Life is Not a March to Monetization

Christopher McHale
The Parables
Published in
3 min readMar 11, 2024


Photo by Ingmar H on Unsplash

The big changes in life usually take you by surprise. And even if you see them coming, know they’re coming, the chances are you’re not ready. No one is ever ready to navigate life’s white waters. You just hang on and do the best you can.

But things feel really tough today. Even the people who look like they’re doing well, the billionaires and such, look into their eyes. We’re all confused. We’re all lost.

So let’s say the quiet part out loud, even if it sounds cliché: Capitalism these days is as washed out as a sidewalk chalk portrait caught in a sudden rainstorm. Remember the fabled American Dream? Well, Silicon Valley put a hyper-efficient, algorithm-driven spin on it, turning it into something unrecognizable.

The relentless push towards monetization has turned every passion, every hobby, and every little sliver of personal space into a potential revenue stream. Your art isn’t just for the soul’s nourishment anymore; it’s for likes, shares, and maybe a spot on an e-commerce platform. That home-cooked meal isn’t just to feed your family or soothe your soul; it’s content for your food blog or the next viral post on your cooking channel.

Is this the future we wanted? Or dreamed?

Somewhere along the line, we’ve been sold the idea that worth is directly tied to wealth, that the value of our actions is measured in dollars and cents, not in joy and fulfillment. The very essence of our creativity, our humanity, is under siege by this relentless march towards monetization.

Have we swallowed whole the idea that every aspect of life needs to be profitable? No more engage in activities simply for the pleasure they bring, the growth they foster, and the happiness they spread? How about dancing? How about jumping into the park fountain, a world where we create, share, and live for the sheer joy of it, not because it might bump up our followers or add a few extra dollars to our bank accounts.

What is OpenAI going to do with $7 trillion dollars? Monetize every single thought in the history of humankind so Sam Altman can build the greatest survival bunker ever?

Life is a tapestry of experiences, not a spreadsheet of earnings and losses. It’s time we start living it that way. Let’s reclaim our passions from the jaws of monetization and remember that the best things in life aren’t just free, but priceless.

The best things in life are art, music, dance, performance, concerts, comedy, love. A brushstroke, a voice raised in song, a whispered prayer. You don’t need a single digit to enjoy them. The flowers. The sunsets. A lover’s touch. Water. Air. It is ours to enjoy, far-from the screens and social screed.

“In the infinite universe, every point is the center.” — John D. Barrow

Carry the thought through the day. You’re the perfect expression of the universe. We all are. Feel it by ocean, in wind, looking down into the river valley from the mountain peak. There’s no need to buy or sell. There is simply the opportunity to love. It is there for all of us.



Christopher McHale
The Parables

Writer | Composer | Producer | Human | Christopher writes about creativity, culture, technology, music, writing.