The Wisdom of Ed Abbey

ed_abbey_tvEdward Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues and criticism of public land policies. Of his more than 20 published books, his best-known works include the novel  The Monkey Wrench Gang, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire.

Abbey’s abrasiveness, opposition to anthropocentrism, and outspoken writings made him the object of much controversy.  Environmentalists from mainstream groups disliked his more radical “Keep America Beautiful…Burn a Billboard” style.

Sometimes called the “desert anarchist,” Abbey was known to anger people of all political stripes.  He differed from the stereotypical as politically-correct, leftist environmentalist  by disclaiming the counterculture and the “trendy campus people”, saying he didn’t want them as his primary fans, and by supporting some conservative causes such as immigration reform and the National Rifle Association. He reserved his harshest criticism for the military-industrial-complex, “welfare ranchers,” energy companies, land developers and “Chambers of Commerce,” all of which he believed were destroying the West’s great landscapes.

Cactus Ed Said:

“A good philosopher is one who does not take ideas seriously.” –Edward Abbey

“If the world is irrational, we can never know it–either it or its irrationality.” –Edward Abbey

“The world is full of burled and gnarly knobs on which you can hang a metaphysical system. If you must.” –Edward Abbey

“The more fantastic an ideology or theology, the more fanatic its adherents.” –Edward Abbey

“The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages–as if the savages weren’t dangerous enough already.” –Edward Abbey

“If the end does not justify the means–what can?” –Edward Abbey

“Reason has seldom failed us because it has seldom been tried.” –Edward Abbey

“Is there a God? Who knows? Is there an angry unicorn on the dark side of the moon?” –Edward Abbey

“Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.” –Edward Abbey

“Who needs astrology? The wise man gets by on fortune cookies.” –Edward Abbey

“Jesus don’t walk on water no more; his feet leak.” –Edward Abbey

“Belief in God? An afterlife? I believe in rock: this apodictic rock beneath my feet.” –Edward Abbey

“Preacher to me: `A dollar for the Lord, brother?’ Me to preacher: `That’s all right, I’m headed his way. I’ll give it to him when I see him.'” -Edward Abbey

“It may be true that there are no atheists in foxholes. But you don’t find many Christians there, either. Or, about as many of one as the other.” –Edward Abbey

“Christian theology: nothing so grotesque could possibly be true.” -Edward Abbey

“Only a fool is astonished by the foolishness of mankind.” –Edward Abbey

“I hate intellectual discussion. When I hear the words `phenomenology’ or `structuralism’, I reach for my buck knife.” –Edward Abbey

“When I hear the word `culture’, I reach for my checkbook.” –Edward Abbey

“From the point of view of a tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm.” –Edward Abbey

“What’s the difference between the Lone Ranger and God? There really is a Lone Ranger.” –Edward Abbey

“Why do I live in the desert? Because the desert is the *locus Dei*.” -Edward Abbey

“The axiom of conditioned repetition, like the binomial theorem, is nothing but a piece of insolence.” –Edward Abbey

“Do I believe in ghosts? I believe in the ghosts that haunt the human mind.” –Edward Abbey

“What did Jesus say to the headwaiter at the Last Supper? `Separate checks,please.'” –Edward Abbey

“Every analysis leaves a residue of the unknown; this we call God or Karma or–depending on time and place–the UFO. (Unidentified Fucking Object).” –Edward Abbey

“Every man has two vocations: his own and philosophy.” –Edward Abbey

“Through logic and inference we can prove anything. Therefore, logic and inference, in contrast to ordinary daily living experience, are secondary instruments of knowledge. Probably tertiary.” –Edward Abbey

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

“In my case, saving the world was only a hobby.” –Edward Abbey

“Appearance versus reality? Appearance is reality, God damn it!” -Edward Abbey

“In both metaphysics and art, honesty is the best policy. Keep it clean.” –Edward Abbey

“Every man should be his own guru; every woman her own gurette.” -Edward Abbey

“The gurus come from the sickliest nation on earth to tell us how to live. And we pay them for it.” –Edward Abbey

“Mormonism: Nothing so hilarious could possibly be true. Or all bad.” -Edward Abbey

“Nothing could be more reckless than to base one’s moral philosophy on the latest pronouncements of science.” –Edward Abbey

“My cousin Ellroy spent seven years as an IBM taper staring at THINK signs on the walls before he finally got a good idea: He quit.” –Edward Abbey

“My computer tells me that in twenty-five years there will be no more computers.” –Edward Abbey

“We are all ONE, say the gurus. Aye, I might agree–but one WHAT?” -Edward Abbey

“Fantastic doctrines (like Christianity or Islam or Marxism) require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions. Thus the fear and the hate; thus the torture chamber, the iron stake, the gallows, the labor camp, the psychiatric ward.” –Edward Abbey

“God is love?? Not bloody likely.” –Edward Abbey

“Belief? What do I believe in? I believe in sun. In rock. In the dogma of the sun and the doctrine of the rock. I believe in blood, fire, woman, rivers, eagles, storm, drums, flutes, banjos, and broom-tailed horses….” -Edward Abbey

“In metaphysics, the notion that earth and all that’s on it is a mental construct is the product of people who spend their lives inside rooms. It is an indoor philosophy.” –Edward Abbey

“Metaphysics is a cobweb that the mind weaves around things.” –Edward Abbey

“Orthodoxy is a relaxation of the mind accompanied by a stiffening of the heart.” –Edward Abbey

“According to the current doctrines of mysticoscientism, we human animals are really and actually nothing but `organic patterns of nodular energy composed of collocations of infinitesimal points oscillating on the multi-dimensional coordinates of the space-time continuum’. I’ll have to think about that. Sometime. Meantime, I’m going to gnaw on this sparerib, drink my Blatz beer, and contemplate the a posteriori coordinates of that young blonde over yonder, the one in the tennis skirt, tying her shoelaces.” –Edward Abbey

“Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination.” -Edward Abbey

“The absurd vanity of metaphysicians who like to imagine that they create the world by thinking about it.” –Edward Abbey

“The world is older and bigger than we are. This is a hard truth for some folks to swallow.” –Edward Abbey

