META-NOMAD

Aguirre, the Wrath of Gnon

 

Aguirre, Wrath of God Gnon

 

‘Gnon’, the modification of ‘Nature’s God’ into “the abyss of the unknowing.”[1], an overbearing…overriding fate of acceptance to Reality. That which not only avoids intentionality, but annihilates it prior to any amount of construction; the disinterested super-ego of the il y a. Potentially dragging it into context may do it a disservice, for  Gnon shall never be illuminated by the eyes of humanity, nor even cast a shadow upon them. Once more we’ll find ourselves clutching at a nothingness, pining for hope.

Romantic notions of bleak voids aside Gnon has its origin amongst reactionaries, acting as a practical acronym of “the God of Nature Or Nature.”. – these are your only choices, as Land states, Gnon is not Spinozistic [1] – An acronym which amongst reactionaries attends to aligning two camps: the religious and the non-religious, whether it is Nature or a God it is acceptance of an order beyond all doubt. Utilization of such acceptance allows the two camps to lay down looping discrepancies and debates in place of thoughtful mutual work towards the ‘here-and-now’, which itself is undoubtedly controlled by Gnon at base level. But what of Gnon?

One might say to coax the idea of Gnon through the standard ‘film as metaphor’ analysis would be redundant or gratuitous, to align this arrogant behemoth alongside plot would seem down right absurd; one might add that to cinematically encapsulate Gnon one need only watch a hurricane decimate a town, or footage of a hawk gobbling on some young for one to understand their place. Yet when Gnon surrounds desire, power, fame, duty and honour one garners the full effect of its disinterest.

Aguirre, The Wrath of God: 1560 amongst the freshly conquered Inca Empire in the Andes mountains we’re faced with the gruelling march of some Spanish conquistadors, a hundred Indian slaves, a few family and an oh-so human desire to discover the fabled El Dorado. Herzog sends us forth on our journey with this maddening vision of ascent and descent. The mountain effortlessly still as knees lock and armour clangs, sodden, humid exhaustion berates.

From here it will be easier.”

These words spoken early on of course could be repeated again and again, for the next 2000 years if one wished. The commander, whose name I need not mention, orders a group of men to scout down river, taking with them Don Lope de Aguirre as a stoic military man, the fat nobleman Don Fernando de Guzman and Brother Gaspar de Carvajal; military, royalty and religion cast down river amidst the rainforests dense suffocation. Ultimately none of their honoured affiliations comes to help them, nor allows them any comfort.

Many of the Indian slaves begin to die of colds.

As one of the 4 rafts made to tackle to river gets stuck the insanity and tension of the camp only heightens, a sense that the foreign reigns supreme, that if one was to arrive at El Dorado, it needn’t matter for they wouldn’t be themselves, a journey akin to Colonel Kurtz yet what in Heart of Darkness could said to be an anthropocentric arrogance is replaced tenfold with a pathetic confusion. Acting not as if a flood were a sign or even a subtle hint of the right to return, but that which is to be justly overcome; once again it is supposedly the water in the way of us and not the reverse.

Obstacles only acting as fuel to Aguirre’s infectious rage. As the first raft becomes stuck and its crew are slaughtered in the night, the only action is to allow Gnon, destroy the raft and let the river clutch its victims. With the remaining rafts also consumed the commander thinks it best to return. Leading a mutiny – and encapsulating a loosely packed collage of human emotion – Aguirre continues to push the group further into that which has already fucked them.

The increasing tightening of the micro-community only worsens the heat and emotion. Aguirre’s new found leadership releases his oppressive inner nature, and thus the orders mutate into fear and terror. Shots of heavily clad men coated in dirt, blood, sludge and dust are frequent. Midway in their journey two options are stated: “By water or by land.” or ‘By Gnon or by Gnon’. This is not to confuse Gnon with the Nature-as-environment cliché, only that each option forthwith is under obligation to a higher acceptance, the knowledge of which is beginning to seep under the skin of Aguirre.

The correct answer to “What is Gnon?” should always be followed by “like that, but more red in tooth and claw.” [2]

The final raft holding the remaining few, all starving and lost. Eventually all meeting their death to the arrows of strangers never seen. Aguirre alone remains:

“I, the Wrath of God, will marry my own daughter, and with her I will found the purest dynasty the world has ever seen. Together, we shall rule this entire continent. We shall endure. I am the Wrath of God… who else is with me?”

A typical interpretation would see Aguirre’s loss as related to his desires, filled with passion and lust upon adventure to El Dorado, to become the one who found the myth. Yet there is none so blind as those who will not see. Aguirre need only look backwards mere days, hours even to see he’s lost, abandoned and defeated, it was always that way, he merely wanted to venture a step too far for proof of failure, a wish that maybe, just this one time man will win, in whatever minor way.

