I introduced several important aspects of that moral theory, not least what we can call Anselm's moral anthropology -- his viewpoint bearing on the different parts or aspects of human being -- and discussed how anger fits partly under what Anselm (following St. Paul, and a host of Christian writers) calls the "carnal appetites," which arise in our bodies but then give rise to corresponding desires in the soul, within the ambit of the human will to be precise. In this post, I'm going to set out some of Anselm's teachings about the complex faculty which the human will is, and set anger within them,
First, though, I want to pick up where I left off, mentioning several states of character, virtues, which bear upon anger, primarily in negative manners, i.e., by preventing anger entirely, or by lessening its intensity, its ease of provocation, its duration, even by keeping legitimate anger directed properly, preventing it from spilling over to other people, bleeding into other matters or occasions. Those are patience, meekness (mansuetudo, also translated as "mildness" or as "gentleness"), humility, and justice. The last two exercise absolutely architectonic roles in Anselm's moral theory -- indeed all of the virtues are connected in fundamental ways with both of them -- but the first two more specifically bear on anger. Now, we unfortunately don't possess all that much of the great monastic teacher's thought on these. We do know from Anselm's biographer, Eadmer, a monk of Canterbury, that he both taught and counseled on these subjects. He tells us that during the common meals, Anselm discussed these at length and in depth:
For if I were to describe him as he discoursed about humility, patience, gentleness . . . or about any of the innumerable and profound subjects on which we heard him talk almost every day, I should have to compose another work and put aside the one which I have undertaken.