually added to the atom with no apparent effect on its geometry until it reaches the quantum needed for a change to be effected. When this happens, one electron is instantly transported from a closer, lower energy orbital around the atom, to one further away. There's no in-between. A Quantum Jump occurs.
Potentialists also refer to the mid-level as the human-level as human's best represent the current state of Potentialism today. However, the mid-level also incorporates many Quantum Jumps that have occurred during the relative short span of time (on a cosmic scale) that the earth has existed: the beginning of flora, the beginning of fauna, the beginning of man.
At the mid-level the most obvious evidence and expression of Potentialism is the relentless ongoing Complexification being played out. Countless Potential Arrays occur every second. Replicative Potential Arrays are ongoing from the countless microbes which self-propagate to the plants which germinate and the more complex life forms which mate. Likewise, replicative Potential Arrays are present in the continual growth of the lifeforms on earth. This is witnessed in such things the ways cells specialize, life undergoes metamorphosis and grows or even an ape learning to use a tool.
On a metaphysical, abstract level, these Potential Arrays are most concentrated and dramatic with humankind. The last Quantum Jump gave rise to a unique animal with a unique skill-set: reason, morality, compassion, an understanding of art, the ability to think abstractly and the capacity for altruism. Of all these evidenced factors of the last Quantum Jump, altruism is arguably the most important to Potentialists – as it represents the most astounding change that unfolded. With the ascent of altruism into the metaphysical universe, mankind became the first creature known to exist capable of intentionally making decisions with completely extrinsic finality. Pure altruism is, at its most basic, a reduction to the individual for the greater Potential of something wholly outside of one's self-benefit, allowing humanity to intentionally contribute to the endless flow of Potentialism towards Extraordinariation.
While one must examine far further across the universe's history to see the effects of Potentialism on a macro scale, it is nonetheless present. Most obvious are the older Quantum Jumps which occurred before forms of life appeared, most of which align with astrological Epochs denoted in physical cosmology.
At the first Quantum Jump of the Big Bang, the universe was nothing more than a formless soup of plasma. It took an entirely separate Quantum Jump to introduce even the atom to the universe. This gave rise to countless Potential Arrays as atoms formed throughout the universe and the periodic table begin to fill with the elements we known today. Once this was completed though, the universe had no more means to continue in its Complexification. There is a reasonable limit to the number of types of atoms that can exist, even with their permutations of cations and anions.
Extraordinariation answered the perpetual need of Potential to continue its quest by providing a new avenue for expression of Complexification in a Quantum Jump that ushered in the formation of molecules. This fundamentally changed the landscape of the universe while it, at the same, fundamentally changed the rules by which Complexification could proceed and the universe could change.
"My ambition is to live to see all of physics reduced to a formula so elegant and simple that it will fit easily on the front of a T-Shirt."
- Max Ledermen
Quantum physics is one of the most natural places to see Potentialism at work. This is largely due to the binary nature of quantum mechanics. Whereas the underlying principles governing the natural world can be obfuscated by the complexity of multiple scientific interactions, quantum mechanics usually breaks down to a simple on/off, true/false mechanic. This dovetails clearly into the nature of Potential itself – you are either building Potential or it is expressing itself in Actuality.
Birnbaum has us consider Planck values which very much govern the world of quantum theory. Planck units are units of measure including length, time, mass, charge and temperature. In a normalized universe, all these constants have a value of 1. For instance, the smallest mass anything in the universe can have is a Planck value of 1, in this case roughly 2.176 x 10-8 kg in mass. These values are important because they are tied to the moment the universe moved from Potential to Actuality. At the moment of the Big Bang, the universe had a Planck length diameter of 1, a Planck temperature of 1 and it was 1 Planck time in age. These physical constants are necessary in our current universe and are purely natural phenomena which are the basis of our universal physics (Tomilin, 1999).
Before that occurred, physical science cannot explain what existed. It is not that nothing necessarily existed. Rather, the tools physicists use to describe the universe are meaningless in the face of this question, as their rules and tools of their trade rely on Planck values of 1 in the universe for everything they understand to be true. Simply put, the universe predates physics itself. Thus physics cannot describe what was before the universe we know now. Potentialism, in contrast, begins logically in a state of Planck values of 0. It is Potentialism itself which drives the values towards 1 and a normalized universe. Potentialism is the catalyst which moves the universe from what it has the possibility to be to what it is.
Potentialism is also clearly evident in quantum physical phenomena which otherwise make little sense but are, nevertheless, true and provable. An example is the classic photon quandary and the effect of observation in the determination of reality. Photons are curious for several reasons in quantum mechanics. At rest, photons seem mass-less and invariant. Yet, photons can also displays properties of a particle. They appear to travel as waves, yet experimentation shows they, depending on observation, also travel as a particle. This straddling of definition between wave and particle allows us a rare, clear glimpse of Potentialism properties at work. One experiment that is well known in quantum physics involves firing photons at a blind with thin slits cut into it. The far end of the blind shows a wave dispersion, as would be expected if light were a wave. However, it can be tested that an individual photon passes through either one of the other slits, illustrating a wave-particle duality of light that is contextually driven ((Feynman, Leighton, Sands 1965).
This effect on reality of observation necessarily leads to the question of the necessity of intelligent life to witness the universe, as observations affect realty. This may seem a strange phenomena, but as Feynman clearly illustrates and Birnbaum predicts, observation does, in fact, affect the physical universe. This illustrates a core tenant of Potentialism, that humanity is not just a by-product of the physical universe, but an integral piece of its overall architecture. Simply put, if observation affects reality itself, then an intelligent species present to witness the universe itself is part of the overall design of the universe. Mankind moves from a by-product into the cosmic spotlight as a necessary part of reality.
Quantum physicists have supported this idea of mankind as being an observer in modern quantum theory. The simple hypothesis is that if mankind can effect real change on the physical universe through observation, then observation IS a part of reality. This seems self-evident, but the implications are far reaching. Unlike what Randomness proponents have espoused about human existence, which is that we are a fluke and accident of nature, the concept of necessary cosmic witnesses leaves us with the logical conclusion that humanity is actually a necessity for the proper cosmic order.
Implications of this theory reach even further, when delving into covering quantum computing. Max Tegmark describes the universe largely as a mathematical construct. Potentialism (1988) agrees with this Tegmark precept (2014) but is more expansive than Tegmark.. Tegmark, like the Greeks before him, considers the discreet existence of mathematical shapes and formulas part of the real, physical world. He also gives credit for the existence of consciousness itself in the realm of physics. This is not easy to do or justify, in physics terms, but as an impartial observer it is impossible to deny. In the real world thought and humanity exists, thus it is antithetical to pretend it doesn't and dismiss its contribution and effect on the natural world.
This line of questioning does present a rather obvious quandary – if human existence is vital to the universe, as observation is a built-in part of its proper functioning, then what is its true purpose. In science, it is hard to ascribe proper motive to the fundamental forces of the universe. Yet it is inescapable, given quantum science, that humanity does play a part in changing and shaping the physical universe around us. The question remains – why and to what end. Birnbaum answers this questions clearly – to assist the universe in seeking its own Extraordinariation. In more mechanist terms, physicists have likewise arrived at the same conclusion as they delve into the idea of the cosmos as a quantum supercomputer.
Tegmark's mechanistic universe is not far off from Potentialism. It simply lacks a full, broader explanation for reality which Potentialism provides.. While Tegmark sees the universe as fully mechanistic – that is, simply fulfilling a physics based function - Potentialism expands on this theory and introduces the concepts of morality, emotion and altruism, among other themes. While this may seem far-fetched, it is not far off-base from Tegmark's original analysis. Birnbaum simply expands on what Tegmark already puts forth – that human existence and morality have an effect on the universe around us. While the mechanistic Tegmark (2014) view does do well to explain some natural phenomena, Birnbaum's postulation (1988) is more fully encompassing. Among other things, Potentialism explains how human experience has a vast and tangible effect on the world around us.
To understand this, one must set aside per-conceived notions of physical science. If the witnessing of universal events actually has a physical impact on the world, it logically follows that human experience in general has an effect as well. This opens the door to far more profound revelations than Tegmark would posit approximately two decades after the seminal 1988 Birnbaum work God and Evil (Summa Metaphysica I).
Following Tegmark's original work to its logical conclusion reveals that human experience in its totality has far reaching impact on existence as a whole. This means, not only do we have to allow for human observation affecting reality, but human experience as a whole – thought, emotion, drive and all humanity holds as important and relevant – are integral parts of the cosmos. As opposed to a byproduct of universal reality, humanity plays a central role in not only observing the universe but shaping it as a we understand it today. To support this theory, we have only to look to the premise that mankind itself, and the larger universe around him, is playing an integral part in universal evolution. Quantum mechanics expresses this viewpoint in terms of viewing the universe as an organic supercomputer.
