This Burner recognizes something that scholars have touched on as well.. For example, Sarah Pike says that this mourning process at Burning Man is "a substitute for failed rites of passage in the outside world, healing emotions left behind after more traditional death rites were completed." The resonance of such ritual and communal acts of memorialization at Burning Man may point out a deficit in the ways in which we deal with death in the West. Earlier in her discussion Pike discusses the process of mourning in "industrialized, secularized societies" and she states that, "Instead of shared communal rites most Westerners are left with 'the invisible death: a biological transition without significance, pain, suffering, or fear.'"
Is it possible that the activities at the Temple at Burning Man illustrate yet another cultural and spiritual lesson to be learned from this intentional community? Perhaps it also points out yet another "unpaid bill of the church" in our failures to adequately respond to death as we live our lives in its constant shadow.