Dowsing For “Truth” in “Power vs. Force”: Valid Or Not?

Written by Maggie Percy

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.

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 misrepresents dowsing publicly. And I believe it has been misrepresented, even subverted, in Power vs. Force.

What do you think? Comment below.


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  1. Lynne Pell

    Very interesting article. I have not heard of or read Hawkin’s book, but so many of the things you mentioned in your article are things that I have to keep in the fore every day. Like the ethics of dowsing. Also, the accuracy of dowsing. Finding things to dowse that can be measured. In some respects, that is a problem I have with protocols like the Emotion Code. Here I am, using muscle testing, and clearing all sorts of emotions, some of them inherited from 36 generations back, but how do I really know? I suppose the proof would be a change in my own behavior, and with that it is so very subjective and influenced by so many variables, that I suppose only time will tell. Because I have been judged by members of my own family about beliefs that I hold, from everything from politics (democracy vs corporatocracy), to medicine (alternative vs allopathic) it really makes me cautious about mentioning dowsing because I know it would offend so many of their religious beliefs. I am still learning about dowsing, and there is so much to learn, and I greatly appreciate your insights and the subjects that you expose for thought and discussion. I must read your article again because I think just reading it once really doesn’t do it justice.

    • Maggie Percy

      Personal growth dowsing is often intangible target dowsing. And if you are like us, you use more than one method to accelerate your growth process, which means when you get results, you can’t be sure what caused the change. You might want to credit one thing, but it could be another.

      In the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t matter, unless you are a professional providing services to clients. All that matters for your personal growth is that you see progress.

      The hardest part about seeing progress is not finding the right method to use as a lever, but becoming self-aware and conscious enough to honestly evaluate and notice what you are thinking, feeling and doing. Of course, that must be preceded by the acceptance of personal responsibility for your life experience. Most people can’t get past that first one, because they think responsibility is blame. You are in the few who take responsibility, and now, like us, you are learning to become more aware and conscious and choose how you want to act, react and believe.

      I think it is a process and a journey, and what we really need to do is be flexible and not think there is only one right way to go about it. We need to choose beliefs that give us positive feelings and discard those that pile up guilt or struggle. Sounds simple, but it’s not so easy. :)

      And everyone is on their own journey, and we can just let them choose whatever they want and not get entangled with them, especially if they don’t see things as we do. We can bless them and move on. We are not wrong just because others see things differently. The question I would ask is, “Do they seem happy, balanced and successful at life?” If so, I would ask them what their secret is. If not, they obviously don’t know how to be happy, so why would I waste time arguing with them? :)

  2. Terry G

    I wholeheartedly agree. My wife presented the book to me. And by page 58 I’d had enough. Putting aside the ridiculous 3 introductions, the very theory itself is positioned on the premise that what it is spruiking is 100 percent accurate. This is just stupid. The very theory itself is based on techniques and provides conclusions that cannot be substantiated. The scale it uses is very close to Scientology (and that in itself should be disturbing enough) but it suggests a world wide phenomenon of common human muscle relationships to emotions. This so called world phenomenon is equated to numerous countries, very few of which are in the 3rd world. The book is very flawed and rests on the shoddy foundation that the theory proposes. This book is psuedoscience, no better than Eric Von Daniken’s ancient astronauts, Graham Hancock’s Gods and Solar planets theory or Sitchin’s Tiamat ideas. It is an insult to science which proposes theories that can be tested and verified. This book even has the audacity to state that when getting an unexpected test result it was likely a whole range of factors that skewed it. What a bunch of nonsense. Science is about replication. Imagine if chemical reactions reacted differently just because you were angrier that day- I mean come on! How could science then create a meaningful body of knowledge that becomes consensus? Science would collapse if the results this book proposes occurred in other fields of study. This book is worthless and is only good to start a camp fire with, and should treated accordingly.

    • Maggie Percy

      There is a lot about the book that defies logic and common sense, as well as ethics. But while I personally disagree with the book completely, I don’t see the “science” angle as the big issue. Science is just a tool, and like a hammer, it only works with a narrow field of topics. Science can’t tell you crap about most of the things that really matter in life, yet people have elevated it to the highest level of authority, as if it is the arbiter of Truth.

      I myself have two degrees in Biology and worked at NASA for 14 years. I spent a lot of time doing chemical research. I understand science far better than the average person, and what I know is that science is only useful in certain situations. The topic of this book is not in the purview of science, so I wouldn’t even talk about science when critiquing the book. I urge our readers not to fall back on Science the way many used to fall back on religion, especially as a way to avoid critical thinking. Science is no better than religion at explaining or arbitrating all life circumstances.

      As to Hancock and Sitchin, they are good writers and well-educated thinkers, and they are certainly allowed to speculate about topics in prehistory that science cannot and should not pretend to be able to completely explain at this time. Whether their speculations are accurate can be debated, but I have read books by both men, and I find them very compelling in general. The particulars are harder to prove, but they offer a new view of our ancient history that I think shows intelligence and the ability to think outside the box and beyond convention, and that should stimulate some thought on our part, because it sheds a lot of light on what exactly ‘civilization’ is and what the consequences of it are. One day, their theories may be proven by science, but the fact that science isn’t up to the task at this time is not proof that their theories are faulty. That is the fallacy in the ‘science hasn’t proven that’ argument. Science can’t prove anything about a lot of life (love being a good example); that doesn’t mean those things are invalid or don’t exist.