While Randomness sees the universe as simply falling apart into its baser elements and an even, cold energy level – many quantum physicists postulate that the universe is functioning as a computer. Thus, what we perceive as entropy is actually the cosmos growing in complexity, perhaps solving some as yet unseen and misunderstood universal equation (Lloyd 2006). Now granted, the exact nature of what computing the universe may be fulfilling is largely conjecture, what is less conjecture and more factual is the fact that – from a mathematical perspective – the universe is, indeed, growing in complexity.
As physicist Max Tegmark remarked in his ground breaking work, Our Mathematical Universe,
"If my life as a physicist has taught me anything at all, it’s that Plato was right: Modern physics has made abundantly clear that the ultimate nature of reality isn’t what it seems" (Tegmark 2014). Tegmark himself describes the universe as a mathematical construct. To Tegmark, the universe is not only described mathematically but is, in fact, a mathematical construct. This is quite in line with Birnbaum's cosmology, dovetailing nicely into an expression of cosmic order, function and purpose. Birnbaum only splits with Tegmark as the former seeks to minimize human experience in comparison to his mathematical model.
In fact, Birnbaum's work is not so much a competing theory from recent work in quantum physics as a conceptual precursor. Birnbaum sticks to metaphysics; Tegmark sticks to mathematics. Birnbaum actually articulates in his opus that in due course science would fill-in the mechanistic aspects. Of course, the Birnbaum metaphysics provides a simultaneous solution to a wide spectrum of classic metaphysical/philosophical issues. His metaphysics proposes a paradigm shift on a grand scale.
Where MIT's Tegmark and Lloyd ( 2006) laid the mathematical and quantum physics framework and understanding for a mechanistic, constructive view of the cosmos – Birnbaum's (1988) metaphysics breakthrough provided them a larger scale view of the cosmos as a whole. Where Tegmark and Lloyd can explain mechanistic complexity, Birnbaum had two decades earlier contextualized this knowledge into the larger framework that includes, among other dimensions, human thought, morality and altruism in the exact same manner quantum physics has started to delve into the nature of the physical world – as real and factual phenomena in the universe which guide its evolution towards a constructive evolution.
A core tenant of Potentialism and strength of the philosophy is the blatantly noticeable pattern of its existence and its pervasiveness from the micro to macro scale. The core tenants of Birnbaum's theory highlight, in astronomical terms, the spiral and orbital nature of the cosmos. This reflects the organizational structure of Q4P on multiple macro levels which are present in the cosmos.
Consider the universe all the way from the solar to the galactic scale. Potentialism predicts the spiral unison of cosmic bodies/phenomena as embodied by the interaction between Potential and Extraordinariation. One may be quick to dismiss these a purely Plutonic descriptions. However, real, physical examples are actually pervasive. On the smallest scale, astronomically speaking, let us consider the solar systems. There are most often described as elliptical orbits of planetary bodies around our sun. However, this is a commonly held myth. In fact, suns orbit through their corresponding galaxies in a circular pattern as well. This means that the seemingly flat, elliptical orbits of planets are actually a spiral traveling along a galactic course. As is unfortunately often the case, science, in its attempts to be accessible to the layman, has glossed over the facts of universal mechanics in order to simplify illustrations. This has led to a lack of understanding in how heavenly bodies move. Orbits are a myth – spirality is the base mechanic of cosmic, macro motion.
Much like every mechanic in Potentialism, spirality is all-pervasive. It can be witnessed in everything from the moon orbiting the earth to the sun orbiting the Milky Way. It can even be seen in the small dual helix configurations of DNA. It is, simply, the natural motion of heavenly bodies overall. Why this is the case is much like questioning the nature of Kelvin zero or gravity. It is because that is the nature of the universe itself – the laws that govern it make it so.
The second issue astronomy cannot deal with properly is unifying the Second Law of Thermodynamics with the concept of Complexification. On a purely mechanistic level, the physics of Entropy and Chaos would seem to make sense. Yet, there lies a willful ignorance of the cosmos as a whole required to embrace this view. The Second Law of Thermodynamics does not account for the creation of complexity, nor what quantum mechanics calls the increasing complexity of the cosmos. Simply put, Chaos theory requires a suspension of 21st century scientific understanding in order to function. One must ignore the pervasive evidential proof of cosmic evolution to sustain this archaic scientific belief.
So, while a proponent of Chaos Theory may see the universe as simply a random happenstance falling apart and destined to oblivion, Potentialists as well as modern quantum physicists argue that the universe is ever increasing in complexity. While, mechanically, this may seem to be the unavoidable “heat death” of the universe Chaos theory predicts – it is not accounting for the larger, holistic interplay of what the cosmos is actually doing.
Moreover, Chaos Theory fails to properly address the fact that the universe is ever expanding. While this may seem a dismal distribution of celestial objects, it nevertheless represents also the increasing scope and potential of the universe itself. Where there is space, there is potential. In our universe, that space is ever increasing – at variable rates, but always surging outwards and growing, thereby expanding the potential for growth and being.
To envision the universe as simply spilling out to its demise greatly diminishes the whole of what the cosmos is – an every increasing area for Potential itself. And, much like previous epochs, humankind can no more predict the next age than we could have the previous ones if we had been here to witness them. Could mankind have predicted light, atoms, molecules? There was no precedent and, thus, it was logically impossible for us to do so. Predicting the form of the next epoch should be likewise completely impossible. But it require a stunning amount of hubris to assume the universe has completed its transformation upon our arrival.
Properly, Birnbaum does not believe this remotely. To Potentialist, they are simply in the current epoch of cosmological history. That astronomy itself is fixed and immutable is a ridiculous assumption. While physicists will seek to call this absurd, they cannot deny the epochs that came before. Nor can they deny that these fundamental shifts came, cosmically, without warning.
Potentialism again shines in the realm of Relativity. While physics tries desperately to find some concrete, irrefutable truth of the cosmos, Potentialism recognizes the fluid nature of the cosmos. Relativity itself expresses the non-concrete nature of time, space and gravitation. As Potentialism predicts, the universe as a whole does not recognize immutable reality, but instead is fluid, based on observational and relativistic observation. The idea of of observation having an integral part of reality is fundamental to Potentialism. This reliance on observation is actually proof of the interconnectedness of the cosmos as a whole. While individual phenomena in the cosmos may seem devoid of interrelation, the reality could not be farther from the truth.
To deny the inter-connectivity of universal mechanics is to deny the science behind our understanding of the scientific processes itself. Relativity teaches us that reality is not, in fact, written in stone, but subject to observation from sentient, intelligent beings. It is easy to embrace the science but ignore the ramifications. Humans are not a by-product of the universe, but a necessary part as their ability to witness the cosmos is integral to the function of the universe itself.
Of note, when Einstein designed his theory of Relativity, it was supposed to be in a hypothetical universe. General Relativity was meant to be a stepping stone between science and the real world. While General Relativity was easier mathematically, Einstein did not believe this world of science could exist in the real world. That science was quantum physics.
Einstein would go on to build the science of modern, Special Relativity. But, he left behind another science Einstein himself would try to debunk to his grave – quantum physics. This was the very science that first featured mankind as a necessary part of the world in that he has the capability of observing – and thus changing – the universe around him.
Aside from the accidental discovery of quantum physics, Relativity also brought to the forefront the concept of curved time-space. Potentialism predicts and demands that the potential of objects are as real and, in many cases, more powerful than their current existence to affect the cosmos. Relativity proves this in the form of time-space and gravitational warping. According to both Birnbaum and Relativity, all celestial objects are related and affect one another. The Potential of a large massed object is capable of bending time-space itself, thrusting its potential beyond its physical boundaries and affecting objects around it. This can be seen as more self-evident in simply observing the orbit of the planets about the sun. Physical phenomena attract each other naturally to create a more Complex dance of cosmic bodies.
More importantly, Relativity introduces into concrete physics the idea of perception itself. Einstein discovered that, much as the name implies, how things in the cosmos interact is relative to an observer in many instances. For instance, time can pass differently for two different observers based on relative gravitation and velocity.
What is more crucial to this discovery is that not only does relative time seem to pass differently, but it actually does. This may seem nonsensical but is easily demonstrated with modern science. Time on earth passes at different speeds based on altitude. While it may be negligible usually, it has real world repercussions. Satellites in orbit must synchronize their clocks to Earth bound systems as they experience real time slower than on earth.
This is an important observation with far reaching metaphysical repercussions. It is commonly thought that the laws of physics are immutable and concrete. While this very notion can be challenged when dealing with space in Planck values, it is more broadly misunderstood that those rules themselves always have finite values in our regular universe. Relativity turns this theory on its head – expressing a universe where our perception of reality itself is largely based on a frame of reference and not a fixed value of what is.
Complexification of the atomic and molecular universe is a foregone conclusion of Potentialism. In fact, chemistry is one of the most obvious places to see the hand of Potentialism at work. Looking at the cosmic evolution it is plain to see how things grew in Potentialism along an orderly fashion.
