When one looks at the stages of development from a social perspective, one would have to conclude that "average" attainment remains quite low (in terms of the full potential spectrum).
Therefore from one perspective, one could conclude for most individuals - certainly in Western society - that development plateaus significantly with the stages of Band 2.
This of course is not to deny that such individuals may in many respects be highly capable and talented and occasionally reach (at least with respect to some abilities) more advanced bands.
However one would have to conclude that very few indeed achieve sustained experience of the contemplative or radial stages.
This in turn creates an important difficulty for the rare few individuals who feel called - even from an early age - to significantly advance to these advanced stages.
For in attempting to do so, one is placing oneself outside the norms of conventional society, where perhaps for the remainder of one's life, one must be willing to swim significantly against the tide of conventional expectations on a lone and often treacherous journey with no assurance of eventual success.
And in a nutshell, this is why I believe so few individuals ever seriously embark on this spiritual journey.
It is not that they necessarily lack the ability to do so, but rather that the desire to be recognised by "normal" society is so strong that very few indeed are prepared to willingly let go its comforting support and approval.
I believe that one does not voluntarily choose to pursue a lone spiritual route. Rather one sometimes finds through personality and life circumstances, that the very attempt to preserve one's sanity requires a deeper spiritual meaning than provided through the norms of conventional society. In other words, it is really an underlying keen sensitivity, springing from the unconscious, to the lack of any true coherence with respect to conventional social expectations, that for a small minority, creates an unquenchable desire for proper spiritual integration.
Though determined form the age of 17 to pursue my own spiritual quest, irrespective of the social consequences, I often wondered if this would necessarily doom me to a life of great isolation. This was due to the intense nature of experience associated with the more advanced contemplative stages, which by definition could not be properly shared with others. And for a very considerable period of time, this was indeed the case.
Therefore though I was certainly convinced regarding the authentic spiritual nature of what I had experienced, in many ways this seemed to create ever deeper barriers to the prospect of any
form of social intimacy.
And then I slowly began to realise that I was looking at the spiritual journey from the wrong perspective, and that ultimately my own quest for spiritual integration was inseparable from that of society at large.
In other words, when one achieves significant personal development, one's relationships with society undergo dramatic change. However this does not happen in just one direction.
Rather, in reverse, society's relationships with the person involved thereby likewise undergo significant change.
So from one perspective, one's relationships with society have changed; however from the reverse perspective, society's relationships with this person equally have changed.
Thus far from being a passive participant, all of wider society is necessarily involved in any one person's spiritual transformation.
However I was to slowly realise that when the emphasis in development was primarily on the "higher" super-conscious stages, that I was especially prone to see development in merely personal terms, with the - ultimately - mistaken view that I was thereby advancing beyond others with respect to these "higher" stages. And it was in such moments that I would then most strongly feel the lack of any recognition from others regarding what I had achieved.
However this was then reversed when the emphasis turned - especially during Band 5 - to the "lower" sub-conscious stages, where through constant exposure to the must primitive "prepersonal" fantasies, it was easy to believe that others, living at the normal conscious level, were now at a more advanced stage.
So therefore when the emphasis in development becomes equally balanced as between both "higher" super-conscious and "lower" sub-conscious stages, both individual and social development come at last into dynamic equilibrium. Then one feels no longer better or worse than others but rather fully at home as equals with everyone in society.
And this returning home coincides with the onset of the radial stages.
However one must be careful not to be too romantic regarding the process. In truth, though many may set out with the best of intentions on this arduous spiritual journey, few truly arrive home, with the majority still struggling somewhere on the mountain slopes, with little hope of early arrival.
And even for those who genuinely make it home, as always life then brings a host of new challenges, with no time to rest on one's laurels.
This is why I customarily see the radial stages as most accurately representing an enhancement of normal life with the same joys and sorrows that everyone experiences, but perhaps in a much more wide-ranging and intensive manner due to a keenly felt spiritual desire to serve society to the best of one's abilities.
So in this respect - from the mature radial perspective - there is no clear distinction as between personal and social development.
Though early on, one might have seen spiritual progress in personal terms as relating to the unfolding of more advanced stages with respect to one's individual development, one gradually comes to later see such stages as equally reflecting spiritual progress with respect to wider society.
Thus in the former case one sees oneself as choosing an arduous spiritual path; however in the latter case one equally realises that this path has been chosen for one by society!
So one's own development (in relation to society) then equally reflects the corresponding development of society (in relation to oneself).
Therefore though the average level of social development may be based on the dominant influence of Band 2 stages, for a small minority, this will not be the case, with the stages of the more advanced bands now determining behaviour.
So again, one can say that development for this small group of individuals goes therefore well beyond social norms; however equally one can say that society chooses the group for this special kind of development.
Indeed in an even deeper sense, when such individual and social aspects are finely balanced, one can validly say - though perhaps expressed in a variety of different ways - that God chooses such individuals to act as superconductors of spirit for the greater benefit of the society in which they operate.