March 21, 2014
A Transcendent/Directional Cosmic Force?
David Birnbaum’s Teleology:
By Viksa Sharma
Is there an eternal dynamic which drives the cosmic order forward? Religion posits that such a power exists: God. But our learned academicians would have none of it. The ‘entrenched academic’ mantra is: “Everything is random; all is happenstance; there is no design or designer; there is no meaning or purpose to the cosmic order. We live in an accidental multi-billion galaxy universe.”
The entrenched academics caution the wavering that if you reject ‘Randomness’ they are then thrown-into-the-arms of the supernatural Creationists, heaven forbid. The creationists counter that if you reject Creationism, you are thrown-into-the-arms of the hocus pocus Randomnists.
Private scholar and metaphysics author David Birnbaum of Manhattan breaks through all conventions and previous assumptions. He posits that there is most definitely an eternal overarching dynamic – and that it is not supernatural and is not unscientific.
Birnbaum’s dynamic is his signature Infinite Quest for Potential; this dynamic can be viewed as either the core of God (see his Summa Metaphysica I: Religious Man) or as a more general spiritual dynamic (see his Summa Metaphysica II: Spiritual Man, 2005) or as a sui generis neo-natural mechanism (see his Summa Metaphysica III: Secular Man, 2014).
The author proposes that there is a protagonist to the cosmic order, but that the protagonist is a ‘quest’ and not an ‘entity.’ According to the theory, the universe quests for its maximal and fullest potential. The core dynamic Quest for Potential∞ strives with purpose towards ever-greater and richer potential. Birnbaum delineates a pure and elegant scientific theory of design and purpose.
Birnbaum observes: “Our search for an ultimate eternal universal dynamic and our search for meaning are both not just promising, but self-evident.” According to Birnbaum Quest for Potential∞) drives the myriad levels of the cosmic order; the goal of the universe is to play-out its potential; the parallel goal of mankind is to reach for its potential; and, it is the individual’s quest for potential which gives his/her life meaning.
In sum total, Birnbaum unleashes a multi-level intellectual revolution. He lit this fuse in 1988 when Ktav Publishing released volume I of his treatise; the first stage of the explosion occurred when a dozen colleges around-the-globe assigned Summa I as a Course Text in the 1990s; the second stage of the explosion occurred when Bard College (Upstate NY) structured an entire 3 ½ day international academic conference focused-on his Summa Metaphysica treatise; and the ‘roof blew off’ went off when international media coverage ensued in 2013-2014. Over a dozen journals have featured Birnbaum’s Summa Metaphysica and its Theory of Potential in the 2013-2014 period alone.
Is Birnbaum’s “eternal dynamic” indeed eternal? Many high-level academics believe yes. Is there possibly indeed such an overarching all-embracing dynamic? Many high-level academics believe yes. Will reactionary components in the entrenched Randomness/atheist camp be able to undermine and beat-back the solo challenger? Many high-level observers believe no.
Birnbaum is firm on his assertion. He believes that Infinite Quest for Potential is an eternal and universal dynamic, and indeed the only dynamic, which is everlasting and without end. The Manhattan metaphysicist discerns this dynamic as being the common denominator of the cosmic order – from the macro metaphysical level, though the universe level, thru the animal kingdom and human level, and down through the macroscopic level. No flaw has been discerned in his proposal in the 25+ years since first formally proposed in 1988 (Summa Metaphysica I: Religious Man: God and Evil.
Birnbaum went on to craft Summa Metaphysica II: Spiritual Man: God and Good (2005) and Summa Metaphysica III: Secular Man: The Transcendent Dynamic (2014). Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at University of Southern California John Hospers has noted of Summa theory: “David Birnbaum’s avant-garde Potentialism may turn-out to be the long-sought after “irresistible force.” With not inconsiderable global academic support, with no viable competing integrated metaphysics to Potentialism, and with no flaw discerned in it to-date, few are willing to call Summa wrong. Erudite British journalist Oliver Burkeman (2013) focused on Summa as ‘being ‘non-scientific’ and in the tradition of Aristotle; he cited the iconic French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss (2006) who hailed the work as “remarkable and profound”.
According to the metaphysics author Birnbaum, the cosmic quest for the ultimate potential is never-ending; it goes on forever more. The cosmic energy is in ‘the quest’ – the journey – as opposed-to the actual attainment.
Birnbaum’s shorthand notation for Quest for Potential∞ is Q4P∞ (or Q4P for super-short). We will use this super-shorthand for the balance of this article.
Q4P is in the cosmic ‘driver’s seat.’ We may be forced to ask the inevitable question “Does it mean that Q4P plots and steers the course of the universe?”
In the voice of Birnbaum, the answer will inevitably be ‘yes,’ but a nuanced ‘yes.’ Q4P does not have a specific goal in-mind; rather it seeks-out its maximal potential at major juncture in cosmic time, and ultimately seeks-out ever-more-extraordinary potential. The search for the ultimate universal potential is the force behind evolution. Q4P is ‘the fire’ behind life. It led to the development of bio-forms and ultimately of language; Q4P is ‘the driver’ behind the thirst for ever-higher aesthetics and ever-higher consciousness.