“When the philosopher’s argument becomes tedious, complicated, and opaque, it is usually a sign that he is attempting to prove as true to the intellect what is plainly false to common sense. But men of intellect will believe anything–if it appeals to their ego, their vanity, their sense of self-importance.” –Edward Abbey

“I always write with my .357 magnum handy. Why? Well, you never know when God may try to interfere.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Reply to Plato: I seen horses I seen cows I haint never yet seen horsiness nor that there bovinity neither.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“Zen: the sound of the ax chopping. Chopping logic.” –Edward Abbey

“The function of an ideal is not to be realized but, like that of the North Star, to serve as a guiding point.” –Edward Abbey

“This world may be only illusion–but it’s the only illusion we’ve got.” –Edward Abbey

“Is a mirage real? Well, it’s a real mirage.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“Only a fool would leave the enjoyment of rainbows to the opticians. Or give the science of optics the last word on the matter.” –Edward Abbey

“It may be true that my desk here is really `nothing but’ a transient eddy of electrons in the flux of universal process. Nevertheless, I find that it continues to support my feet, my revolver, and my cigars all day long. What happens when my back is turned I don’t know. Or much care. That’s no concern of mine.” –Edward Abbey

“All is One? But One is so Many!” –Edward Abbey

“The basic question is this: Why should anything exist? Nothing would be tidier.” –Edward Abbey

“Koan: Why did the chicken cross the road?” –Edward Abbey

“Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.” –Edward Abbey

“A man without passion would be like a body without a soul. Or even more grotesque, like a soul without a body.” –Edward Abbey

“What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse.” –Edward Abbey

“We live in a time of twin credulities: the hunger for the miraculous combined with a servile awe of science. The mating of the two gives us superstition plus scientism–a Mongoloid metaphysic.” –Edward Abbey

“There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.” –Edward Abbey

“Beware the writer who always encloses the word reality in quotation marks: He’s trying to slip something over on you. Or into you.” –Edward Abbey

“I believe in nothing that I cannot touch, kiss, embrace…. The rest is only hearsay.” –Edward Abbey

“The earth is real. Only a fool, milking his cow, denies the cow’s reality.” –Edward Abbey

“Humility is a virtue when you have no other.” –Edward Abbey

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

“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

“Beware of the man who has no enemies.” –Edward Abbey

“Of all bores, the worst is the sparkling bore.” –Edward Abbey

“Farting is such sweet sorrow.” –Edward Abbey

“The most striking thing about the rich is the gracious democracy of their manners–and the crude vulgarity of their way of life.” –Edward Abbey

“Is the Archbishop’s blessing any more meaningful than the Politician’s handshake? They come, they go, with bigger things than us on their minds.” –Edward Abbey

“We should restore the practice of dueling. It might improve manners around here.” –Edward Abbey

“In America, as elsewhere, the general irritability level keeps rising.” –Edward Abbey

“There are two kinds of people I cannot abide: bigots and any well-organized ethnic group.” –Edward Abbey

“Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never make love to a woman called Mizz ‘La Belle Dame’.” –Edward Abbey

“I’m a fastidious sort of fellow, fond of watermelon and buckbrush nuts.” –Edward Abbey

“Fire lookout, 1400 hours, ferocious lightning storm. Me and God. That fucker is trying to get me again, God damn him. But I got me old .357….” -Edward Abbey

“There’s nothing so obscene and depressing as an American Christmas.”
-Edward Abbey

“Cold morning on Aztec Peak Fire Lookout. First, build fire in old stove. Second, start coffee. Then, heat up last night’s pork chops and spinach for breakfast. Why not? And why the hell not?” –Edward Abbey

“Nobody seems more obsessed by diet than our antimaterialist, otherworldly, New Age, spiritual types. But if the material world is merely illusion, an honest guru should as content with Budweiser and bratwurst as with raw carrot juice, tofu, and seaweed slime.” –Edward Abbey

“Tofu and futons. The adepts of Orientalism seem to spend most of their lives reclining. They can’t quite summon the energy to crawl up onto a chair. Even their Yogic exercises are carried out in a prone or sitting position.” –Edward Abbey

“The New Age orgy: The flesh was willing but the spirits weak.” –Edward Abbey

“In history-as-politics, the `future’ is that vacuum in time waiting to be filled with the antics of statesmen.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” –Edward Abbey

“All forms of government are pernicious, including good government.” -Edward Abbey

“Some of my ancestors fought in the American Revolution. A few more wore red coats, a few wore blue coats, and the rest wore no coats at all. We never did figure out who won that war.” –Edward Abbey

“Grown men do not need leaders.” –Edward Abbey

“Democracy–rule by the people–sounds like a fine thing; we should try it sometime in America.” –Edward Abbey

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

“All power rests on hierarchy: An army is nothing but a well-organized lynch mob.” –Edward Abbey

“The true, unacknowledged purpose of capital punishment is to inspire fear and awe–fear and awe of the State.” –Edward Abbey

“All governments require enemy governments.” –Edward Abbey

“The best cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.” –Edward Abbey

“The purpose and function of government is not to preside over change but to prevent change. By political methods when unavoidable, by violence when convenient.” –Edward Abbey

“If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns.” –Edward Abbey

“Society is like a stew. If you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.” –Edward Abbey

“The distrust of wit is the beginning of tyranny.” –Edward Abbey

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

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

“Civilization, like an airplane in flight, survives only as it keeps going forward.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“The Old Left: `I like New York,’ she said, `because there I feel close to the masses.'” –Edward Abbey

“Anarchy works. Italy has proved it for a thousand years.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“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

“Liberty cannot be guaranteed by law. Nor by any thing else except the resolution of free citizens to defend their liberties.” –Edward Abbey

“The nuclear bomb took all the fun out of war.” –Edward Abbey

“In the Soviet Union, government controls industry. In the United States,industry controls government. That is the principal structural difference between the two great oligarchies of our time.” –Edward Abbey

“War: First day in the U.S. Army, the government placed a Bible in my left hand, a bayonet in the other.” –Edward Abbey

“All revolutions have failed? Perhaps. But rebellion for good cause is self-justifying–a good in itself. Rebellion transforms slaves into human beings,if only for an hour.” –Edward Abbey

