50:5.1 The loyal princes of the inhabited worlds are permanently attached to the planets of their original assignment. Paradise Sons and their dispensations may come and go, but a successful Planetary Prince continues on as the ruler of his realm. His work is quite independent of the missions of the higher Sons, being designed to foster the development of planetary civilization.
50:5.2 The progress of civilization is hardly alike on any two planets. The details of the unfoldment of mortal evolution are very different on numerous dissimilar worlds. Notwithstanding these many diversifications of planetary development along physical, intellectual, and social lines, all evolutionary spheres progress in certain well-defined directions.
50:5.3 Under the benign rule of a Planetary Prince, augmented by the Material Sons and punctuated by the periodic missions of the Paradise Sons, the mortal races on an average world of time and space will successively pass through the following seven developmental epochs:
50:5.4 1. The nutrition epoch. The prehuman creatures and the dawn races of primitive man are chiefly concerned with food problems. These evolving beings spend their waking hours either in seeking food or in fighting, offensively or defensively. The food quest is paramount in the minds of these early ancestors of subsequent civilization.
50:5.5 2. The security age. Just as soon as the primitive hunter can spare any time from the search for food, he turns this leisure to augmenting his security. More and more attention is devoted to the technique of war. Homes are fortified, and the clans are solidified by mutual fear and by the inculcation of hate for foreign groups. Self-preservation is a pursuit which always follows self-maintenance.
50:5.6 3. The material-comfort era. After food problems have been partially solved and some degree of security has been attained, the additional leisure is utilized to promote personal comfort. Luxury vies with necessity in occupying the center of the stage of human activities. Such an age is all too often characterized by tyranny, intolerance, gluttony, and drunkenness. The weaker elements of the races incline towards excesses and brutality. Gradually these pleasure-seeking weaklings are subjugated by the more strong and truth-loving elements of the advancing civilization.
50:5.7 4. The quest for knowledge and wisdom. Food, security, pleasure, and leisure provide the foundation for the development of culture and the spread of knowledge. The effort to execute knowledge results in wisdom, and when a culture has learned how to profit and improve by experience, civilization has really arrived. Food, security, and material comfort still dominate society, but many forward-looking individuals are hungering for knowledge and thirsting for wisdom. Every child is provided an opportunity to learn by doing; education is the watchword of these ages.
50:5.8 5. The epoch of philosophy and brotherhood. When mortals learn to think and begin to profit by experience, they become philosophical—they start out to reason within themselves and to exercise discriminative judgment. The society of this age becomes ethical, and the mortals of such an era are truly becoming moral beings. Wise moral beings are capable of establishing human brotherhood on such a progressing world. Ethical and moral beings can learn how to live in accordance with the golden rule.
50:5.9 6. The age of spiritual striving. When evolving mortals have passed through the physical, intellectual, and social stages of development, sooner or later they attain those levels of personal insight which impel them to seek for spiritual satisfactions and cosmic understandings. Religion is completing the ascent from the emotional domains of fear and superstition to the high levels of cosmic wisdom and personal spiritual experience. Education aspires to the attainment of meanings, and culture grasps at cosmic relationships and true values. Such evolving mortals are genuinely cultured, truly educated, and exquisitely God-knowing.
50:5.10 7. The era of light and life. This is the flowering of the successive ages of physical security, intellectual expansion, social culture, and spiritual achievement. These human accomplishments are now blended, associated, and co-ordinated in cosmic unity and unselfish service. Within the limitations of finite nature and material endowments there are no bounds set upon the possibilities of evolutionary attainment by the advancing generations who successively live upon these supernal and settled worlds of time and space.
50:5.11 After serving their spheres through successive dispensations of world history and the progressing epochs of planetary progress, the Planetary Princes are elevated to the position of Planetary Sovereigns upon the inauguration of the era of light and life.