The beginning of the universe saw only particles. These quickly, on a galactic, cosmological scale, coalesced into atoms. Atoms were a staggering leap of complexity. Instead of loose particles, the universe ushered in complex atoms with a nucleus of protons and neutrons and their orbiting electrons. Following the rules of Potentialism, these atomic structures filled out their maximum potential until the universe had a full periodic table – including ions and anions.
As the periodic table itself filled up and there was no more reasonable room for complexity to express itself, thus began the creation of molecules. Where once the atom was the most complex structure, molecules compounded this complexity by introducing the intermingling of atoms and the birth of molecular structure. Where atomic structure could fill a periodic table, molecular structures would usher in a near infinite variety of compounds to fill the cosmos.
Though it is spoken of in epochs, the transformation to molecules was a gradual process. What the epoch represents is when the laying of basic physical conditions made molecular formation possible. However, Birnbaum speaks of the epoch as an event of Complexification. It is a core principle of Potentialism that Complexification events occur. Whether they are clear cut, in seconds, or over centuries is immaterial. What Potentialism predicts and acknowledges is when such a change in the world occurs that events begin to happen that are fundamentally game changing.
In chemistry this has occurred three times thus far. The first was the creation of particles which first filled the cosmos. The second came when hydrogen then other atoms formed. The last, to date, was when atoms began to form into more complicated molecules. While it can be argued that this has happened a fourth time with the advent of life, that fourth change more properly belongs in the realm of biology.
By the rules of Potentialism, molecular diversity would spread for aeons, fulfilling their own Extraordinariation. Thus most every non-biological based molecule would be created. Much like atomic structures, this carried itself to the reasonable ends of creation. However, Potentialism always demands further progress, despite the cosmos having “played out” every reasonable possibility of complexity. This need gave rise, in turn, to biology.
Where the pinnacle of Complexity was once inorganic molecules, the cosmos would give rise to biologically based structures. Such concepts as replication and survival instincts would come to pass as the new standard of Complexity.
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan
Biology is the next, logical, step forward for Complexity. Following the preordained precepts of Complexity and Potentiality, once something reaches its reasonable full Complexity, it must find some other way to express itself cosmologically. In the case of molecular structure, it chose biology. Biology was the next logical step forward in evolution from a cosmic perspective. According to Potentialism, it was the next way forward and unavoidable.
Once all molecular structures had reasonably reached the limit of what they could achieve in terms of Complexity, it only stood to reason that Potential itself would find a new way to express itself. In this way, biology was created. Where before there was only physical science – biology ushered in an era of never before seen Complexity. Molecules no longer gathered in meaningless, random forms, but did so in a semi-conscious way – giving rise to the next epoch of cosmic evolution – life.
While not an end goal, life constituted a fundamental change to the universe itself. Where before were only lifeless molecules and compounds, something more advanced took root. Just as Birnbaum predicted the shift from atoms to molecules, it also foresaw the rise of organic life, as well, as a natural part of cosmic evolution. Organic life was the first in the cosmos to actually have a drive and compunction to “live”. As much as scientists try to dismiss this part of cosmic evolution as a fluke or accident of nature, life itself is a fundamental part of Extraordinariation expressing itself.
Life changed the paradigm of cosmic evolution. No longer were molecules to come together in a haphazard way alone. Some molecules would move with actual intentionality. Life would be driven with purpose and replicate intentionally. Whether procreating by instinct (initially) or through sexual reproduction (later), the result was the same. Something existed in the cosmos which sought to live and reproduce.
While the birth of life was in and of itself an event of Complexification,a Quantum Jump, it was far from the last we would see. Biology, being at the forefront of Potentialism, did not stop with the advent of life. While life took hold, at least on Earth, it flourished into the extensive range of flora we know today. But, just as Potential fulfilled itself before, it necessarily gave rise to new forms of Extraordinariation.
Once flora was well established, it found a new path for complexity and gave rise to living, sentient life. These organisms spread over the earth in a myriad of forms and functions. Darwinism has its place in Potentialism. It is not to be ignored, the effect evolution has. Yet, Darwinism falls pathetically short of being able to explain some aspects of evolution.
Mankind, the pinnacle thus far and a crowning achievement of evolution – cannot be fully accounted for by Darwinism. This is hardly surprising as evolution is a purely mechanistic construct. It leaves no place to describe or explain fundamental truths of the cosmos such as morality, emotion, desire,music, art and altruism.
While this may confuse biologists, it does not surprise Birnbaum. These states of emotion are a natural offspring of evolution – a next step in the progress on mankind. It is not only a natural offshoot of evolution but a required one. Intelligent life is only the natural continuation of the universe's creation of life itself which brought forth the initial flora.
“Keep Darwinian thinking out of cosmology, out of psychology, out of human culture, out of ethics” - Daniel Dennett
Unlike other cosmologies, Potentialism is capable of explaining and harmonizing with the social disciplines. As it recognizes the necessary evolution of humanity in the cosmological balance and order, so psychology is an integral part of Potentialism itself. While mechanistic views may ascribe human thought solely to the realm of non-material thought, Potentialism heralds human thought as not only necessary but one of the greatest triumphs of cosmic evolution.
It is usually dismissed that human thought and desire are part of an instinctual reaction. However, Birnbaum is quick to poke holes in this theory. In fact, one of the central tenants of Potentialism is human thought and morality. Potentialism doesn't just assert that they are a real part of cosmology, but that they are integral to its proper functioning.
First and foremost is the concept of altruism. Altruism is the compulsion to act extrinsically from oneself to help someone. Specifically, true altruism is acting in the interest of someone who cannot possibly provide any material benefit back to the person doing the act. Thus, helping a relative or friend are automatically removed from this equation.
So the question is, with nothing to gain, why would a person act in the interest of another without reward or even in spite of their personal detriment. Again, this is a point where traditional science draws a complete bank. But not Birnbaum. For Potentialists, the answer is obvious and self-evident. Altruism represents a holistic state of aid which helps people and the broader cosmos as a whole towards greater creation and Complexity. Mankind responds the way it does because it is “hard-wired” to seek greater levels of Complexity. In short, mankind strives for altruism because it is a higher state of “being” and existence and it is mankind's destiny to strive for such.
To fully understand mankind's psychology, it is necessary to view it in the lens of Potentialism. Mankind is more than a mechanistic construct or a lesser life form governed by instinct and simple survival instincts. Potentialism shows than mankind is instead a next step in the evolution, not only of life, but of the cosmos itself. Humankind is not some byproduct of evolution or accident of the universe, but a preordained next step in the evolutionary path of the universe itself. This is evident in the teleological nature of mankind. Again, with reference to altruism, humankind is capable and prone to show an extrinsic capability for compassion and morality. It is this very extrinsic nature which is so telling and affirming for Potentialism in that humankind can react and act in ways that are not only not beneficial to themselves, but are actively detrimental because it serves the greater whole.
Similarly, humankind's penchant for art – music, love, beauty – these phenomena are not only inexplicable in a mechanistic cosmos, but antithetical. The very fact that the highest order of life we know of is capable, desires and follows such impulses is factually in opposition to the idea of a mechanistic universe.
Such issues relate to the larger issue of sociology itself. Humankind’s ability to act as one, adhering to a group, global mentality for the betterment of all naturally lends credence to a teleological representation of humankind. Moreover, it goes far to justify the real nature of human sociology. While science may be quick to dismiss human thought and emotion as irrelevant, it cannot be denied that human sociology plays a valid part in the universe itself.
Thomas Nagel, of NYU, has been vocal in addressing the unique contribution mankind has made to the universe itself. As an integral part of existence, mankind serves the function of observing the world around himself. As Nagel himself put it, “The universe has become not only conscious and aware of itself but capable in some respects of choosing its path into the future--though all three, the consciousness, the knowledge, and the choice, are dispersed over a vast crowd of beings, acting both individually and collectively” (Nagel 2012).
What Nagel describes, in broader terms, is the actual nature of the universe and how it is impacted by the existence of humanity itself. Our sociological impact is to observe, understand and qualify the world around us. While such conjecture has usually been relegated to pure philosophy, newer science has shown us this can be far from the truth. Our human observation of the world around us has a very real and tangible impact on the nature of the universe itself.
Moreover, as quantum physics has shown us, even the very act of observing reality can change its nature as Feynman has been able to prove in his photonic tests. This is important because it represents a shift from viewing humanity as an accident of the universe to a central player in the unfolding of the cosmos itself.
Humanity and sociology are valid constructs in the universe. To deny this is to deny both common sense and readily provable analysis. Consider for a moment the classic question of falling on a hand grenade. This example is often used to illustrate human morality. Yet, it serves a deeper purpose when doing a cosmological analysis.
The focus on the question is usually “does jumping onto a hand grenade to save lives around you constitute a moral choice?” Without getting into the validity of this argument, it makes a broader statement which helps explain Potentialism. Irregardless of the ultimate causality of this action, when someone acts based on emotion, morality or altruism, they act in a very real way which makes a change in the cosmos. While someone may discount another's feelings as not part of reality itself, if they make a tangible difference in the universe, the argument is untenable. T put it more simply, if someone acts on emotion and does a physical action, then their emotions have changed the physical world around them. Thus it is nonsensical to dismiss human emotion as any less tangible in the universe than, say, a brick.