“Whenever I read _Time_ or _Newsweek_ or such magazines, I wash my hands afterward. But how to wash off the

small but odious stain such reading leaves on the mind?” –Edward Abbey

“The sense of justice springs from self-respect; both are coeval with our birth. Children are born with an innate sense of justice; it usually takes twelve years of public schooling and four more years of college to beat it out of them.” –Edward Abbey

“We live in a society in which it is normal to be sick; and sick to be abnormal.” –Edward Abbey

“As war and ggovernment prove, insanity is the most contagious of diseases.” –Edward Abbey

“Men love their ideas more than their lives. And the more preposterous the idea, the more eager they are to die for it. And to kill for it.” -Edward Abbey

“Nothing can excel a few days in jail for giving a young man or woman a quick education in the basis of industrial society.” –Edward Abbey

“In a nation of sheep, one brave man forms a majority.” –Edward Abbey

“Taxation: how the sheep are shorn.” –Edward Abbey

“Our big sociial institutions do not reflect human nature; they distort it.” –Edward Abbey

“You cannot reshape human nature without mutilating human beings.” -Edward Abbey

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

“Filling out the form: Race? Human. Religion? Paiute. Occupation? Criminal anarchy. Hobbies? Survival with honor.” –Edward Abbey

“War? The one war I’d be happy to join is the war against officers.” -Edward Abbey

“In social affairs, I’m an optimist. I really do believe that our military-industrial civilization will soon collapse.” –Edward Abbey

“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

Ed_Abbey_pipe“The death penalty would be even more effective, as a deterrent, if we executed a few innocent people more often.” –Edward Abbey

“Why I oppose the nuclear-arms race: I prefer the human race.” –Edward Abbey

“The rifle and handgun are `equalizers’–the weapons of a democracy. Tanks and bombers represent dictatorship.” –Edward Abbey

“The world of employer and employee, like that of master and slave, debases both.” –Edward Abbey

“Government: If you refuse to pay unjust taxes, your property will be confiscated. If you attempt to defend your property, you will be arrested. If you resist arrest, you will be clubbed. If you defend yourself against clubbing, you will be shot dead. These procedures are known as the Rule of Law.” –Edward Abbey

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

“In social institutions, the whole is always less than the sum of its parts. There will never be a state as good as its people, or a church worthy of its congregation, or a university equal to its faculty and students.” -Edward Abbey

“Our `neoconservatives’ are neither new nor conservative, but old as Bablyon and evil as Hell.” –Edward Abbey

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

“`Have a nice day,’ said Lady Macbeth.” –Edward Abbey

“Truth is always the enemy of power. And power the enemy of truth.” -Edward Abbey

“Freedom begins between the ears.” –Edward Abbey

“The `terror’ of the French Revolution lasted for ten years. The terror that preceded and led to it lasted for a thousand years.” –Edward Abbey

“King Arthur and his armored goons of the Round Table functioned as the Politburo of a slave state: Camelot. Of all who have written on the Matter of Arthur, from Malory to White, only Mark Twain understood this. But Mark Twain was a great writer.” –Edward Abbey

“If, as some say, evil lies in the hearts not the institutions of men, then there’s hardly a distinction worth making between, say, Hitler’s Germany and Rebecca’s Sunnybrook Farm.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Our contempoorary Tories prefer the term `ordered liberty’ to `freedom’. The word `freedom’ scares them; it has too much of a paleolithic ring to it.” –Edward Abbey

“One can imagine a sane, healthy, cheerful human society based on no more than the principles of common sense, as validated each day by work, play, and living experience. But this remains the most utopian and fantastic of ideals.” –Edward Abbey

“Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.” –Edward Abbey

“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.” –Edward Abbey

“Humankind will not be free until the last Kremlin commissar is strangled with the entrails of the last Pentagon chief of staff.” –Edward Abbey

“A true libertarian supports free enterprise, opposes big business; supports local self-government, opposes the nation-state; supports the National Rifle Association, opposes the Pentagon.” –Edward Abbey

“Spartacus, like Jesus, was also crucified by the Romans. And for equally good reasons.” –Edward Abbey

“J. Edgar Hooover, J. Bracken Lee, J. Parnell Thomas, J. Paul Getty–you can always tell a shithead by that initial initial.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“Might does not make right but it sure makes what is.” –Edward Abbey

“Except for the scale of the operation, there was nothing unusual about Hitler’s massacre of the Jews. Genocide’s an old tradition, as human as mother love or cherry pie.” –Edward Abbey

“Government sshould be weak, amateurish and ridiculous. At present, it fulfills only a third of the role.” –Edward Abbey

“If America could be, once again, a nation of self-reliant farmers, craftsmen, hunters, ranchers, and artists, then the rich would have little power to dominate others. Neither to serve nor to rule: That was the American dream.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Cities shoulld be like the county fairgrounds: empty places except during times of festival and tournament.” –Edward Abbey

“Terrorism: deadly violence against humans and other living things, usually conducted by government against its own people.” –Edward Abbey

“A leader leads from in front, by the power of example. A ruler pushes from behind, by means of the club, the whip, the power of fear.” –Edward Abbey

“I am an enemy of the State. But isn’t everyone?” –Edward Abbey

“The rebel is doomed to a violent death. The rest of us can look forward to sedated expiration in a coma inside an oxygen tent, with tubes inserted in every bodily orifice.” –Edward Abbey

“The one thing worse than a knee-pad Tory is a chickenshit liberal. The type that can not say `shit’ even when his mouth is full of it.” –Edward Abbey

“All governments need enemies. How else to justify their existence?” -Edward Abbey

“I am my brothher’s keeper, says the chickenshit liberal. Perhaps he does not realize that he now has more than 2 1/2 billion brothers.” –Edward Abbey

“There never was a good war or a bad revolution.” –Edward Abbey

“Three words remain that can yet stir the blood of man: the word `rebellion’; the word `revolt’; the word `revolution’.” –Edward Abbey

“There has never yet been a human society worthy of the name of civilization. Civilization remains a remote ideal.” –Edward Abbey

“`Say what you like about my bloody murderous government,’ I says, `but don’t insult me poor bleedin’ country.'” –Edward Abbey

“There has goot to be a God; the world could not have become so fucked up by chance alone.” –Edward Abbey

