Edward Abbey quotes

  • I wish to be an inspector of volcanoes. I want to study cloud formations and memorize the wind and learn by heart the habits of the ponderosa pine.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Nature #Heart #Clouds

  • Under the desert sun, in the dogmatic clarity, the fables of theology and the myths of classical philosophy dissolve like mist. The air is clean, the rock cuts cruelly into flesh; shatter the rock and the odor of flint rises to your nostrils, bitter and sharp. Whirlwinds dance across the salt flats, a pillar of dust by day; the thornbush breaks into flame at night. What does it mean? It means nothing. It is as it is and has no need for meaning. The desert lies beneath and soars beyond any possible human qualification. Therefore, sublime.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Lying #Philosophy #Mean

  • So I lived alone. The first thing I did was take off my pants. Naturally.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Pants #Firsts

  • Without courage, all other virtues are useless.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Useless #Virtue

  • 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

    #Mean #Writing #Earthquakes

  • There are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Beautiful #Men #Down And

  • Life is unfair. And it's not fair that life is unfair.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Life Is #Life Is Unfair #Unfair

  • In the American Southwest, I began a lifelong love affair with a pile of rock.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Rocks #Affair #Lifelong

  • Paradise is the here and now, the actual, tangible, dogmatically real Earth on which we stand. Yes, God bless America, the Earth upon which we stand.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Real #America #Earth

  • May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Nature #Journey #Clouds

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Funny #Political #Scum

  • 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

    #Love #Loyalty #Spiritual

  • Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Nature #Insperational #Luxury

  • 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

    #Kings #Years #Realization

  • A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Inspirational #Country #Freedom

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Inspirational #Loyalty #Nature

  • May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God's dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Dog #Rain #Eye

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Distance #Interesting #Forever

  • Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Inspiring #Peace #Diversity

  • To the intelligent man or woman, life appears infinitely mysterious. But the stupid have an answer for every question.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Stupid #Men #Intelligent

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #People #Territory #Facts

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Girl #Boys #Men

  • Epitaphs for a gravestone: 'Please: no hooliganism'; or 'Es prohibe se hace agua aqui'; or 'No comment'.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Gravestone #Epitaph #Please

  • Life is cruel? Compared to what?
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Life Is

  • 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

    #Wise #Wisdom #Men

  • Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Inspirational #Nature #Cancer

  • Let us hope our weapons are never needed -but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government - and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Military #Gun #Rights

  • Baseball serves as a good model for democracy in action: Every player is equally important and each has a chance to be a hero.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Baseball #Hero #Player

  • Life is too tragic for sadness: Let us rejoice.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Sadness #Life Is #Tragic

  • Somewhere in the depths of solitude, beyond wilderness and freedom, lay the trap of madness.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Solitude #Depth #Madness

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Abortion #Want #Maternity

  • If it's knowledge and wisdom you want, then seek out the company of those who do real work for an honest purpose.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Real #Purpose #Want

  • Wilderness. The word itself is music.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Wilderness

  • Representative government has broken down. Our politicians represent not the people who vote for them but the commercial interests who finance their election campaigns. We have the best politicians that money can buy.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Government #People #Broken

  • And if the computer gives you any back talk, pour some well-sugared office coffee into its evil little silicon brain.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Coffee #Evil #Giving

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Hunting #Animal #Moral

  • The purpose of love, sex, and marriage is the production and raising of children. But look about you: Most people have no business having children. They are unqualified, either genetically or culturally or both, to reproduce such sorry specimens as themselves. Of all our privileges, the license to breed is the one most grossly abused.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Sex #Children #Sorry

  • Page, Arizona, Shithead Capital of Coconino County: any town with thirteen churches and only four bars has got an incipient social problem. That town is looking for trouble.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Church #Four #Pages

  • Freedom begins between the ears.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Freedom #Liberty #Ears

  • Simply because humankind have the power now to meddle or 'manage' or 'exercise stewardship' in every nook and cranny of the world does not mean that we have a right to do so. Even less, the obligation.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Mean #Exercise #Doe

  • The greater your dreams, the more terrible your nightmares.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Dream #Nightmare #Terrible

  • Charity should be spontaneous. Calculated altruism is an affront.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Charity #Spontaneous #Affront

  • The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Horse #Real #Warrior

  • A drink a day keeps the shrink away.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Drinking #Beer #Drunk

  • 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

    #Adventure #Men #Feet

  • An economic system which can only expand or expire must be false to all that is human.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Philosophy #Political #Growth

  • As war and government prove, insanity is the most contagious of diseases.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #War #Government #Insanity

  • Government should be weak, amateurish and ridiculous. At present, it fulfills only a third of the role.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Government #Liberty #Roles

  • I choose to listen to the river for a while, thinking river thoughts, before joining the night and the stars.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Stars #Memorable #Night

