Week 3- What are the Universal Intellectual Standards for thinking?

The purpose of this practiceis to create your definition of the Intellectual Standards and begin to use them to give feedback

Guiding Principle

If you practice using the intellectual standards to guide your thinking, you will improve your thinking and question other thinking.


Learners who can clearly and accurately define the Universal Intellectual Standards for thinking, begin to understand the Universal Intellectual Standards for thinking and use them to question what to accept and what to reject.


Create “your own”clear and accurate definitions of the Universal Intellectual Standards for thinking and use them to question what to accept and what to reject.

Practice Order

I. Absorb Set

Course Website
Read/view weekly course content

Take a 12 hour break (min.)

II. Do Set

Learner Blogs
Complete course activities on your personal course blog.

Due by Saturday 11:59 pm

Take a 12 hour break (min.)

III. Connect Set

Google Classroom

  • Complete providing feedback
Due by Monday 11:59 pm

Take a 12 hour break (min.)

IV. Reflect Set

Google Classroom

Grades- Complete self- assessment

Due by Tuesday 11:59 pm

Humans live in a world of thoughts. We accept some thoughts as true. We reject others as false. But the thoughts we perceive as true are sometimes false, unsound, or misleading.

The mind doesn’t naturally grasp the truth. We don’t naturally see things as they are. We don’t automatically sense what is reasonable and what unreasonable. Our thought is often biased by our agendas, interests, and values. We typically see things as we want to. We twist reality to fit our preconceived ideas. Distorting reality is common in human life. It is a phenomenon to which we all unfortunately fall prey.

Each of us views the world through multiple lenses, often shifting them to fit our changing feelings. In addition, much of our perspective is unconscious and uncritical and has been influenced by many forces – including social, political, economic, biological, psychological, and religious influences. Social rules and taboos, religious and political ideologies, biological and psychological impulses, all play a role, often unconscious, in human thinking. Selfishness, vested interest and parochialism, are deeply influential in the intellectual and emotional lives of most people.

We need a system for intervening in our thoughts. We need to take rational command of our cognitive processes in order to rationally determine what to accept and what to reject. In short, we need standards for thought, standards that guide us to consistently excellent thinking – standards we can count on to keep our thinking on track, to help us mirror in our minds what is happening in reality, to reveal the truth in situations, to enable us to determine how best to live our lives.

Foundation for Critical Thinking

Standards for thinking in this course.

What are Intellectual Standards for thinking & how do I put them into practice?

The meaning of sadhana.

Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity. Sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural experience.

Natural experience opens your connection to understanding and wisdom as it naturally comes and goes in the give and take of the river of life.

Sadhguru & T.Y. Pang

The meaning of true education.

True education should wake up the Innate Humanity inside of you. When you reach a higher level of practice and understanding, you learn to harmonize yourself inside, then you become able to harmonize with other people, and with outside situations.

T.Y. Pang

The Promise

It is up to you to make the time for practice; the more you practice the more you will learn.

Time is a created thing. To say I don’t have time,’ is like saying, I don’t want to.

― Lao Tzu

I. Absorb Set
Practice in order

Let’s Begin

First, please complete the sadhana practice. Second, click on each question and review each answer. Third, take a break!

1. Complete your sadhana practice.

Sadhana does not mean any specific kind of activity, sadhana means you are using everything as a tool to open to the flow of natural learning.

The purpose of this sadhana is to help you get started opening to the flow of natural experience .

Center yourself.

Click Here
This weeks centering thought

Close your eyes and quietly sit straight and upright head and spine straight, concentrating only on your breath for 2 minutes. Sit in an erect position, shoulders relaxed, palms flat on thighs. Center your focus on your midsection. Breath in and out deeply through your nose.

Pay attention to your spine.

Your spine is where you will feel the flow of energy. Notice which parts of the spine feel warm and where there are no feelings or numbness. This information will indicate where your energy is flowing and where it is not. Your energy originates in the spine and flows out through the body.

straight and upright
When thoughts come up, let them go gently.

