Throughout history, and to this day, such [funeral] rituals have enabled people to endure the loss of loved ones, dampening the dread associated with their own eventual demise to the point where they can continue their daily routines.
“Without art,” mused George Bernard Shaw, “the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” Art depicting the supernatural, a feature of every known culture, is fundamental to constructing and maintaining supernatural death-transcending conceptions of reality.
The discovery of Göbekli Tepe [a monument in Turkey from 12 000 years ago that may have been the centre of a death cult] …suggests that the problem of death motivated architectural advances that had nothing to do with practical concerns. These religious monuments predated agriculture and may have even helped stimulate its development… “First the temple, and then the city.
The existing evidence strongly suggests that rituals surrounding death and the afterlife led to large gatherings of people and impressive technological developments that contributed both to farming and to other cultural advances that follow from the development of larger settlements and a less nomadic lifestyle.