Dowsing for God — Critique of Power vs Force by David Hawkins
With the recent popularity of books like Power vs Force by Dr. David Hawkins, it is timely to examine dowsing and the objectivism being claimed for it.
There is a lot of good info at the end of this article, so if you don't read it, it might be worth scrolling down to check it out.
For an in-depth investigation into Hawkins and his philosophy visit www.realitymaps.com/articles/2007/09-davidhawkins.html
WHETHER WE ARE SEEKING water, ley-lines, health or the answers to specific questions, dowsing has proved invaluable through the ages for connecting ourselves to a huge source of information — our own subconscious. Dowsing allows our conscious minds to draw on the greater perspective and wisdom of the unconscious; it presents a communication channel by which our subconscious can express itself to our conscious minds in as clear and unambiguous a way as possible.
We learn to dowse by teaching our subconscious a simple language — for example, move the little pendulum suspended from the right hand up and down for yes, sideways for no, and in circles for maybe. There is nothing objective about this language; we could equally well teach our subconscious to move the pendulum sideways for yes and up and down for no. The important aspect is to practice so that the subconscious learns the language that we want to use. With enough practice, this process becomes easier and easier, and in some people, they become so sensitive to the whispers of the subconscious, that they can "feel" its answers without the use of paraphernalia such as pendulums.
Another form of dowsing is muscle testing, which forms the diagnostic foundation of applied or therapeutic kinesiology. In this case, the subconscious expresses itself, not via a pendulum, but by the strength of a particular muscle group, usually the shoulder of an outstretched arm. (Kinesiology is more complicated than this and involves many energetic circuits in the body which can be directly manipulated to restore optimum function, but muscle testing remains its diagnostic foundation.)
In a standard muscle test, the person or "patient" being tested or dowsed holds out an arm parallel to the ground and resists a gentle push downwards by a second person (the tester or kinesiologist) with two fingers on the wrist area. This gives the latter a good idea of the base strength of the patient's shoulder muscles and allows any changes in muscle strength to be noted. The tester will then change the state of the patient mentally and/or physically — by asking a question out loud or having the patient hold a particular product or food — and then test the muscle again. The basic theory goes that if the muscle weakens during the second test, then that particular change of state is not vital to the person being tested. If, on the other hand, the arm remains strong or becomes even stronger than usual, then that change of state is a beneficial one.
I remember years ago as a teenager going to the English kinesiologist, Brian Butler. He told me that I had a particular food allergy, something that no doctor had been able to tell me, and with this information I quickly returned to full health. Muscle testing not only works, it can be adequately performed by anybody with almost no training, although a fuller understanding of all the principles of kinesiology can take many years to learn. There is no doubt that kinesiology is of huge therapeutic benefit.
What muscle testing, pendulum work and other forms of dowsing do is to allow us to "interview" our own or another's subconscious mind. The more we trust, practice and let go to these methods, the clearer and more consistent the communication. We become adepts at the language of the subconscious, and the information we learn greater and greater trust in the information that we receive. (I know of water dowsers in Ireland that are spot on every time when looking for where to sink a well, which is just as well as a mistake in location would be very costly in time and money.)
Some people, however, claim that these whisperings of the subconscious can potentially give us a method to determine absolute or objective truth to questions relating to matter beyond the health and vitality of the body. Recently, a book called Power vs Force has appeared on the New Age book shelves, and its author, ex-psychiatrist Dr. David Hawkins, has begun a whole program to calibrate "truth" on a scale of 1 to 1000. So for example, he and his team of muscle testers claims that Jesus calibrates at 1000, Mahayana Buddhism at 960, the Koran at 720, love at 500, reason at 400, fear at 100 and shame at 20. 85% of the world's population, according to Hawkins, calibrates at under 200 — the threshold of integrity.
In a post modern world of relativism and uncertainty, the ordered and simple objectivism that this book promotes is refreshing and reassuring. We all love to feel that there is an absolute scale on which to measure things because it takes out much of life's constant guess work and gives us a strong element of safety. The meaning we assign to things is pre-packaged and we can live our lives within a framework of quantification. (The left brain loves calibration!)