  • The ever-rising cost of living: Someday soon, the corporate technicians will be locking meters on our noses and charging us a royalty on the air we breathe.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Air #Cost #Rising

  • Ah yes, the head is full of books. The hard part is to force them down through the bloodstream and out through the fingers.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Book #Focus #Force

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Philosophy #Buddhism #Common Sense

  • Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic....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...
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Running #Sweet #Air

  • 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?
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Eye #Air #Common Sense

  • Where all think alike there is little danger of innovation.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Thinking #Thought Provoking #Innovation

  • What ideal, immutable Platonic cloud could equal the beauty and perfection of any ordinary everyday cloud floating over, say, Tuba City, Arizona, on a hot day in June?
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Cities #Clouds #June

  • I would like to evoke the sense of wonder and magic in the reader but without invoking the mystical, the supernatural or the transcendent.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Magic #Wonder #Evoke

  • It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #World #Enough #Natural

  • No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Government #Clerks #Gadgets

  • Defiance is beautiful. The defiance of power, especially great or overwhelming power, exalts and glorifies the rebel.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Beautiful #Rebel #Defiance

  • God is love? Not bloody likely.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #God Is Love #Bloody

  • There's nothing so obscene and depressing as an American Christmas.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Depressing #Obscene

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Men #Cities #Feet

  • Only the half-mad are wholly alive.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Mad #Half #Alive

  • The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other - instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Peace #Real #War

  • Proverbs save us the trouble of thinking. What we call folk wisdom is often no more than a kind of expedient stupidity.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Thinking #Stupidity #Kind

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Ambition #Someday #Enough

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

    #Men #Machines #Levers

  • I know my own nation best. That's why I despise it the most. And know and love my own people, too, the swine. I'm a patriot. A dangerous man.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Men #People #And Love

  • The ideal society can be described, quite simply, as that in which no man has the power of means to coerce others.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Mean #Men #Ideal Society

  • Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Power #Dangerous #Worst

  • There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Travel #Fun #Crazy

  • The most common form of terrorism in the U.S.A. is that carried on by bulldozers and chain saws.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Saws #Common #Terrorism

  • I am not an atheist but an earthiest. Be true to the earth.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Atheist #Earth #Being True

  • Grown men do not need leaders.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Leadership #Maturity #Men

  • There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Heartbreaking

  • Wilderness and motors are incompatible and the former can best be experienced, understood and enjoyed when the machines are left behind where they belong -- on the superhighways and in the parking lots, on the reservoirs and in the marinas.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Machines #Wilderness #Left Behind

  • I would never betray a friend to serve a cause. Never reject a friend to help an institution. Great nations may fall in ruin before I would sell a friend to save them.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Betrayal #Fall #May

  • No man is wise enough to be another man's master. Each man's as good as the next -- if not a damn sight better.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Wise #Men #Sight

  • Anarchism is democracy taken seriously.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Taken #Democracy #Anarchy

  • Those who fear death most are those who enjoy life least.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Enjoy Life #Fear Of Death #Enjoy

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Sloth #Suffering #Action

  • An empty man is full of himself.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Men #Empty

  • Not all questions can be answered.
    -- Edward Abbey

  • If you feel that you're not ready to die, never fear; nature will give you complete and adequate assistance when the time comes.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Giving #Adequate #Never Fear

  • Paradise for a happy man lies in his own good nature.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Lying #Men #Paradise

  • I stand for what I stand on.
    -- Edward Abbey

  • I’m tired of doing what I don’t want to do to live the way I don’t want to live.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Tired #Want #Way

  • In the modern technoindustrial culture, it is possible to proceed from infancy into senility without ever knowing manhood.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Knowing #Culture #Modern

  • I suppose each of us has his own fantasy of how he wants to die. I would like to go out in a blaze of glory, myself, or maybe simply disappear someday, far out in the heart of the wilderness I love, all by myself, alone with the Universe and whatever God may happen to be looking on. Disappear - and never return. That's my fantasy.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Heart #May #Want

  • Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Love #Inspirational #Anger

  • When a man must be afraid to drink freely from his country's river and streams that country is no longer fit to live in.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Country #Men #Rivers

  • Only a fool is astonished by the foolishness of mankind.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Fool #Mankind #Foolishness

  • 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Rain #Space #Fire

  • Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Love #Marriage #Laughter

  • Great art is never perfect; perfect art is never great.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Art #Perfect #Great Art

  • Walking takes longer... 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.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Life #Waste #Speed

  • I do not believe in personal immortality; it seems so unnecessary. Show me one man who deserves to live forever.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Death #Believe #Men

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

    #Punishment #Inspire #Purpose

  • Beware of your wishes: They will probably come true.
    -- Edward Abbey

    #Wish