“The tragic sense of life: our heroic acceptance of the suffering of others.” –Edward Abbey

“There has never been an `original’ sin: each is quite banal.” –Edward Abbey

“The ready availability of suicide, like sex and alcohol, is one of life’s basic consolations.” –Edward Abbey

“Only the hallf-mad are wholly alive.” –Edward Abbey

“When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about.” -Edward Abbey

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” –Edward Abbey

“A drink a day keeps the shrink away.” –Edward Abbey

“Beauty is only skin deep; ugliness goes all the way through.” –Edward Abbey

“Ah, to be a buzzard now that spring is here!” –Edward Abbey

“By the age of forty, a man is responsible for his face. And his fate.” –Edward Abbey

“A man is not aware of his virtues (if any). Nevertheless, one hopes that they exist.” –Edward Abbey

“Life: another day, another dolor.” –Edward Abbey

“Suicide: Don’t knock it if you ain’t tried it.” –Edward Abbey

“There are circumstances in which suicide presents a viable option; a workable alternative; the only sensible solution.” –Edward Abbey

“I have found through trial and error that I work best under duress. In fact I work only under duress.” –Edward Abbey

“Home is wherre, when you have to go there, you probably shouldn’t.” -Edward Abbey

“Is it possible to grow wiser without knowing it? One hopes so. We all hope so.” –Edward Abbey

“Life imitates art–but badly.” –Edward Abbey

“For this world that men have made, none of us is bad enough. For the world that made us, none is good enough.” –Edward Abbey

“Men have nevver loved one another much, for reasons we can readily understand: Man is not a lovable animal.” –Edward Abbey

“A life without tragedy would not be worth living.” –Edward Abbey

“We live in the kind of world where courage is the most essential of virtues; without courage, the other virtues are useless.” –Edward Abbey

“Longevity, like intelligence and good looks and health and strength of character, is largely a matter of genetic heritage. Choose your parents with care.” –Edward Abbey

“The best people, like the best wines, come from the hills.” –Edward Abbey

“The consolation of reading biography: Most great men have led lives even more miserable than our own.” –Edward Abbey

“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul. One brave deed is worth a thousand books.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Epitaphs for a gravestone: `Please: no hooliganism’; or `Es prohibe se hace agua aqui’; or `No comment’.” –Edward Abbey

“Life without music would be an intolerable insult.” –Edward Abbey

“Life is hard? True–but let’s love it anyhow, though it breaks every bone in our bodies.” –Edward Abbey

“Life is cruel? Compared to what?” –Edward Abbey

“The greater your dreams, the more terrible your nightmares.” –Edward Abbey

“Beware of your wishes: They will probably come true.” –Edward Abbey

“Life is too tragic for sadness: Let us rejoice.” –Edward Abbey

“Most of us lead lives of chaotic improvisation from day to day, bawling for peace while plunging grimly into fresh disorders.” –Edward Abbey

“Indolence and melancholy: Each generates the other. If one can speak of such feeble passions as generating anything.” –Edward Abbey

“If you feel that you must suffer, then plan your suffering carefully–as you choose your dreams, as you conceive your ancestors.” –Edward Abbey

“Life is unfair. And it’s not fair that life is unfair.” –Edward Abbey

“A mother’s sorrow is more true, honorable, and beautiful than the detachment of the sage.” –Edward Abbey

“It’s a fool’s life, a rogue’s life, and a good life if you keep laughing all the way to the grave.” –Edward Abbey

“I have been a lucky man. But someone has to be.” –Edward Abbey

“There is a deep, abiding, unshakable satisfaction in a life of complete failure.” –Edward Abbey

“Cheer up, comrades: You can’t feel as bad as you look. Or look as bad as you feel.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“Once upon a time, I dreamed of becoming a great man. Later, a good man. Now,finally, I find it difficult enough and honor enough to be–a man.” -Edward Abbey

“Desire, said the Buddha, is the cause of suffering. But without desire, what delight?” –Edward Abbey

“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

“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

“I was once invited to take part in a heroic, possibly fatal enterprise, but I declined, mainly on account of sloth.” –Edward Abbey

“My Publisher: `Yes, sooner or later, we all wake up dead!'” –Edward Abbey

“Some lives are tragic, some ridiculous. Most are both at once.” -Edward Abbey

“By the age of eighteen, a human has acquired enough joy and heartache to provide the food of reflection for a century.” –Edward Abbey

“My Aunt Ida at age eighty-three: `Yeah,’ she said, `I’ll be dead pretty soon. And frankly, I don’t give a damn.'” –Edward Abbey

“Every moment is precious. And precarious.” –Edward Abbey

“Paradise for a happy man lies in his own good nature.” –Edward Abbey

“Be of good cheer: We’ll live to piss on the graves of our enemies.” -Edward Abbey

“How can I be so evil? It ain’t easy.” –Edward Abbey

“Nobody has so many friends that he can afford to lose one.” –Edward Abbey

“No man likes to be smoked out of his hole in February.” –Edward Abbey

“The great question of life is not the question of death but the question of life. Fear of death shames us all.” –Edward Abbey

“One must be reasonable in one’s demands on life. For myself, all that I ask is: (1) accurate information; (2) coherent knowledge; (3) deep understanding;(4) infinite loving wisdom; (5) no more kidney stones, please.” –Edward Abbey

“Those who fear death most are those who enjoy life least.” –Edward Abbey

“I like the smell of oil, grease, gasoline–and gunfire.” –Edward Abbey

“One thing worse than self-hatred is chiggers.” –Edward Abbey

“Saving the world was merely a hobby. My *vocation* has been that of inspector of desert water holes.” –Edward Abbey

“Death is every man’s final critic. To die well you must live bravely.” –Edward Abbey

“When the situation is desperate, it is too late to be serious. Be playful.” –Edward Abbey

“`Welcome to the banquet of life,’ said a recent Pope, forgetting that most have to fight their way to the table.” –Edward Abbey

“Writing on the wall: `Will trade three blind crabs for two with no teeth.'” –Edward Abbey

“The world is wide and beautiful. But almost everywhere, everywhere, the
children are dying.” –Edward Abbey

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

“One day in Dipstick, Nebraska, or Landfill, Oklahoma, is worth more to me than an eternity in Dante’s plastic Paradiso, or Yeats’s gold-plated Byzantium.” –Edward Abbey

“Let us praise the noble turkey vulture: No one envies him; he harms nobody; and he contemplates our little world from a most serene and noble height.” –Edward Abbey

“Love implies anger. The man who is angered by nothing cares about nothing.” –Edward Abbey

“There comes a time in the life of us all when we must lay aside our books or put down our tools and leave our place of work and walk forth on the road to meet the enemy face-to-face. Once and for all and at last.” –Edward Abbey

“There is a wine called Easy Days and Mellow Nights, well-known on the outskirts of the Navajo reservation. It is an economical wine, fortified with the best of intentions, and I recommend it to every serious wino.” -Edward Abbey

“Mental degeneracy may be caused by lead poisoning. Or by a poor dip in the gene pool.” –Edward Abbey

“An empty man is full of himself.” –Edward Abbey

“Life is too short for grief. Or regret. Or bullshit.” –Edward Abbey

“I intend to be good for the rest of my natural life–if I live that long.” –Edward Abbey

“We judge individual man and women as we do nations and races–by the character of their achievement and by their achievement of character.” –Edward Abbey

“Art, science, philosophy, religion–each offers at best only a crude simplification of actual living experience.” –Edward Abbey

“Crossing the bar: `I want to buy a beer for every man in the house. If any.'” –Edward Abbey

“I find more and more, as I grow older, that I prefer women to men, children to adults, animals to humans…. And rocks to living things? No, I’m not that old yet.” –Edward Abbey

“I am happy to be a regional writer. My region is the American West, old Mexico, West Virginia, New York, Europe, Australia, the human heart, and the male groin.” –Edward Abbey

“The writer speaks not to his audience (who wants to listen to lectures?) but for them, expressing their thoughts and emotions through the imaginative power of his art.” –Edward Abbey

“Literary critics, like a herd of cows or a school of fish, always face in the same direction, obeying that love for unity that every critic requires.” –Edward Abbey

“In writing, fidelity to fact leads eventually to the poetry of truth.” –Edward Abbey

“Any hack can safely rail away at foreign powers beyond the sea; but a good writer is a critic of the society he lives in.” –Edward Abbey

“A genius is always on duty; even his dreams are tax deductible.” -Edward Abbey

“Jack Kerouac, like a sick refrigerator, worked too hard at keeping cool and died on his mama’s lap from alcohol and infantilism.” –Edward Abbey

“I would prefer to write about everything; what else is there? But one must be selective.” –Edward Abbey

Remembrance of Things Past: an enormous fruitcake laced with cyanide.” –Edward AbbeyEd_Abbey_ford

“The Proustian aquarium: grotesque and gorgeous fish drifting with languid fins through a subaqueous medium of pale violet polluted ink.” –Edward Abbey

“Henry James was our master of periphrasis–the fine art of saying as little as possible in the greatest number of words.” –Edward Abbey

“There is a kind of poetry in simple fact.” –Edward Abbey

“Anywhere, anytime, I’d sacrifice the finest nuance for a laugh, the most elegant trope for a smile.” –Edward Abbey

“I’ve never yyet read a review of one of my own books that I couldn’t have written much better myself.” –Edward Abbey

“`The mind is everything,’ wrote Proust. No doubt true, when you’re dead from the neck down.” –Edward Abbey

“Books are like eggs–best when fresh.” –Edward Abbey

“The artist’s job? To be a miracle worker: make the blind see, the dull feel, the dead to live….” –Edward Abbey

“Apuleius married a rich widow, then wrote The Golden Ass.” –Edward Abbey

“The best thing about graduating from the university was that I finally had time to sit on a log and read a good book.” –Edward Abbey

“Most of the literary classics are worth reading, if you’ve nothing better to do.” –Edward Abbey

“Platitude: a statement that denies by implication what it explicitly affirms.” –Edward Abbey

“There are only two kinds of books–good books and the others. The good are winnowed from the bad through the democracy of time.” –Edward Abbey

“Most writers are naturally sycophants. Born in the fetal position, they never learn to stand erect.” –Edward Abbey

“Most new books drop immediately into the oblivion they so richly deserve.” –Edward Abbey

“A good book is a kind of paper club, serving to rouse the slumbrous and to silence the obtuse.” –Edward Abbey

“Proust again: One can only wish that a man with such powers of total recall had led a less tedious life, moved among somewhat livelier circles….” –Edward Abbey

“Henry James: our finest lady novelist.” –Edward Abbey

“Jane Austen: Getting into her books is like getting in bed with a cadaver. Something vital is lacking; namely, life.” –Edward Abbey

“William Deann Howells: a rubber chicken dangling on a string.” –Edward Abbey

“Literature, like anything else, can become a wearisome business if you make a lifetime specialty of it. A healthy, wholesome man would no more spend his entire life reading great books than he would packing cookies for Nabisco.” –Edward Abbey

“Poetry–even bad poetry–may be our final hope.” –Edward Abbey

“The artist in our time has two chief responsibilities: (1) art; and (2) sedition.” –Edward Abbey

“Romanticism was more than merely an alternative to a sterile classicism; romanticism made possible, especially in art, a great expansion of the human consciousness.” –Edward Abbey

“Good writing can be defined as having something to say and saying it well. When one has nothing to say, one should remain silent. Silence is always beautiful at such times.” –Edward Abbey

“Writers shouuld avoid the academy. When a writer begins to accept pay for talking about words, we know what he will produce soon: nothing but words.” –Edward Abbey

“What are called inspirational books, like Gibran’s The Prophet or Bach’s Seagull, seem to have been strained through a bowl of fish-eye tapioca.” –Edward Abbey

“One word is worth a thousand pictures. If it’s the right word.” -Edward Abbey

“The best American writers have come from the hinterlands–Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, Jack London, Hemingway, Faulkner, Wolfe, Steinbeck. Most of them never even went to college.” –Edward Abbey

“All serious writers want the obvious rewards: fame, money, women, love-and most of all, an audience!” –Edward Abbey

“The writer concerned more with technique than truth becomes a technician, not an artist.” –Edward Abbey