Don’t beat yourself up. That brings more thought. Gently let them go. Use the RAIN tool below to help you gently let go.

  • Recognize your thoughts.
  • Allow your thoughts to be just as they are.
  • Investigate your thoughts with kindness.
  • Natural awareness will come from not identifying with your thoughts.

Throughout the week, keep reminding yourself why you do sadhana.

Otherwise, your thoughts, your emotions, your physicality will get entangled with your runaway mind.

Practice tapping into your awareness to open your mind and take your thinking apart.
2. What are Universal Intellectual Standards?
Universal Standards Part 1
Universal Standards Part 2
3. What is Clarity?

The intellectual standard of clarity derives from the fact that we want or need to communicate a certain meaning to others and unclear language undermines or defeats that purpose.

4. What is Accuracy?

The intellectual standard of accuracy derives from the fact that we are trying to understand or communicate things as they actually are. Inaccurate thought defeats that purpose.

5. What is Precision?

The intellectual standard of precision derives from the fact that we often need details and specifics to accomplish our purpose. Imprecision, or the failure to provide details and specifics, defeats that purpose.

6. What is Relevance?

The intellectual standard of relevance derives from the fact that some information—however true it might be—does not bear on a question to which we need an answer. Irrelevant information, thrust into the thinking process, diverts us from the information we do need and prevents us from answering the question at hand.

7. What is Depth?

The intellectual standard of depth derives from the fact that some issues involve complexity and thinking that ignores complexity will not effectively deal with the complicated problem or issue at hand.

8. What is Breadth?

The intellectual standard of breadth derives from the fact that some issues can be dealt with only from multiple points of view. Thinking that is one-sided when many-sidedness is called for cannot address the problem or issue at hand.

9. What is Logicalness?

The intellectual standard of logic derives from the fact that reasoning that is inconsistent and self-contradictory necessarily lacks coherence and hence intelligibility

10. What is Significance?

The intellectual standard of significance derives from the fact that some questions and issues can only be addressed through gathering and considering important information and focusing on significant ideas and viewpoints; failing to focus on what is important will necessarily keep us from effectively addressing significant problems or issues.

11. What is Fairness?

The intellectual standard of fairness derives from the fact that it is possible to ignore relevant facts and insights when they are not in line with one’s interest or agenda. Violation of this standard is common in human life.

12. How do I use the Intellectual Standards to give feedback to other learners?

Watch the two videos on how to give feedback to other learners.

How to give feedback
How to give feedback-2
13. What format do I use every week to give feedback to other learners?

This week you will begin to provide feedback on 2 other learners activity posts, using the universal intellectual standards. Please remember to use the following format to give feedback:

I humbly request for more <INSERT THE INTELLECTUAL STANDARD> from your statement, <INSERT STATEMENT>.
I have a question.
Elaborate as needed.

Format for giving feedback

When you provide feedback to each other, using the intellectual standards, begin with clarity, the “gateway” standard, then improve by selecting ones that are most useful and relevant. At first the process will be awkward and you will make considerable mistakes. This is to be expected, just as you would make many mistakes when first learning ANYTHING.

IMPORTANT: Having your activity post receive evaluative feedback using the standards should not be taken personally when the feedback captures a potential weakness. We can always improve our reasoning and should be willing to accept feedback – this shows intellectual humility. 

Providing this kind of feedback can be challenging given the limited understanding we have of each other, and the limitations of posting online, but there are no shortcuts. The goal is to work up to the higher higher levels of reasoning which are; logic, significance and fairness. Go for it!

Break and Slow Walk
Practice in order

Take a break for 12 hours (min)
To help your awareness flow, go outside for a slow walk.

II. Do Set
Practice in order

All Do Set activities are completed on your personal course blog.
To find your course blog click on the Learner Blogs link on the menu bar at the top of this page.