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Granger compares society to the phoenix, the legendary bird that destroys itself in a fire only to be reborn from the ashes. His point is that human society keeps becoming wilfully self-destructive, and even afterwards it continues along the same pathways:
"...every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we're doing the same thing, over and over, but we've got one damn thing the Phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)
However, Granger believes that since humans are capable of learning from their mistakes, society is destined to become stronger and more intelligent in the future, instead of regressing as the current generation has. He believes that it his role, and that of men like him, to remember and teach the mistakes of the past, so that future generations won't forget them. Without the framework of prior mistakes, society will continue to destroy itself; with books to remind people of the past, society should be able to become stronger than before.
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