Yesterday, I spent some time at Ruigoord. Ruigoord is a small artist enclave in the Western harbour area of Amsterdam. The village is an oasis of imagination, which has been trying to keep the spirit of the 60s alive. Counterculture, a gay anarchism, psychedelic drug culture, artistic expression and some new spirituality values continue to define life in Ruigoord. When you enter the village, white graffiti on one of the houses – which are used by artists as their workspace – reads: “So much inspiration in such a small place; there must be a cosmic leak.”
Despite whatever reserves anybody may have, I am a believer of Ruigoord, and as many Christians have recently explained me, to believe you ultimately have to jump. Obviously, it is not very likely that Christ has in fact risen from the dead, but you just have to believe it, right? Centrally located in Ruigoord is “the church”, a former catholic church (already an interesting feature in the protestant north of Holland), which is now used for creative rituals and parties. Next to the church, you find the “municipal” building, which doubles as the consulate of Doel (almost abandoned village in Belgium) and the embassy of Christiania (free state in Copenhagen).
This particular evening I was listening to three fringe thinkers: Thomas Meijer, Leonie Klooster and Joost Emanuel. Devoid of any academic mannerism, they each developed in their own way scholarly theses on truth, meaning, fiction and the insanity. An important topic through all talks was the distinction between the “true” person or soul – the spiritual origin of human beings – and their purported “masks” which we put on or “personae” we play in society. The message of these philosophers of Ruigoord was not only the worldview of perennialism – the idea that there is a true core in all world philosophies which is ancient and eternal, but also the message of the pure soul corrupted by society.