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Power vs. Force

Power vs. Force Summary
Spirituality & Mindfulness

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 1401945074

Publisher: Veritas

Also available in audiobook


If we are to believe its author, the level of truth of David Hawkins’ highly idiosyncratic work “Power vs. Force” – a book which solemnly promises “to provide you the means by which you may detect if you’re being misled” – is calibrated at 810 out of a possible 1000, “an unusually high number for our time and age.” If the previous sentence sounded gibberish to you, that’s probably because you’ve never read anything Hawkins has ever written. “Power vs. Force” is the best place to start exploring his distinctive oeuvre and peculiar “perennial philosophy.” An even better one might be our 12-minute introduction to the book. Get ready to dip into it!

Attractor fields and the mind-body problem

Ever since Plato – and particularly after Descartes – Western philosophy has been grappling with the problem of mind and body. Are the two completely separate or do they communicate with each other? If it’s the former, do things such as the soul and afterlife exist? If the latter is true, how does the mind control the body and can it control other bodies as well? After all, one body can affect other bodies: your mind tells your hand to push someone and the body of said someone moves in response. Can the mind affect other minds as well without an intermediary? Is telepathy possible?

As far-fetched as these questions might seem at first sight, they are actually very serious and none of them have been answered to this day with any reasonable certainty. However, during the 1970s, clinical research on the physiology of the nervous system resulted in the development of a new science, called kinesiology. Strictly speaking, kinesiology was conceived as nothing more but the scientific study of human movement. However, when a group of scientists combined its computer-assisted findings with some holistic teachings that had existed from before, they discovered something rather fascinating.

Where Newtonian physicists saw “indecipherable or meaningless data,” these trailblazing kinesiologists began seeing “unsuspected systems” and “hidden energy patterns” that we now know as attractor fields. Attractor fields can be defined as non-physical energy fields generated by our beliefs, attitudes and thought streams. Each of us contributes to the creation of these attractor fields which, in turn, contribute to the creation of our thoughts and interact with our body’s responses to the environment. The relationship is not straightforward: the attractor fields define our actions much more than we define their nature.

That is because the attractor fields are impersonal, that is to say we all tend to react to their presence identically, regardless of our individual belief systems or intellectual capacities. Positive attractor fields promote loving thoughts and inspire resistance in our muscle movements, whereas negative attractor fields weaken both our muscles and our thoughts.

The founding of behavioral kinesiology

Magnets, as you learned in elementary school, create invisible magnetic fields around them. Regardless of the fact that you cannot see a magnetic field, you can certainly observe its ever-present effects. Just put a piece of paper over a magnet and sprinkle some iron filings onto the paper; merely tapping the paper now will make the magnetic field visible. 

This is pretty much how the energy within us interacts with the energy around us. If you can imagine the attractor fields as powerful magnets floating around us – each of them with its own particular and impersonal influence – then you might as well think of your consciousness as a pile of iron filings. What about the piece of paper that makes the interaction between the magnets and the iron fillings – or, better yet, between the attractor fields and your consciousness – visible and detectable? Well, interestingly enough, that would be your body!

Kinesiologists never expected to discover something like this. However, when Dr. George Goodheart did some experiments with nutritional supplements in the second half of the 20th century, he discovered that they perceptibly modified the strength of certain “indicator muscles” in our bodies. For example, in the presence of chemical sweeteners, these indicator muscles grew weaker, whereas in the presence of healthy, herbal supplements, these same muscles somehow strengthened. The implication, explains Hawkins, “was that at a level far below conceptual consciousness, the body ‘knew,’ and through muscle testing was able to signal, what was good and bad for it.” 

In the late 1970s, Dr. John Diamond refined Goodheart’s experiments and founded a new subdiscipline of kinesiology which he called behavioral kinesiology. He shared his findings with the world in a groundbreaking 1979 book, aptly titled “Your Body Doesn’t Lie,” where Diamond offered substantial evidence in favor of the startling discovery that indicator muscles don’t just strengthen or weaken in the presence of physical stimuli, but also in the presence of positive or negative emotional and intellectual stimuli. Put in the simplest terms possible, a statement such as “I hate you” made people’s indicator muscles weak, whereas a loving smile strengthened them.

A database of consciousness

The most interesting aspect of Diamond’s research was the uniformity of response among his subjects. In other words, certain stimuli caused all subjects to test weak, whereas others caused all of them to test strong. And some of these stimuli came from seemingly “neutral” images or symbols. Even more interestingly, some of them came in the form of audio recordings of known deceits. Even though the speakers seemed to be telling the truth and sounded convincing enough to consciously fool the subjects, all of them tested weak on the muscle tests while listening to the tapes themselves. How did their bodies know what their minds didn’t?

This was the question Dr. Hawkins asked himself when he became interested in behavioral kinesiology at the beginning of the 1980s. His experiments confirmed Diamond’s suspicions – that our bodies somehow know the truth and objective value of things much better than our minds do. Further experiments helped Hawkins discover the source of this interesting phenomenon. French sociologist Emile Durkheim called it “communal consciousness,” whereas Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung – ever interested in the deeper aspects of the human psyche – dubbed it “the collective unconscious.” Myths and religions call it being, essence, divinity, spiritus mundi, oneness. Since he arrived at its existence through modern technology, Hawkins chooses to call it “a database of consciousness.”

“The individual human mind,” he explains, “is like a computer terminal connected to a giant database. The database is human consciousness itself, of which our own cognizance is merely an individual expression, but with its roots in the common consciousness of all mankind. This database is the realm of genius; because to be human is to participate in the database, everyone, by virtue of his birth, has access to genius.”

