Who is Edward Abbey
Edward Abbey, (born January 29, 1927, Indiana, Pennsylvania, U.S.—died March 14, 1989, near Tucson [now in Tucson], Arizona), American writer whose works, set primarily in the southwestern United States, reflect an uncompromising environmentalist philosophy.
The son of a Pennsylvania farmer, Abbey earned a B.A. (1951) and an M.A. (1956) at the University of New Mexico. He subsequently worked as a park ranger and fire lookout for the National Park Service in the southwest, developing an intimacy with the region’s landscape that was to shape his writing career. Central to this experience was the perspective it afforded on the human presence in the natural environment. Abbey observed both the remnants of ancient Indian cultures and the encroachment of consumer civilization. His book Desert Solitaire (1968), considered by many to be his best, is an extended meditation on the sublime and forbidding wilderness of southeastern Utah and the human incursions into it. He husbanded his extensive knowledge of the region, admitting “I have written much about a good many places. But the best places of all I have never mentioned.
Edward Abbey Quotes
1. Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.
2. May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
3. 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.
4. Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
5. A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
6. Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.
7. Benedicto: 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.
11. There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated. … To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.
12. A man could be a lover and defender of the wilderness without ever in his lifetime leaving the boundaries of asphalt, powerlines, and right-angled surfaces. We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to set foot in it. 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.
13. How to Overthrow the System: brew your own beer; kick in your Tee Vee; kill your own beef; build your own cabin and piss off the front porch whenever you bloody well feel like it.
14. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
15. Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
16. 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.
17. The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
18. The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyong 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.
19. 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.
20. Anarchism is democracy taken seriously.
21. Freedom begins between the ears.
22. The best thing about graduating from the university was that I finally had time to sit on a log and read a good book.
23. May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
24. I am not an atheist but an earthiest. Be true to the earth.
25. Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear-the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break….I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.
26. If people persist in trespassing upon the grizzlies’ territory, we must accept the fact that the grizzlies, from time to time, will harvest a few trespassers.
27. 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.
28. Abolition of a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State.
29. Our ‘neoconservatives’ are neither new nor conservative, but old as Babylon and evil as Hell.
30. The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other – instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
31. The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.
32. Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.
33. Wilderness. The word itself is music.
34. The ugliest thing in America is greed, the lust for power and domination, the lunatic ideology of perpetual Growth – with a capital G. ‘Progress’ in our nation has for too long been confused with ‘Growth’; I see the two as different, almost incompatible, since progress means, or should mean, change for the better – toward social justice, a livable and open world, equal opportunity and affirmative action for all forms of life. And I mean all forms, not merely the human. The grizzly, the wolf, the rattlesnake, the condor, the coyote, the crocodile, whatever, each and every species has as much right to be here as we do.
35. There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.
36. Where all think alike there is little danger of innovation.”
37. There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.
38. I stand for what I stand on.
39. A drink a day keeps the shrink away.
40. Whenever I see a photograph of some sportsman grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and esthetic superiority of the dead animal to the live one.
41. The fire. The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.
42. No more cars in national parks. Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs–anything–but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. 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.
43. When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about.
44. Somewhere in the depths of solitude, beyond wilderness and freedom, lay the trap of madness.
45. An economic system which can only expand or expire must be false to all that is human.
46. 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.
47. A crowded society is a restrictive society; an overcrowded society becomes an authoritarian, repressive and murderous society.
48. I despise my own nation most. Because I know it best. Because I still love it, suffering from Hope. For me, that’s patrotism.
49. Ah yes, the head is full of books. The hard part is to force them down through the bloodstream and out through the fingers.
50. When guns are outlawed, only the Government will have guns. The Government – and a few outlaws. If that happens, you can count me among the outlaws.
51. There’s another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him. If I switch it on my eyes adapt to it and I can see only the small pool of light it makes in front of me; I am isolated. Leaving the flashlight in my pocket where it belongs, I remain a part of the environment I walk through and my vision though limited has no sharp or definite boundary.
52. A venturesome minority will always be eager to set off on their own, and no obstacles should be placed in their path; let them take risks, for godsake, let them get lost, sunburnt, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches – that is the right and privilege of any free American.
53. I am pleased enough with the surfaces – in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on the rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind – what else is there? What else do we need?
54. I took the other road, all right, but only because it was the easy road for me, the way I wanted to go. If I’ve encountered some unnecessary resistance that’s because most of the traffic is going the other way.
55. When a man’s best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.
56. We can have wilderness without freedom; we can have wilderness without human life at all, but we cannot have freedom without wilderness, we cannot have freedom without leagues of open space beyond the cities, where boys and girls, men and women, can live at least part of their lives under no control but their own desires and abilities, free from any and all direct administration by their fellow men.
57. Whatever we cannot understand easily we call God; this saves wear and tear on the brain tissues.
58. As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe only antidote for melancholia is action. However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth.
59. The distrust of wit is the beginning of tyranny.
60. My own ambition, my deepest and truest ambition, is to find within myself someday, somehow, the ability to do likewise, to do NOTHING – and find it enough.