I am a devoted student of Dr. Hawkins teachings and felt compelled to write a thorough review in response to this biography after borrowing a friend's copy to read.
What kind of biography is this?
You're already likely well aware that Veritas Publishing sent out an announcement on behalf of Dr. Hawkins indicating that this is not an authorized biography and never received Dr. Hawkins' blessing. Moreover, for over two years Jeffrey never made any sincere, good faith effort to share his writings with Dr. Hawkins for collaboration, review and feedback.
Nevertheless, Jeffrey, in numerous online forums asserts that this is, indeed, an authorized biography. If so, why doesn't he use the word "authorized" in the book itself? Instead, in the book itself Jeffrey uses the word "definitive." Jeffrey writes, from his perspective, that no biography is ever truly definitive, and then he goes on to tell the reader that this biography is essentially as close as one might get to a definitive work given the circumstances.
So, is it definitive or authorized? It might be helpful to take a look at the well established categorical differences between definitive and authorized biographies and compare these criteria to the claims asserted by this author as to the nature of this one.
In his classic, "How to Read a Book," Mortimer Adler, the associate editor of The Great Books of the Western World, offers some helpful questions to ask when evaluating a biographical writing, as well as some key guidelines on the differences between a "definitive" and "authorized" biography. Adler's two guiding questions are "what is the author's purpose?, and "what are his criteria of truth?"
According to Adler, a definitive biography is "intended to be the final, exhaustive, scholarly work on the life of someone important enough to deserve a definitive biography." Notably, Adler writes "definitive" biographies "cannot be written about living persons" and seldom appear until after several "non-definitive" and "somewhat inadequate" works have first emerged. In other words, it will be some time before a truly definitive biography of Dr. Hawkins emerges. Adler notes that anyone with any kind of emotional relationship with a living figure is automatically disqualified as someone who can write a reliably definitive book. Jeffrey's position as a disillusioned, former student clearly disqualifies him from writing anything that is even remotely definitive.
Compared to a definitive work, an authorized biography, Adler notes, is "not the same thing at all." Authorized biographies are written "so that the errors the person made and the triumphs he achieved are seen in the best light possible." Adler captures the true spirit of authorized works by noting their implicit natural bias - "that this is the way the reader is expected to think of the book's subject; this is the way his friends and associates want him to be known to the world." Jeffrey's book completely fails in this respect.
After his data collection process Jeffrey did not collaborate with Dr. Hawkins on the content of the book itself. What is Jeffrey's explanation for this? Apparently, given that Dr. Hawkins signed a release with Jeffrey six years prior to publication, Jeffrey feels this qualifies his book as "authorized.". Even by the letter of the law this is a major stretch, and in terms of the the spirit of the law, which is everything, Jeffery's assertion is totally false. Authorized biographies are characterized by the full participation, cooperation, feedback and review by it's subject. That did not happen here.
Also, there are no pictures whatsoever. Intimate and private photos are customarily welcomed and much anticipated by readers of truly authorized works. The only image is the stiff, lifeless cover sketch which was copied from a very popular image of Dr. Hawkins many devout students of his teachings have passed along to one another (the actual image, by the way, is quite beautiful).
If this biography isn't authorized, nor definitive, then what is it?
Here we return to Adler's two significant questions - what is the author's purpose, and what are the author's criteria for truth? This review is my effort to answer those questions so that you are well aware of the true nature and purpose of this book before you consider purchasing it.
Why didn't Jeffrey make a sincere effort to share his writing with Dr. Hawkins in the two years prior to it's publication?
Jeffrey claims he had a difficult relationship with Susan. True or not true, this is irrelevant. Jeffrey also deceptively puts forth a rationalization that Dr. Hawkins was mentally out of commission and therefore no meaningful collaborative process would have been possible. Yet, in actuality, during this two year period Dr Hawkins gave several very lucid lectures in that time period and was busy editing and working on his final manuscript up until a month or so before his passing. In fact, many students feel that one of Dr. Hawkins most inspiring and profound lectures was given in May 2011.
So, we are obviously left with no honest and adequate answer to this question. Jeffrey also, rather deceptively, claims no "falling out" occurred between him and Dr. Hawkins. Yet Dr. Hawkins never had the opportunity to initiate a "falling out." So, the true answer is simple: Jeffrey had no intention of sharing his writings. Why? They would have revealed his distorted conclusions and dark intentions regarding Dr. Hawkins work.
