Trash alley in West Hollywood

In human nature, tucking away the mess

Trash alley in West Hollywood
Trash alley in West Hollywood, Calif.

Just on the other side of this alleyway are glossy storefronts and inviting restaurants. The trash, the mess, the smelly consequences of our daily lives and modern conveniences, are all tucked away in the alley behind the glamor.

It seems such an inherent part of human nature that we do this. We sweep the dirt under the rug. We tuck away painful memories in the back of our heads. We refuse to face painful, or scary, realities – such as global warming. Some psychologists – and atheists – would tell you even religion is a form of sweeping away the mess, a need to create order out of the scary but real possibility that the universe is nothing but randomness.

Whatever the truth of our universe, it will likely remain elusive. And yet, our own very human, very fallible, patterns are all too obvious if we take a moment to see them.

These trash bins are a silent testament and a call to action.

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