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 was merely a hobby. My *vocation* has been that of inspector of desert water holes.

Some lives are tragic, some ridiculous. Most are both at once.

Terrorism: deadly violence against humans and other living things, usually conducted by government against its own people.

The best thing about graduating from the university was that I finally had time to sit on a log and read a good book.

The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break.

The hawk's cry is as sharp as its beak.

The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see. . . . No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread.

The nuclear bomb took all the fun out of war.

The rebel is doomed to a violent death. The rest of us can look forward to sedated expiration in a coma inside an oxygen tent, with tubes inserted in every bodily orifice.

The tragic sense of life: our heroic acceptance of the suffering of others.

Then why climb Tukuhnikivats? Because I prefer to. Because no one else will if I don?t ? and somebody has to do it.

There have been some, even in the Park Service, who advocate spraying Delicate Arch with a fixative of some sort - Elmer's glue perhaps or Lady Clairol Spray Net.

There was no way to continue except by dropping into the pool. I hesitated. Beyond this point there could hardly be any returning, yet the main canyon was still not visible below. Obviously the only sensible thing to do was to turn back. I edged over the lip of stone and dropped feet first into the water.

Those who fear death most are those who enjoy life least.

Too many American authors have a servile streak where their backbone should be. Where's our latest Nobel laureate? More than likely you'll find him in the Rose Garden kissing the First Lady's foot.

We are preoccupied with time. If we could learn to love space as deeply as we are now obsessed with time, we might discover a new meaning in the phrase to live like men.

We spend more time working for our labor-saving machines than they do working for us.

What most people really desire is something quite different from industrial gimmickry- liberty, spontaneity, nakedness, mystery, wildness, wilderness.

When the biggest, richest, glassiest buildings in town are the banks, you know that town's in trouble.

Why can't we simply borrow what is useful to us from Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, especially Zen, as we borrow from Christianity, science, American Indian traditions and world literature in general, including philosophy, and let the rest go hang? Borrow what we need but rely principally upon our own senses, common sense and daily living experience.

No man-made structure in all of American history has been hated so much, by so many, for so long, with such good reason, as that Glen Canyon Dam at Page, Arizona, Shithead Capital of Coconino County.

Once upon a time, I dreamed of becoming a great man. Later, a good man. Now, finally, I find it difficult enough and honor enough to be -- a man.

Ordinarily it is possible for a man to walk across quicksand, if he keeps moving. But if he stops, funny things begin to happen. The surface of the quicksand, which may look as firm as the wet sand on an ocean beach, begins to liquefy beneath his feet. He finds himself sinking slowly into a jelly-like substance, soft and quivering, which clasps itself around his ankles with the suction power of any viscous fluid. Pulling out one foot, the other foot necessarily goes down deeper, and if a man waits too long, or cannot reach something solid beyond the quicksand, he may soon find himself trapped. ? Unless a man is extremely talented, he cannot work himself [into the quicksand] more than waist-deep. The quicksand will not pull him down. But it will not let him go either. Therefore the conclusion is that while quicksand cannot drown its captive, it could possibly starve him to death. Whatever finally happens, the immediate effects are always interesting.

Peace. Simplicity. Order, ceremony and ritual. Voluntary poverty. An end to clutter and this vulgar, stifling, crushing burden of things

Reality and real people are too subtle and complicated for anybody's typewriter, even Tolstoy's, even yours, even mine.

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