Topics Worth Investigating

  1. Siddhartha adopted a game-playing attitude without passion toward business, and a passionate attitude without game-playing toward Kamala. Does one attitude exclude the other? Clarify the similarities and differences between the two approaches to life.

  2. As in the first chapter, in keeping with his rejection of the subjectivity of Maya and the return to the objective world of causes, Siddhartha refers to himself in the third person. For example, when chided by Kamaswami for not having a serious business sense, Siddhartha responds,

    …So, leave it as it is, my friend, and don't harm yourself by scolding! If the day will come when you see Siddhartha is harming me, then speak a word and Siddhartha will go on his own path.

    Is the notion of objectivity only approached through intersubjectivity or intrasubjectivity? Is ultimate truth achieved only through ad populum means? Or was Charles S. Peirce correct when he argues that reality is independent of our thoughts.

    That whose characters are independent of how you or I think is an external reality. There are, however, phenomena within our own minds, dependent upon our thought, which are at the same time real in the sense that we really think them. But though their characters depend on how we think, they do not depend on what we think those characters to be. Thus, a dream has a real existence as a mental phenomenon, if somebody has really dreamt it; that he dreamt so and so, does not depend on what anybody thinks was dreamt, but is completely independent of all opinion on the subject. On the other hand, considering, not the fact of dreaming, but the thing dreamt, it retains its peculiarities by virtue of no other fact than that it was dreamt to possess them. Thus we may define the real as that whose characters are independent of what anybody may think them to be.[1]

    Explain the difference in perspective in our attempt to know ourselves when we no longer believe in an independent objective reality of who we are, but, instead, only come to know ourselves by what others think of us.

  3. Evaluate the statement, "Everyone takes, everyone gives." Suppose a child you do not know offers you a flower. Who is taking and who is giving? Explain.

  4. Franz Kafka writes in the parable entitled "Couriers":

    They were offered the choice between becoming kings or the couriers of kings. The way children would, they all wanted to be couriers. Therefore there are only couriers who hurry about the world, shouting to each other—since there are no kings—messages that have become meaningless. they would like to put an end to this miserable life of theirs but they dare not because of their oaths of service.

    How are the childlike people similar to Kafka's couriers?

  5. How is it that neither Siddhartha nor Kamala can love—even though their relationship is the whole sum, substance, and meaning to their life at this point in their life's path? What does Siddhartha mean when he notes the secret of the childlike people is that they can love? What is it that Siddhartha and Kamala lack?



Charles S. Peirce. "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" in The Essential Peirce. Ed. N. Houser and C. Kloesel. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 125.