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The Goldilocks Paradox

When Just Right Seems All Wrong

By C. Rommial ButlerPublished about a month ago Updated 23 days ago 2 min read
Top Story - May 2024
A depiction of the old fable from a 1912 anthology

To mock free will is to mock love!

It can be made no clearer:

Turn away!—away!—from the mirror

And look inside—beyond—above!


The Goldilocks Paradox:

We try to find just-right

Through unjust means

And invalidate the end

Where we abdicate the light—

The eternal fight!—

To struggle forth from the dark

And make our own destiny

With our very own hands—

The flint and steel that strike the spark!

Such is our plight—

To live out our days

Making mistakes, mending our ways,

A serpentine path from earth to so(u)l,

A heroic attempt to complete the (w)hole—

Which only the fool would dare

For only a fool would really care…


…and so a fool I am

—(I am that I am)—

And a fool I shall remain,

Wanting neither relief nor pain

But accepting it all the same,

Knowing that I will—

Beyond the windowsill!

—Beyond All Thresholds!—

To return eternally and refresh

The stardust-scarred flesh whence I came.

***** * *****

"Like Goldilocks, the development of intelligent life requires that planetary temperatures be "just right'". -Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design

***** * *****

When I penned this poem, I had no idea that the concept of Goldilocks was commonly used to describe the middle way in many scientific disciplines. I admit that this was revealed to me through a quick Wikipedia search. As often happens though, the idea which sparked it for me was similar to its far-reaching cultural significance.

There is a narrow path between death and the devil; between fight and flight; between stagnation and resignation; between proper action in a futile situation and improper action in a situation where the reservation of energy would have been best; between a failed attempt and no attempt; this is the path of the pure Artist, an inner alchemy; a little bit of this, a little bit of that; on the one hand, on the other hand; strike the balance, stir the cauldron, bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, get the fuck out and do it on the double!

To those immersed in the combobulations of daily life, the discombobulations of the artist must seem madness! But something is happening in a place beyond what we directly sense, like ultraviolet light, which nevertheless has an effect which affects.

A child might push down a wall that’s ready to crumble and fall, but it takes a (wo)man with a plan to undermine its integrity in the first place. I have written elsewhere about the pseudoblessings conferred by unseen actors on those who like to believe in their own illusory feeling of power.

Let them! They’ll come in time to understand the true meaning of strength. It’s a quiet song, and a paradox indeed, that leads Goldilocks to her “just right”.

Depending on which version of the old tale we encounter, the bears are charitable, or just confused as Goldilocks beats a retreat.

What did she learn?

More than she would have if she’d failed to survive her flippant disregard for other people’s property. Fate has a funny way of teaching us in spite of our attempts not to learn, or at least so it seems to this old fool…

surreal poetry

About the Creator

C. Rommial Butler

C. Rommial Butler is a writer, musician and philosopher from Indianapolis, IN. His works can be found online through multiple streaming services and booksellers.

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Comments (19)

  • Esala Gunathilake16 days ago

    Oh I missed this. Congrats on your TS.

  • Sasi Kala25 days ago

    congrats top story!

  • Shirley Belk29 days ago

    Incredible!! Wisdom and science, fate and purpose...unfolding in apparent chaos, but to God, I'm sure...it all makes perfect sense and His lessons profound. Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Anna 30 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    Way to put it all into perspective with a creative use of the poem. I really like this from the A/N: -between a failed attempt and no attempt; this is the path of the pure Artist, an inner alchemy;-

  • Dr. Jason Benskinabout a month ago

    Nice Work. I enjoyed your poem very much. Let me know your thoughts on my work, open to constuctive feedback.

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    I can’t decide which I enjoy more, the poem or the author’s notes. Thought provoking content in both cases. Congratulations on Top Story! 🥳

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    I've heard that Earth is in the Goldilocks zone but I had no idea why it was called that! Lol, it was something so simple as "just right". Your piece was such an eye opener and I loved your poem! Congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Congrats! Great job on the poem, and adding your comments after was important here.

  • Gerard DiLeoabout a month ago

    Great poem. Great blurb thereafter, Rommi. TS, indeed! Bravo. It's a work that is, dare I say? "just right."

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    This is fascinating and educational for me. Great writing. Congrats on the TS.

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    Very good. No, I didn't know about this use of Goldilocks either, but now I do, I feel like I always have.

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story! Love the philosophical angle!

  • Kayleigh Fraser ✨about a month ago

    That opening line is the best thing I’ve read in a long time!!! It’s something I have oh so regularly pondered over - separately. Both love, and freewill. But to suggest there is no true love without freewill / that for true love to exist requires free will… is fascinating… I still strongly conclude that we absolutely do and absolutely do not have freewill…. 😅 Given that love is the only logical way to become… it often has me questioning whether love is just a matter of logic, of pleasure or programming (or all!). Is it a choice at all when one is wise enough to know the other ‘options’ are destructive and result in suffering / disease / death? Do we actually choose anything from freewill?!? I eventually emerged from the rabbit hole to read the rest of your poem and it was really enjoyable! Congrats on Top Story 🌟

  • Belleabout a month ago

    Congrats on top story! I love the mention of the philosophical/scientific application of Goldilocks... haven't thought about that before!

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a month ago

    Interesting Goldilocks principles and philosophy here. I love the stardust line at the end of this piece!!

  • Margaret Brennanabout a month ago

    I will never look at Goldilocks the same way again.

  • ROCK about a month ago

    Wow, I learned a lot from this incredible piece. I feel a bit dumbfounded by my nativity.

C. Rommial ButlerWritten by C. Rommial Butler

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