8. It is to be remarked yet further, that all our social usages concur to make people cling to the earthly life, and to cower before the path that leads from this world to the next. Death is surrounded by somber ceremonies, which are far more suggestive of sorrow than of hope. It is always portrayed in a negative light, never as a state of transition. All the symbolism employed to describe it makes reference to the destruction of the body, and portrays it as a hideous fleshless specter; none of the symbols employed for this purpose represent death as the deliverance of the soul, joyous and radiant, from terrestrial bondage. The departure for a happier state of existence is accompanied only by the lamentations of the survivors, as though the greatest possible misfortune had befallen those who are gone before us. Their weeping friends bid them an eternal farewell, as though they would never again be able to behold them, and are filled with grief at the thought that they are deprived of the joys of this lower sphere, as though the other life did not offer enjoyments far greater than those of Earth. “What a misfortune,” it is often said, “to have died when those who were taken were young, rich, happy, and with a brilliant future before them!” The idea that the departed can gain more by the change scarcely crosses the mind of any of those whom they have left, so vague, misty, gloomy, and void of hopefulness is the idea generally entertained in regard to the world of souls. Humanity will doubtless be slow in getting rid of their prejudices concerning death; but they will succeed in doing so as their knowledge of the spirit-life becomes clearer, firmer, and more enlightened.