The Theory of Domino Destiny

Everything and everyone is a domino in a web of dominos that have been falling since the start of the universe. 

Your success or failures, good or bad decisions, body, mind - both conscious and sub-conscious, wants, fears, values, personality, intellect, wealth, and power are all results of your genetics, environment, life situations, cultures, formation of the planet, and everything that ever happened until now.   

Wait...what about my hard work, deliberate choices, and free will? 

You definitely experience your life, you change and make changes, and it certainly feels like you are in control of many of your thoughts and actions.     

What I'm saying is that you, your body and mind, your control, your sense of control and consciousness originated from everything else. You are a neural network and genetic machinery that is shaped and trained by the universe, maybe with an element of randomness that could appear like free will. 

If we moved you as a baby to a different set of parents, changed your genes a bit, or changed your natural environment or influences, you could have been a rabbit. This is true for you, Albert Einstein, Gautama Buddha, Jeff Bezos, Mother Theresa, a serial murderer, a corrupt politician, a tree, and a bird. 

You are the result and vessel of the forces of creation (God, Science, or the Big Bang, as you prefer). And so is everything and everyone around you. 

How and why are the dominos falling?

Well, doesn't seem random. We have been able to understand, predict and alter some aspects of how the dominos behave using a scientific approach and knowledge (evolution, physics, chemistry, etc.). We are continuously getting better at this too. 

Why the heck are they falling? Many claims, but no one *reliably* knows...yet. My cheeky response is that if I were the all-powerful universe, I'd have more fun morphing into all these things than just being nothing, which is not dissimilar from why we all do what we do. Another argument is that being nothing is just one possibility among an infinite set of possibilities, and therefore was unlikely. 

What do I do with this theory?

This theory is another framing for understanding and acting on our reality. It proposes that we and everything else are a product of influences. 

Like everything, I, this blog, and this theory are also dominos that are borne out of other dominos and can influence dominos like you. You are also a domino that is influenced by and can influence other dominos. How this theory is going to influence you just depends, I repeat, on everything that's happened before.  

I don't think you should despair that free will is only perceived. Everything we assume to be "real" in life is only perceived after all. You still live and experience life.

I hope it makes you reflect on the influences that have shaped and are continuing to shape your beliefs and behaviors. Where are they coming from? Are they helping or hurting you? Should you listen more, peel away, or rewire those influences or behaviors? This is the foundation of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the Internal Family System, and Buddhism's Four Noble Truths, which are great at increasing equanimity and response-ability. 

I hope it gives you a ton of self-love, acceptance, confidence, and gentleness for your life, who you are now, who you were in the past, and who you will be in the future because you are exactly what the forces of creation intended. We all experience guilt, self-doubt, shame, fear, envy, and anger about certain life characteristics, experiences, or situations -- when you think more about them, you realize all of these were results of dominos that have fallen way before and beyond you.

Hopefully, you also feel a connection, understanding, gentleness, and love for all the other people and dominos around you as well because they are also what the forces of creation intended. Someone wisely observed that we don't usually feel angry at a tree or an animal if they disturb us somehow. But, we feel upset with ourselves and other humans presumably because we think we have more control or intention in our thinking and actions.  

Finally, I also hope that you feel a sense of wonder for our mysterious and intricate domino reality and that you experience and flow freely through your domino life with peace, joy, and love

Attorney and poet, Max Ehrmann, puts it beautifully:

"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy."


[1] Sam Harris articulates the same theory and is one of the dominoes that fell on me. Buddhism also includes a similar concept of an infinite chain of cause and effect. 

[2] Bill Nye and a bunch of other scientists share their views here

[3] Destiny may imply the future is already pre-written, but I'm not implying that here. I'm just saying the path to the future is determined by the past, but the story may be evolving in real time. 

[4] I have learned and experienced to some extent that with deep meditation and awareness, you can slowly see and unravel the various domino influences, which is liberating. 

[5] One alternative to this theory is that you, or specifically, your consciousness have sources of origin or properties beyond the physical world (like a brain in a vat theory). Another is that your deepest core of consciousness, if you keep peeling away the layers, is pure awareness, without any influences. 

[6] Just because everything is from the force of creation doesn't mean they are benign to you, so you may still choose to defend or offend to safeguard yourself, after all, you are a precious force of creation too. But I think this theory can help you do so without anger or hate.