On the Lightning Path we posit that planetary Evolution occurs in three broad stages. Each stage is demarcated into phases, and each phase has its own unique evolutionary, biological, psychological, cultural, and (in more advanced stages after the development of sentient life) even political challenges. Each phase and stage also has its own unique milestones which, when achieved, demarcate a transition point.
Stage Two: Expansion is the evolution of World Systems. Stage two begins when a species, on its own or through an Intervention, successfully overcomes the Evolutionary Stagnation caused by Pastoral Comfort), often after a necessary Intervention. At that point, a species begins a political, cultural, economic, and technological evolution that leads, over the course of several thousand years, give or take a few, to the development of complicated and globally scoped economic, political, social, technological, and communication systems. When a species has attained advanced World Systems, Planetary Graduation occurs and Stage Three begins.
Stage Three: Integration is the evolution of Interplanetary Systems. Stage three begins when a species begins integration into a commensal relationship with advanced interplanetary societies. Put another way, stage three begins when a species successfully, on its own, or as a consequence of Intervention, avoids Debacle and successfully transits away from autocratic Accumulation based systems (see The System) to equitable economic systems, advanced democratic governance, and strong and persistent Connection to Consciousness.