Perhaps more importantly, is Death Energy / Death Essence a consequence of dying, or is it the cause? I’ve seen a number of people here say that if one internalizes Death Energy suddenly or without sufficient protection, it can lead to sickness and dying. So what exactly is it doing?
The analogous scientific concept to Death Energy, of course, is equivalent to the underlying cause of ageing - the degeneration and eventual death of all living things. Simplistically, this can be thought of as entropy - the tendency for things to become more disordered. For example, it’s easy to mix red water and blue water (ordered states) to become purple water (mixed/disordered state), but extremely difficult to go backwards from the disordered state back to order. Similarly, the universe favours the transition from living (ordered complex biochemical reactions) to dead (disordered simple decay). For sake of clarity, let’s refer to this idea as Entropic Death.
The alternative interpretation, though, is that living things are actually entropic devices that increase local entropy. This interpretation assets that the highly ordered, low entropy states required to sustain life are outweighed by the high entropy states generated by life due to intrinsic inefficiency. If you eat an apple, you don’t get 100% of the apple’s energy - you get maybe 20%, and the rest gets expended as heat and byproducts into the environment. So although eating the apple allows you to lower your own entropy and thus remain alive, you have destroyed the apple and thus increased your local environment’s entropy more than your own was decreased. Under this interpretation, the universe would favour life, and so ageing and degeneration would need to be evolutionarily programmed (this is called phenoptosis) for the good of the species as a whole rather than being an emergent property of life itself. Let’s call this Programmed Death.
Under the hypothesis of Entropic Death, we would define Death Energy as a passive, emergent property of life. To counteract it would require an active intervention that restores a low entropy state to the body, i.e. engaging cellular repair mechanisms like selective autophagy, proteasomal degradation, chaperone recruitment, and the DNA damage response. Whether this can be programmed by slight adjustments as typically achieved by pharmaceuticals and biologics, or whether this requires transduction or entirely new repair machineries, remains to be seen.
However, under the hypothesis of Programmed Death, we would define Death Energy as an active, phenoptotic mechanism that is not an intrinsic, emergent property of life. Consequently, counteracting Death Energy would be based on altering one’s programmed fate. Whether this is as simple as shots of a peptide hormone that decreases with age, or whether more complex genetic engineering is required, remains to be seen.
So, I’m interested to hear all of your opinions. Do you think Death Energy is an emergent or a programmed property of life? Which hypothesis is correct? And what would that mean for magick and esoteric attempts at life extension?