Edward Abbey

Edward
Abbey
1927
1989

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

Author Quotes

Proverbs save us the trouble of thinking. What we call folk wisdom is often no more than a kind of expedient stupidity.

Salome had but seven veils; the artist has a thousand.

So I write mainly for the fun of it, the hell of it, the duty of it. I enjoy writing and will probably be a scribbler on my dying day, sprawled on some stony trail halfway between two dry waterholes.

Surely it is no accident that the most thorough of tyrannies appeared in Europe?s most thoroughly scientific and industrialized nation. If we allow our own country to become as densely populated, overdeveloped and technically unified as modern Germany we may face a similar fate.

The best argument for Christianity is the Gregorian chant. Listening to that music, one can believe anything -- while the music lasts.

The domination of nature leads to the domination of human nature.

The greater your dreams, the more terrible your nightmares.

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key.

The new dam, of course will improve things. If ever filled it will back water to within sight of the Bridge, transforming what was formerly an adventure into a routine motorboat excursion. Those who see it then will not understand that half the beauty of Rainbow Bridge lay in its remoteness, its relative difficulty of access, and in the wilderness surrounding it, of which it was an integral part. When these aspects are removed the Bridge will be no more than an isolated geological oddity, an extension of that museum-like diorama to which industrial tourism tends to reduce the natural world.

The rancher strings barbed wire across the range, drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds everywhere, drives off the elk and antelope and bighorn sheep, poisons coyotes and prairie dogs, shoots eagle and bear and cougar on sight, supplants the native bluestem and grama grass with tumbleweed, cow shit, cheat grass, snakeweed, anthills, poverty weed, mud and dust and flies ? and then leans back and smiles broadly at the Tee Vee cameras and tells us how much he loves the West.

The sun is touching the fretted tablelands on the west. It seems to bulge a little, to expand for a moment, and then it drops?abruptly?over the edge. I listen for a long time.

The world is what it is, no less and no more, and therein lies its entire and sufficient meaning.

There has never been a day in my life when I was not in love.

There is this to be said for walking: it is the one method of human locomotion by which a man or woman proceeds erect, upright, proud and independent, not squatting on the haunches like a frog.

This world may be only illusion -- but it's the only illusion we've got.

To the question: Wilderness, who needs it? Doc would say: Because we like the taste of freedom, comrades. Because we like the smell of danger. But, thought Hayduke, what about the smell of fear, Dad?

War? The one war I'd be happy to join is the war against officers.

We need wilderness because we are wild animals. Everyone needs a place where he can go to go crazy in peace. For the terror, freedom, and delirium. Because we need brutality and raw adventure, because men and women first learned to love in, under, and all around trees, because we need for every pair of feet and legs about ten leagues of naked nature, crags to leap from, mountains to measure by, deserts to finally die in when the heart fails.

What is the essence of the art of writing? Part One: Have something to say. Part Two: Say it well.

When I write "paradise" I mean not only apple trees and golden women but also scorpions and tarantulas and flies, rattlesnakes and Gila monsters, sandstorms, volcanoes and earthquakes, bacteria and bear, cactus, yucca, bladderweed, ocotillo and mesquite, flash floods and quicksand, and yes ? disease and death and the rotting of flesh.

Whirlwinds dance across the salt flats, a pillar of dust by day; the thornbush breaks into flame at night.

Of course I litter the public highway. Every chance I get. After all, it's not the beer cans that are ugly; it's the highway that is ugly.

Only a fool would leave the enjoyment of rainbows to the opticians. Or give the science of optics the last word on the matter.

Paradise for a happy man lies in his own good nature.

Pure science is a myth: Both mathematical theoreticians like Albert Einstein and practical crackpots like Henry Ford dealt with different aspects of the same world.

Author Picture
First Name
Edward
Last Name
Abbey
Birth Date
1927
Death Date
1989
Bio

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