An illuminating examination of the relationship between individual spiritual development and the collective advancement of civilization. In The Purpose of Physical Reality Dr. John S. Hatcher compared the physical world to a classroom designed by God to stimulate individual spiritual growth and to prepare us for birth into a spiritual existence. But how does personal spiritual development translate into social experience? Is involvement with others necessary for one to evolve spiritually? Hatcher analyzes these questions and more in The Ascent of Society: The Social Imperative in Personal Salvation. This penetrating study describes the objective of personal spiritual growth as an "ever-expanding sense of self" that requires social relationships in order to develop. Hatcher focuses on the Baha'i belief that human history is a divinely guided process in which spiritual principles are gradually and progressively expressed in social institutions. He demonstrates that the aspirant to spiritual transformation cannot view personal health and development as being possible apart from the progress of human society as a whole.