Every tradition has its underlying philosophy, although it may be hidden, obscured, or even denied. Diamond tried to be up-front about it. Our tradition is a mix of a religion, with a cosmogeny and deities for those that want names to attach to the un-nameable, and a philosophy - a way of living and looking at the world (and universe around us.)
The purpose, ideally, of a religion/philosophy is to provide a framework for ethics and personal growth. Many other religions and philosophies tack a lot of extra baggage on to this, but that's the core.
One purpose of Diamond is to try to understand oneself, the universe around us, and the other beings in our lives. Another is to learn to change the things we can and need to change, accept the things we can not change, and gain the wisdom to know the difference.
Spiritual and philosophical seekers often explore and understand many different philosophies and paths. There is no "One True Right Way" for everyone. Diamond seeks to give the individual a framework to build their own way upon, and encourages people to develop their own comprehension of the universe and themselves.
How do you look at a sunset? You can either take in the whole view, as a natural art, or analyze the physics, atmospheric conditions, and all of the science around it. Both are correct - macro view and micro view. In other words, we look at both the forest and the trees!
As with any other philosophical question, the best way to describe it is with similes, allegory, and even stories. After all, how else can you describe the mental journey of trying to wrap your conscious mind around and into the sum total of the universe?? (Note, it's not a state conducive to doing much of anything else - but it's an interesting experience.)
One thing that trips a lot of people up is trying to reconcile their magical (or non-day-to-day) ethics with their everyday personal ethics. If it's wrong to slam a sledgehammer into someones car for parking in the wrong place, then it's wrong to do the equivalent psychically. If it's wrong (note: not "illegal") to physically slap someone's face for no reason, then it's just as wrong to do it emotionally. With reason - the level and type of action (or reaction) should be gauged to the reason (you don't cuss someone out when trying to jostle them "awake" from a daze.)
Another point is to realize your own motives, reflexes, and "tapes", and take responsibility for what you do. In order to do this, you have to be willing to take a very critical but fair look at yourself, your actions, and your reasons. Remember, when you lie to yourself, only a fool believes it. Don't bother to take responsibility for others - you have enough on your plate for yourself. You can only influence (often greatly, depending on the situation) others, and what they do, but you are responsible for you - even when your reflexes and tapes are playing out in your life. This means taking responsibility for your own "hot buttons", and decision to not change them (or inability to change them in yourself - it is not a crime to be the sum of your experiences, and to have them affect you profoundly - it means you are human, and alive.)
When people say "grow up", it is often an insult. Yet what personal growth often means is "a positive change within yourself". The problem is, sometimes some people seem to "regress" while working out some of their "issues". This is normal, but it is not an excuse for playing child, or victim, without addressing the cause. Everyone has bad days - but there should be progress over the long term.
What about them? In Diamond, the gods are not in the universe to run your life. That's why you have free will. If they played puppet master, pulling your strings and yanking your chain all of the time, what would be the point of choices, or giving you free will?
Yes, perhaps they meddle a little here and there - or is it the mass unconsciousness of humanity that does that? Is the Dilemma (or the Fates) "real", and meddling in your life? Who knows! You can't, really - so instead of railing and wailing, deal with life as it comes. Take what actions you can to change probabilities to go your way, but don't look for some meddling sky thunder god to put the universe in a certain order just for you!
Yes, synchronicity, coincidence, and luck all are real. Our outlook is that everyone's life is subject to probabilities, and interaction with all of the rest of the probabilities around them. Get good at understanding (or even sensing) the probabilities around you, and you have a better sense of where you are headed, and more control over the choices you make.
The future is like a tree, branching with maybes, and the ability to understand (often at some unconscious level) what branches lead where can give you a good measure of power over your life. True, it won't affect many things beyond your control, but just as many drops of water make up a flood, your choices have an effect on the whole.
No. But it's all I will write for now.
Copyright 2002 by Ravan Asteris. Please don't plagiarize - attribute and link if you want to quote!