5. Let us begin by examining, as our starting-point, the four following cases, which may be regarded as summing up the main varieties of the process of dissolution, between which, however, there are a multitude of gradations:
1° The disengagement of the perispirit may be completely effected when the organic life ceases; in that case, the soul feels absolutely nothing. 2° The cohesion between the perispirit and the body may be in full force at the moment of death; in that case, a sort of wrenching asunder of the two takes place, producing a painful reaction in the perceptions of the soul. 3° The cohesion between the body and the perispirit may be weak; in which case, their separation is effected easily and without shocks. 4° Numerous points of contact between the body and the perispirit may exist after the cessation of the organic life; in which case the soul will feel the effects of the decomposition of the body until the links between the two are entirely broken.
From these facts it follows that the suffering, which is so often attendant on death, depends on the strength of the adherence between the body and the perispirit; that whatever tends to diminish this adherence, and to hasten the disengagement of the perispirit from the body, renders its passage less painful; and lastly that if the disengagement is effected without difficulty, the soul experiences no disagreeable sensation whatever.