Can You Dowse For “Truth”?
I saw a post on Facebook today about “Power vs. Force”, and I found myself writing an impassioned response. As soon as I got two paragraphs into it, I deleted it. I knew it wouldn't make a difference. Facebook isn't a place for discussion or debate. But the troubling nature of the post lingered with me all day, and finally, I decided I had to put something in writing to present another view.
The Facebook post I am referring to mentioned David Hawkins' book “Power vs. Force” with an almost reverential tone. Awe was expressed for the scale described in the book which puts a number on the ‘truth' of something from 0 to 1000. In the application of this scale, ‘truth' seems to also be defined as ‘good', because they go on to apply the scale to people and things that have nothing to do with ‘true' or ‘false'.
The first problem I have with Hawkins' thesis is that it is based on the assumption that there is objective ‘Truth'. The assumption of objective truth is a matter of faith, one that is neither proven nor accepted by all people. The book therefore is promoting a religion, not science, as he would like to have you believe. I'm not against religions, but I don't care for religious zealotry, and presenting unproven assertions as “Truth” comes across like ‘the one true faith' claims of old religions.
A disturbing assumption Hawkins makes is that muscle testing (a form of dowsing) can determine philosophical, objective Truth (if it exists) accurately 100% of the time. It is implied in “Power vs. Force” that people ‘higher' on the scale are always able to dowse accurately. (Reminds me of “Animal Farm”; all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others). So even if you accept his first shaky assumption that there is objective truth, you have to then accept another unproven one, which is that dowsing this ‘truth' is 100% accurate when done by certain special people. I can assure you this is a fallacy.
The last assertion you must accept on faith is that Hawkins is one of those special people whose dowsing is always accurate. How do we know? He dowsed it to be true. You must accept that on faith.
The whole thing is appallingly like a religion or cult of personality to me, because it is faith-based and centered around a single person and his beliefs, rather than teaching people to find their own “Truth”. Yet in spite of the total lack of evidence and logic, it seems to attract a great deal of interest.
Followers Don't Think; They Believe
The passion of those who subscribe to Hawkins' scale is based on a need to feel safe in a world of chaos and confusion. Objective truth is very attractive, especially to people who are fearful and judgmental. Nothing works better for fearful, judgmental people than having a scale you can dowse and say, “Look, I'm an enlightened being, but you are not.” Plus it's so much easier to dowse that something is true or false than to actually think about it.
I know this sounds like a blanket judgment against any who adopt Hawkins' methods, but I say this from having observed over and over how Hawkins' followers talk. In every single case, they see themselves as fairly high on the scale. Yes, isn't it interesting that the scale is used to judge people, not just facts? How can a person be “True”? Apparently, truth is a high vibration and falsehood is low, and so we can assign numbers to people. And it's interesting that I have never heard any of his followers saying they are low on the scale. (Granted, there are exceptions to any generalization, but they must be few and far between, because I haven't seen them.)
I find the practice of dowsing and labeling other people without permission judgmental, simplistic and unethical. Judgmental, because no one has the right to set themselves up as God. Simplistic, because it acts like humans are not complex combinations of good and bad energies, as if they are one or the other. And unethical because it's not all right to invade someone's private space and dowse about personal matters that are none of your business.
I have observed on numerous occasions that adherents of “Power vs. Force” see those they dislike or disagree with as being lower on the scale. I have no doubt that if one of his followers reads this article, I will be assigned a number below 200. Not that I care, because I think the scale is pure bunk. But one should ask the question, why are only people who agree with someone ‘high' vibration? Doesn't that sound like a cult?
It is human nature to try and validate oneself, and having a scale of measurement is a useful tool for that purpose, but I don't believe Hawkins' system is accurate or useful. I disagree that measuring and labeling other people is appropriate. And I certainly don't believe doing so leads to my own personal growth. It encourages focusing outward instead of inward for creating change. It focuses on judgment instead of personal growth.
It's very hard to engage religious zealots in debate about their beliefs. Since they have accepted them on faith, and since in many cases they tie that faith to believing all the words of their ‘prophet', followers tend to get passive-aggressive if you ask them to think. They don't think it's fair that you put them on the spot.
I remember a situation in our Facebook dowsing group that highlights this attitude and is merely one example of many similar situations I faced when trying to stimulate discussions. A follower of Raymon Grace commented on a link to a blog post I put in the group. She said that Raymon showed them to dowse for the truth of things (I am repeating this secondhand, but no one argued against what she claimed, so it appears Raymon Grace subscribes to Hawkins' system or one like it), and that the article I posted dowsed as only 12% true.
I admit to being a bit offended right off the bat. The article was an opinion piece I wrote for the purpose of stimulating discussion, not a representation of facts as such. Therefore, there was no question of ‘truth' about it, not as I define truth. The article was a truthful representation of my opinion, which I made no claim was objective “Truth”.