While human sociology has little place in the physical sciences, it is a bedrock of Birnbaum's Potentialist theory. As Potentialism makes little distinction between thought, emotion, and physical science – sociology (in regards to human existence) is an integral part of universal evolution. It represents the pinnacle, thus far, of cosmic evolution. The universe itself has played itself out, in physical terms. It is only natural that it should play itself out in higher, metaphysical realms as it exhausts its ways of expressing its Complexification in physical terms.
This is simply the nature of Potential. Once it has reasonably played itself out in one form, the cosmos will find anther path in which to express itself. That the universe has chosen a sociological path is no more surprising than when the universe moved from the atom to the molecule. While how it expresses itself may be surprising, the fact that it has and in a yet unforeseen manner is completely normal and is expected.
Spirituality and Religion
“There's no obvious reason to assume that the very same rare properties that allow for our existence would also provide the best overall setting to make discoveries about the world around us. We don't think this is merely coincidental. It cries out for another explanation, an explanation that... points to purpose and intelligent design in the cosmos.”
- Guillermo González
As is evident, biology and science itself have proven insufficient to explain the full phenomena of humankind. This is a common failing of science itself because it is only capable of explaining what is measurable and physical in nature. Yet, it has been proven repeatedly that the sum of human existence exceeds physical boundaries.
That this is provable is simple. One need only prove a thought or emotion exacted a real, tangible change in physical reality. This is something that happens every day countless times. But this brings up the question of what constitutes the totality of human existence. To understand this, it is necessary to move into the realm of metaphysics.
It has been discussed that nature and evolution cannot account for the sum of human action. Yet this begs the question of what Can explain the nature of humanity. For Birnbaum, it is necessary to delve into the spiritual aspect of humanity.
Potentialism does not adhere to a religion or particular ethos. It neither denies the existence of any, nor purports to elevate any in particular. What it does do is justify the existence and proper place of spirituality. Spirituality, to Potentialists., is the place where the unquantifiable exists. There is no particular mysticism prescribed to this. Rather, philosophically, spirituality is the realm of the qualitative. It can just as easily be the realm of religion or the sensation of eating a slice of an orange. It is that unquantifiable “other” which exists in the universe.
People will ascribe this other to what they wish – the actions of a divinity, a metaphysical quality or simply that “other” part of reality. It is not for Potentialism to describe the phenomena, only quantify it in some term. To Potentialists, the phenomena is simply the interplay of Potential as it seeks out its own Extraordinariation. An orange tastes as it does because having such taste makes it a more complex part of reality and it is the nature of everything in the universe to continually Be more complex.
Likewise, the spirituality of Potentialism is rooted in the nature of the universe itself. Consider the concept of the “center of the universe”. Following expansion theory, each and every place in the universe qualifies as the “center”. The center is wherever you are in relation to everything else. This flings in the face of Chaos Theory, which would have us believe we are in an unimportant, forgettable part of the universe, living forgettable lives.
It is also worth nothing that many philosophies question the tangible nature of the universe itself. Some see it as a quasi-organic system, a holistic paradigm similar to Plato's hypothetical system of ideals and shapes. Like most philosophies, this squares well with Birnbaum's Potentialism. The exact nature of the universe is superfluous to what its actual goals are. The very nature of existence is of less concern than understanding its origin, its drive and thus, where it is headed.
This belief is more commonly held in Eastern philosophies. Yet, Potentialism acknowledges some basic tenants from these beliefs. Potentialism acknowledges the natural duality of cosmic existence. Whether it is called Yin and Yang, positive or negative (in energy terms), black or white, push or pull – Potentialism sees and recognizes this integral interplay between opposing forces as a vital tool of cosmic creation.
Potentialism commonly denotes Q4P as the cosmic “push”, the catalyst for cosmic change. Conversely, Extraordinariation acts as the cosmic “pull” - a beacon for which the cosmic push routes itself towards higher levels of Complexity. This very much lines up with Eastern spirituality in that it recognized the necessity of opposing forces as the root of creation and change. Not the destructive force of Chaos change, but the constructive change of a Potentialist universe.
According to expansion theory though, humanity is at the center of the universe. Moreover, every point in the universe is as well. This may seem an exercise in semantics, but the point is nonetheless valid. By physics standards, the nature of the universe itself decrees that anything in the universe is always at the center. This has great spiritual implications as it proves not only is humanity central to the cosmos (as would be any living creature), but quantum physics has also shown our important role in shaping the cosmos as a whole. This does beg the question of what we cold conceivably consider to be the center of the universe. To Potentialists, the center is a metaphysical term which represents the leading edge of Extraordinariation. To our knowledge, this is currently mankind.
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein
While Potentialism ascribes to no particular religion, it has been shown to be a powerful tool when trying to conjoin one's religious and scientific beliefs. This is one of the greatest strengths of Potentialism in that in bridges the physical, spiritual and religious aspects of reality. While this may seem strange in the context of physical cosmology – it is nonetheless a valid problem. As it has been discussed repeatedly that the intangible can affect tangible reality, dismissing what is not physical is a foolish and pointless excursion. Modern cosmology must make way and establish a legitimate place in the cosmos for what is, but has no tangibility.
Potentialism suits this niche quite well. Near exclusively, it is a cosmology which can explain and provide a place for the spiritual to coexist with the tangible, physical world. In fact, it dovetails smoothly into the major monotheistic religions in place today.
The root question of religion always is reduced to “is there a god”. Potentialism seems to come at this question a bit sideways. To Birnbaum, the question is “is there an underlying force moving the universe with intentionality”. The unequivocal answer is yes. The universe moves always with purpose – it races towards its own Complexification towards Extraordinariation.
While, on the surface, this may not sound as if it has anything to do with religion, it does. Potentialism acknowledges there is a prime mover, beyond the universe (reaching before the Big Bang) and it has the aspect of intentionality. That it, it is moving with purpose towards a goal. The only difference between Potentialism and religion is the aspect of that intentionality. Religion contends that this intentionality has intelligence.
Potentialism makes no such claims. It simply states the intentionality exists and the cosmos is moving with purpose towards a specific goal. What it does do though is leave a legitimate place for religion to exist. That Potential has an inherent intelligence is a matter of pure conjecture. Yet Potential with intelligence perfectly describes divinity itself. What more perfect drive could a divine being have then the Extraordinariation of the universe itself?
Yet it's this very undefined nature of Birnbaum's Potentialism that makes it accessible to both the religious and atheist person alike. Neither one of their presumptions make Potentialism any less valid. There is no arguing whether a supreme being exists. There is simply potential and an argument on the exact nature of it – is it self aware and intelligent or is it simply an instinctual part of the universe as a whole – is left for the individual to decide.
For atheists, this leaves a comfortable measure of mechanistic determinism. They see the universe as ordered and following a prescribed path simply by the nature of existence itself. Likewise, the religious see Potential in a more personified way. Yet, the nature and end goals are the same, regardless of belief. This, at the heart, is one of the most powerful facets of Potentialism as it requires no specific belief but makes a valid space for the existence of religion.
It is in some ways ironic that Potentialism does not seek, by its nature, a proof of the divine. For proof denies faith. If a Potentialist could prove the existence of a God, by definition, he'd disprove it. For non-theologians, this can be a confusing paradox. Yet it is largely held that religion requires a degree of uncertainty for it to function. Any positive proof that God exists would necessarily be false as it undermines faith itself. Thus Potentialism strongly proves the place for a divinity without breaking the rules of proof for such.
IV. Simultaneous Solutions
“The Universe was a damned silly place at best . . . but the least likely explanation for its existence was the no-explanation of random chance."
- Robert A. Heinlein
Potential is the only phenomena in the universe which must necessarily predate the known universe itself. This is logically self-evident as nothing can exist without first having the potential too. As such, the temporal boundaries of Potential extend beyond the totality of the cosmos.
Physicist Stephen Hawking asserts that the concept of time only has meaning since the beginning of the universe. Without the context of the universe, time itself does not exist. Further, he states that time is not a constant, but is subject to the physical laws of the universe and, thus could not exist outside of it. (Hawking 2015)
From a physics perspective, this makes perfect sense. However, Hawking takes a physics perspective on time, seeing it as an analog force continually moving forward (more or less, with fluctuations due to relativity). Certainly, from this perspective, a second or a day or a year would be fundamentally indistinguishable if they even could exist before the universe began.
However, this does not take into account the literal moment between there being a universe and there not being a universe. What Birnbaum addresses is that quantum moment between nothing and something, no time and time. In this context there clearly is a differentiation between before and after and that differentiation is temporal in nature.
Once this quantum moment is established as the beginning “switch” of the universe coming into existence, there clearly was a before. It may not have time in a sense that can be described and it certainly need not follow the rules of the universe – but there was a singular moment of before. And before anything is the only moment that can truly be said to predate the universe itself – infinitesimally small and unmeasurable, but before nonetheless.