Whilst Hawkins' work is interesting and raises some challenging questions, what is concerning is that few in the "New Age" and progressive communities seem to question it. For example, a recent article published on Dr. Hawkins and his work in Kindred Spirit magazine does not challenge any of Hawkins' assertions. The author appears to have swallowed Hawkins's work hook, line and sinker. And yet, the paradigm that Hawkins is promoting is not as healthy as it seems, and could even be a huge step-back in our spiritual development. (Part of the reason nobody criticises his work may well be fear of judgment — criticism may get them calibrated below 200.)
The first clue to the shortcomings of Hawkins' calibration theory is his intellectualism: Force vs Power is a very dry read. Whenever something relatively simple is presented in an intellectual and scientific manner way beyond what is necessary or justifiable, you know that you may well be staring at a nude emperor. Gregg Braden did it with his new work the God Code, and Hawkins does it with his simple muscle testing implications. What happens is that the overly intellectual and scientific context in which a theory is presented ends up giving it a high standing in the eyes of ordinary people, because it is so easy for the authority of the scientific context to bleed into the unsubstantiated nature of the content. So you get a situation whereby the only criticism for works like these comes from those conversant in science — which is mostly the scientific establishment. And "they" would criticise such cutting-edge alternative research, wouldn't they!
The irony here is that Richard Beaumont, in his Kindred Spirit article, uses Hawkins' smokescreen of intellectualism as an indication that his work must have value because, "all truth, it seems to me, is protected from the uninitiated. Barriers are erected that can only be overcome by years of dedicated spiritual practice." So by implication, Richard can get past Hawkins' intellectual barriers and recognize the value of his work because of his years of dedicated spiritual practice. Well, I am sorry Richard, but you could just as well be someone scolding the little boy because he is so deluded as to think the emperor might have no clothes on. (Throughout history spiritual truths were often hidden because you could get killed for your beliefs, but more often than not these days they are lying on a deckchair getting a tan, whilst a distracted world passes them by.)
If you strip down Hawkins' work to its bare essentials, you have a man that is basically dowsing for God. He is taking the whisperings of the subconscious as absolute measure of all things, even something as abstract as "truth". But surely, to understand whether this is justified, we need to understand what the subconscious is and what truth is. Without examining these terms, we end up making meaningless assertions, such as Hawkins' "a cat's purr calibrates at 500".
The subconscious mind (sometimes called collectively the unconscious), by definition, is that part of ourselves that we are not consciously aware of. It keeps all our bodily functions working smoothly, heals us when we are sick, makes us ill when we are unhappy, etc. It is the part that paints our dreams, speaks to us in myths and symbols, and gives meaning to our thoughts. To become whole, wise and mature human beings, we have to acknowledge all of ourselves, and as most of who we are is below the conscious threshold, that means we have to embrace our subconscious. There is no other way. This is why love and acceptance for ourselves is so important, without it we end up rejecting or denying parts of ourselves that we do not like, which subsequently become unconscious. (They are unconscious precisely because we disown them!)
The subconscious holds a lot of information about us that the conscious mind is unaware of. From a purely physical perspective, the bandwidth of our senses far exceeds that which our conscious minds can cope with, so there is a massive filtering and approximating process going on. Actual studies of perception show that our conscious minds can only be aware of 2000 bits of the 400,000 bits of information that impinge on our senses per second. This means that we are filtering out about 99.5% or more of our experience, and if we can get in touch with our subconscious, then we have access to a lot more information. There is nothing necessarily magical or psychic here — the subconscious mind picks up so much information that it is often aware of subtle clues that our conscious minds are not. So, for example, a water dowser may unconsciously be picking up certain environmental features that indicate sub-surface water, features that he is not conscious of. (That said, the subconscious is also the channel through which we receive psychic impressions so we can never be certain of the source of its information.)
The subconscious is also where you find all the disowned parts of ourselves. The "good" person will therefore find many qualities that he or she would label as "bad" in the subconscious. That is why many people don't like looking below the surface of their conscious minds — they are afraid as to what they might find.
