Topics Worth Investigating

  1. Why do you think the metaphor of a snake is used so often in this chapter? Do you think this symbol is being used as an archetypal object suggesting a second kind of danger?

  2. Why does Siddhartha give up the attempt to conquer self and, instead, seek to return to the world of causes? Could it be that he realizes that knowledge of himself can only be discovered in a social environment? Would this be an example of B. F. Skinner's behavioristic interpretation of self-knowledge? Skinner explains self-awareness or self-knowledge in this manner:

    There is a … difference between behaving and reporting that one is behaving or reporting the causes of one's behavior. In arranging conditions under which a person describes the public or private world in which he lives, a community generates that very special form of behavior called knowing … Self-knowledge is of social origin.[1].

  3. Siddhartha found that the world was not Maya. Discuss whether or not his awakening was an illusion or not.



B. F. Skinner. About Behaviorism. New York: Knopf, 1974. 30.