“In art as inn a boat, a bullet, or a coconut-cream pie, purpose determines form.” –Edward Abbey

“When a writer has done the best that he can do, he should then withdraw from the book-writing business and take up an honest trade like shoe repair, cattle stealing, or screwworm management.” –Edward Abbey

“There is no trajectory so pathetic as that of an artist in decline.” -Edward Abbey

“A shelf of classics for our young adults: Tolkien, Hesse, Casteneda, Kerouac, Salinger, Tom Robbins, and The Last Whole Earth Catalog.” –Edward Abbey

“When the writer has done his best, he then should proceed to do his second best.” –Edward Abbey

“Susan Sontag: What she really wanted, throughout her career, was to grow up to be a Frenchman.” –Edward Abbey

“How long doees it take to write a good book? All of the years that you’ve lived.” –Edward Abbey

“My own best books have not been published. In fact, they’ve not even been written yet.” –Edward Abbey

“My sole literary ambition is to write one good novel, then retire to my hut in the desert, assume the lotus position, compose my mind and senses, and sink into meditation, contemplating my novel.” –Edward Abbey

“A formal education can sometimes be broadening but more often merely
flattens.” –Edward Abbey

“It is true that some of my fiction was based on actual events. But the events took place after the fiction was written.” –Edward Abbey

“My books are not taken seriously. But that’s all right; they are given
playfully.” –Edward Abbey

“Style: There is something in too much verbal felicity (as in Joyce or Nabokov or Borges) that can betray the writer into technique for the sake of technique.” –Edward Abbey

“In the world of words, one of my best-loved tribes is the diatribe.” -Edward Abbey

“Every writer has his favorite coterie of enemies: Mine is the East Coast literati–those prep school playmates and their Ivy League colleagues.” –Edward Abbey

“Salome had but seven veils; the artist has a thousand.” –Edward Abbey

“In the modern world, all literary art is necessarily political-especially that which pretends not to be.” –Edward Abbey

“Desire lendss strength. Aspiration creates inspiration, which, for the artist,is the breath of life.” –Edward Abbey

“James Joyce buried himself in his great work. _Finnegan’s Wake_ is his monument and his tombstone. A dead end.” –Edward Abbey

“Critics are like ticks on a dog or tits on a motor: ornamental but dysfunctional.” –Edward Abbey

“A critic is to an author as a fungus to an oak.” –Edward Abbey

“The response to my books from my East Coast friends has been wildly various, running the gamut from `bad’ to `very bad.’ (Is there another gamut?)” –Edward Abbey

“The sneakiest form of literary subtlety, in a corrupt society, is to speak the plain truth. The critics will not understand you; the public will not believe you; your fellow writers will shake their heads. Laughter, praise, honors, money, and the love of beautiful girls will be your only reward.” –Edward Abbey

“Vladimir Nabokov was a writer who cared nothing for music and whose favorite sport was the pursuit, capture, and murder of butterflies. This explains many things; for example, the fact that Nabokov’s novels, for all their elegance and wit, resemble nothing so much as butterflies pinned to a board: pretty but dead; symmetrical but stiff.” –Edward Abbey

“It is always dishonest for a reviewer to review the author instead of the author’s book.” –Edward Abbey

“My notion of a great novel is something like a five-hundred-page shaggy-dog story, with only the punch line omitted.” –Edward Abbey

“The ideal kitchen-sink novel: Throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Then add the kitchen sink.” –Edward Abbey

“My books always make the best-seller lists in Wolf Hole, Arizona, and Hanksville, Utah.” –Edward Abbey

“Some people write to please, to soothe, to console. Others to provoke, to challenge, to exasperate and infuriate. I’ve always found the second approach the more pleasing.” –Edward Abbey

“There is a fine art to making enemies and it requires diligent cultivation. It’s not as easy as it looks.” –Edward Abbey

“Too many American authors have a servile streak where their backbone should be. Where’s our latest Nobel laureate? More than likely you’ll find him in the Rose Garden kissing the First Lady’s foot.” –Edward Abbey

“Perfection is a minor virtue.” –Edward Abbey

“Great art is never perfect; perfect art is never great.” –Edward Abbey

“In art as in life, form and subject, body and soul, are one.” –Edw

ard Abbey

“John Updike: our greatest suburban chic-boutique man of letters. A smug and fatal complacency has stunted his growth beyond hope of surgical repair. Not enough passion in his collected works to generate steam in a beer can. Nevertheless, he is considered by some critics to be America’s finest living author: Hold a chilled mirror to his lips and you will see, presently, a fine and dewy moisture condensing–like a faery breath!–upon the glass.” -Edward Abbey

“`Be fair,’ say the temporizers, `tell both sides of the story.’ But how can you be fair to both sides of a rape? Of a murder? Of a massacre?” -Edward Abbey

“Shakespeare wrote great poetry and preposterous plays. Who really cares, for example, which petty tyrant rules Milan? Or who succeeds to the throne of Denmark? Or why the barons ganged up on Richard II?” –Edward Abbey

“There comes a point, in literary objectivity, when the author’s self-effacement is hard to distinguish from moral cowardice.” –Edward Abbey

“Fence straddlers have no balls. In compensation, however, they enjoy a comfortable seat and can retreat swiftly, when danger threatens, to either side of the fence. There is something to be said for every position.” -Edward Abbey

“Edmund Wilsonn was our greatest American literary critic because he was more than a literary critic: He was a fearless, even radical judge of the society he lived in. (See, for example, _A Piece of My Mind_; _The Cold War and the Income Tax_; the introduction to _Patriotic Gore_.) Our conventional critics cannot forgive him for those scandalous lapses in good taste.” –Edward Abbey

“Those art lovers who pride themselves mostly on *taste* usually possess no other talent.” –Edward Abbey

“Our suicidall poets (Plath, Berryman, Lowell, Jarrell, et al.) spent too much of their lives inside rooms and classrooms when they should have been trudging up mountains, slogging through swamps, rowing down rivers. The indoor life is the next best thing to premature burial.” –Edward Abbey

“It is an author’s most solemn obligation to honor truth. If the free and independent writer does not speak truth to power, who will?” –Edward Abbey

