The Anti-Life Equation allows one who knows it to subjugate the souls of all beings in the universe. No being is immune to the effects. For this reason, acquiring the equation is the utmost goal of Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips.
Very little has been confirmed of the Anti-Life equation. What is known is that a key part of the equation is held within the subconsciousness of the human mind. It is believed that any tool used to control another person, such as fear, torture, pain and lies are parts of the Anti-Life Equation.
Very few have knowledge of the full equation, but notably Scott Free Mr. Miracle has been found to know it, but has the willpower not to use it.
In issue #3 of Red Robin, Tim Drake told Cassie Sandsmark (the second Wonder Girl) that he was in Gotham during the Crisis and heard the Anti-Life Equation. He then tells her:
"But you know what? Before the equation took hold, I remember thinking...
...I remember thinking that there wasn't much of it I disagreed with."
The equation itself is:
loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding × guilt × shame × failure × judgment
n = y, y = hope, n = folly, love = lies, life = death, self = dark side
It has been hinted that Mr Mxyzptlk might have to do something with the Anti-Life Equation.
After obliterating Darkseid and Apokolips in World's Funnest, Mr Mxyzptlk handed Darkseid a piece of paper which says Mr. Mxyzptlk plus Bat-Mite equals Anti-life.
In Emperor Joker when Joker gained 99% of Mr. Mxyzptlk's power, Darkseid discussed the matter with the Quintessence claiming that "An insignificant spec on the planet Earth has stumbled onto something which is, by right, mine. I refer to of course The Anti-Life Equation."
Darkseid finally discovers the complete Anti-Life Equation and launches an invasion of Earth in order to use it to enslave the human race. Using Mad Hatter technology, Darkseid creates helmets that play the Anti-Life Equation on an infinite loop in the wearer's ears, effectively making them his mindless slaves, his Justifiers. If the helmets are removed he will lose control over them.