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Power vs. Force: A Review
By Layli Phillips
Sunday, 31 December 2006 - 12:00 PM

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Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior (Paperback), by David R. Hawkins, Veritas, 1995/Hay House, 2002, 343pp.

Power vs. Force“Imagine – what if you had access to a simple yes-or-no (Y/N) answer to any question you wished to ask?   A demonstrably true answer to any question.  Think about it…” According to David Hawkins, applied kinesiology supplies humankind with just such a method, and this method is infallible, making possible what Hawkins calls “a new era of truth.”  The implications of this simple procedure extend into law, criminal justice, scholarly research, psychotherapy, interpersonal relationships, parenting, medicine, politics, and beyond.  The foundation of this simple method lies within the incredible power of the body itself and, in particular, the unexplored and untapped mind-body connection. To quote him: “[T]he body can discern, to the finest degree, the difference between that which is supportive of life and that which is not.”   Power vs. Force, which is based on David R. Hawkins’ later-life doctoral dissertation within the field of applied kinesiology – after decades as a successful psychiatrist – offers this technique and its scientific explanation as its first major theme.   But there’s no spoiler here – read the book to find out what it is!

The second major theme of Power vs. Force is “levels of consciousness.”   According to Hawkins, invisible energy fields that correlate with people’s vibratory energy are the primary determinants of human behavior.   Drawing from chaos theory and quantum physics – in particular, nonlinear dynamics, critical point analysis, and attractor field research – plus his own kinesiological findings, Hawkins developed a logarithmic scale to measure the magnitude of people’s invisible energy fields.   These fields, or levels of consciousness, are labeled (for heuristic purposes only): shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason, love, joy, peace, and enlightenment.  Using the kinesiological “truth technique,” Hawkins is able to calibrate the consciousness of any particular person, living or deceased, revealing a new explanatory structure for both human relations and human history.

The point “200” on the scale serves as a critical dividing line between negative and positive influence; at levels below 200, personal survival is the main objective and the common good is less of a concern.  According to Hawkins, approximately 85% of humanity calibrates below 200, although rapid rises in the collective calibration of humanity are occurring at this time.   In fact, within the last few decades, the collective calibration level of humanity has finally risen above the 200 point.  Another dividing line occurs at “500,” the point at which the happiness and well-being of others eclipses self-interest and becomes the primary life motivation; spiritual rather than material concerns also assume center stage.

According to Hawkins, individuals at the high end of the scale (for example, Jesus or Gandhi) “balance out” the energies of individuals at the lower end of the scale. One individual at level 300 counterbalances 90,000 individuals below 200.   One individual at 400 counterbalances 400,000 individuals below 200. One individual at 500 counterbalances 750,000 individuals below 200. One individual at 600 counterbalances 10 million individuals below 200. One individual at 700 counterbalances 70 million individuals below 200.  One avatar at 1,000 (which is the point beyond which human consciousness can no longer withstand the limited existence of human form) can theoretically counterbalance all humankind at once.

The third major theme of the book concerns the subject of the title, namely, the distinction between “power” and “force.”   In a nutshell, power emanates effortlessly and generates no counter-force, whereas force requires effort to have effect and always generates counter-force.   Force, therefore, is the exercise of dominance, whereas power is simply immanent.   This distinction is reminiscent of Audre Lorde’s distinction between “power over” and “power with” in Sister Outsider.   To quote Hawkins: “Power gives life and energy; force takes these away.”   Also, “True power…emanates from consciousness itself; what we see is the visible manifestation of the invisible.”  Both human psychology and human history are, to a large extent, the result of the interplay between power and force among various human actors. Thus, the power vs. force distinction is at the heart of Hawkins’ theory regarding “the hidden determinants of human behavior.”

By positivist standards, Hawkins’ research methods and resulting theory are indisputably radical, because they require the acknowledgment of a reality that is inaccessible to the five senses.  Yet, as he and other like-minded researchers show, acknowledgement of such a reality, in conjunction with applied uses of conventional science, pushes the boundaries of what science can achieve in terms of human betterment.  Admittedly, readers may disagree with certain conclusions Hawkins draws about the calibration level of particular people, ideas, events, or activities.  Some readers may also detect a Western bias in his thought.  However, the value of his work is in the way it challenges us to think beyond the confines of a narrow empiricism.  As daring interdisciplinary scholarship like his shows, even the most “empirical” of our sciences, such as physics and medicine, are coming to similar conclusions about the role of mind and other “invisible” energies in both our physical and social realities.  Thus, one who reads Power vs. Force risks becoming a living embodiment of Oliver Wendell Holmes’s famous observation: “A mind stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions.


© Copyright 2006 by Radical Scholar, Inc.


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