A Critique of David R. Hawkins and Kinesiology

DavidHawkins200 Hopefully it’s not a bad sign that this is the second somewhat negative piece I’m doing this week. I generally like to focus on positive reviews. I’d rather ignore a bad book or teacher and focus on a good one. But I’ve quoted David Hawkins before. I was in the process of reading I – Reality and Subjectivity, and was hoping to give it a good review on these pages. Then I got part-way through the book and hit a brick wall.

Let me give a brief overview on David Hawkins for those unfamiliar with him. Hawkins is a spiritual teacher who went through a profound enlightenment experience and has written eloquently about it. I quoted him in Four Easy Steps to Enlightenment. His spiritual insight is full of profound depth. I first heard about him from Wayne Dyer, who has quoted from and used his work. He also endorses, as part of his teaching, a practice called “applied kinesiology”. This is basically a muscle testing exercise. Some alternative health practitioners are familiar with it. For example, to test a person’s reaction to a particular food, they hold the food in one hand and hold the other arm straight out. Muscletest1 A tester then tries to push their arm down. The theory is that if the food is bad for you, its vibration will weaken your energy and your arm can be easily pushed down. If the food is good for you, your arm will remain strong and hard to push down. Interesting theory.

Hawkins takes this a step further. He teaches that any true/false statement can be tested with kinesiology just like a food. There is a universal consciousness which knows the answer to all questions. Your own consciousness is directly connected to this universal consciousness. When you hear (or think of) a TRUE statement, you connect with universal consciousness and your arm stays strong. When you hear or think of a FALSE statement, there is a moment of disconnection or dissonance from universal consciousness and your hand can be pushed down. In this way, you can reliably test the truth of any statement.

Using this method, Hawkins has developed a scale of consciousness, and assigns ranks on this scale to everything from books to teachers to historical figures to works of art. I’ve reproduced the scale elsewhere on my site and I still believe it is a very useful system for showing the relative position of various emotions, philosophies and views on a scale.

Now we come to the problem. I’m reading through David’s book I – Reality and Subjectivity. After some really excellent chapters on developing non-dual consciousness and transcending judgments and opposites, he starts to talk about politics and society. And here things start to get weird. In discussing World War II, he says that Hitler “calibrates” (can be placed on the scale using kinesiology) at 125 churchill(“desire”) Neville Chamberlain slightly higher at 185 (somewhere between “pride” and “courage”), and Winston Churchill at an astonishing 510 (between “love” and “joy”).

No doubt that Churchill had many excellent leadership qualities, and that Chamberlain’s attempt to appease Germany was unfortunate. But Churchill could also be an overbearing bigot. He once said “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” According to some, his racial views were little better than Hitler’s. Chamberlain on the other hand was a high-minded progressive reformer, working to reduce child labor, give workers holidays and make peace with Ireland. His fault was in failing to recognize the extent of HItler’s ambitions.

Hawkins goes on to assign high values to several socially conservative ideas and very low ones to “politically correct” ideas. Good –God, patriotism, tobacco.  Bad – welfare, reparations, pacifism, privacy laws, criticizing the president, Then things get more peculiar. Let me quote a section:

The Constitution of the United States calibrates as the highest of any nation and stands at 705…If the word “God” were removed from the Constitution, its calibrated level would drop from 705 (Truth) to 485 (Intelligence and Reason)

Uh… hold on a minute. Surely I’m not the only one who knows that the word “God” doesn’t appear in the Constitution at all. And yet Hawkins claims to have “calibrated” it with and without the word “God” in it?? And as clever as the checks and balances of the Constitution are, does a document that is basically a set of administrative rules really calibrate at the level of Divine Truth? And has he really checked the constitutions of every other country? In the same section, he announces that “The hatred of the United States by others stems solely from envy”, apparently discounting any perceived grievance any country of group may have against the United States as nothing but concealed envy.

All this is so outrageous that I would be tempted to think its some sort of bizarre “test”. If you can get past this chapter without judgment, then you can read the rest of the book. But I’m forced to conclude with Ken Wilber that being highly developed along the lines of spirituality and consciousness doesn’t necessarily mean you are highly developed in all other lines at the same time. For all Hawkins enlightenment, I think he is displaying some massive blind spots, and his “calibration” of the Constitution of the United States destroys ALL credibility in his calibration process.

Hawkins says several times that if people arrive at calibrations different than his, it invariably turns out that either they phrased the question incorrectly, OR that they themselves calibrate at too low a level. At this point, that sounds like a very convenient way of making your theories and methods un-testable and non-falsifiable.

Conclusion? I’m afraid I can’t recommend Hawkins. Whatever use kinesiology may or may not have, it’s obviously that it is useless for testing and calibrating historical figures, political documents, and I suspect anything else.

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14 thoughts on “A Critique of David R. Hawkins and Kinesiology

  1. Pingback: Dr. David Hawkins - free audio recordings - Page 2

  2. Guest

    I've just spent way too much time listening to Hawkins on Youtube.
    Here's what he says about changing the world:
    “The first thing you should do is the do the world a favor and don't try to change it.” He ends by saying “as long as there is pepsi and expresso coffee, there's nothing I want to change.”
    In other words, be complacent. What would Ghandi or MLK say to that?