It is worthy to note, however, that Birnbaum opines that Q4P, being all that is mentioned above, deserves a more appropriate name. Birnbaum enhances its name to reflect its being both the catalyst and sustainer of life. Thus the author employs ‘infinite divine potential’ as more appropriate and descriptive than simply ‘potential.’ Thus, Potential may or may not morph into conscious and interactive God, but is certainly divine (life-giving and sustaining) nevertheless. And if God does exist, infinite divine potential is at the core of God.
We are made aware of words like extraordinariation coined by Birnbaum. What does this new word mean? According to conceptual theorist Birnbaum, the aim of the universe is not just for the ‘survival of the fittest’ or for survival of the universe or for complexity; rather, the universe/cosmos demands something that is out of the ordinary; it thirsts for that which is elusive but potentially ultimately possibly just ever-so-slightly beyond outermost reach; hence one may be tempted to say, the universe thirsts for the ever-more extraordinary – be it spirituality, destiny, splendor, opulence, beauty, perfection, humanity, truth, honor, glory, harmony or love. The universe is forever demanding more – the next level of extraordinary. This is what extraordinariation is all about; that is why Birnbaum was compelled to coin a word for this unique dynamic. Extraordinariation is an eternal quest and thirst, never quite fully quenched.
Birnbaum has managed to garner support and buttress from within the scientific community. Dr. Andrei Alyokhin, Professor of Biology and Ecology at the University of Maine has this to say “…Summa represents a bold attempt to formulate a unifying concept of the Universe.” The good doctor believes that the Quest for Potential is valid; it may be used to explain the workings of the universe even though it will need to be tested against the broader basic sciences of biology, physics and chemistry. Alyokhin then gets out front on the subject and proposes that Quest for Potential should be employed as “the working hypothesis for explaining the impetus behind the cosmic drama.”
Since 1988 David Birnbaum has been solidly proposing a dynamic universal order that is ever-evolving. A key MIT scientist Seth Lloyd, Professor of Quantum Mechanics, in 2006 proposed a quantum construct parallel to Birnbaum’s metaphysical construct. In his book entitled Programming the Universe, Lloyd says: “The history of the universe is, in effect, a huge and ongoing quantum computation. The universe is a quantum computer. This begs the question: What does the universe compute? It computes itself. The universe computes its own behavior.” Seth puts forth the idea that the particulate matters that make up the universe are busy iterating and re-engineering the universe and its component parts. This notion advances Birnbaum’s idea of a continuously evolving and iterating universal order as, according to Summa Metaphysica, all entities that make up the universe work in tandem to advance the entire schema. There is thus a 1:1 correspondence between ‘quantum mechanic’ Lloyd (2006) and conceptual theorist Birnbaum (1988 and 2005).
We deduce from the Lloyd’s 2006 work that he believes the universe to be one fully-integrated entity. Birnbaum’s paradigm – introduced earlier via his Summa Metaphysica series – is fully compatible with this notion. Birnbaum, of course takes the concept further than Lloyd and de facto wraps-around Lloyd’ schema.
Even though both Birnbaum and Lloyd buttress each other’s points, both differ in terms of the texture of the approach. While Birnbaum’s approach is organic and dynamic (and hyper-aggressively adventuresome), Lloyd’s approach is more mechanistic. Furthermore, Birnbaum would maintain that his Q4P not only nicely wraps-around Lloyd’s quantum construct – and not only ‘breathes fire’ into it, but gives it purpose and direction (extraordinariation).
Does the universe have a purpose? The entrenched academic hierarchy is quick to assert there is no purpose whatsoever to the universe and by extension, to humans. The entrenched academic hierarchy is rather fast in trashing all opinions which do not worship at the altar of Randomness and/or Decay.
In turn, Summa advocates label the Theory of Randomness as “the Emperor’s Clothes” – that is, all bluster and no substance. To its detractors, Randomness/atheism is simply a ‘house of cards, being artificially propped-up by a politically-entrenched academic group zealously protecting its turf – and employing dubious tactics to do so.
Having borne the brunt of atheistic delegitimization gambits, proponents of other schemas have no love lost for the British Randomness-atheistic crew. To ideological adversaries of Randomness, the Randomness/atheistic crew may have mastered the art of ridiculing and delegitimizing any challengers; however, they are a little weaker at actually supporting their counter-intuitive Randomness schema. Randomness-atheism quasi-fanatically posits with total and imperious conviction that our extraordinary multi-faceted and multi-layered billion+ galaxy universe materialized out-of-thin-air and has advanced-forward for billions of years – simply by chance happenstance. Objectively-speaking, they adroitly play-the-part of ‘Voodoo Metaphysica’ to Birnbaum’s seriously-crafted Summa Metaphysica.
Birnbaum’s schema is a sophisticated proposal. His Potentialism is a nuanced cross between a religious and secular approach, such that it is all-encompassing. Both a scientist and/or a believer in religion could feel comfortable with Birnbaum’s conceptual framework. That, in-and-of-itself, is quite remarkable for any philosophical paradigm.
In his masterwork Summa Metaphysica I, II and III Birnbaum indeed unifies philosophy, spirituality and science via his resonant theme of infinite divine potential. No other known published work (or concept) has hitherto been able to successfully do this – over the past several thousand years. No wonder hard-line atheist academics would like to “drive him out of town.”
DAVID BIRNBAUM PHILOSOPHY / METAPHYSICS