‘Thus every action must be due to one or other of seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reasoning, anger, or appetite.’
Chance events affect us all the time and, although some have little effect in changing what we do, a number of others force us to act or otherwise motivate us into action.
Natural forces are those ‘originating in the body, such as the desire for nourishment, namely hunger and thirst’ as well as other forces, such as to procreate.
Compulsion occurs when we feel that we must act, even though we may not wish to act this way. This may be compliance with the law or dysfunctional obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Habit is unthinking action, and Aristotle said ‘Acts are done from habit which men do because they have often done them before.’ Whilst compulsion is unpleasant and un-useful repetition of action, habit is pleasant and generally useful.
Aristotle points out that rational and reasoned action are to defined ends, achieving something that serves personal goals.
Sometimes interpreted as ‘passion’, anger can lead to extreme action.
Anger is closely related to revenge, and anger curiously lessens when there is no prospect of vengeance.
Sometimes interpreted as ‘desire’, appetite is ‘craving for pleasure’.
Whilst anger serves negative motivation, ‘Appetite is the cause of all actions that appear pleasant’.
Aristotle pointed out that wealth or poverty is not a cause of action, although the appetite for wealth may well motivate.