Thus Birnbaum posits what can exist before anything? What must exist before anything? There is only one reasonable answer – the possibility for something. In that one brief, eternal moment before time and the universe existed, there was only the possibility it could exist.
Even time itself cannot exist without first the possibility of time. This is where physical science stumbles and metaphysics becomes necessary. Science cannot even grasp the nature of the cosmos in the first moments after the universe came into being, when Planck values were in a pre-state of our current physical universe and what we think of as relativity and quantum physics were still one. So, how could science possibly be able to take one more step back to what was before everything? It cannot, because it lacks the metaphysical tools needed to properly account for Potential itself.
In sharp contrast to Potential, the laws of physics have proven not set but mutable at specific Planck values. Further, they are not eternal. Relativity had a beginning. Quantum physics had a beginning. Only Potential did not. Potential is the one thing that can be truly considered eternal as it is the only thing that can exist outside, and independent of, the totality of the universe.
Potentialism acts as a unifier for all of the universe - from life, matter and energy to thought, form and abstract Potential. In fact, it is the only cohesive cosmology which can do so. Cosmologies based in physical science alone are forced to side step the obvious and difficult questions regarding the nature of the universe as they lack the means to do the qualitative analysis necessary to understand their particular science in the larger context of the cosmos.
This limitation is readily apparent in Randomness Theory, a cosmology based entirely on physics. Eluding to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Randomness seeks to expand on this rule as if it can be some universal guideline for cosmic understanding. The Second Rule states that,
Heat cannot spontaneously flow from a colder location to a hotter location.
Broadly, this describes the transfer and dispersion of heat in a kinetic system. Randomness proponents have tried to expound this simple principle to envisage the eventual heat death of the universe itself, thus “proving” rather nihilistically that the universe is without purpose, ruled by chaos and doomed to an eventual death. This argument is flawed on many levels.
Firstly, it presumes there will be no changes in the functioning of the universe which may change such dispersion in the future. This is certainly refutable by pointing out the many epochs that have come before the one we are currently in. There was a time when no atoms existed and likewise no molecules. To say we can predict the time and fashion of yet another epoch or assure anyone another will not occur is nonsensical.
Further, we have seen how every epoch that came before has fundamentally changed how the universe worked. Thus is makes little sense to say the universe will continue to work just as it does today for the rest of existence. If there is one thing the history of cosmology has shown us it is that the laws which govern the universe are not set in stone and immutable.
Secondly, it presumes the entirety of the universe is physical matter and energy. Irregardless of more exotic types of mass and energy we already do not understand or grasp the function and laws of, this completely denies perfectly valid phenomena we know exist in the universe. To try and apply a thermodynamic law to thought or emotion is patently absurd.
Yet, it is demonstrable such phenomena are real and can affect very real change in the universe. One only need to consider that while morality might not be a tangible, physical phenomena, it nevertheless can and does have direct, real impact on the physical world. This is evident every time a being exerts force on the world around them in reaction to their beliefs and desires. Thus, the idea that all of the universe can be reduced to being under the effect of a single, mechanistic physical law is false.
Thirdly, Randomness theory convolutes the difference between the common definition of chaos and randomness as a mathematical concept. Randomness proponents espouse that the universe is chaotic and without meaning. But that is not the proper application or definition in the sense of quantum modeling.
Randomness is the concept that something can never be predicted with absolute accuracy – such as the exact location an electron will inhabit in the future within its orbital shell. However, this does not in any way imply there is no order or predictability – quite the opposite. We do know the electron will be somewhere within the orbital shell. This perversion of randomness into chaos is what drives Randomness proponents to the incorrect conclusion there is no order about them – despite all empirical evidence clearly to the contrary.
By contrast, Birnbaum provides a truly universal framework encompassing all of the cosmos into one functional model. Potentialism describes a universe at once in harmony with its physical and metaphysical components and successfully describes the nature, purpose and direction of the universe.
Origins of the Big Bang
By nature of its eternal origins, Potentialism is the one theory which does not cease to function when going back to the actual beginning of the universe. By contrast, all other theories must observe and study only what has occurred since the Big Bang and is currently governed by post-Big Bang mechanics. It is obvious one cannot explain the existence of something by only observing its results. More specifically, the results of the Big Bang cannot be its catalyst.
Physicists freely admit it is impossible for them to explain what the nature of the post-Big Bang universe was and will never be able to. They have no tools to look out of the closed system our universe is effectively within. Thus, they cannot explain what caused the Big Bang itself. They simply have no evidence of what was before the Big Bang. More often than not, physicists try to say it is irrelevant or beyond understanding in an attempt to close off any further argument.
Potentialism does not suffer this limitation. As the only truly eternal force in the universe, Potential not only explains the origin of the Big Bang, it is the catalyst. This logically follows, using the self-evident axiom of Potential itself: Before something can exist, its potential to exist must exist first. In short, before the Big Bang, there was the Potential for the Big Bang. That was the beginning.
But what drove the universe from a potentiality to an actuality? Potential itself is a force enacted upon by Extraordinariation. It is this interaction which gives drive to the cosmos, converting Potential from a static force to a kinetic one. While it may seem extreme to conceptualize a force large enough to create the universe itself, consider what is self-evident. The universe is here. Something brought it into existence. The only thing that predates the universe itself is the potential for the universe. This leaves Potential as not the most likely, but the only candidate which could bring it into actualization.
The Goldilock's Dilemma is the classic question of how a universe just perfect for the creation of the galaxies, stars, planets and, eventually, human life happened to come into existence. This is particularly perplexing to scientists as it is known that the laws of physics are not eternal but came after the initiation of the Big Bang and could possibly have been different in any number of ways to make life impossible in the universe. Statistically speaking, the odds of our universe being exactly as it is are infinitesimally small and it would take very little differences in how our universe worked to make life as we know it impossible.
Scientists have tried such wild maneuvers as postulating that there are an infinite number of universes and we just happen to be in the right one. This presumes that there are an infinite number of “bad universes” that have been created as well and we just happen to be in the right one. Much like string theory, theoretical physics just keeps layering dimension on dimension and universe on universe in an attempt to find some hypothetical existence that would make the world fit into a physical/mathematical model that supports a comfortable, accepted cosmological theory. But this approach requires a suspension of the scientific method physics purports to hold as a standard. This involves endless layers of hypotheticals using just not “quite yet discovered” missing information, math and particles – always with a grail that will explain it all as yet to come.
Birnbaum, by contrast, offers answers and a solution now to the Goldilock's Dilemma. And what it offers is a far simpler, intuitive answer that can be proven with elementary reasoning and a disciplined examination of empirical evidence throughout the universe. Instead of more questions, Potentialism offers real, practical answers to this old question.
Birnbaum asserts that things must strive towards greater Complexification. Thus, if the current laws are what are needed to achieve this objective, then they could never be anything else as they are not created in a happenstance manner but subject to the pull of Extraordinariation to set their course. More simply, if life is a higher order of existence within the universe than its absence would be, then the universe had to follow a trajectory and set its laws appropriately for the existence of life to flourish.
MIT professor, Max Tegmark offers an explanation from a physics perspective, proposing there are an infinite amount of universes in which everything that could be has occurred somewhere in its own universe. This multiversing is a common fall back for physicists when trying to explain the Goldilock's Dilemma. His assertion is that the strength of his theory lies in the complexity of trying to deny it,
“A common feature of all four multiverse levels is that the simplest and arguably most elegant theory involves parallel universes by default. To deny the existence of those universes, one needs to complicate the theory by adding experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates: finite space, wave function collapse and ontological asymmetry. “ (Tegmark 2003)
However, Tegmark falsely assumes multiversing is the only practical explanation for the perfection of our universe. Further, Tegmark's theory requires a great deal of presumption. As physicist Paul Davies has countered, “The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.” (Davies 2003)
Birnbaum, by contrast, needs no such infinite universes to explain itself. Thus the metaphysics of Potentialism can do what physics alone has never been able to accomplish.
Instead of mathematical hypotheticals, endless multiverses and mystical strings, Potentialism solves the Goldilock's Dilemma smoothly with the easiest answer possible: The universe simply is what it needs to be and could never be any other way.
Unifying macro and micro physics
As shown, Potentialism is ubiquitous throughout all forces governing the universe. It is applicable equally to quantum physics which governs on a micro scale as well as relativity which governs on a macro scale. The importance of this is that it provides a commonality of Potential - the framework through which the elusive unified theory itself can progress.
In the first few moments of the Big Bang, the micro and macro world of physics severed into the distinct branches of quantum mechanics and relativity – one governing the microcosm, one the macrocosm. Yet we know they were governed by a unifying law at first. What cosmologists seek now is that commonality, that strand which explains both and still governs both. That commonality is Potentialism.
