I think my previous post may have been unclear. I was following my own train of thought about anger and acedia, based on just a few sentences in Norris’ book. She takes a passage from Dante’s inferno, describing the fourth circle of hell, where “the angry are denied the mercy of forgetting” and stand naked in the mire striking at one another. Nearby, sunk in the bog and barely visible are the slothful who ignored beauty while they were alive. “Inside us, we bore acedia’s dismal smoke…”
The juxtaposition of anger and acedia strikes Norris as meaningful, and so she explores it. “When unexpressed anger builds up inside, people perform even legitimate duties carelessly and resentfully, often focusing on others as the source of their troubles.” Notice that Norris doesn’t specify that the anger is caused by someone else, or that one’s resentment is expressed necessarily against the person with whom you are angry. I imagine this could as easily be a case of “kicking the dog”–taking out one’s frustration on an innocent third party. The passage isn’t definitively about one or the other…her point is only that acedia is sometimes linked to anger.
It seems to me that the morose mood of acedia is more likely to be the cause of unjust anger than vice versa. Perhaps it is a vicious cycle, where the numbness of uncaring provokes an irrational anger which results in more careless action or inaction…And this passage in her book is by no means implying that ALL anger is caring too much about the wrong things. I think I may have made Dante seem to say that, and I apologize for the confusion.
On the other hand, “be angry and don’t sin” is a useful commandment here…even righteous anger can lead to careless words and acts, or a stewing silence in which the offense grows like cancer until it’s unrecognizable. When I choose to let the sun set on my unresolved anger, am I not choosing to embrace acedia?