Because many diverse cultures and civilisations have and continue to share similar symbols and myths, some believe that at some level all our subconscious minds are connected in some way — that there is a universal human mind. The great psychologist, Carl Jung, was a proponent of this "collective unconscious", and he used its wisdom to great effect in dream work and other analysis that he did with his patients. He knew that working with the subconscious is instrumental to our mental and spiritual growth, and once wrote, "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." However, working with the subconscious and acknowledging the universality of many of its symbols and myths is very different from stating that it has an rigid or objective landscape. Jung himself would have baulked at such a suggestion.
When we work with the subconscious, we do so in full understanding that we are dealing with the subjective landscape, one in which the meaning we give things changes with different perspective, and in which we learn the humility of realizing that our "truth" may not be the truth of others. The primary rule in dealing with subconscious material is not to take it literally but creatively. This is why dreams, for example, take a little interpreting — we know that it is speaking to us in symbols and that any attempt of understanding dreams requires that we creatively explore what the symbols mean to us. The value of our interactions with the subconscious is precisely because it is a subjective experience: we are learning to interact with ourselves and our own energies.
Hawkins, however, uses the simple dowsing technique of muscle testing to cajole the subconscious into manufacturing an objective reality (an anathema to its nature), complete with a calibrated frame of reference. His work is based on the following five assumptions:
- Muscle testing of certain individuals (those with calibrations over 200) is infallible, or at least infallible enough to absolutely calibrate "subjective" comparisons such as the level of truth in various statements. In other words, the whisperings of our subconscious, provided we have integrity, can be taken as gospel. (Any method of absolute calibration must, by definition, itself be absolute.)
- Any disagreement in calibration by different individuals is either due to one or more of those individuals not have integrity (ie. calibrate below 200) or to the fact that we can only calibrate in the "now" and things have changed. (Or, the right questions are not being asked.)
- Any consensus in calibration by different individuals is due to the objective and absolute nature of the calibrations themselves. It is not due to cultural similarities, physical, mental or spiritual entrainment, telepathy and/or shared delusion.
- Dr. David Hawkins and his books calibrate extremely highly… and so they are as close to truth as you are going to get. (Power vs Force, according to Hawkins, calibrates at 850, which is higher than the Bible or the Koran, or indeed almost anything else ever written by a human being.)
- We intuitively know what is meant by a particular calibration, even though it is sometimes used as a measure of truth, sometimes as a measure of energy, sometimes as a measure of safety and sometimes as a measure of spirituality.
These five assumptions are never directly stated. That would be too punishing to the theory because they are actually very difficult to justify. Rather, they are quietly assumed whilst focus is concentrated almost entirely on their implications.
Most leading medical kinesiologists would actually disagree with Hawkins' first assumption. Muscle testing is not infallible in anybody. At best, it accurately shows what the particular patient being testing believes, although kinesiologists are well aware of the presence of false positives and reversed patients. When you deal with the subconscious, nothing is straightforward. Hawkins' framework allows him to basically select only those people for his calibration program that are likely to agree with him. After all, any disagreements in calibration can be explained away by the second assumption.
The third assumption is an interesting one. Just because there is agreement amongst a group of people does not mean that what they are agreeing must necessarily be objective. For example, many of the symbols in our dreams are shared because of our shared cultural heritage, or perhaps even because of our collective unconscious. We all intuitively know that love must be a higher vibration than hate, or that the Bible is a higher vibration than Peanuts (although some might disagree with that!). But that is very different from assigning to symbols and meanings fixed calibrated values. It is similar to the difference from using absolute dream interpretations written in a dream dictionary, and doing the deeper work to interpret what the symbols and images mean for us. The first may show us some of the way, but to actually walk the path to greater consciousness we have to do the subjective work of individualising these symbols and integrating them into our unique mosaic of being. There is nothing objective about this. In fact, those people stuck in left-brain thinking are notoriously unproductive with dream work because their rigidity precludes the process of subjective flow and free association that is needed.
Also, whenever a group of people work closely together (we are not necessarily talking about distance here but mindset), there is a natural tendency to corroborate each other's work, especially in this case whereby corroboration is itself integral to the work. That is why, when scientific researchers get stuck on a problem, they will often call in someone from outside their group to give a whole new perspective. Otherwise, there is a strong possibility of collective delusion, where each person's emotional stake in belonging to the group can cloud objectivity. This is not necessarily dishonesty, just the strong and usually unconscious desire to maintain the group and its raison d'etre above any evidence that damages it. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Hawkins's group can appear consistent and "objective" in their calibrations.