  3. keithcampbell

    Yes, I hear similar things from a variety of “spiritual” teachers and sources. Wayne Dyer and the folks at “The Secret” for example. On the one hand, I've known a lot of people so caught up in a particular cause that they become bitter, angry and exhausted. On the other hand, this can all too easily be a nice excuse for people who have a lot of material advantages ignoring any social responsibility. There are plenty of things we can do to make our world better without lowering our spiritual energy.

  4. Chris

    Hawkins meant the Pledge of Alliegance, not the Constitution. Adding “under God” in 1954 does change its vibration from 485 to 705.

    Regarding Churchill, a vibration above 500 does not mean a person is PERFECT, but he certainly had the skills required to lead his country during the war. He was of course defeated in the postwar election, perhaps due to certain of his personal shortcomings.

    People who vibrate above 700 are in the realm of enlightenment and may be judged by a higher standard.

    Reverend, you see merit in Hawkins, then dismiss it all based on one inaccuracy and one misunderstanding.

    Dr Hawkins presents his world view without sugar-coating and I believe it is a great revelation for people who sincerely seek truth.

  5. Jake01

    First you need to decide what your aim is?
    Do you want to get to Heaven (540) if so continue helping people and trying to change the world.
    Do you want to attain enlightenment?
    If so forget the world and all your positionalities on how You (ego) think it should be.

    As for the trying to guess what peoples calibrations should be it is worthwhile to remember that it is a combination of their intention and the truth they have uncovered about themselves.

    Remember the Pope can calibrate in the high 500’s yet the catholic church’s stance on pedophilia is in the 100’s.
    So Winston Churchill may appear to be quite negative or have bad traits when his Will is on the correct path to bettering mankind – see Perception Vs Essence.

    It serves well to remain humble and accept ones shortcomings – I realize and accept that I am unable to see or understand anyone who calibrates above me – if I could understand and see their position I would be at their level or higher.

    As for the Doc’s calibrations I treat them as interesting and accept they are ballpark figures that are generally true – I get far more out of the the talks on Divinity as source.

    Regards, Jake.

  6. S. Settle

    Here is another test: Muscle test while looking at Dr. David Hawkins to see if he tests strong. Then look in the mirror and test your self. Then call to God or say some praise of God and test yourself again, while looking in the mirror. Are you strong yet?

    I did this very same test and Dr. Hawkins always tests strong, I only test strong, while looking in a mirror, when I am saying God’s name or a prayer. Those with Alzheimers test strong…of the two I tested. It is very interesting. Some children test strong and very few adults. All dogs and cats and some birds tested strong. One can just think of a name of a real person or his/her face and test. All or almost all test weak. Thnk maybe the ones testing strong are innocent and loving may be the ones testing strong?

    God bless us all, SS

  7. Rosesnowuk

    In regard to comments on the calibration of Chamberlain and Churchill, the writer fails to take ‘context’ into consideration: a rather serious flaw. The calibration results may be due to the overall effect on the greater good of Churchill’s life, and that of Chamberlain. Blessing on your journey brother, Rose

    1. Anonymous

      It may be that context and net result, rather than individual level, is what’s being calibrated. Of course, it might also be that the technique doesn’t work. It ought to be easy to prove one way or another, but I fear that anyone attempting to validate it who’s results were negative would be accused of being at too low a level to do the calibration.

  8. Rosesnow

    It my is my understand that Doctor Hawkins refered to the Declaration of Independence when referring to the mention of the word God being included (Truth v Falsehood). Could you please tell me where Doc Hawkins says the word God is included in the constitution?

    1. Anonymous

      The book, as discussed above, is “I- Reality and Subjectivity”, and the quote is several chapters in. It quite definitely says “The Constitution”, not the Declaration of Independence. I don’t have the book with me, but I believe you’ll find the remark easy to locate in that book.

  9. a kinesiology practitioner

    Hawkins use of muscle testing to calibrate people and documents is totally inappropriate and unprofessional.  Hawkings  misrepresents the technique.  Muscle testing as used by kinesiology practitioners is for detecting stress in the patient, be it structural and  physical, nutritional and chemical, mental and emotional stress.  The muscle test is done in a clinical context and used to guide the practitioner and help the patient to wellness. Any other conclusion such as Hawkings conclusions of the vibration of  historical figures and documents are really the stress that person had on the subject when Hawkins did the test. Any thing else is an assumption.   And yes, there actually are practitioners who train in this health modaility.  

  10. Jim

    It is funny how almost all the critics have never met Dr. Hawkins and always take some quote totally out of context changing the whole meaning. The quote is never referenced and when you do find it you find that the paragraphs preceding or following the quote totally change the context. Dr. Hawkins has also said that only 30%+- of the population in the US can actually do muscle testing. If you are going to quote somebody at least give the references.

  11. GoogleUser

    it’s false that this method is untestable & non-falsifiable. hawkins said 30% of americans are integrous (above a 200 calibration) & can therefore arrive at the right calibrations. thus, for a proper experiment, gather, say, 1000 people & give each 100 things to calibrate. if the theory is correct, the calibrations of about 700 people will be all over the place, while the calibrations of about 300 people will sync. it should be easy to pick out the 300 integrous people, as their calibrations on every single assigned item should match perfectly to each other.
    (the constitutions doesn’t say “god,” but does say “in the year of our lord” where it’s giving the date. though i’d think other countries’ constitutions say that too. i think, rather, as someone else pointed out, he meant the declaration of independence.)


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