EDWARD ABBEY QUOTES

American author (1927-1989)

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, Desert Solitaire

33 likes

Tags: immortality, death


All governments require enemy governments.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

32 likes

Tags: government


Balance, that's the secret. Moderate extremism. The best of both worlds.

EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire

29 likes


Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

25 likes

Tags: truth, illusion


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, Desert Solitaire

12 likes

Tags: joy, evolution


Congress is always willing to appropriate money for more and bigger paved roads, anywhere -- particularly if they form loops.

EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitare

11 likes

Tags: Congress


The tragedy of modern war is not so much that the young men die but that they die fighting each other--instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

7 likes

Tags: war, death


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

EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire

5 likes

Tags: nature, civilization


The ideal society can be described, quite simply, as that in which no man has the power or means to coerce others.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

4 likes

Tags: society, power


Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

4 likes

Tags: anarchy, politics


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.

EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire

4 likes

Tags: paradise, utopia


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

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Tags: loyalty


The very poor are materialistic. It takes money to be a mystic.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto)

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Tags: poverty


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

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto)

4 likes

Tags: God


Love is a disease. A social disease. A romantic, venereal, medieval disease. A hangover from the days of the fornicating troubadours and the gentlemen in iron britches.

EDWARD ABBEY, The Serpents of Paradise

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Tags: love


I once sat on the rim of a mesa above the Rio Grande for three days and nights, trying to have a vision. I got hungry and saw God in the form of a beef pie.

EDWARD ABBEY, "How It Was", Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside

4 likes

Tags: meditation


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, "The First Morning", Desert Solitaire

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Tags: home


Beware the writer who always encloses the word "reality" in quotation marks: He's trying to slip something over on you.

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

3 likes

Tags: reality, writing


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

EDWARD ABBEY, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

3 likes

Tags: society


A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.

EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire

3 likes

Tags: travel, walking