We are renewed (made new again) through death. This is as true for civilizations as it is for individuals. Reform, modification, more exercise, a better diet, good intentions and cosmetic procedures cannot make us new again. Were it not for death, we’d be zombies sleepwalking through an endless senility.
Renewal is not the old made better. Renewal happens when the old has been destroyed. Renewal and destruction follow one another, always in equal measure. The greater the destruction, the greater the renewal.