While the scientific disciplines are separate and distinct, it is easily witnessed how Potentialism still regulates and guides both. On the macro scale, heavenly bodies move with purpose, always seeking greater complexity and, more importantly, greater Complexification. This is clearly evident in the formation of stars and planetary bodies. And, in turn, the solar systems and the galaxies which house them. Relativity, gravity, indeed all of macro physics work together to continually create these complicated, balanced systems to create a universe thriving with endless stars and worlds.
Likewise, on a micro scale, the hand of Potentialism is even far more evident – perhaps as the first atomic and molecular bonds predated the macro constructs in our universe and are thus more simple and easy to see as the product of an earlier epoch. The action of Potentialism is directly observable on an atomic level by simply watching the activity of electrons as they absorb energy until they reach a quanta necessary to realize a higher state.
We can also witness the actions of Potentialism in the undecided state of a photon as it has the Potential to be both particle and wave until direct observation forces it to select from its Potentials a specific state of Complexification. This phenomena is well documented and covered in the classic “double-slit” experiment reported by famous physicist Richard Feynman. Feynman noted that light passing through parallel slits would react as if it were waves. Yet in differing circumstances, would also clearly act as a particle. It had the Potential of both until it was forced to be one or the other. Feynman stated simply about this bizarre behavior,“[it is impossible] to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery [of quantum mechanics]." (Feynman, et. al. 1965)
Yet, not only does Birnbaum's Potentialism easily explain and even predict this phenomena, it also dictates the macro physics of the universe. Not only this, but it is the Only theory which can be used to explain how the micro and macro forces of the universe both operate.
Birnbaum explains the natural evolution of teleological systems as a further advancement of Complexification. Akin to a next step in multi-cellular life, teleology is viewed by Potentialist as not some standalone phenomena but simply a new step in Complexification and evolution. Just as cells in a multi-cellular organism work for a common goal and strive towards greater Complexification, so is it possible for separate organism to strive towards their common Complexification.
This is a vital step in cosmology. Physics and biology do not usually meet. Although biology is an intrinsic part of our planet, physics simply steers clear and acts as if there is some fundamental difference between life and the rest of the universe. This is, perhaps, paradoxical as physics tries to explain the totality of the cosmos. However, it is common that they simply leave out what they cannot include in their theory. This is yet another reason why theories such as Randomness Theory can purport that the universe is falling apart instead of growing in Complexity, it ignores the evidence of biology altogether in its ever growing complexity.
Potentialism, by contrast, not only explains individual complexity in organism, but the overall Complexification of species as a whole. This is teleological in nature because Potentialism not only predicts the increasing complexity of life, but how it necessarily interacts as a whole, on a planetary scale. It's evidence is self-evident in how life forms compliment one another and naturally and unconsciously strive for a biological balance between climates, geographies and even the interaction of prey and species and animal and the earth itself.
More importantly though, Birnbaum shows how non-living phenomena such as a planet can act with the same intentionality as a living creature and thus seek its own Complexification. As Potential is intrinsically “built-in”, pervasively, to all that exists, all things natural seek their own Complexification independent of individual will or consciousness. This happens as naturally as gravity holds a planet in orbit around its sun. It is a law, requiring no conscious effort to unfold as it is meant to.
This is why entire ecosystems reach a natural stability. Our planet has just the right amount and types of life to maintain a healthy, life giving ecosystem. Even more importantly, Potentialism predicts and we can see how the earth can heal from external forces. Even planet changing events such as the cataclysmic meteor strike suspected of causing the last Ice Age was recoverable and life continued on and the planet returned to a more hospitable environment.
Potentialism maintains that this is a natural and necessary function of the planet itself. When viewed form a teleological perspective, this is obvious. Just as an animal's body is designed to fight off and recover from disease, so too can the earth act in its own interest to preserve itself and seek higher levels of Complexification. One might ask how this could happen without conscious intentionality, something a planet clearly does not have. Yet Potentialism clearly explains this in terms of Extraordinariation. Intentionality is unnecessary for something to seek Extraordinariation. It is like asking how a ball can roll down a hill without consciously deciding to. It is simply a fundamental law of the universe that it do so.
Potential can describe the necessary origin of God and his nature as regards his function in the universe. By definition God is the Alpha – what came first in the universe – the thing from which the universe unfolded and took form. Logically, there can be no form that exists before there was the Potential for that form to exist – thus Potential is the Alpha. By logical extension, Potential and God are interchangeable concepts, different words for the same phenomena.
It is also evident that if all things come from one source, it must necessarily be a part of that source. While the concept of God permeating all that is in the universe can be off putting to an atheist, Potentialism maintains that this is the case. Moreover, it would be impossible to not be the case. Yet, Potentialism is a unifying cosmology for the atheist and the religious alike because Potential is a force that can exist both as a central religious explanation of origin as well as an atheist one.
The only difference between an atheistic view of the universe and a divine view of the universe is whether Potential has consciousness. That it exists is undeniable. On this point, Potentialism works equally well in either case. Again, this is a unique strength of Potentialism Theory. Regardless of belief, Potentialism works as a solution.
While this uncertainty about the nature of Potentialism may seem a weakness in Potentialism's perfect armor, it is not. Ironically, there is no other answer that could truly solve the theogony question – for religion requires faith as an element. To know with certainty of God's existence would make faith irrelevant and non-existent. One does not need to have faith they have a pen when they are holding it. Thus proof denies faith and is its antithesis.
So, to properly satisfy theogeny, some room for doubt and the requirement of faith is necessary. Thus the religious requirements are satisfied by Potential because of its uncertainty, not despite it. Conversely, the requirements of atheism are met by this very same uncertainty.
While Birnbaum cannot disprove the existence of God by religious definition, neither can science. This isn't a weakness in Potentialism, but a rule of science itself. Nothing in science can be proven unless it is falsifiable. Thus, Potentialism is under no obligations to disprove the validity of religion. In this way, Potentialism uniquely qualifies as meeting the crite4rion as both a religious and purely scientific cosmology simultaneously.
In fact, Potentialism is the only cosmology that can truly show the necessity for God while technically leaving his existence open to interpretation. This is because Potentialism is not based upon the presence of Potential, not the nature of Potential's self-awareness and consciousness.
Theodicy is the classic question of why a good God permits evil to manifest in the universe. Potentialism answers this question readily. The key is within the nature of Potential/divinity itself and man's definition and perception of good and evil. Evil, as a destructive force, is that which reduces the relative Complexification of the universe – what steers the universe from its divine purpose of questing forward towards its Extraordinariation. Good, as a creative force, is what drives the universe towards greater and greater Complexification, pushing the universe, and mankind with it, towards its destiny of Extraordinariation.
The confusion inherent in God and evil is a misunderstanding of what good is to God. It is certainly true that morality and altruism are a central theme of good. But that is a natural outgrowth of its nature. Good, fundamentally, is Potential driven towards Extraordinariation. Harmony and creation are the natural forms of Potential because they are constructive forms in the universe. Morality and altruism increase Complexification and foster creation, thus they are good. But the non-tangible is only one form of good when taken in this context.
It is equally correct to say the formation of a star is good for it drives the universal Complexification forward. So, it is correct to view good in tangible form as well as spiritual. To that end, viewing things such as a hurricane as an act of evil is nonsensical. It is simply the by-product of a complex weather system occurring on a highly complex planet. While it may cause harm on a specific scale, holistically it is part of the planet's overall Complexification.
Likewise, acts which appear evil for their destructiveness are part of a larger path of Complexification. While death itself may seem an evil or bad end, especially when it comes by misadventure, disease or an “act of God”, it is part of a broader tapestry of life's evolution. For Complexification to continue, everything must evolve. For that to happen, new life must be created and previous life must make way for the new. There is a plan, it is simply difficult to see when fully immersed within it.
It is important to understand that children are an expression of an individual's Potential realizing itself through Complexification, as are the children those children have and continuing so ad infinitum. As Potential is that part of mankind and the larger universe which is the divine aspect of everything which exists, realizing its Complexification and reproducing is the physical continuation of an individual's immortality. This continuity, coupled with Potential's validation of the intangible parts of the universe is in agreement with religion that the finality of death is illusory and, thus, the evil of death is as well. Humanity is Potential and, as such, is inherently and irrevocably eternal in nature.
A “good God” is actually a redundant concept to Potentialism. God, as an expression of Potential, is the creative, driving force towards Extraordinariation. As such, good follows the natural and inexorable progress of the universe. In the long term, broader scale, Potential/good/God (all are interchangeable words for the same thing) will always prevail and the universe will progress. It is not possible for it not to. What is sometimes missing is the nature of “good”. It simply is not always what individuals would wish it to be. Regarding Potentialism, good is the creative force. While change is always necessary for the universe to progress and it may benefit the whole, it understandably may not feel so for individuals who experience misfortune. However, God is, for Potentialist, simply what he must be just as the universe is what it must be for it to continue its journey towards Extraordinariation.
