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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Can Consciousness Levels be Measured?

 Marcus T Anthony's new web site and blog can be found at

The evolution of consciousness is central to the overall purpose of humanity here on this planet. Ironically, it is in part, the fixation with measurement in modern science which has seen this understanding vanish from the annals of modern scientific literature. There has not been a verifiable means to measure consciousness levels, so science has tended to ignore the idea. The advancement of consciousness in any given lifetime is also heavily dependent upon exploring inner worlds, and especially the waves of thought that emerge from the substrate of consciousnesses within the mind. Since meditation and reflection have largely been extracted from modern education and science, very few people working there understand consciousness very well at all.

To even begin to measure consciousness evolution, we first have to perceive that such a thing exists, then define it. Consciousness evolution refers to the process of never-ending unfoldingfrom ignorance to cosmic bliss - or enlightenment. This progresses through various stages - which have been mapped by sages throughout history. In a sense it is the journey from darkness to light, illusion to truth, fixation with form to the recognition of the essential role of self in structuring and emotionalising reality.

There are ways, however, to measure the consciousness levels of people, books, movies, newspapers, curricula, institutions, entire populations and so on.
One method which has recently surfaced is outlined by David E. Hawkins in his books such as Power Vs Force, and the Discovery of the Presence of God.
Hawkins has developed a logarithmic scale, which depicts, from zero to 1000, levels of consciousness development. At the lower end of the scale are base emotional and survival instincts like shame, guilt, anger; in the middle we have rationality, followed by the higher stages of love, bliss and enlightenment. Hawkins measures these levels by testing whether muscles go weak or strong after a statement is made - otherwise known as exercise kinesiology.

There are some problems with what Hawkins writes, most notably that muscle kinesiology has repeatedly failed as a measure of truth and falsity under empirical testing. Nonetheless, Hawkins' essential claim is correct. Consciousness does evolve through the stages he lists, at least in an approximate sense. David E. Hawkins is one of the most profound mapmakers of consciousness today. His books should not be missed by anyone seriously contemplating doing a spiritual journey.

I first came across Hawkins' work when on holiday in Sedona, Arizona in 2001. In a small fair I found Power vs Force, and was amazed to read about his consciousness calibration methods, for I had been taught a particular consciousness calibration method myself, and was convinced that consciousness could be measured, at least in an approximate way (even more interestingly, I found out Hawkins lived in Sedona. I took a walk up to where he lived, but didn't drop in to say "Hi").

In Sage of Synchronicity I describe a consciousness calibration method, which I call the "Quick Check". I won't detail it here, but it permits an immediate approximation of consciousness levels. The scale I work with is linear, zero to 100%. A reading of zero means the thing is unconscious, or completely "dark". A measurement of 100% means that it has achieved the highest level possible for a human being on this planet at this time. We might call this complete "enlightenment".

Perceiving the consciousness level of people, ideas, books and spiritual teachers has a great advantage. You can instantly know how valid the thing you are examining is. If your own consciousness level is, say 5%, then a  work which callibates at 10% will almost certainly have some merit for you (though, it also may not).

Needless to say, measuring consciousness can press people's buttons. If I told you that your consciousness level was 3%, but you partner was at 5%, how would you feel? If I told a religious fundamentalist that his faith calibrates at X%, but another spiritual path lies at X + 10%, how do you think they would react? Ego does not like being told. Period.

The problem is exacerbated by postmodern thought, which insists that all voices are equal, or at least deserve equal opportunity to be expressed (fair enough). Yet the truth remains that levels of consciousness differ markedly from philosophy to philosophy, and teacher to teacher. They are not all the same. If a person honestly seeks enlightenment, but chooses a path with a low consciousness level, s/he is doomed to failure from the start (but this does not mean that in itself the path is without spiritual worth).

No work will measure 100%, because there is always a degree of self-deception in any creative act, and ego "contaminates" the work." Therefore, you can reflect upon the shadow - what lies in the gap between the level reading of X%, and 100%. If you can intuit what lies in this gap (and this can be tapped into, like all consciousness forms) you can then avoid certain pitfalls which may be unconsciously contained in the work.

Let me just conclude by offering a few readings of some well known spiritual books and teachings. I am not suggesting you take my readings as being beyond question. Take them as an opportunity for reflection.

* Note: Please take into consideration that the average consciousness level of humanity is around 3% at this time in our collective evolution.
David E. Hawkins, Discovery of the Presence of God. 80%
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy. 8%
The Secret (video, original with Esther Hicks). about 16%.
Stuart Wilde's Infinite Self. 70% (his later works have dropped off).
Mutant Message Downunder. 25% (despite the deception - it's fiction, not anecdotal).
Jack Canfield's Chicken Soup for the Soul (original). 65%
Timothy Ferris' 4 Hour Work Week. 4% (reviewed by Simon Buckland in an earlier post on 22c+)



  1. Very interesting. I've read some of these books, but now will put a couple on my reading list. Especially interesting to me is Discovery of the Presence of God. I haven't read The Secret, believing it to be more of a media-driven view of stuff I've studied for years. I liked The Celestine Prophecy, but it was not a favorite. I liked the original Chicken Soup but not the ones that came after, except for one that I gave to my teenagers at one time.

    I wonder about objectivity when it comes to measuring consciousness, especially when it comes to the scientific method. Wouldn't the consciousness of the people involved have a direct impact on the experiment? How could it not?

  2. I have found hawkin's book to ve very useful. However it will be most useful for people who are trully committed to spiritual development. I suspect it will not mean much to quite a lot of people in the popular spiritual movements, because they often have other agendas (albeit, unconsciously).

    To be honest io haven't read the papers which tested kinesiology, but I have read of them. I do agree though, that it would be extremely difficult to eliminate other extraneous factors from influencing the testing (e.g., what if there is toxic paint in the room, or an electrical field from the computer room upstairs, or the tester of subject was just having a bad day...?)

    The couple of Hawkins books I've read don't attempt to communicate these problems, which does seem a little strange to me. Still, I feel strongly that his work resonates highly. My reading is that his first book, "Power Vs Force", is the one you should begin with, Nancy.

  3. I find Hawkins' books can be useful. Your 'system' looks very useful also, and more integrated...My beef with Hawkins' is that it isn't integrated enough. Wilber's and others criticism of Hawkins' system is that it is a form of subtle reductionism and not integrated or wholistic enough; which makes it true but also very partial. I would like to see Hawkin's system be more integrated in this regard, which would greatly enhance his system and make it one of the premier levels of consciousness systems out there...

  4. Yes, Hawkin's system is simplistic and one-dimensional. I believe that there is general truth behind it and I think it can serve some good purpose, but I don't really champion his system because I haven't worked directly with it. As I mentioned, it can also easily be abused. One of the reasons why I think there is genral truth to it is becasue as "energy" or consciousness is processed and integrated more "light" enters the person's energy field, so they "rise" to a slightly higher "level" of consciousness. Hawkins also is right that consciousness fields work in a similar way to attractors in physics, and that's why it is easy to get "sucked" back down into a denser consciousness field/level. I hate to say it, but much of the spiritual "work" people do actually makes little difference to their energy field during a single lifetime.