Who are the child people that Siddhartha keeps mentioning? Why are they different from him? Why are they important in the book? What is the major theme behind them?

Explaination of the "Child People" in Siddhartha.

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These are the ways Siddhartha differs from the Child-People.

A. He knew he was different—this difference came, in part, from being a Samana.

1. People were all treated all the same to him—his problems were treated all the same to him; no priority was set regardless of the relative importance of the problem.

2. To the Child-People trivia was made important; they can love; whereas, he and Kamala apparently cannot love.

3. What is the main difference between Siddhartha and the Child-People? Siddhartha has a sanctuary (the ability of self-knowledge or of knowing his own self second-hand).

B. There is the hint, at this point, of the inner voice that he is going astray; he recognizes the occasional need to compromise so long as he doesn't lose sight of his goal—but, of course, he already has lost sight of his life's goal [Hesse 57D-58A].

1. Authentic life was flowing past him.

2. What once made him superior is now leading him astray.

C. Hess defines the art of love as the giving and taking which becomes one. Is this the love of the Child-People, the love of the nature of business, or what Siddhartha thought love is at the present time (even though he knows he cannot love in his present state). Obviously it's not the kind of love implicit in the compassion of Buddha.

1. This is the kind of love where no one keeps score—there is the loss of ego; no one is "there" to total up points.

2. The sanctuary is the ego, in itself, apart from the repetition of experience.

3. Kamaswami is identified with his business—if it fails, one would not be surprised at his failure—another example of the alienation of misidentification. I.e., we ought not identify ourselves with the roles we play in life.

4. The Child-People are like Kafka's "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."

a. Most persons are like the falling leaves {58D].

b. Siddhartha chooses his destiny rather than merely reacting to surrounding circumstances.

5. Siddhartha notes, "People like us cannot love." The Child-People with their pettiness can love, but Siddhartha and Kamala cannot.

a. Is it because of their sanctuary that they lack the capacity for commitment? How can you love and be a Stoic?

b. What he really needs to know is the side of himself which is love in essence. (This is probably the central non-Eastern philosophical feature of this book as written by Hesse, a Western writer.)