The reason that death is important is that it's the only thing guaranteed in life. We know it will happen and that we'll cease to exist as we were afterwards. It begs the question as to why this happens, why do we spend time in human form and then cease to exist? It's possibly to get our karmic acts together, to improve who we are in order to move on. And if this is so, one area where we hide ourselves in our bad behavior is in our respective "cultures."
It's an easy term to bandy about, and it confers one immediate immunity, absolution from deeper self-scrutiny. Culture in its assumed positivity is supposed to be all good. If one has culture, it's automatically assumed to be a good thing, especially the longer the cultural behavior has been around. We don't question what that culture is, if it is destructive or harmful to others or to the environment. Many extremely bad behaviors over time have been couched in the term culture, and it is time that we examine the word more closely and ask ourselves if the behaviors that we have inherited from our forefathers and fore-mothers are indeed productive? Do our behaviors promote peacefulness, freedom, and respect for those around us and the environment? Or are our behaviors intended to promote the retention of hegemony over others and our world?
It is crucial to analyze what about your "culture" is mature and what is immature, what promotes the best balance of individual and collective health. It is too easy to act as if the fact that something has existed over time is enough for it to exist unquestioned. We have left so much unscutinized which causes us cyclical grief and entrapment. We have created societies which accept unbelievable behaviors towards anyone or anything considered inferior. Again, death should be motivating us to change this foolishness, but that is probably why we've been ignoring death, too.