Malice is intent to harm. Maliciousness deals undue harm onto people. It has a morally corrupt reputation and is highly associated with cruel unnecessary action. It does not specifically describe a satisfaction derived from inflicting harm onto another, for the appropriate word would be sadistic. People can strongly desire to seriourly harm another because they think it’s what the other deserves, and this would be classed as malicious intent.
Malice is one of the principal concepts that underpin the laws in many countries worldwide, and all Western states, so the perception of malice governs global behaviour. The concept of malice shapes the liberties people experience. In comprehending what is wrong and discouraging it the progress of humanity is formed. Through imposing penalties and restraining people from being able to abuse, humans achieve a continually progressive state of existence. This is why malice is used as a point of judgement in law courts.
Nonetheless, it’s more than just a judicial concept. Malice is a central part of human evolution. To be able to decide where and when someone crosses the line between necessary force and abusive ill-will allows people to decide where intervention is needed. Most laws grew from everyday perceptions of actions that were deemed to be just or unjust. Understanding malice allows people to comprehend more fully the workings of humanity, and the cogs of society. It allows people to be more just in their personal lives, and it enables them to see injustice as and when it happens.
Most people would agree that there’s something wrong with gaining satisfaction from inflicting pain on people. Not as many people will agree that there’s something wrong when only pain is inflicted on another though. This is because of the technical point that justifies the use of fighting and self-defence. When stopping people from doing serious wrong to someone, it may be necessary to cause them pain in the process. The technical point is that the intention is to stop them from doing harm, and it’s not an intention to cause them pain or gain satisfaction from causing pain.
This is the pivotal point between good and bad, lawful and unlawful, moral and immoral. Malice is a far reaching principle that all lives revolve around. Defining where guilt resides often depends on determining if malice is present. The central role bestowed to malice in courts of law was not a lucky occurrence that stuck. Judgements that determine if the accused is innocent rely on the discernment of malice. Did the defendant inflict pain to hurt the plaintiff or was it to stop the plaintiff from doing something wrong?
On a personal level, if people are gaining pleasure from inflicting pain on another, they are not being malicious but sadistic. If people were planning on inflicting pain on another because of what the other had done, so the person suffers, the pain would be maliciously inflicted.
A revenge-like quality is highly associated with malicious actions. Constant malicious thoughts can be seen as the path to unbridled malicious hatred or malevolence. In reality, it’s not uncommon for victims of a crime to want the criminal responsible to suffer. Nevertheless abusive personalities, who like to think of themselves as good, develop beliefs that act as defence-mechanisms.
For example, it’s commonly understood that many abusive personalities attempt to get their victims to believe they deserve the ill-fortune inflicted upon them. This has at least two significant dynamics which play out. First, if the victim believes they deserver it, they will most likely passively accept the abuse, so the abuser can have their way without developing anxieties around retaliation. Second, abusers can believe in themselves as good persons despensing justice to bad people. The concept of karma is ideal for malicous personalities to employ for these deceptions. Karma is the concept of cosmic justice dealt out to the morally impure as misfortune. People who desire justice often believe is such a notion, yet the same concept is employed by abusers to trick people into accepting misfortune as their deserved fate. If we take a closer look at the belief these people hold, they believe in themselves (ego) as agents dispensing cosmic justice of behalf of god, and this belief conveniently absolves them of their guilt regarding malicious intent whilst aligning them with the most powerful force that exists, so reducing anxiety from fears of retribution. A good example of the logic of belief which classical defence-mechanism utilise.
Philosophically, revenge is differentiated from justice. Pure revenge has no specific limits to its punishment, and it can be full of malicious intent. Justice seeks to stop abusive actions, cause restitution of losses, redistribute ill-gotten gains, and to keep members of the public safe from malicious actions.
Most people will think about doing harm to another at points in their lives. This is not to say they are all malicious or sadistic people. Perceptions are not always accurate. To be just, people have to reflect and decide whether it’s truly necessary to inflict harm onto another to stop them from doing something wrong. To harm someone who doesn’t need to be harmed is malicious.
Latin. Malitia from Mal-Us = bad to us.
1. Bad quality, badness; chiefly in moral sense, wickedness.
2. Power to harm, harmfulness; harmful action.