The fourth assumption is an absolute necessity. Hawkins' own work must itself calibrate extremely highly, otherwise the theory collapses. But not too highly so that it becomes unbelievable. 850 out of 1000, which is what Power vs Force calibrates at, seems about right from a credibility point of view, allowing him the authority to comment on the veracity of almost all other works. (As happens with most fundamentalists, his self-delusion and hubris is increasing as he collects followers, and this has given him the confidence to calibrate his subsequent books higher and higher. In fact, he calibrates his third book I: Reality and Subjectivity at 999.8! Where do you go from there?)
The fifth assumption results from the process of calibration itself. Calibration is a one dimensional measurement of a system — reality — that is at least three dimensional (most would say multi-dimensional). Whenever you calibrate a system with a model which has less dimensions than the system itself, then you automatically get huge distortions and losses of information. Physicists today need at least 13 dimensions to calibrate physical reality, and yet, Hawkins believes he can calibrate the more complicated abstract concept of truth with just one. The result is that he ends up interchanging terms and meanings because this single calibration scale is so hard to fit with the complexity of real experience.
Truth is central to Hawkins' motivation for developing his system. In his world view, he sees humankind's inability to distinguish between truth and falsehood as its basic defect — a defect that he believes muscle testing will compensate for. He believes that by returning to a "Newtonian" framework of absolute objectivity, which is in essence what he has done, he can get rid of the modern relativism and postmodernism that many of us in modern societies have to reluctantly face.
But the level of truth of a statement depends entirely on whether we can verify it for ourselves, or how much we accept the authority of the person making the statement. If for example, our government tells us that a particular country has weapons of mass destruction, and we are unable to verify this for ourselves, we have to decide whether the government is believable — and considering its track record for poor intelligence, spin and outright lies, we would probably rate the truth level of its claim very low. But what does it mean to say that, for example, a cat's purr has a higher level of truth than the average person? It is only true for us if we fully accept all five of Hawkins' assumptions and the integrity of his work. I have little doubt that Hawkins believes he has integrity, and that his motivation is for the greater good, but that of course does not mean that I accept what he proposes.
Another point that has to be made is that the level of truth of something is different for us at different times. If we suppress a lot of anger, then anger for us is not necessarily a low vibration, but a doorway that, when expressed harmlessly, will lead us to greater integration and wholeness. As Jung once stated, "I would rather be a whole person than a good person." Hawkins, on the other hand, would probably rather be a good person (good = a high vibratory rate) than a whole person (containing all vibrations). He has forgotten the power of perspective and context, and in his drive to set up an objective calibration of truth he closes the door to true soul work.
Hawkins wants to unite humankind in an absolute framework of truth. He wants to convince the world that HIS truth is THE objective truth, and he does this by presenting simple muscle-testing as the arbiter of all things. This makes him, by definition, a fundamentalist, and one that is driven by that same fundamentalist drive to convince all people of his reality — a one dimensional calibration of truth from 1 to 1000. (The calibration of God and the Angels goes much higher than this in his cosmology, but 1000 is the highest vibrational rate for this world.)
Fundamentalists often do have more energy or zeal than relativists because they are so driven to justify their reality above all others'. Hawkins confuses this fundamentalist zeal with "high spiritual energy", and uses it to further justify the "positive" impact of his work on the world. It is standard mid-West "bible thumping" — the call of the proselytizer. He mixes his calibration theory with standard motivational psychology (using the vernacular borrowed from chaos theory — the attractor) to flesh out a whole psychological system — after all, pure calibration and the diagnosis of all things would never quite be enough to hold its weight in a society obsessed by self-help books and workshops.
Hawkins makes a revealing statement in the Kindred Spirit article when he describes individuals of low consciousness saying, "People at this level love to be right and make everyone else wrong." But that is exactly what he is doing with his calibration. For someone to be right and another wrong, truth has to be absolute, not relative. Once again, that is the position of the religious fundamentalist — truth is always on his or her side. And from this perspective, because we know THE truth, we are no longer interested in finding the truths of others so we can build a bridge with them. We are sure of our position and the position of others because we hold the absolute rule by which all things are measured.
