Gregor Cuzak

on marketing, business and philosophy

Form meets content, content meets form


It’s not my first post about the relationship between form and content, yet the topic is reappearing and I simply cannot let it go by unmentioned.

Form equals content.

I needed a long time to realise this, and I’m sure it is wrong. You read this correctly. Form does not equal content, of course.

But it does. Form does equal content.

Let me take this a layer deeper. What is form, what is content? Form is a kind of a shape, the outer perimeter, the border, the boundary, the edge. Content is what is inside the form.

In one dimensional sequential space, like a row of letters, wherein the letters can be either A or B, definition of form would be the letters of alternation. If I tell you where exactly the letter changes, then I don’t have to tell you anything else. Form defines everything.

Does it?

It does, but it’s not efficient. If your sequence is random, which it should be, if it’s natural, then you will discover some patterns in any such row. Let’s just say you find a repetition of ABs that happens 10 times in a row. In the usual definition of form such a sequence would be described by 20 changes of letter. Instead, define the pattern AB first, and then just repeat it 10 times. Easier, shorter, smarter.

But. Form just became content. A double consecutive change AB became a new element C. The transformation made sense because of efficiency. So, is this form? Is it content? Is it the same?

It is the same. It is not the same. It is both things at the same time.

Now here’s the key. As soon as you observe this paradox, you break it. You make a decision. The decision somehow makes your thinking easier, cleaned of paradoxes. Yet your sacrifice is huge. You throw away one half of reality. It’s as if the day would break away from the night and left it for good.

Content and form are two sides of the same reality. They are intertwined. When you think something is form with no content inside, beware, you’re missing the point. Likewise, content cannot be without form. If you’re looking for pure content with no form, you’ll be disappointed.

Yet there is a special quality when content and form mix in such a way that they are indistinguishable. This is the third way. The beautiful way. The magical way. This is when form and content mix like black and white, but in such a way, that the result is not shades of gray, but an explosion of rainbow colours. This rainbow is not in the sequence, it is not outside. This rainbow is inside the eye of the beholder. The non-destructive observer.

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