From the category archives:


Did you ever think about the purpose of life

by Henk ter Heide on Monday February 13, 2012

in Hack

“Did you ever think about the purpose of life?” a friend of
mine asked 30 years ago.
I hadn’t. Which was a good thing, he told me, he had and it forces
you to consider suicide.

Reading about it I quickly found that he was wrong.
Thinking about the purpose of life is actually considered part of
considering suicide. Because only people who end up considering
suicide ever do.

People who think about the purpose of life always think it’s a
philosophical or a theological question. But Philosophers and
theologians never do. (At least not professionally.)

Philosophers don’t because this question doesn’t have an answer you
can check.
People have loads of idea of what the purpose of life might be.
Everyone beliefs something. But there is no way to prove that one
believe is better then an other.
So, as far as philosophers are concerned the purpose of life is a
theological question.
But theologians have a clear and simple answer to the questions of
The purpose of life is the serve God.
Nothing to think about.

People always think that you must be in very deep shit to
even choose to consider suicide, but that’s actually not true.
Nobody ever chooses to consider suicide. People are drawn into
considering suicide by forces that are to big to control.

Feeling depressed and not finding an answer to the questions of life
it seems logical that you’d be better of dead. And that conclusion
leads to even deeper feelings of depression.
Thinking about how good it would be to be dead and wallowing in
feelings of depression for a few months it seems perfectly normal to
look for a way to kill yourself.

But, of course, wanting to die and knowing a way to kill yourself
isn’t enough.
What would happen if there was an after life.
You could end up in a hell. A situation where you would feel even
more horrible then you feel right now.

So people spend a few month convincing themselves that death is the
absolute end. It’s kind of like going to sleep. The only difference
being that you don’t dream and you never wake up.

And of course if death is the absolute end, it means that there is
absolution. It’s possible to get rid of those feelings of
You only have to die.

As you become more certain of the absolute end, more certain of the
absolution you feel the depression lifting. You actually start to
enjoy life again. A little.
The depression never completely goes away, but you feel a lot better
then you have in months. Or maybe even years…

But the depression never completely disappears.
So, as you reach the end of your tether you pick a time and a place
to finally leave this life. An other five days to bid the people and
places you loved a farewell and then you leave.

But those last five days you feel as though you’re in heaven.
You have never felt this kind of bliss in you entire life.
You feel that your problems must be solved. How else could you feel
such joy.

Since you never wanted to die, but only wanted to get rid of those
feelings of depression you decide to not go through with it!
But the next day the feeling of depression are back.
And within a few months you again start thinking about the purpose
of life.

Assuming that you still have the will to live, there is
actually an other solution.

Thinking about the purpose of life and considering suicide is a
It’s a trap because considering suicide generates it’s own feelings
that are much stronger then the feelings that are generated by the
problems you have.
Just like some drugs have very high heights and very low lows, so
does considering suicide.

The depression you feel when you’ve decided that you’d better be of
dead is generated by that decision.
It has nothing to do with the problems you’re experiencing.
The joy you feel as you become more certain that death is the
absolute end, doesn’t have anything to do with you problems.
Again it’s just a reaction to your thoughts.
The feelings of ecstasy you have in your last five days are a
reaction to that decision.
And when you decide not to go through with it you crash. From the
highest height you’ve ever known to the lowest low.

The solution is easy.
When people feel depressed and feel stuck. As though they are
imprisoned and have nowhere to go. They either start thinking about
the purpose of life. Or they think about the purpose of their

The questions about the purpose of your life are far easier to
answer, since they are a choice.
You get to choose.
You can decide what you want the purpose of your life to be.
And if you decide that you deserve more then being stuck, in most
case very easy to just walk out.
(Drop out of school, resign your job.)

I won’t say that by walking out all your problems will be solved.
It won’t.
But if being stuck is so depressing that you’d rather be dead.
Walking out will give you a lot of breathing room.


My corner

by Henk ter Heide on Thursday November 3, 2011

in Hack

The new ballroom of the local wheel chair dancing group is on the second floor of a building without an elevator.
One would think that this will lead to a few problems…

Is this true?
No it isn’t.
But I do come across a lot of these kind of stupid situations where you would think that it’s obvious what is going wrong and that someone should fix it. But nobody ever does.
For instance 40% of the employees of sheltered workplace Promen have back problems.
So you would think that we get very little assignments that demand heavy lifting. But we have a lot of them.
Or you would think that if there’s a need for heavy lifting people would help each other. But they don’t.
They complain a lot about pain in there backs but they never seem to realize that they can change the situation.

