Edward Abbey


American Author and Essayist noted for advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies

Author Quotes

Our big social institutions do not reflect human nature; they distort it.

Phoenix, Arizona: an oasis of ugliness in the midst of a beautiful wasteland.

Reincarnation? There is such a thing. What could be more Mozartian than the Nutcracker Suite?

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul. One brave deed is worth a thousand books.

Somewhere in the depths of solitude, beyond wilderness and freedom, lay the trap of madness.

The absurd vanity of metaphysicians who like to imagine that they create the world by thinking about it.

The city, which should be the symbol and center of civilization, can also be made to function as a concentration camp. This is one of the significant discoveries of contemporary political science.

The feminist notion that the whole of human history has been nothing but a vast intricate conspiracy by men to enslave their wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters presents us with an intellectual neurosis for which we do not yet have a name.

The ideal society can be described, quite simply, as that in which no man has the power of means to coerce others.

The more corrupt a society, the more numerous its laws.

The planet is greater than we have ever imagined. The world is colder, older, stranger and more mysterious than we have ever dreamed. And we, miserable human beings with our countless tools and toys and hopes and fears are a small leaf on the great tree blooming of life.

The rich can buy everything but health, virtue, friendship, wit, good looks, love, pride, intelligence, grace, and, if you need it, happiness.

The very poor are strictly materialistic. It takes money to be a mystic.

There are only two living American authors fully deserving of the Nobel Prize. One is Lewis Mumford. The other is Wallace Stegner, whose novels and essays provide us a comprehensive portrait of industrial society in all its glittering corruption and radiant evil.

There is a way of being wrong which is also sometimes necessarily right.

These various interests are well organized, command more wealth than most modern nations, and are represented in Congress with a strength far greater than is justified in any constitutional or democratic sense. (Modern politics is expensive?power follows money.)

Through logic and inference we can prove anything. Therefore, logic and inference, in contrast to ordinary daily living experience, are secondary instruments of knowledge. Probably tertiary.

Vanity, vanity, nothing but vanity: the itch for naming things is almost as bad as the itch for possessing things.

We know so very little about this strange planet we live on, this haunted world where all answers lead only to more mystery.

What do old men who don?t believe in Heaven think about? I used to wonder. Now we know: they think about their blood pressure, their bladders, their aortas, their lower intestines, ice on the doorstep, too much sun at noon.

What's the difference between a whore and a congressman? A congressman makes more money.

When the sun burst out above the canyon rim, flaring like a white scream, and it?s hot breath burned my neck, I knew what he was thinking about.

Why the critics, like a flock of ducks, always move in perfect unison: Their authority with the public depends upon an appearance of unanimous agreement. One dissenting voice would shatter the whole fragile structure.

Nobody seems more obsessed by diet than our anti-materialist, otherworldly, New Age, spiritual types. But if the material world is merely an illusion, an honest guru should be as content with Budweiser and bratwurst as with raw carrot juice, tofu, and seaweed slime.

One mile farther and I come to a second grave beside the road, nameless like the other, marked only with the dull blue-black stones of the badlands. I do not pause this time. The more often you stop the more difficult it is to continue. Stop too long and they cover you with rocks.

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American Author and Essayist noted for advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies