4.20.2010

Currently Reading

All people who shall be saved, while we are in this world, have in us a marvellous mixture of both weal and woe. --Julian of Norwich

So man's insanity is heaven's sense; and wandering from all mortal reason, man comes at last to that celestial thought, which, to reason, is absurd and frantic; and weal or woe, feels then uncompromised, indifferent as his God. --Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
I'm about to read an article from Pastoral Psychology (Vol. 49, No. 3, 2001) that caught my attention because its title, "Weal and Woe: Suffering, Sociology, and the Emotions of Julian of Norwich" was familiar to me. The pair of words, "weal & woe," is burned into my memory from the Moby-Dick passage above, a passage from which I took the title of my dissertation (That Celestial Thought: Ethics and Aesthetics in the American Romance). It seems a singular enough pairing of words -- especially within a very specific psychological context -- to make me wonder if there's evidence, or if this is evidence, that Melville was familiar with Julian of Norwich. [Update: probably not. It seems "weal and woe" is a bit of a long-worn usage.]

I'm also reading an article in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 17.2 (2007) titled "The Rasch Scaling of Mystical Experiences: Construct Validity and Correlates of the Mystical Experience Scale (MES)." I'm reading this one in an effort to follow-up on yesterday's comments -- where Wrangler and I were discussing whether it's even possible to imagine "peer review" with regard to things like mysticism. I'll report back. Read along if you like. [Find the article yourselves?]

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