For years I’ve been wondering why that is.
There seem to be several reasons.
For one thing people want to fit in. So instead of trying to change the circumstances, they try to change themselves to fit the circumstances.
But there are also a few other reasons.
Some people don’t recognize the problems as common problems, but feel that everybody should solve it for him self.
Some feel that since it is a common problem it isn’t their responsibility to solve it.
And some simply feel that isn’t possible to solve common problems; you can’t change the world.

In fact it is quite possible and fairly easy to solve common problems.
It is as easy to complain about common problems as it is to complain about personal problems.
The trick is to never lay blame and never expect anyone to be grateful for your efforts.
If you do that people really appreciate the fact that you are calling attentions to their problems.

The next step is to suggest ways to solve the problems. By changing the way they behave and the way they do their work people could make life much easier for them selves.
It take a few months but at some point someone will try it and find that it indeed makes his life easier.
And since it’s a common problem it also improves the lives of his colleagues. A little. But as the circumstances improve more people are willing to change their behavior. And little by little common problems get solved.

I’ve been doing this for the last 20 years with ever more success.
It won’t change the world, but it does change my corner of the world.

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The correct way of tying shoes

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday November 1, 2011

in Hack

This may sound funny but I’ve been using it for the last couple of months and it really works.


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Drawing: Naked chair

by Henk ter Heide on Thursday January 3, 2008

in Hack

I’ve finally finished my drawing of my chair without the pillows and as you can see I’m not very satisfied with the result.
It is a difficult drawing. Especially the curved lines that must be drawn at an angle.

I’m not sure what I should expect from myself with this kinds of drawings. But I keep seeing a lot of details that aren’t drawn the way they should.

Probable it just means that I’ll have to revisit this drawing at some point.

Naked chair
Naked chair
(For those who can’t read the comments (starting at the top and going clock wise): wrong angle, to thick, wrong shape, wrong angle, wrong angle, should be further forward, lost my patience)

I almost forgot.
This is more or less the negative space
drawing assignment for the right side of the brain book. Of course the drawing for the book should only have an out line were as I tried to draw the details on the in site of the chair.

One trick that the book teaches and that I found to be something of a mix blessing is how to judge what the proportions of the different parts of the chair.
You just pick a line on your subject that is of a middle length. That line is called “one unit”. Then you compare every other line in you subject to that unit.
To translate it to your drawing you pick a unit that is nicely proportionated to the size of your paper to measure your subject.

The nice thing about this method is that it’s very easy figure out how to get the interesting parts of your subject on the paper without it being to small or to large.
I found that the down side is that it’s very hard to judge the length of lines that are much shorter then your unit. Is a line 1/5 or 1/6 of the length of the unit?
For this kind of drawing it does matter.


Pulling color (Study: Blue patches)

by Henk ter Heide on Saturday October 6, 2007

in Hack

Stumbling into a new technique.

I wanted to experiment with a few blue colors just as I did for green in a study a few days ago. Finding a few colors I could use in clouds or in a sea drawing.
When mixing colors I always like to mix in some white. Even though I wasn’t clear on the effect it would have.
In the study a few days ago I used thick layers of pigment and although the white gave the color a softer feel it didn’t make that much difference.

This time I mix thin layers of pigment. Blending them with a white pencil had an astounding effect. The blending pencil pulled the color out of the paper.
Blue patches
Blue patches
Especialy with the four lower patches you can see the result of blending with a white pencil.You can, of course, get the same effect if you use a tortillon but a blending pencil has a sharp point that can create interesting effects. In my next drawing I will show you what I mean.


How to clean a tortillon (Study: Mixing colors)

by Henk ter Heide on Wednesday September 5, 2007

in Hack

What is it for

A tortillon is a conical piece of pressed paper pulp. It is used to blend colors when you are drawing with graphite pencils or color pencils.

When you use a tortillon to blend a color, pigment is transferred from the paper to the tortillon. Which means that the next time you try to use that tortillon you can’t use it for a different color. If you would it would ruin your drawing.
For that reason I’ve been using pieces of toilet paper to blend colors. You can trough them out when your done.

Mixing colors

But when you mix colors you have to apply much more pressure while blending. That means that you really do need tortillons. So I’ve done a little bit of experimenting and I found that it is in fact very easy to clean a tortillon if you rub it over a sheet of middle grain sanding paper.
The tortillon gets a little shorter and the pigment is left behind on the sanding paper.

Mixing colors 5C
Mixing colors 5C

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Mixing colors 5D
Mixing color 5D

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Ford Smith is a contemporary artist who paints very beautiful colorful landscapes