The purpose of man
Man is central in Potentialism as a step forward in Complexification, a Quantum Jump, as the universe drives ever towards Extraordinariation. Man not only is at the pinnacle of the last wave of the Quantum Jump, but is an integral part of the universe's continued plan. While perhaps not the last step, he is certainly the current one. Man has given the universe itself a way to observe itself. And observation is a powerful tool in our universe. Observation alone can change the physical world as quantum mechanics has already proven.
From a religious perspective, man is central to the universe for its ability to understand and, therefor, react to the physical world through informed morality and altruism. Before mankind, the Potential for morality existed. Concepts have no true beginning or end, just the ability to be. Yet morality is a more Complexified phenomena because it has no physical form.
Thus, for it to interact with the physical universe, thus furthering the universe's Complexification, God required a conduit – some thing in the universe to act as an intermediary between the conceptual and the actual. This, so far as we know, unique creature is mankind.
Physics recognizes that matter and energy can be transmuted into one another. However, Potentialism also describes how the potential can be transmuted to the actual by mankind. Something with no actual, tangible existence can be a force of change in very real ways in our universe. This, in itself, is worthy of consideration as a metaphysical epoch – a Quantum Jump in the Complexification of the universe.
Consider the concept of altruism. It is nothing more than a thought, a concept in and of itself. One can talk about it, describe its nature. But you cannot touch it, pick it up, measure it – it is unquantifiable. As such, physics would have us believe it is not a part of the universe. Yet, Potentialists point out the readily apparent flaw in this conclusion – altruism can be observed indirectly by measuring, quantifiably, its effects on physical reality.
As example, consider someone giving to a charity that helps fund an orphanage on the other side of the planet. For this to be a purely altruistic act, we consider that the orphanage is far enough away that it will have no impact locally on the individual whether they donate or not. It cannot benefit their society around them. It must be an act devoid of any intrinsic value to the donor – an act truly extrinsic to their own benefit.
When this takes place, the donor has acted solely based on the concept of altruism – that intangible, physically unsubstantive, conceptual force. Yet, the phenomena is the source and catalyst for a very real kinetic change in the physical universe. It causes the donor to contact their bank. It causes money to be sent away to the far side of the world never to be seen again. It causes the orphanage to receive funds and perhaps save a life. And that life may be able to spawn future generations ad infinitum, making an incalculable contribution to the universe's Complexification.
Thus, it is easy to see that while the conceptual might be impossible to measure directly, its impacts permeate the world around us. More importantly though, mankind is required as the conduit for this catalyst to effect the universe. This makes mankind itself central to the current level of Complexification in the universe.
Where is God?
Potentialism answers this question resoundingly. God is everywhere. From every blade of grass to every star in the sky, from every thought to every emotion that exists, has existed or will exist. God is the Potential for all that is and ever can be. As such God permeates both the entire metaphysical universe and is the only thing that stretches beyond it to bring it into existence – temporally reaching beyond time itself.
Potentialism explains this succinctly:
Potential is God.
Potential exists and is a part of everything in the universe.
Thus, God exists and is a part of everything in the universe.
Once it is understood that Potential and God are interchangeable concepts, the rest of the puzzle falls cleanly into place. Humankind and the entirety of the universe are expressions of God. The universe is a single, holistic expression of the divine. It came into existence and it travels forward towards Extraordinariation because it is the nature of the divine to do so.
This sometimes raises a question: If Potential is God, how can it grow and increase in Complexification? Is God not already perfect, by the very definition and the sole, true expression of Extraordinariation?
The short answer is simply, yes. Then why the universe at all? To understand this one needs to understand the extra-temporal nature of God/Potential and the nature of time. God is, by nature, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, both Potential and Extraordinariation. The universe is simply an expression of God.
Yet, it must be remembered that time, as we know it, is a physical law – a construct we, as humans, are enslaved to because we exist in our universe. But that law is not immutable as physics has proven repeatedly. Like the other laws governing the universe, it exists only as a law within the closed causal system which is the universe itself. And even within our universe, time itself has been proven to be relative in nature. That's part of how the universe works.
But as an external catalyst for the universe, God exists outside the confines of time itself. God is no more subject to the laws of time than he is to the laws of quantum mechanics and relativity. Thus, to God before and after, the linear flow of time have no meaning. He is at once at the beginning of the universe and at the end.
This is not a new concept philosophically or religiously. In fact, it is well supported theologically in a Judeo-Christian context as well. Examples include the fact that time is essentially meaningless to God (2 Peter 3:8) and angels act as temporal intermediaries for God himself (Hebrews 1:14). Such examples are translated by theologians as a reference to God's super-positioning outside temporal reality. As such, to interact meaningfully with humanity, which is locked within the temporal bounds of the universe, it is a function of angels to communicate with humans in a manner they can comprehend. Also of note, while God in scripture is seen to exist outside time, it is noted that time did extend before the beginning of the universe, if only in a binary – before and after – nature, as the angelic were brought into existence before the universe.
But the central point for Birnbaum is not to be drawn into a specific religions definition on the exact nature of God, but to find the overarching common theme amongst monotheistic religions which dovetail cleanly into Potentialism's definition of the overall nature of God. In that aspect, there is agreement. God is universal, not subject to time, and exists throughout the universe and beyond to all that is and can be.
“A unified theory would put us at the doorstep of a vast universe of things that we could finally explore with precision.”
- Brian Greene
A Bullet proof theory
Whether viewed from a physical science perspective, a metaphysical or philosophical perspective, or even a spiritual or religious perspective – Potentialism presents a seamless, bullet proof theory. It dodges no area of metaphysical existence to avoid gaps in its explanations. Unlike physics-centric theories, Potentialism is willing to answer philosophical and spiritual questions as readily as it does physics ones.
Where science builds illusory delimiters for the universe, ignoring anything not tangible and quantitative, metaphysics embraces the totality of the universe. When physicists use the term universe, they mean the physical universe. When a Potentialist says universe, they mean it literally. They leave no stone unturned, no question unanswered.
In fact, every question only strengthens the Theory of Potential itself. As an inductively proven theory, it can only benefit from rising to every challenge set before it – setting another brick in the wall that is its truth. This is why Potentialism gains so much strength by satisfying not only scientific proof, but philosophical and religious as well.
Potentialism views the spiritual, abstract and physical as simply different aspects of a universal whole which, while distinct, interacts with the other aspects constantly. This is noticeable in everything from the interaction between having an idea and executing to the underlying force of Potential itself as it drives Extraordinariation. Thus the broader its reach into the more perspectives possible, the better. This is what makes Potentialism so excellent as a unifier.
Unlike competing theories, Birnbaum does not claim any unknowables in the face of universal questions. Nor does it use tricks commonly employed by other theories to shore up its shortcomings. It claims nothing too complicated and nothing without point. More importantly, Potentialism supplies no “anti-explanations” like other cosmologies, tossing in the intellectual towel and claiming things simply happen at random without any reason or purpose.
A theory without exceptions
That is what makes Potentialism the only true contender as a cosmology to date. No exceptions have been found in which the theory does not apply accurately to or satisfyingly explain. Despite repeated debates and even attacks from cosmologist still defending fast antiquating 20th century cosmologies, Potentialism has remained unassailable as a unified proof for how the cosmos works.
Exceptions, by comparison, run rampant in competing cosmologies. The main one, Randomness Theory, has a host of short-comings, any of which can destroy its entirety. Teleology, for instance, cannot comfortably exist within Randomness Theory. On the surface, it may seem innocuous enough that earth could work in a manner consistent with a teleological model. However, Randomness absolutely relies on the accuracy of atheism.
Any teleological validity implies an intention to existence. This is a slippery slope for the Randomness model. For any intentionality in a non-sentient phenomena, such as a planet, introduces the concept of inherent purpose in the universe. This is in direct conflict with Randomness' presumption of a universe without point. Further, it would be proof of systems gaining in complexity. This is in conflict with Randomness as well because it would show a universe at least computationally growing in complexity instead of falling apart.
This does not even touch on the fact that religion stands in direct conflict with Randomness. The existent of the spiritual or divine would once again undermine the entire assumption of pointlessness that Randomness presumes. Yet again, this would irrevocably disprove Randomness because it would prove intentionality in the physical universe.
Such is the depths that other cosmologies have had to deny anything but the physical universe, that even quantum physicists have been attacked for seeking to find informational components within the universe. Even their purely physically scientific based approaches to seeking complexity in the universe are anathema to a theory which bases its foundation on a denial rather than explanation of a broader universe.
Further strengthening Potentialism Theory is that the unification it presents also surpasses just the necessities of scientific validation. Where Randomness stumbles, Potentialism is unflinching as it crosses boundaries between the scientific, philosophical and even the religious. It is as easily applicable to a physicist, a philosopher or even a deacon or rabbi in describing accurately the nature of the universe and predicting its purpose and goal.
Absence of an Achilles' heel
There is simply no weakness or flaw which contradicts the overarching theory that is Potentialism. From micro to macro physics, Birnbaum provides a unifying framework that explains both their common origins and how they are still governed by the same law of Complexification. While their particular rules may seem incongruous, Potential is what binds the two together and shows they are simply different expressions of the same universal force.