There are so many inconsistencies in Hawkins' work, words and conclusions that I am very surprised so few have brought them up (a couple are mentioned in the addendum to this article). Hawkins is no mystic, master or seer, but a spiritual fundamentalist, in every sense of the word, who has hijacked the therapeutic process of muscle testing as a means to justify his rigid beliefs. And his disguised fundamentalism seems to be evoking little resistance from the spiritual and New Age communities that now seem largely to champion him.
What happened to the wisdom of relativism? It should be fairly obvious for those who have looked below the surface of things that the future peace, integrity and spiritual evolution of humanity does not lie in fundamentalist positions but in relativism, for when we realize that there are no absolute scales and measures of things (such as Hawkins' contrived calibration system), we have no alternative but to listen to and respect each others' truth. And we no longer need to defend our own truth by trying to convince another because we understand that truth is relative. In this way we learn to open our hearts to others because we are not being blinded by certainty or ideology. (Nobody can be as short-sighted or as cruel as the fundamentalist, because he or she always puts ideology before people.)
Hawkins' view of reality is not only dependent upon several unjustified assumptions, even from a pragmatic point of view, it actually offers us very little, deluding us into thinking that an individual's level of truth and integrity is objectively measured, and has little to do with our interaction with that person. We all know that how we treat a person often determines their behaviour, so that even from a pragmatic point of view it is better not to calibrate — for calibration unequivocally leads to judgment. (An absolute calibration of truth, after all, is a judgment of truth by definition.)
A better understanding of the subconscious and the limits to its "truth" can be gleaned from the Huna spiritual philosophy of the Hawaiians. From their perspective, each of us is comprised of three parts: the lower, subconscious self or unihipili; the middle, conscious self or uhane; and the higher, superconscious self or Aumakua. Although the lower self is like a child, paradoxically it is generally better connected with the higher self than the conscious mind, which is why we can potentially find such wisdom and opportunity by examining the subconscious. But we can also find delusion and darkness in the subconscious too, which is also an integral part of ourselves. In the Huna philosophy, the idea is to ultimately make a direct connection between the conscious self and the higher self, rather than having to pick up scraps of truth through the subconscious. When that happens, we give up all conceptual frameworks like calibration and live entirely in the present.
So dowsing certainly has its place and is invaluable as a diagnostic tool. But anyone who tries to use it as an infallible method to determine absolute truth will quickly find himself mired in a world of delusion. And this is exactly where Dr. David Hawkins has put himself and his followers, as have other dowsers through the ages. The temptation to interpret the whisperings of the subconscious as the whisperings of God can be all too irresistible for many, especially those with a tendency for fundamentalism.
Of course, Hawkins is not alone in his dowsing delusions: there are many people out there claiming objective truth on the back of a dowsing technique. For example, recently I spoke to a healer called Dez who uses the pendulum to diagnose his patients. Dez classifies his patients as to how many lifetimes they have so far lived — he believes that each of us need 21 lives before we gain enough wisdom and understanding to leave this plane of existence. If you ask him how he knows this he will tell you that he discovered it through his pendulum. Dez himself is, of course, on his final lifetime, just as Hawkins' work calibrates above that of almost every other human being: both have to have inflated opinions of their own spiritual development because they are setting themselves up as arbiters of truth. Dez will cure you of "a serious illness" without you even knowing that you had it in the first place, just as Hawkins will determine your level of truth without even needing to consult you. Is this fact or delusion? There is no way for us to tell… we either believe it and accept their opinions, or we don't.
What is most disconcerting about men like Hawkins and Dez is that to interact with them you are forced to acquiesce in their delusional reality. If you are a fundamentalist too, then you either share their belief systems or reject them and walk away. If, however, you are a relativist or peacemaker, then you reluctantly share their belief system for the purposes of trying to connect with them, all the while feeling more and more uncomfortable as they push you further into their closed world view. Dez, for example, interprets any event and any illness according to his world view corroborated by his pendulum, completely taking away his patients' power to define their own illness and what it means to them. Dez knows because Dez dowses for God. (Ultimately of course, we are responsible to not give our power to these sorts of people in the first place, although it is difficult if you are a "people person" and accept their delusion as a means of connection.)
