Edward Abbey

Edward
Abbey
1927
1989

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

Author Quotes

Saving the world is only a hobby. Most of the time I do nothing.

Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.

Taxation: how the sheep are shorn.

The best cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.

The earth is not a mechanism but an organism, a being with its own life and its own reasons, where the support and sustenance of the human animal is incidental. If man in his newfound power and vanity persists in the attempt to remake the planet in his own image, he will succeed only in destroying himself ? not the planet. The earth will survive our most ingenious folly.

The gross evil of our time defies all labels.

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with the turn of an ignition key. That?s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn?t much matter whether you get where you?re going or not. You?ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home. Right where you started.

The night I filled an inside straight: Even a blind hog's gonna root up an acorn once in a while.

The ready availability of suicide, like sex and alcohol, is one of life's basic consolations.

The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an ?equalizer.

The world of employer and employee, like that of master and slave, debases both.

There has never been an 'original' sin: each is quite banal.

There never was a good war or a bad revolution.

Those art lovers who pride themselves mostly on *taste* usually possess no other talent.

To the Technocrats: Have mercy on us. Relax a bit, take time out for simple pleasures. For example, the luxuries of electricity, indoor plumbing, central heating, instant electronic communication and such, have taught me to relearn and enjoy the basic human satisfactions of dipping water from a cold clear mountain stream; of building a wood fire in a cast-iron stove; of using long winter nights for making music, making things, making love; of writing long letters, in longhand with a fountain pen, to the few people on this earth I truly care about.

Water, water, water... There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.

We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to go there. I may never in my life get to Alaska, for example, but I am grateful that it?s there. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis.

What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse.

When in doubt about drinking from an unknown spring look for life. If the water is scummed with algae, crawling with worms, grubs, larvae, spiders and liver flukes, be reassured, drink hearty, you?ll get nothing worse than dysentery. But if it appears innocent and pure, beware.

Who needs astrology? The wise man gets by on fortune cookies.

No man is wise enough to be another man's master. Each man's as good as the next -- if not a damn sight better.

Old foot trails may be neglected, back-country ranger stations left unmanned, and interpretive and protective services inadequately staffed, but the administrators know from long experience that millions for asphalt can always be found; Congress is always willing to appropriate money for more and bigger paved roads, anywhere?particularly if they form loops. Loop drives are extremely popular with the petroleum industry?they bring the motorist right back to the same gas station from which he started.

Only the half-mad are wholly alive.

Paradise is not a garden of bliss and changeless perfection where the lions lie down like lambs (what would they eat?) and the angels and cherubim and seraphim rotate in endless idiotic circles, like clockwork, about an equally inane and ludicrous -- however roseate -- unmoved mover. That particular painted fantasy of a realm beyond time and space which Aristotle and the church fathers tried to palm off on us has met, in modern times, only neglect and indifference passing on into oblivion it so richly deserved, while the paradise of which I write and wish to praise is with us yet, the here and now, the actual, tangible, dogmatically real earth on which we stand.

Quantum mechanics provides us with an approximate, plausible, conjectural explanation of what actually is, or was, or may be taking place inside a cyclotron during a dark night in February.

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