Likewise, Potential holds true across other scientific disciplines. It is expressed within chemistry and explains the natural drive for particles to form more complex atoms. Likewise, it describes how molecules form and interrelate with quantum atomic law to advance to even greater levels of Complexification.
Potentialism also bridges between chemistry and biology, properly describing biology as an expression of chemical Complexification, the next Quantum Jump – describing the natural trend for molecules to find a more complicated, Complexified state in a bio-organic form and, eventually, multi-cellular form. Potentialism also encompasses and describes the drive and necessity for evolution and its place in the broader cosmic context.
Finally, Potentialism explains the interrelationship between biology and psychology and sociology. It defines man's place in the universe as the intermediary between thought and higher forms of evolution such as emotion, morality, art and altruism and how it interrelates as a Quantum Jump forward from biological life as previously defined.
Potentialism co-exists organically with each as well as the agent which binds the sciences together. Such is the power of the theory that it continues to be valid even when leaving the sciences. It works just as easily as a cosmology from a philosophical and religious stand point.
Lack of viable philosophical or scientific alternative
Potentialism stands as unique in that no challenger has ever been able to answer all questions posed to it or shown a similar breadth of inductive proof to its validity. Simply put, philosophy does not have the tools necessary to solve the totality of the universe any more than physics does or religion. All of these are simply tools to discern aspects of the a universal tapestry. Yet none of these smoothly incorporate all of these tools into one metaphysics capable of explaining everything. Except Potentialism.
Science brings the most disciplined and powerful tools to understand the physical universe to bare. Yet it must artificially separate the universe into different parts – what it can describe and measure and what it can't. As demonstrated, the abstract and non-tangible interact with the physical universe though. So any theory which ignores this fact is destined to be inaccurate and incomplete.
Philosophy suffers from its own limitations. It can easily encompass the abstract and emotive. Yet it lacks any meaningful framework or presenting this understanding in any way that can pass rigorous scientific methodology. Pure philosophy, by its open nature, is more appropriate for informed conjecture than actual, concrete analysis. While it describes the abstract with great clarity and understanding, it lacks the tools necessary to bridge that understanding properly into context with physical reality.
Potentialism is the only metaphysical philosophy that can not only co-exist with different disciplines, it actually incorporates the strength of each into one unified cosmological theory. Potentialism sets aside the divisive theories of the 20th century and the false dichotomies it held to: science versus religion, thought versus material, the abstract and emotive versus energy and physical laws. It instead unites them by showing they are all one in the same, complimentary ways of looking at the same universe through different, but equally valid lenses. It is this realization which gives Potentialism its unparalleled access to the tools needed to solve so much regarding the nature of the universe.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics presents no contextual challenge
The Second Law is not a relevant tool for cosmic understanding. It is simply a law of thermodynamics and not truly be utilized for cosmology. It fails to take into account the nature of complexity and information. It recognizes no biology. It recognizes no evolution. It recognizes no existence of thought or abstraction.
More importantly, it shouldn't. It is simply a law of thermodynamics that explains heat dissipation. It as never meant to be a tool of cosmology. While it is a core tool of Randomness Theory - a cosmology that, at its heart, states no understanding as its conclusion - its selection is rather symptomatic of the flaws inherent in Randomness. That it has been abused and distorted for the sake of 20th century cosmology is no fault of the tool itself. Yet, it is simply more suited to a chemist than a cosmologist as it wholly discounts complexity and Complexification.
Eternal Origins is not a problem
Potential is the only thing which can predate the universe itself. As it has been shown the Potential for something must exist before the actuality of it, there is nothing that can come before Potential. Further, as time itself is a construct of the universe, Potential must necessarily predate time as well. Logically, this makes Potential the only thing that can truly be considered eternal, with no beginning or end. And, as it exists outside of time, it is immune to the nature of change itself. This satisfies the nature of eternal – something without beginning or end and immutable.
The nature of Potential satisfies itself as the origin of the universe. Not only can it be the cause of the universe, and the only one available, it must be. This is due to the natural dichotomy and interplay which exists between Potential and Extraordinariation. Simply put, the universe pervasively and infinitely seeks to express its Potential through Complexification, therefor its eternal origin must be Potential.
What is equally important as proof of its place as the eternal origin is that nothing else can satisfy the criteria. Science cannot because it cannot describe existence before the Big Bang. Further, the very tools science uses to investigate the universe were create by the Big Bang. Thus, anything before the Big Bang renders all tools at its disposal meaningless.
Likewise, religion can offer little help by its very definition. Where science is crippled by its lack of strength in qualitative analysis, religion suffers from limitations in quantitative analysis. The very need for faith disqualifies it from the rigors of scientific explanation. To Birnbaum, Potential is the only thing that bridges this gap, equally powerful as both a qualitative and quantitative tool. Thus, not only is it the best tool to satisfy as an eternal origin, it is the only tool.
Satisfaction of all inductive requirements
As an inductive proof, Potentialism has been scrutinized repeatedly for evidence of its existence, both directly and inferentially. It has also been scrutinized for contradictions, exceptions or gaps in its coverage. And it has been analyzed for its consistency throughout all universal phenomena.
Potentialism has been shown present throughout the physical universe, regardless of scale. It has been shown to govern the micro scale of the universe through an analysis of quantum physics and the atomic and molecular world. Just as readily, the footprint of Potentialism is readily apparent on the macro scale which governs universal bodies like the development of stars and planets. Moreover, it requires no rule changes to be present in both simultaneously.
Likewise, Potentialism has been tested for a presence in other physical sciences and has been shown to be governing through the same Complexification rules in the biological world that it does in the non-biological world. Further it has been shown to be just as applicable in less tangible scientific fields such as sociology and psychology.
Far from being challenged by these disciplines, Birnbaum's theory shows an inherent strength unique to it as a cosmology as it is readily adaptable to human-centric concepts such as thought, morality and altruism. Moreover, Potentialism can even, from a cosmological perspective, explain the necessity of humankind itself.
This far exceeds even the necessities of a scientific proof. It is just as inductively provable in the abstract facets of the universe as it is the physical. While this may be more than necessary for a scientific proof, it is not for the more stringent requirements of a metaphysical proof where no aspect of universal reality can be ignored. This is why Potentialism must, and does, meet and fulfill the requirements of a cosmology on a philosophical and religious level as well.
Laid out in this proof was also the need to prove Potentialism as a closed causal loop. As such, Potentialism needed to show itself as a satisfactory explanation for its own existence and prove there is no need for external causal factors. It also had to show there were no exceptions to it as a universal cosmology.
Potentialism is shown to be without findable exception regardless of the scientific lens or metaphysical lens it is seen through. Potential is shown to be an interplay between the dynamics of Q4P and E+, both of which act as a catalyst for the other which together form the known universe as a means to express its resultant Complexification.
More importantly, for a closed system proof, Potential has been demonstrated as without competition as a universal mechanic. It is proven to be rather the opposite, the necessary catalyst for all other universal mechanics. This is logically proven by addressing and proving the nature of Potential itself. Rather than simply prove itself a candidate as a closed causal system, Potentialism goes a step further and proves itself the only candidate.
Nothing can exist before or after Potential itself as the measures we use even to define before and after are a result of Potential. It is , by definition, the only thing can exist without an external cause. This leaves it not only proven as a closed causal loop, but proves it cannot be anything but. Further, it has been shown that Q4P and E+ are interchangeable as cause and effect and even express themselves within the closed universe as such episodically. This is another demonstrable facet of the closed causal system at work and a reminder that while Potential seems to linearly move towards Extraordinariation, it is actually exists outside of linear time entirely.
Thus Potentialism meets the requirements for a strong inductive proof as well as the set goals of proving Potentialism as a closed causal loop. It is universal, it is pervasive and it is unique in its capacity and nature. It is its own cause and reason. It provides a satisfactory understanding of cosmological origins, function and purpose. Further, it is the only phenomena which meets the requirements of a prime mover for the origins of a universe, being without beginning or end and wholly immutable. It effectively reduces the complexity of the universe to a single, simple, elegant function just as Lederman predicted: Q4P∞ → E+.
Davies, Paul (2003). Op-Ed: A Brief History of the Multiverse. New York Times. 12th April.
Feynman, RP, Leighton, Robert, Sands, Matthew (1965). The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. 3. US, Addison-Wesley, Boston. pp. 1.1–1.8.
Hawking, Stephen (2015). The Origin of the Universe: Stephen Hawking Official Website. Available from: http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-origin-of-the-universe.html. [Accessed 10th October 2015]
Lloyd, Seth (2006). Programming the Universe, Knopf, New York.
Nagel, Thomas (2012). Mind and Cosmos, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Tegmark, Max (2014). Our Mathematical Universe, Knopf, New York.
Tomilin, K A (1999). Natural Systems of Units: To the Centenary Anniversary of the Planck System, IHST RAS, Moscow, pp. 287–296.