Interestingly, Dez has not always been consistent with his world view because he does not write things down. So I have a friend who rang him on two different occasions during which he told her that she was on different life numbers, and to me he has given conflicting information on several occasions. However, as relativists, neither of us pointed out these inconsistencies for the purpose of maintaining a good relationship. (Relativists are instinctively aware of the conditional nature of a fundamentalist's acceptance of another.)
And that is the irony of Hawkins' Power vs Force: if you subscribe to his calibrated world then you give away your power to define your own reality and to determine your own meanings in life — a prerequisite on our journey to wholeness and integration. You end up polarizing experience into high and low calibrations, forgetting that both the light and the dark are needed for true integration and individuation. Nobody else can do this for us; nobody else can supply us with the symbols and meaning that we need, whether it is with their intuition, a pendulum or a muscle test. We have to have the courage to walk our own path.
Fundamentalists like Hawkins and Dez actually scupper our spiritual growth and our journey to wholeness because we allow them to take away our opportunity to learn that we create our own realities and that we assign all meaning to that reality. Instead, the gold of subjectivity is swapped for the base-metal of pseudo-objectivity, and in the process we unwittingly become accomplices in perpetrating fundamentalist delusions.
So we have a choice. We either take full responsibility for the reality we create, our relationship to that reality, and our interpretation of that reality… or we pussyfoot around in someone else's objective delusion — a delusion propped up merely by a dowsing technique. Only the first leads to true wisdom and wholeness. And only the first gives us the opportunity to reach spiritual maturity.
For an in-depth investigation into Hawkins and his philosophy visit www.realitymaps.com/articles/2007/09-davidhawkins.html.
Link updates April 2007 - (thank you PP)
What to submit a report on your own experience? Visit: www.freedomofmind.com/forms/submitgroupinfo.htm
19 Mar 06: This article still gets more feedback than almost any other article I have written. Most of the emails are from Hawkins' supporters, incensed that someone should be so dismissive of their teacher and his philosophy. I firmly believe that Hawkins' calibration worldview is religious fundamentalism disguised as science, and the nature of the criticisms I receive bear this out: specific points and objections are not discussed, but rather the disciple, in the spirit of his teacher, rants on about my ignorance and my low calibration… all classic fundamentalism.
Having learned the hard way that it is a complete waste of time trying to talk reason with a fundamentalist, I no longer bother to reply to emails from Hawkins' supporters, for their authors are almost invariably not after mutual understanding but symbolic annihilation of anything and anyone that opposes their ideology. Only one single Hawkins supporter has shown me any level of politeness, but by the time I received his email (just a month ago, thanks Jon) I had had so much time wasted that I declined the invitation for yet another "debate".
Here are a few of the many emails I receive on this topic:
Link recommendation received 01/Feb/07 - Thanks P
Check out this review of Hawkins' book Truth Versus Falsehood. Truth vs Falsehood Review
Email received on the 05/Apr/06 from S with thanks:
I thought you might be interested in this, too:
Dr. Carroll of Skeptic's Dictionary updated his applied kinesiology entry to include a more extensive reference of Hawkins. http://skepdic.com/akinesiology.html
Also worth checking out: http://forum.rickross.com/viewtopic.php?t=1972
* * *
From Dialogues on Consciousness and Spirituality:
"Y [interviewer]: About this part, I have a couple of questions. At that moment, did you have a family? Were they worried about you?
"DH: Yes. And there was this miraculous change, but there was nothing I could say about it. There is nothing one can say about such things. They are so far-reaching and of such a dimension, and so far beyond originally human experience that there is nothing one can say. One could not just walk down the sidewalk and say, "Hey, by the way. I just got enlightened yesterday." And the other person would say, "Yeah, right, sure. Does it pay anything?"