  3. Alex

    I’m on the 76th page of this book now and start having strong feel of doubt whether to continue read or not. That is why I opened Internet to look up some criticism and found your article. All of these 76 pages are introductions, prefaces and forewords trying to persuade the reader that what they are going to read further is so much scientific and so much proven and tested that there is no doubt that conclusions are true. WTH, 76-and-I-don’t-know-yet-how-many-more pages of introduction? I started feeling that this is less scientific but more spiritual or religious reading and your article confirmed my fears. I will continue running through the book, but most likely I won’t waste too much time reading it carefully.

    • Maggie Percy

      I think it is always wise to question when someone presents something as Truth with a capital T, as if they have a monopoly on it. Truth is far more complex than that, and such claims smack of ego to me, which causes me further doubt. What offends me most about the book is how it has triggered a lot of people to use dowsing to judge others, dowsing without permission, and getting answers that confirm their negative opinions. To me, it is an unethical use of dowsing.

  4. Ayrton Hollingsworth

    I have always been attracted to religion/spirituality in some way so this book is something that is up my alley. I first read this book in highschool around the age of 17 and accepted everything to a t. Now 22 I am re-reading the book and there are a lot of criticisms I can have on this book. 1st how does Dawkins know all of what he states is to be true? A lot of the information is irrelevant and has no purpose whatsoever. He makes claims that are extremely interesting if they are true, but fails to elaborate half the time. I am not going to say what he is saying is wrong. But if he is right it still doesn’t change anything. Like he could be completely contradicting himself within writing the book when he talks about things like perspective and energy levels. The whole book is written from his perspective, so if you apply the things he says within the book, this means that the book was written from an individual perspective that is not with the “conscious whole”. Thus his own theory in his book can be used to disprove him. Again, I am not going to say what he saying is wrong. But application of his theories in the book do nothing to help me survive as a human being. His book literally is making me rethink my whole career and life and has actually done nothing to boost my confidence. If I actually apply the teachings in this book then I have no reason to work or to do anything at all. Based on his teachings my work is somewhat based on negative emotions. See in the real world I am afraid I am not going to be able to eat or pay my bills (level 100) so I use anger(150)/courage(250) to give me motivation to work for money I desire (125). I am not saying he is wrong, but he claims that at the level of acceptance that there is no worry about money or having to work because you’ll just find a better job. This is not a book for anyone in the business world. In business you gotta kinda leverage anger and a lot of your actions are based of fear. Fear of your business imploding at any moment. It’s just not plausible to say if I was just at the level of acceptance/reason/love/peace that I would naturally be more succesful or make more money. Maybe my consciousness would be happier but there is no way that this correlates to the business world. Maybe I am acting upon desire. I work so I can gain more money, status, and women. But so far (maybe because I am young) this has not had any negative consequences whatsoever. Like maybe if I was a monk living in the mountains then this would be helpful. Again, I am not saying he is wrong, per say, but there is no possible way I could survive and apply his teachings simultaneously nor do I necessarily want to. I have experimented with psychedlic substances so I feel there is some truth and value to what he is saying especially when he explains drug use and I feel I have achieved the described state up to 600 from using psychedelic substances. The problem is I have no way of knowing if this guy has actually made it to level 600 because if he had he would understand how the real world works. What I am saying is that if you think about it the most evil people really do run the world as has been the case throughout human history. When you are actually in the state he talks about (through drug use) you realize how dangerous people have the potential to be. He says no fear of death is the key to joy, but fear of death is the motivating factor for living. He claims that a homeless man can be interpreted in many different ways depending on the level of your consciousness but this is just naive. I realize I was subconsciously applying his principles when I was on mushrooms and when I was on said substances and I looked at a homeless man I did not feel compassion or love. I felt fear. I looked at the man and could see his energy field in full display. There was a lot of negative energy spewing from him and I realized that one more wrong thing in this guy’s life could cause him to snap at any moment and I should stay as far away from him as possible. Also there is nothing you can do about his teachings and reading the book does not help you to achieve anything. He clearly states that it is very rare for people to move energy levels and most people only move by about 5 points in their lifetimes. So if we are all so predisposed what is the point? Granted I do feel more compassion for people after the reading this but all this does is gets people to try and change their energy levels which is very improbable according to him. So speaking from the standpoint of love, everything I’ve been doing is compeltely okay and is part of the greater whole. So why should I change at all? The book really doesn’t help one with their career or real world application just has some interesting things to speculate.

    • Maggie Percy

      You make several very good points. I think one of my basic beliefs is that he approaches truth as if it is one thing with a capital ‘T’, and somehow, he has been given the knowledge of exactly what that is. I question any human having a monopoly on Truth. What you see as true is true for you. As you point out, for him, he may not be wrong, because this is how he sees the world. So for him, maybe it is ‘true.’ I have problems with his approach, and I clearly feel it is not the best approach for us all. I have met too many people who use his approach to judge others and expand their own egos rather than using it for change. Which of course may only prove what he is saying, that people mostly do not change. So why bother writing the book?

  5. Bindi

    After reading this absolutely horrid book, I wholeheartedly and unreservedly agree with Maggie’s assessment of it…interesting that it never mentions that dowsing will readily give you the answer you want rather than an answer of actual fact. Needless to say this book made it’s way to the recycle bin, and not the used book shop.

    • Maggie Percy

      It seems to me that reading a book that turns out to be totally repellant has the upside of forcing us to think WHY we feel that way. We try to put ideas together and question our rejection of the premises and methods in ways we normally do not, and it helps to crystallize our thinking. I am grateful to Hawkins for stimulating critical thinking skills in me and others (like you) and in being a motivator to better understand and explain our own beliefs. Everyone is entitled to believe as they wish; I’d just like to see more people thinking before they jump on some guru’s bandwagon.


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