In Love, Death + Robots volume 3, episode 1, a robot is about to quote a philosopher before he gets cut. Who is the philosopher and what did he say?
The opening episode of Love, Death + Robots Volume 3 “Three Robots: Exit Strategies” teases audiences with a quote from “the great human philosopher Santayana,” before the robot is cut – so who is Santayana? What did he say, and why is it relevant to human extinction in Love, Death + Robots? In the same spirit as black mirror, the anthology series features a range of shorts each season that play with the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres. Created by dead Pool director Tim Miller and produced by fight club director David Fincher, the series has garnered critical acclaim and multiple Primetime Emmy Awards, primarily for its unique yet varied animation.
Love, Death + Robots volume 3, episode 1, “Three Robots: Exit Strategies” follows the same three robots last seen in season 1, episode 2. Their sightseeing journey through a post-apocalyptic world, in which humanity has made the world uninhabitable, allows robots to criticize and mock the stupidity of humanity. When he finds himself in a space station surrounded by the corpses of people who tried to escape on spaceships designed by the richest people in the world, 11-45-G, the automated voice robot and the least human of the three, tries to reflect on Santayana’s words. The small robot K-VRC quickly cuts him off, distracted by the images of the only spacecraft that was able to escape from the earth in the universe of Love, Death + Robots‘ episode.
The philosopher in question is George Santayana, a Hispanic-American philosopher, committed to the schools of thought of metaphysical naturalism. His most famous quote, which robot 11-45-G most likely refers to, is “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it” which came from Santanyana’s work of 1905, The life of reason. Although this quote resonates with the themes of Love, Death + Robotanother famous Santayana quote which is also relevant is “Only the dead have seen the end of the war”, which he wrote in 1922 Soliloquies in England and later soliloquies.
George Santayana’s quote from 1905 is poignant considering how humanity “had all the tools to heal themselves, but instead chose greed and self-gratification.” Love, Death + RobotsThe dystopian reality reflects how humanity has continually chosen to ignore the needs of the planet, sapping its riches until there is no more to take. Through greedy pursuits, instead of protecting the earth, the elite humans chose to inhabit a new planet, Mars. Although Mars is “dead and lifeless” the humans in the episode chose to claim it anyway, proving they hadn’t learned their lesson when they ruined the land and the societies their ancestors had built. When ordinary people tried to force their way into spaceships, they were burned alive by the elite. This is where Santanyana’s other quote rings true, because even though humanity is threatened with extinction, violence and war do not cease, and truly “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
The smallest robot Love, Death + Robots episode, K-VRC, appears the most human in personality, as instead of learning Santanyana’s lesson, he screams, “Hey, shut up! This is boring!” Although unconfirmed, K-VRC, appears to have been programmed by humans as it demonstrates the same capacity for willful ignorance. Like mankind, K-VRC is more interested in footage of the only spacecraft that escaped Earth. This spaceship is flashier, more interesting and an easy way out – everything humans in the world of Love, Death + Robots desire. It seems George Santayana’s quotes can apply to otherworldly robots, as well as humanity.
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