What, then, are Jeffrey's true motives?
In the preface Jeffrey states that this biography is written from the perspective of a "former student" of Dr. Hawkins, and that this position as a "former student" gives him a greater degree of objectivity. Jeffrey's so called unique capacity to see the truth of Dr. Hawkins and his work is apparently also influenced, writes Jeffrey, by other teachings and interpretations he has studied.
Jeffrey states that he "still" believes Dr. Hawkins is a "great man who lived a remarkable life." The reader is naturally left wondering if Jeffrey "still" believes Dr. Hawkins is a good man who led an interesting life, what does Jeffrey no longer believe? He doesn't tell you directly. He tells you in the way he frames Dr. Hawkins' life and work, and in his interpretations of Dr. Hawkins and his teachings.
Jeffrey obviously had the option of disclosing his true perspectives to Dr. Hawkins. Instead, Jeffrey decided to share his opinions by way of deliberately distorting Dr. Hawkins' life and teaching, under the guise of a so called "authorized" biography.
Having read this book it is quite evident why Jeffrey did not present his writings to Dr. Hawkins. It would have automatically disqualified him as the right person to serve as an authorized biographer. Had Dr. Hawkins been aware of Jeffrey's undisclosed perspectives (the most significant I cover below) I can picture Dr. Hawkins laughing aloud, shaking his head and saying something to the effect of "well, thanks for your efforts but...maybe it's not a good idea for your to be our authorized biographer, after all."
What would you do if you were in Scott Jeffrey's position?
If you were commissioned to write an authorized biography of a great figure in which you had great faith in, but then came to no longer believe in some of the central tenets of this figure's essence and his work, wouldn't you make that known? Wouldn't you simply excuse yourself from the role and perhaps work out some kind of financial arrangement commensurate with your previous good faith efforts? I once heard a well known liberal photographer was asked to do a photoshoot of president George W. Bush. He declined the invitation (and therefore the potentially beneficial exposure and financial gain), noting that he did not feel that he could sincerely do the president justice and capture his essence and positive qualities because of his own personal bias. It is a shame Jeffrey lacked such integrity and transparency.
What does Jeffrey no longer believe about Dr. Hawkins and his work?
It is obvious in reading this book Jeffrey does not feel k-testing is trustworthy and does not feel that Dr. Hawkins truly is a Mystic. Had he revealed these beliefs as biographer, Dr. Hawkins would have kindly asked him to step down from his role. In addition to these two monumental biases on Jeffrey's part, throughout the book Jeffrey also makes a number of slyly disparaging remarks about Dr. Hawkins. He calls into question Dr. Hawkins' sincerity by way of how he frames Dr. Hawkins' life events and choices. Throughout this book there are numerous overt and subtle suggestions by the author that Dr. Hawkins acted - historically and very recently - out of greed, paranoia, untruthfulness, evasiveness and personal gain. Jeffrey would assert, of course, that he is merely presenting objective facts as facts. But the presentations of those facts, Jeffrey's interpretations, and the selection of the data say more about Jeffrey than Dr. Hawkins himself. As Adler notes on the importance of discerning a biographer's intentions, "words don't write themselves."
Jeffrey no longer believes in k-testing as presented by Dr. Hawkins.
Jeffrey clearly finds K-testing and consciousness research to be totally untrustworthy, and simply a reflection of Dr. Hawkins emotional and political bias. When Jeffrey writes about Dr. Hawkins book, Truth vs Falsehood, for instance, he states "David felt compelled to share his truth as he understood it." This is in direct contrast to the nature of k-testing and Dr. Hawkins' assertions that the results of his research do not reflect a personal bias. This is no minor distortion and would have immediately disqualified him as an authorized biographer had the Jeffrey disclosed this perspective with Dr. Hawkins. Again, while Jeffrey "still" believes Dr. Hawkins is a great man, he clearly does not believe in the validity and trustworthiness of k-testing, or, as he puts it, Hawkins' "brand" of truth.
What about Dr Hawkins' spiritual enlightenment?
Jeffrey has a true knack for making Dr. Hawkins' most profound spiritual realizations read flatly and trivially. He does this when he writes about Dr. Hawkins January 10, 1965 descent into the pits of hell and ultimate realization of Divinity, as well as when he writes about other high realizations Dr. Hawkins has written and spoken about. As a reader it is clear that Jeffrey very deliberately calls into question Dr. Hawkins place as a Mystic. In his concluding paragraphs, for instance, Jeffrey writes, "If he is a mystic...." Key word, "If."
