Edward Abbey

Edward
Abbey
1927
1989

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

Author Quotes

Science transcends mere politics. As recent history demonstrates, scientists are as willing to work for a Tojo, a Hitler, or a Stalin as for the free nations of the West.

Something like a yellow rash has broken out upon the mountain sides ? the aspen forests in their autumn splendor.

That's the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn't matter much whether you get where you're going or not. You'll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home.

The children are innocent until proven guilty. For their sake, not ours, we must soldier on, muddling our way toward frugality, simplicity, liberty, community, until some kind of sane and rational balance is achieved between our ability to love and our cockeyed ambition to conquer and dominate everything in sight. No wonder the galaxies recede from us in every direction, fleeing at velocities that approach the speed of light. They are frightened. We humans are the Terror of the Universe.

The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom.

The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.

The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages - as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already.

The one thing ... that is truly ugly is the climate of hate and intimidation, created by a noisy few, which makes the decent majority reluctant to air in public their views on anything controversial... Where all pretend to be thinking alike, it's likely that no one is thinking at all.

The result of this bestial lust is an indiscriminate and promiscuous splaying of all of my energies- wanting all, I accomplish nothing; desiring everything, I satisfy nothing and am satisfied by nothing.

The true, unacknowledged purpose of capital punishment is to inspire fear and awe -- fear and awe of the State.

There are no vacant lots in nature.

There is a fine art to making enemies and it requires diligent cultivation. It's not as easy as it looks.

There's beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.

Though men now possess the power to dominate and exploit every corner of the natural world, nothing in that fact implies that they have the right or the need to do so.

Truth is merely common sense, say the naive realist. Really? Then where, precisely, is the location of--a rainbow? In the air? In the eye? In between? Or somewhere else?

We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. An increasingly pagan and hedonistic people (thank God!), we are learning finally that the forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches. Therefore let us behave accordingly.

We're all undesirable elements from somebody's point of view.

Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.

When the situation is desperate, it is too late to be serious. Be playful.

Why I oppose the nuclear-arms race: I prefer the human race.

No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. The civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.

One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am-a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

Others had attempted the violent method of pursuit and capture and had failed. I was going to use nothing but sympathy and understanding, in direct violation of common sense and all precedent, to bring Moon-Eye home again.

Philosophy without action is the ruin of the soul. One brave deed is worth a hundred books, a thousand theories, a million words. Now as always we need heroes. And heroines! Down with the passive and the limp.

Recorded history is largely an account of the crimes and disasters committed by banal little men at the levers of imperial machines.

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