I asked the person to explain what she meant by “Truth”, and she couldn't (or wouldn't). When I asked what part of the article did not ring true to her, she replied that she had not read the article; she had just dowsed the truth of it. This floored me. That someone would assume their dowsing such a low number was accurate when they didn't even have the interest to read the article, and then publish that unsubstantiated opinion in a public forum, indicated an attitude of irresponsibility I simply cannot fathom. Yet I have seen behavior like that quite often.
When I told the woman I thought it made sense for her to read the article and then discuss her own opinion instead of dowsing it wasn't true without reading it, she left the group. This type of passive-aggressive behavior repeatedly occurred when I asked certain group members to express themselves and use critical thinking about their strongly held, faith-based dowsing beliefs.
You can guess from what I've said that I do not feel that dowsing has any appropriate place in this type of activity. No dowsing is 100% accurate, and it is extremely egotistical to claim you are a fountain of truth. And in my opinion, it is unethical (and just plain mean) to use a system like that to judge others and then publicize it as “Truth” because you dowsed it.
What can we expect, though? People have taken Hawkins' example and run with it. Hawkins stated his book is 850 on a scale of 1000, way above the Bible or Koran. Of course, logically, it would have to rank high to be regarded as worth reading. In other words, I doubt that dowsing or muscle testing had anything to do with his answer of 850. He couldn't have written the book if it tested at 150, because then, no one would pay attention to it. Thus he gave the example of using ‘dowsed' numbers to support an opinion, and others have followed it to its logical conclusion.
In my opinion, this is an excellent case of someone using dowsing to prop up their personal beliefs. In such a case, the person is not really dowsing, as they aren't open to getting a surprising or unwanted answer. They are getting the answer they need or want to get.
Hawkins' followers and those who preach his method are damaging dowsing in so many ways I can't even think where to start. I think those of us who disagree with “Power vs. Force” need to become more expressive of our opinions. We need to build an ethical, reasonable and practical picture of dowsing to counteract the hoo-ha.
Does “Power vs. Force” Misrepresent Dowsing?
To become good at archery, you shoot at a target and measure your results. Then you tweak your technique to get better. If you don't set up a target, and you just shoot a bunch of arrows, how do you know your technique is good? How can you tell if you are improving? You can't.
The logical conclusion to draw is that people who spend a lot of time on intangible target dowsing can't know (and probably don't really want to know) their own accuracy. They can dowse 100 people or things each day on Hawkins' scale, and it's like shooting arrows at nothing. They never get any confirmation of their results. They think a high number for themselves (which they dowse) is proof of accurate dowsing. They fail to understand that is circular reasoning of the worst kind.
I have a theory: They either just want to dabble with dowsing or they have an agenda and can't afford the luxury of accurate answers that might contradict their personal beliefs. Dowsing to them is nothing more than a tool to support their existing beliefs.
I object to that. In taking this attitude, they are damaging the public's perception of dowsing and the credibility of real dowsing. What they are doing is not dowsing. It's New Age smoke and mirrors.
David Hawkins' book “Power vs. Force” is an excellent example of a belief system based on intangible target dowsing. Nothing in his book is verifiable.
People like me, who find the entire thesis of “Power vs. Force” appalling, usually keep their opinions to themselves. They are smart enough to know that you cannot argue with religious fanatics. Tenets of faith are not debatable. You must accept the Virgin Birth, or you can't be Catholic. And excommunication is a powerful deterrent to thought, and the New Age movement values nothing more than being ‘nice', which means never making waves.
I realize that anyone who loves using Hawkins' scale may react strongly to my opinion. They might say that people can use the scale to measure their own personal growth, and that I am highlighting rare anomalous behavior.
My answer is that I have seen this negative behavior over and over and over, even in groups of so-called spiritual people. Almost without exception, they turn this calibration outward rather than inward. I personally have never met anyone who uses it exclusively for personal growth and doesn't abuse it and judge others. That doesn't mean no one does; it just means that most people do not. And that is enough for me to dissuade people from even reading the book. It is too easy to abuse such a system, and the system itself is built on pure supposition.
If you are interested in seeing another dissenting opinion, an interesting critique of “Power vs. Force” by another writer may be read here: http://www.energygrid.com/spirit/2005/02ap-dowsinggod.html The author makes some very compelling points.
I am interested in hearing intelligent comments from both sides of the fence. We are entitled to believe what we want to believe. I feel Hawkins' followers are misguided. They are entitled to their beliefs, but I feel they cross a line when they claim to know “Truth” and when they characterize dowsing and muscle testing incorrectly. What they believe or practice in the privacy of their homes is not the issue. Dowsers should avoid supporting anyone who mis-represents dowsing publicly. And I believe it has been misrepresented, even subverted, in “Power vs. Force”. What do you think? Comment below.