Aguirre approaches the inconsequentiality of humanity more sincerely every passing minute, until all the viewer is left with is a single human defeated by its own supposedly ‘unique’ nature, adrift and alone within a hellish terrain. A sweaty speck of humanity caught in the unstoppable fever of Gnon.

 


[1] http://www.xenosystems.net/the-cult-of-gnon/

[2] Taken from a Reddit comment

Origins of Gnon in Nick B. Steves’ links: https://nickbsteves.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/going-meta-on-meta/

Aguirre, the Wrath of God

The Big Short – Bureaucratic Horror

“I mean for instance, one of the hallmarks of mania is the rapid rise in complexity and the rates of fraud…” – Michael Burry

What’s the initial setup for your most basic horror film? An ordinary world, the world as a given, everything fine, normal and we as a viewer still have our nerves. Everything is as it should be. There may of course be a hero, a protagonist with which we will side, usually we shall take the side of those who we feel are more morally just. Then something goes wrong, a disturbing force, something mystical, strange, violent and absurd shall overthrow the narrative, we are given a clear warning of this, some eerie tone or a sense of unease and foreboding is given. The problem is usually solved, or fixed, the villain or sense of unease is killed/ended and those who’ve survived go on with their lives.

In this case The Big Short begins entirely in the ordinary world, we are told of Lewis Ranieri the father of mortgage-backed securities in the 70’s, we don’t know who he is, but he changed our lives, which already pushes a sense of unease, someone changed all our lives and we never knew, this is nothing unique of course, except it comes apparent later on as to why it’s a malicious global economic change. The ordinary world is short lived, we are given images from the 2008 housing crisis, people being evicted from their homes, poverty, strife, anger, worry and fear all crammed into roughly 2 minutes of news real footage. There isn’t necessarily a singular hero in this case, prior to beginning the film the audience understands that it’s about the 08’s housing crisis, so, who does one support? Who are we backing here? Who’s out hero? Potentially you could argue our ‘hero’ of sorts is the likes of Michael Burry who foresees the crisis, however, much like the rest of the films ensemble he merely uses his knowledge to profit from the crisis. Not that he, or any of the other protagonists could have done anything about it of course, to step in the way of big business is to commit career suicide, so you take what you can and leave, I guess. Perhaps the future economy is our hero? What we want to survive in an underlying sense of security in those who hold our money and safety, though the film’s general premise doesn’t bode well for this idea i.e. This has happened twice now, within a 70 year time frame. So, what kind of horror is this? A bureacratical one, constantly fluctuating with a sense of kafkaesque frustration.

Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to make you think only they can do what they do.”

Of course, this is nothing new. Look at any system in which there’s something at stake which those who know don’t want spoiled, or to have the wealth spread out amongst even more people: Bitcoin, stock markets, morgages, taxes, forex, etc. these systems are made implicitly to push people away. So already the viewer is given a new world in which the narrative is to make transparent was has for so long seemed like complete gibberish, techo-jargon explained to the layman, so we can see it for what it is, simple exploitation. We are given a world in which we’re the fish, yet the problem being, the time has passed, 2008 has passed, so we are just relieving the intricacies and underlying structure of a collective nightmare.

“You have no idea the crap people are pulling and the average person just walks around like they’re in a goddamn Enya video. They’re all getting screwed…Credit cards, pay day lenders, car financing, fees, fees, and more fees. And what do they care about? The ball game or which actress went into rehab?” – Mark Baum

 

As witty and humourous as Baum’s statement is, it’s true, it’s always been true and will forever be true, as long as we stay within the capitalist realist state we are currently within. The interesting feeling the film emanates here is that of nausea, an uncanny situation in which the horror is unfolding from both sides inwards, there’s no hero to save us, any possibility of salvation has been buried in time under stacks and stacks of paper work, maybe not, that could just be conjecture. However, the viewer now understands they are in there’s no out as this has happened, so they are just to sit and watch the horror unfold, slowly watch as the scaffolding is poked and prodded until collapse.

 

Who bets against housing?”

 

That’s the problem, complete in 4 words. Who, as in, it will never fail because everyone knows it wont. Bets, it’s a dumb gamble. Against, it’s secure. Housing, it’s housing, it’s always fine, I mean it’s housing for christ’s sake: we live in them. Everyone does it so no one questions it, The Big Short tells the story of when the mad man on the street is finally vindicated, those shouting “The End (of the economy) is Nigh!” of course no one listens, and no one will care afterwards becuase they’re too busy trying to find a new home or work out what the hell happened. Most horror movies at this point either have a clear villain win or loss: the villain either kills the victims or vice versa, that doesn’t happen here, everyone is left to deal with the remains, as if a big economic villain came in ravaged 99% of the parties involved and left without any damage to itself because it never existed in the first place. The viewer, left empty, just continues on, I don’t know how to finish this because the movie itself can only leave you with a distinct sense of dread that the walls that surround you aren’t financially secure, nothing is, it could all crumble…well, we already knew this though didn’t we.