Without content

"Without content we are nothing."

We are nothing?

Who would say such a thing--passionately? A dermatologist? A neurologist? A nutrition scientist? An old-fashioned pedagogue? A Jungian psychoanalyst? A winemaker? An enlightened web developer?

I'm pretty interested in this word content. It's a funny word for words and pictures that go on a web site, because content has no implications for meaning or quality: it just means stuff that isn't for decoration or navigation.

Applying the word content to people is even funnier. I like it, though it freaks me out.

It's no stranger than other common physical/structural metaphors that are shortcuts to understanding the complicated way humans function: body/soul, left/right brain, superego/ego/id, split personality, chakra...

If we have content, then we are containers. Is the container our body, our mind, or what?

Enough. Max Gimblett said it, in a radio interview with Kim Hill last Saturday 24 May 2008. I suppose I could try to translate his comment but that would be a heck of a lot more boring than,

Without content, we are nothing. And this from the guy who painted Even a good thing is not as good as nothing. Celebrating the mysterious, unattainable void.

Image: Even a good thing is not as good as nothing, 2005

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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