Strangely enough, this wasn’t Hawkins’ greatest discovery. That’s a description one would have to reserve for something else entirely – namely, the means by which ordinary human beings can access the genius of the collective consciousness. By refining some of Diamond’s methods, over the course of 20 years, Hawkins managed to “analyze the full spectrum of the levels of human consciousness, developing a fascinating map of the geography of man’s experience.” But before we present you with the results of his decades-long research, let’s explore his method: muscle testing.

Your body doesn’t lie: muscles and truth

To sum up our discussion so far, behavioral kinesiologists such as Goodheart and Diamond discovered an intimate connection between our minds and bodies, revealing that our mind actually thinks with the body itself. Hawkins went a step further and, through a series of experiments, determined that our bodies don’t just manifest the energy of our thoughts, but also the energy of the thoughts of every other individual on the planet, each of whom contributes to the creation of so-called attractor energy fields. These attractor fields, in turn, shape and direct our most intimate thoughts and feelings, thereby determining our distinct level of consciousness. 

Whatever we think, say or do (be it a casual thought, an expression of love or a determined effort to help someone), whatever we create or produce (be it a useful object such as an iPhone or a work of art such as a movie) generates an attractor energy field around it which then affects our worldview – just like magnets visibly do when placed below scattered iron fillings. Hawkins’ twofold contribution to behavioral kinesiology consists in refining the means to determine the objective value of everything in existence (from thoughts through plants to man-made objects) and also, using this means repeatedly to produce a very famous numerological map of human consciousness by matching the impersonal attractor energy fields to their emotional correlates.

A variation of Diamond’s original 1979 method, Hawkins’ kinesiological test of ideological validity is deceptively simple. A person is asked to stand erect, while holding one of their arms relaxed at the side, and the other parallel to the floor. Next, the researcher presses down on the wrist of the extended arm with two fingers and asks the subject to resist the downward pressure. While doing this, the researcher also makes a simple, declarative “yes or no” statement, such as, “Paris is the capital of France” or, “This book is outstanding.” If the statement is negative or false, the test subject will be unable to resist – his muscles will “go weak.” If, however, the statement is positive or true, the test subject will “go strong” and be able to counteract the downward pressure. This is the essence of muscle testing.

Power, force and the levels of human consciousness

To make his findings more approachable to the general public, Hawkins devised an arbitrary numeric scale and used it to arrive at more precise conclusions about the ideological validity of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and objects. He began making declarative statements of the following sort: “This item (such as this book, organization, a person’s motive, and so on) is over 100.” If his subject went strong, then he’d rephrase the statement to end with “over 200,” then with “over 300,” and so on – until obtaining a negative response. Afterward, he would refine the calibration: “Is it over 220? 230?” etc. Exhaustive investigation of this sort, writes Hawkins, “resulted in a calibrated scale of consciousness, in which the log of whole numbers from 1 to 1,000 calibrates the degree of power of all possible levels of human awareness.” 

Hawkins describes “the decisive level of 200” as “the fulcrum that divides the general areas of force and power.” Meaning, all levels below 200 on the scale of human consciousness can be described as “destructive expressions of force.” All levels above 200 are, conversely, “constructive expressions of power.” For Hawkins, there is a big difference between force and power. Whereas he describes force as an ego-driven faculty, focused on individual gain and survival, he asks us to think of power as something coming from the spirit, from love and pure consciousness. Force, simply put, is what you project onto others, what you apply outwardly to make someone do something. True power, in opposition, stems from within and is not something you do, but something you are.

Hawkins’ map of consciousness begins with the most egoistic of all emotions: shame, a feeling “perilously proximate to death.” At energy level 30 there stands guilt, after which follow apathy (energy level 50), grief (75), fear (100), desire (125), anger (150), and pride (175). At energy level 200, power first appears – in the form of courage. This is where productivity begins. Curiously, this is also where the collective level of consciousness of mankind can be positioned. At energy level 250, the so-called “neutral” level, energy becomes positive and people stop “seeing dichotomies to take on rigid positions in life.” At energy level 310, growth becomes possible – this is the level of willingness. Next follows acceptance (energy level 350), after which there come reason (400), love (500), joy (540) and peace (600).

The energy field of peace is extremely rare, attained by only 1 in 10 million people. It is also as high as most ordinary people can go. Some of them are able to produce great works of art that calibrate between 600 and 700 and can transport us temporarily to higher levels of consciousness. But those higher levels of consciousness – the energy levels between 700 and 1000 – are reserved for the Great Ones only, the spiritual leaders of humanity. In Hawkins’ estimation, only three beings have ever calibrated up to 1000, the highest energy level there is. Aptly, millions of people refer to them not as humans, but as gods: Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus Christ.

Final notes

If we are to believe Hawkins, he and his research team used muscle testing to calibrate “the levels of truth in every chapter, paragraph, and sentence” of “Power vs. Force.” The final result was an energy level of 810, meaning this book – much like the Sistine Chapel or Beethoven’s Ninth – should be able to inspire you and raise you above your current level of human awareness.

Unfortunately, we never felt anything even remotely similar. On the contrary, we couldn’t stop thinking of Carl Sagan and his claim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. In “Power vs. Force,” we found only the former – and in abundance. 

Perhaps we didn’t look as much as we could have. Or perhaps there’s indeed nothing more.

12min tip

Force has never resolved anything. Whether it comes in the form of war or taxation, it’s always met with resistance, because it is ego-driven, costly and against human nature. Power, on the other hand, stems from within: it is economical and pure. So, in life, try to be powerful; never forceful.

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Who wrote the book?

David R. Hawkins is a pioneering researcher in the field of consciousness, as well as an author, lecturer, clinician, physician, and scientist. He is also director of the Institute for Spiritual Research, Inc., and founder of the Path of Devotional N... (Read more)