The Egyptians seem to me like such a psychological culture. They did everything they did for a deeper reason than you might think. Whether it be painting, writing, or making pyramids, there was always a deeper reason behind it. They were so focused on continuity and permanence. They kept the same art style (save one dynasty's idea….it didn't stick) for three thousand years!!! In the United States, our style changes every six months, or less.
I think there were a lot of reasons they lived the way they did. One of which may have been that the average life expectancy wasn’t much over 35-40 years old. That’s not much of a life, so they were probably deeply interested in continuing on after death. They may also have been looking forward to a better life after living such a terrible one in their present state. The dessert can get hot, they could have had personal problems, they could’ve been born into a poor family--lots of things that would have made them look forward to life after death.
As to permanence with their art style and other things in their culture, that’s a little more of a question in my mind. In this day and age, people seem to get tired of things reaaally quick. That “new-car-smell” wears off and people are ready for something new in just a year or two. The Egyptians must have had some mad style that was too cool to leave behind.