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Edward Abbey Quotes



Inspirational Quotes by Edward Abbey

 

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves 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’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted From a speech to environmentalists in Missoula, Montana, and in Colorado, which was published in High Country News, (24 September 1976), under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy!”

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Edward Abbey Quotes about Death


“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.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“To die alone, on rock under sun at the brink of the unknown, like a wolf, like a great bird, seems to me very good fortune indeed.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“We know this apodictic rock beneath our feet. That dogmatic sun above our heads. The world of dreams, the agony of love and the foresight of death. That is all we know. And all we need to know? Challenge that statement.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Monkey Wrench Gang

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Edward Abbey Quotes about Life


“This is the most beautiful place on earth.

There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio, or Rome — there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“Has joy any survival value in the operations of evolution? I suspect that it does; I suspect that the morose and fearful are doomed to quick extinction. Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothing can beat teamwork.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Monkey Wrench Gang


Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.”

– Edward Abbey


“A great thirst is a great joy when quenched in time.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“Each thing in its way, when true to its own character, is equally beautiful.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“As for the “solitary confinement of the mind,” my theory is that solipsism, like other absurdities of the professional philosopher, is a product of too much time wasted in library stacks between the covers of a book, in smoke-filled coffeehouses (bad for brains) and conversation-clogged seminars. To refute the solipsist or the metaphysical idealist all that you have to do is take him out and throw a rock at his head: if he ducks he’s a liar. His logic may be airtight but his argument, far from revealing the delusions of living experience, only exposes the limitations of logic.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home


“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“Love can defeat that nameless terror. Loving one another, we take the sting from death. Loving our mysterious blue planet, we resolve riddles and dissolve all enigmas in contingent bliss.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Down the River


“If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a Juniper tree or the wings of a vulture-that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves.”

– Edward Abbey

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Edward Abbey Quotes about Morality & Freedom


“If the life of natural things, millions of years old, does not seem sacred to us, then what can be sacred? Human vanity alone? Contempt for the natural world implies contempt for life. The domination of nature leads to the domination of human nature.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside


“My loyalties will not be bound by national borders, or confined in time by one nation’s history, or limited in the spiritual dimension by one language and culture. I pledge my allegiance to the damned human race, and my everlasting love to the green hills of Earth, and my intimations of glory to the singing stars, to the very end of space and time.”

– Edward Abbey, Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward Abbey


“Balance, that’s the secret. Moderate extremism.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“I’m a humanist; I’d rather kill a man than a snake.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“All living things on earth are kindred.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Of course, people with guns kill more people. But that’s only natural. It’s hard. But it’s fair.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Abbey’s Road


“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.” Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed — but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Abbey’s Road


“I understand and sympathize with the reasonable needs of a reasonable number of people on a finite continent. All life depends upon other life. But what is happening today, in North America, is not rational use but irrational massacre. Man the Pest, multiplied to the swarming stage, is attacking the remaining forests like a plague of locusts on a field of grain.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home


“To make the distinction unmistakably clear: Civilization is the vital force in human history; culture is that inert mass of institutions and organizations which accumulate around and tend to drag down the advance of life; Civilization is Giordano Bruno facing death by fire; culture is the Cardinal Bellarmino, after ten years of inquisition, sending Bruno to the stake in the Campo di Fiori; Civilization is Sartre; culture Cocteau; Civilization is mutual aid and self-defense; culture is the judge, the lawbook and the forces of Law & Ordure (sic); Civilization is uprising, insurrection, revolution; culture is the war of state against state, or of machines against people, as in Hungary and Vietnam; Civilization is tolerance, detachment and humor, or passion, anger, revenge; culture is the entrance examination, the gas chamber, the doctoral dissertation and the electric chair; Civilization is the Ukrainian peasant Nestor Makhno fighting the Germans, then the Reds, then the Whites, then the Reds again; culture is Stalin and the Fatherland; Civilization is Jesus turning water into wine; culture is Christ walking on the waves; Civilization is a youth with a Molotov cocktail in his hand; culture is the Soviet tank or the L.A. cop that guns him down; Civilization is the wild river; culture, 592,000 tons of cement; Civilization flows; culture thickens and coagulates, like tired, sick, stifled blood.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“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.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home


“If wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness.

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness


“No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets.”

– Edward Abbey


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

– Edward Abbey


“Counterpart to the knee-jerk liberal is the new knee-pad conservative, always groveling before the rich and powerful.”

– Edward Abbey


“What’s the difference between a whore and a congressman? A congressman makes more money.”

– Edward Abbey


“Hierarchical institutions are like giant bulldozers — obedient to the whim of any fool who takes the controls.”

– Edward Abbey


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

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness


“One thing more dangerous than getting between a grizzly sow and her cub is getting between a businessman and a dollar bill.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness


“Among politicians and businessman, Pragmatism is the current term for “To hell with our children.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness


“Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.”

– Edward Abbey


“There is no force more potent in the modern world than stupidity fueled by greed.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness


“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home

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Edward Abbey Quotes about Nature


“Beyond the wall of the unreal city … there is another world waiting for you. It is the old true world of the deserts, the mountains, the forests, the islands, the shores, the open plains. Go there. Be there. Walk gently and quietly deep within it. And then —“

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside


“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.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home


“We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may not ever need to go there.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“But 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 home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need — if only we had the eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us — if only we were worthy of it.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“I would give ten years off the beginning of my life to see, only once, Tyrannosaurus rex come rearing up from the elms of Central Park, a Morgan police horse screaming in its jaws. We can never have enough of nature.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Down the River


“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in Desert Solitaire


“On this great river one could glide forever — and here we discover the definition of bliss, salvation, Heaven, all the old Mediterranean dreams: a journey from wonder to wonder, drifting through eternity into ever-deeper, always changing grandeur, through beauty continually surpassing itself.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home


“The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home


“My job is to save the fucking wilderness. I don’t know anything else worth saving.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Monkey Wrench Gang


“The earth, like the sun, like the air, belongs to everyone — and to no one.”

– Edward Abbey, as quoted in The Journey Home

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