“There is much to admire in the work of D.H. Lawrence–excepting his queer, soft, gooey, and epicene prose.” –Edward Abbey

“In order to write a book, it is necessary to sit down (or stand up) and write. Therein lies the difficulty.” –Edward Abbey

“Most of whatt we call the classics of world literature suggest artifacts in a wax museum. We have to hire and pay professors to get them read and talked about.” –Edward Abbey

“Great art is indefinable but that’s all right; it exists anyway.” -Edward Abbey

“It is not the writer’s task to answer questions but to question answers. To be impertinent, insolent, and, if necessary, subversive.” –Edward Abbey

“Why the critics, like a flock of ducks, always move in perfect unison: Their authority with the public depends upon an appearance of unanimous agreement. One dissenting voice would shatter the whole fragile structure.” -Edward Abbey

“A good writer must have more than vin rose in his veins, use more than Chablis for ink.” –Edward Abbey

“There are twwo kinds are art: (1) decorative, nonobjective, wallpaper art; and (2) art with a moral purpose.” –Edward Abbey

“Why do I write? I write to entertain my friends and to exasperate our enemies. To unfold the folded lie, to record to truth of our time, and, of course, to promote esthetic bliss.” –Edward Abbey

“Like any writer, I’d rather be read than dead. Like any serious author, I’d rather be dead than not read at all.” –Edward Abbey

“The author: an imaginary person who writes real books.” –Edward Abbey

“There’s something about winning at poker that restores my faith in the innate goodness of my fellowman.” –Edward Abbey

“Football is a game for trained apes. That, in fact, is what most of the players are–retarded gorillas wearing helmets and uniforms. The only thing more debased is the surrounding mob of drunken monkeys howling the gorillas on.” –Edward Abbey

“Climbing K-2 or floating the Grand Canyon in an inner tube: There are some things one would rather *have done* than *do*.” –Edward Abbey

“Going to bed with Gertrude Stein, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Susan Sontag, or Margaret Thatcher: There are some things one prefers neither to do nor to have done.” –Edward Abbey

“Trout fishing. One must be a stickler for proper form. Use nothing but #4 blasting caps. Or a hand grenade, if handy. Or at a pool well-lined with stone, one blast from a .44 magnum will bring a few stunned brookies quietly to the surface.” –Edward Abbey

“Baseball serrves as a good model for democracy in action: Every player is equally important and each has a chance to be a hero.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“As between the skulking and furtive poacher, who hunts for the sake of meat, and the honest gentleman shooter, who kills for the pleasure of sport, I find the former a higher type of humanity.” –Edward Abbey

“When riding my old Harley a ninety per at midnight down the Via Roma in Naples, I kept one consolation firmly in mind: If anything goes wrong, I’ll never have time to regret it.” –Edward Abbey

“Baseball is a slow, sluggish game, with frequent and trivial interruptions, offering the spectator many opportunities to reflect at leisure upon the situation on the field: This is what a fan loves most about the game.” –Edward Abbey

“The night I filled an inside straight: Even a blind hog’s gonna root up an acorn once in a while.” –Edward Abbey

“It’s true: Every time you kill an elk, you’re saving some cow’s life.” –Edward Abbey

“Tee Vee football: one team wins, one team loses–they tie–who cares? And why?” –Edward Abbey

“Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible. If there is a Kingdom of Heaven, it lies in music.” –Edward Abbey

“Music clouds the intellect but clarifies the heart.” –Edward Abbey

“How did Haydn and Mozart produce such vast quantities of formally perfect art? They worked from a perfect formula. In music, Beethoven was the Great Emancipator.” –Edward Abbey

“If there’s anything I hate, it’s the vibraphone. And the cha-cha-cha. And Latin rhythms generally.” –Edward Abbey

“The critics say that Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony has no form. They are wrong; it has the form of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony.” –Edward Abbey

ed_abbey_mount_graham“`Rock’ is the music of slaves. Of adolescents pursuing the illusion of freedom and protest while the steel chains of technology bind them ever tighter.” –Edward Abbey

“`Rock’: music to hammer out fenders by. Music for vomiting to after a hard day spreading asphalt. Vietnam music. Imitation-Afro, industrial air-compressor music.” –Edward Abbey

“As Mark Twain said, `I love Wagner–if only they’d cut out all that damned singing!'” –Edward Abbey

“Grand opera is a form of musical entertainment for people who hate music.” –Edward Abbey

“Opera: I like it, except for all those howling sopranos and caterwauling tenors. (Why can’t tenors sing like men?)” –Edward Abbey

“Life withoutt music would be an intolerable insult.” –Edward Abbey

“A Mahler symmphony is full of surprises–but each surprise, on second hearing, turns out to be an *inevitable* surprise.” –Edward Abbey

“The best argument for Christianity is the Gregorian chant. Listening to that music, one can believe anything–while the music lasts.” –Edward Abbey

“Reincarnation? There is such a thing. What could be more Mozartian than the Nutcracker Suite?” –Edward Abbey

“Anton Brucknner wrote the same symphony nine times (ten, actually), trying to get it just right. He failed.” –Edward Abbey

“Music is a savage art, a measured madness.” –Edward Abbey

“Simplicity is always a virtue. One kid on a riverbank working out a Stephen Foster tune on his new harmonica heard from the correct esthetic distance projects more magic and power than the entire Vienna Philharmonic and Chorus laboring (once again) through the Mozart Requiem or Bach’s B Minor Mass.” –Edward Abbey

“Music endures and ages far better than books. Books, made of words, are unavoidably attached to ideas, events, conflict, and history, but music has the power to transcend time. At least for a time. Palestrina sounds as fresh today as he did in 1555, but Dante, only three centuries older, already smells of the archaic, the medieval, the catacombs.” –Edward Abbey

“Mozart, strriving for perfection, wrote the same symphony forty-one times. In his case, it worked. He wrote a perfect symphony.” –Edward Abbey

“Poor Dimitri Shostakovich: In the Soviet Union, he was condemned as being too radical; in the West, for being too conservative. He could please no one but the musical public. He revenged himself on both by writing a short piece called `March of the Soviet Police.'” –Edward Abbey

“A pretty girl can do no wrong.” –Edward Abbey

“In everything but brains and brawn, women are vastly superior to men. A different race.” –Edward Abbey