"Now everything is transformed and there is absolutely nothing one can say about it. It was like the inner part of me - whatever had been my individual self - was struck dumb with awe. It was awesome beyond all meaning of the word - to be the witness of the presence of that which is in its naked expression as all of existence.
"Although the mind is stopped, one is at one with all that is known, so there is, in the instant, the experience of those attributes of God described as omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. The power is infinite. The knowingness is also infinite. All things are known. It does not mean that all things are denoted by the intellect because one would have to have an interest in such things. It is like, in the presence of omniscience, all things are knowable; therefore, one does not bother knowing about the specific.
"Once you know how to make gold, there is no point in collecting it any more. There is no point in collecting information. It is like you have the infinite computer of all possibility, so if there is anything you would want to know, all you would have to do is ask. And in that state, what do you suppose you ask? Nothing. There is nothing to ask! To ask a question is coming out of ignorance, is it not? In the presence of omniscience, there is no ignorance, so there is nothing to ask. So if you ask me what question would I like to know, there isn't any, to tell the truth. There isn't any answer I'm interested in, except to demonstrate [with applied kinesiology] for a viewer."
* * *
I forgot, I wanted to mention that on one of the interviews on Beyond the Ordinary with Hawkins, he says he used to believe in global warming, then he tested with AK (on his wife/partner, I'm sure) and discovered that in fact global warming is not true. Humans could never do anything to harm the earth, he says (or some similar statement). He believes rising temperature is due to solar flares, or something. Clearly I do not need to express how ludicrous this is with you. He mentions how people like to stand up to driving SUV's as a sort of ego mechanism. Lunacy at its finest.
He also claims to track Osama Bin Laden with AK (too bad he doesn't offer that info to the US government), and many other ridiculous things. Anyway, there is too much to mention. The environmental issue seems key though. Oh, another idiotic premise is that women cannot reach full enlightenment and need to reincarnate with a man's body! The energy is too powerful for a woman's body. I do not even know what he is talking about… Did he read Ramana Maharshi, or just reference him to look good? Further, the Buddha said enlightenment is available to women, of course, and Jesus' main follower was perhaps Mary Magdalene. Etc., etc., ad infinitum. If I ever had the time I could write a whole book on Hawkins' spiritual and scientific failings.
Email received on the 13/Nov/05 from S with thanks:
I wanted to send some links that also mention him from Dr. Robert Carroll of The Skeptic's Dictionary.
http://skepdic.com/akinesiology.html applied kinesiology
http://www.skepdic.com/news/newsletter58.html#3 "Dr. Doctor David Hawkins' AK Quakery" from the Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter 58.
Info at wikipedia too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_R_Hawkins (see the discussion page too)
He got his Ph.D. from a diploma mill.
Email received from N.B. on 27/Nov/05 with thanks:
I am concerned that this man is nothing more than a machiavellian disinformation merchant.
I have read most of this book (smelt a rat before completing), and listened to a number of interviews on his website. He ridicules the UFO phenomenon (which is sad due to the evidence of something very strange going on), is condescending to other spiritual commentators and sounds very smug and self centred in speaking. He does not appear at all spiritual or wise.
He also promotes right wing propaganda. He seems to suggest that all the inequities in our world are down to the low level of the masses. This ignores the truth about the oppression of the masses for millennia. In addition a system based on manipulations of the masses in so many ways throughout history and so a wicked legacy, thus is not actually a highly spiritual thing at all.
He also makes positive comment with ref to George Bush and Walmart. This man is not only ignorant, he is dangerous and I feel (calibrates at 1000 for me) that he is part of that dark side of our world that works (and has always been) hard to keep us all in chains.
Email received from J.D. on the 10/Oct/05 with thanks:
I am not a devotee of David Hawkins, but I have recently read some of his books. I am an intelligent and well read person and my opinion is well informed. Your blurb about him is not even close to the truth. He is equally critical of Religious Fundamentalism and New Age Flakiness. His positions on important issues are identical to those of the greatest teachers of the Great Tradition of Esoteric Spirituality. Whoever wrote your assessment could not have actually studied his teaching.
No need to respond.
