Aguirre, Wrath of
‘Gnon’, the modification of ‘Nature’s God’ into “the abyss of the unknowing.”, 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  – 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.” 
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.
 Taken from a Reddit comment
Origins of Gnon in Nick B. Steves’ links: https://nickbsteves.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/going-meta-on-meta/