What about the "other teachings and interpretations" which apparently influenced Jeffrey's decision to describe himself as a "former student" of Dr. Hawkins?
Jeffrey doesn't say, but one can venture a number of guesses as to where Jeffrey parts ways with Dr. Hawkins. For instance, Jeffrey attempts to present a favorable/compassionate view of relativism as compared to Dr. Hawkins' contextualization of it. Reading Jeffrey's account you get the feeling as a reader that Jeffrey disagrees with Dr. Hawkins conclusions about the destructive nature of moral relativism, for instance, in its various expressions. You're left with the sense that Jeffrey feels that Dr. Hawkins consciousness research and writings on the nature of activism, environmentalism, and political correctness, for instance, are too narrow. From Jeffrey's perspective, Dr Hawkins' calibrations on these matters are not representative of a discernable and verifiable truth, but reflective of Dr. Hawkins midwest upbringing, his emotional biases and his limited, absolutist value structure.
What quote do you presume Jeffrey chose to conclude this biography with?
Jeffrey quotes a 1997 statement Dr. Hawkins made in which he used the word "guru" in his description on the role of the teacher of enlightenment. In later years, it was discovered thanks to consciousness research, that the word "guru" no longer calibrates above 200 as it once did. Consequent to the glamorization and commercialization of the word beginning in the 60s and 70s it no longer means what it used to mean, and Dr. Hawkins deliberately avoided the use of this word once he made this discovery. It is a well known fact among students of Dr. Hawkins work that the word "guru" no longer calibrates above 200. Jeffrey's choice to end his biography with a quotation by Dr. Hawkins in which Dr. Hawkins utilized the word guru clearly reflects Jeffrey's backhanded dismissal of consciousness research and a complete disrespect of Dr Hawkins and his teachings.
This book is void of love. Not only is it void of any sense of love for it's subject, Dr. Hawkins, it reads, on the whole in a flat and robotic manner. In my experience of reading authorized biographies about famous historical figures or well regarded mystics and spiritual teachers, my heart is always moved, and in many cases truly inspired. Not so here. Not once. There is a complete lack of any testimony or commentary from those who love Dr. Hawkins and have been touched by his life and teachings. Jeffrey could not, of course, include such accounts. They would call into question his conclusions, and true intention in writing this work.
Underneath all of the historical aspects of Dr. Hawkins' life, Jeffrey's writing calls into question that which matters most. Not what Doc studied in high school, but the very authority of Dr. Hawkins as a Mystic, and the validity and true essence of the core of his teachings on k-testing and consciousness research. What could be more dark than to diminish Dr. Hawkins and leave the reader with lingering doubt, wondering why Jeffrey no longer believes in Dr. Hawkins or his work?
Dr. Hawkins teaches that falsehood is expressed in two forms: the luciferic and the satanic (I recognize I am assessing Jeffrey's work from within the framework of the teachings of Dr. Hawkins). The satanic is obvious to discern, in that it's falsehood is blatantly evil (rape, hatred, violence, etc). The luciferic is more difficult to discern because it begins with integrous content, and then by way of a distortion of context inverts the meaning of said content - all in the name of truth. I truly believe this book is luciferic. It takes the truth and beauty of Dr. Hawkins and his work, and in the name of objectivity, calls into question Dr. Hawkins' true essence and the profundity of his presence and teachings.
Should you read it?
Be forewarned that you will expose yourself to a luciferic energy. This whole controversy reminds me of Dr Hawkins' commentary on his disapproval of the Catholic Church's decision to publish Mother Teresa's private writings against her explicit wishes. When I learned of this I could not stomach reading the rest of Mother Teresa's private writings, which I happened to be reading at the time. Dr Hawkins' has suggested that many may be disheartened and harmed in their spiritual growth by reading about things Mother Teresa meant to keep private, such as her despair. I know who and what Dr. Hawkins is and the truth of his work is without question. I decided to read this book because I felt compelled to review it and then offer my sincere perspective on the matter, out of my love for Dr. Hawkins and my love for Truth. If you do decide to read it, borrow someone else's copy so that Jeffrey doesn't profit on such a disgusting betrayal.