Editor: I did respond to J.D. to see if there was any substance in his criticism of the article. But no matter how much I pushed him for specific points of criticism, he would completely ignore my questions and fall back on the "I'm really intelligent and evolved and I think the article is BS" routine. In his final email he came up with this classic paragraph:
I… really am well read and have been involved in serious spiritual practice and service for 30 years. … my worldview would be consistent with what has been called "The Great Tradition, The Perennial Philosophy, The Ageless Wisdom, The Primordial Tradition, The Unchanging Testament, which reveals an unprecedented Universally held worldview, agreed upon by most of those considered to be great teachers, masters, avatars, etc. such as The Buddha, Huang Po, Jesus, Krishna, Yogannanda, Krishnamurti, Meister Eckart, Sufi Masters, Ken Wilber, The Dali Lama, Plotinus, Kabir, Rumi, Lao Tzu, Echart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, and credible contemporary consciousness researchers, regression therapists, channelers, and reincarnation researchers such as Ian Stevenson at the U. of West Virginia, and Trutz Hardo in Germany. I have studied all of the above and hundreds more. I am convinced after reading Hawkins Trilogy that his worldview fits very comfortably within this Great Tradition and therefore if he is "bogus" then most of the above mentioned would have to be considered "ignorant" also.
Of course when I challenged him to tell me how Hawkins' absolute calibration fits in with the philosophy of just one of the the above teachers, he didn't reply. J.D.'s emails, which at first looked substantial and are typical of the criticisms I have received, ended up full of hot air. Again I wasted my time trying to be reasonable to a fundamentalist.
The above article is not there to dissuade individuals from using dowsing methods. Dowsing really does work and is extremely useful for making conscious unconscious information. Problems only arise when the information received is taken absolutely.
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Like any fundamentalist, Hawkins seems completely naïve both philosophically and ecologically. Asked in Kindred Spirit magazine whether eating meat is okay, he states, "Every deer that has died for my life, I have sanctified, and it has sanctified itself." Forget the idealism of hunter and hunted that the Native American's once embodied and that many of us on the spiritual path can certainly respect, the meat we eat today is a product of modern slaughter houses, and you can be assured that there is nothing remotely noble or sanctifying about these modern killing factories. For him, killing is just an illusion because "Death is not possible." In other words, killing is not killing if you think it isn't. So you are free to kill if you realize the immortality of the soul, a position that comes wholly from ideology and not the heart. If you love, you will do everything you can to avoid causing the suffering of another; you will avoid it because suffering of another is your own suffering as love has bound you together.
Hawkins then tries to justify his diet by saying that, "Every time I eat a steak, I bring another steer into existence." In doing so he demonstrates blind ignorance of the global ecological impact of the meat industry. Forget calibration, we are talking about the future of the planet and minimising the suffering of all beings. Eating a steak is NOT a life-promoting act whatever way you look at it… in its production it destroys rainforest, uses up huge quantities of water, erodes top-soil, produces dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases, encourages the use of pesticides, hormones and GM technology, and is responsible for a host of modern degenerative diseases. Are we really to assume that the steer spirit is limited to our production lines for expression? (He already states that there is little difference between the living and the dead because we are all immortal anyway, so any steer's need to experience life shouldn't be confined to the here and now.)
These sort of naive absolute statements that Hawkins makes are typical of fundamentalists who have placed ideology before heart in the interests of their blind pseudo-objectivity. I am not saying that meat eating is indefensible or wrong, but I am saying that it is indefensible in this manner (there are plenty of vegetarians who are also fundamentalist in their beliefs). When questioned like this, Hawkins to me does not sound like a wise man, but a man trying to interpret the complexity of life with a simple and inadequate road map. It is time that all of us in the spiritual and New Age movements start seeing that this emperor really is wearing no clothes.
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Numerous people have pointed out to me that Hawkins completely abuses the mathematics and physics in his book. He consistently refers to his calibration scale as "logarithmic" when it is in fact "exponential"; he uses the term "critical point" when referring to his exponential scales, when an exponential graph by definition cannot have a critical or "flat" point; and he uses leading-edge scientific terminology such as "chaos theory" and "attractors" in contexts that only demonstrate undeniable scientific and mathematical ignorance… which is rather strange considering that he calibrates his own books as the most "truthful" ever published.