“Free love is priced right.” –Edward Abbey

“Married couples who quarrel bitterly every day may really need each other as deeply as those who appear to be desperately in love.” –Edward Abbey

“Girls, like flowers, bloom but once. But once is enough.” –Edward Abbey

“In marriage, the occasional catastrophic crisis is easier to manage than the daily routine.” –Edward Abbey

“I’ve wreckedd and ravaged half my life in the pursuit of women, and I suffer the pangs of about seventeen regrets–the seventeen who got away.” -Edward Abbey

“Women: We cannot love them all. But we must try.” –Edward Abbey

“Girls: I never wanted them all. Just all the ones I wanted.” –Edward Abbey

“I, too, believe in fidelity. But how can I be true to one woman without being false to all the others?” –Edward Abbey

“Chastity is more a state of mind than of anatomy.” –Edward Abbey

“There has never been a day in my life when I was not in love.” –Edward Abbey

“The feministts have a legitimate grievance. But so does everyone else.” –Edward Abbey

“It is the difference between men and women, not the sameness, that creates the tension and the delight.” –Edward Abbey

“Women truly are better than men. Otherwise, they’d be intolerable.” -Edward Abbey

“You can’t bellay a man who’s falling in love.” –Edward Abbey

“Why must love always be accompanied–sooner or later–by sorrow and pain? Why not? Because pure bliss is for pure idiots.” –Edward Abbey

“For women, the sexual act is a means to a higher end. For a man, it is an end in itself.” –Edward Abbey

“Abolition off a woman’s right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: form of rape by the State.” –Edward Abbey

“How to Avoid Pleurisy: Never make love to a girl named Candy on the tailgate of a half-ton Ford pickup during a chill rain in April out on Grandview Point in San Juan County, Utah.” –Edward Abbey

“Sex is not compulsory, reply the fetus lovers. True: but we’re not talking about sex–we’re talking about maternity.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“Motherhood is an essential, difficult, and full-time job. Women who do not wish to be mothers should not have babies.” –Edward Abbey

“A woman, as much as a man, is responsible by the age of forty for the character of her face. But women, obeying the biological imperative, strive harder to preserve a youthful appearance (the reproductive look) and lose it sooner.” –Edward Abbey

“If we had the power of ten Shakespeares or a dozen Mozarts, we could not produce anything half so marvelous as one ordinary human child.” -Edward Abbey

“It is time for us men to acknowledge not only that women are vastly superior beings (that’s easy) but also that they are–in every way that matters-our equals. That’s hard.” –Edward Abbey

“In the end, for all our differences and conflicts, most women and men share the same food, work, shelter, bed, life, joy, anguish, and fate. We need each other.” –Edward Abbey

“The feminist notion that the whole of human history has been nothing but a vast intricate conspiracy by men to enslave their wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters presents us with an intellectual neurosis for which we do not yet have a name.” –Edward Abbey

“Lifting her skirt, she revealed her treasure. The mother lode. Pretty, I thought, but is it art?” –Edward Abbey

“Women who love only women may have a good point.” –Edward Abbey

“Homosexualitty, like androgyny, might be an instinctive racial response to overpopulation, crowding, and stress. Both flourish when empire reaches its apogee.” –Edward Abbey

“Us nature mystics got to stick together.” –Edward Abbey

“Nature, like Miamonides said, is mainly a good place to throw beer cans on Sunday afternoons.” –Edward Abbey

“Little boys love machines; girls adore horses; grown-up men and women like to walk.” –Edward Abbey

“Wilderness begins in the human mind.” –Edward Abbey

“I come more and more to the conclusion that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing left that is worth saving.” –Edward Abbey

“Narrow-minded provincialism: Sad to say but true–I am more interested in the mountain lions of Utah, the wild pigs of Arizona, than I am in the fate of all the Arabs of Araby, all the Wogs of Hindustan, all the Ethiopes of Abyssinia….” –Edward Abbey

“No man-made structure in all of American history has been hated so much, by so many, for so long, with such good reason, as that Glen Canyon Dam at Page,Arizona, Shithead Capital of Coconino County.” –Edward Abbey

“What draws us into the desert is the search for something intimate in the remote.” –Edward Abbey

“If wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness.” –Edward Abbey

“The developers and entrepreneurs must somehow be taught a new vocabulary of values.” –Edward Abbey

“I’m in favor of animal liberation. Why? Because I’m an animal.” -Edward Abbey

“God bless America. Let’s save some of it.” –Edward Abbey

“Are people more important than the grizzly bear? Only from the point of view of some people.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“All dams are ugly, but the Glen Canyon Dam is sinful ugly.” –Edward Abbey

“It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it.” –Edward Abbey

“In the American Southwest, I began a lifelong love affair with a pile of rocks.” –Edward Abbey

“Nature is indifferent to our love, but never unfaithful.” –Edward Abbey

“Rocks, like louseworts and snail darters and pupfish and 3rd-world black, lesbian, militant poets, have rights, too. Especially the right to exist.” –Edward Abbey

“A true conservative must necessarily be a conservationalist.” –Edward Abbey

“In all of nature, there is no sound more pleasing than that of a hungry animal at its feed. Unless you are the food.” –Edward Abbey

“The industrial corporation is the natural enemy of nature.” –Edward Abbey

“The hawk’s cry is as sharp as its beak.” –Edward Abbey

“Roosters: The cry of the male chicken is the most barbaric yawp in all of nature.” –Edward Abbey

“I’d rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion.” –Edward Abbey

“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.” –Edward Abbey

“Man’s deliberate destruction of his own habitat–planet Earth–could serve as a mighty theme for a mighty book worthy of a modern Melville or Tolstoy. But our best fictioneers confine themselves to domestic drama–soap opera with literary trimmings.” –Edward Abbey

“There is this to be said for walking: It’s the one mode of human locomotion by which a man proceeds on his own two feet, upright, erect, as a man should be, not squatting on his rear haunches like a frog.” –Edward Abbey

“Concrete is heavy; iron is hard–but the grass will prevail.” –Edward Abbey

“The world is what it is, no less and no more, and therein lies its entire and sufficient meaning.” –Edward Abbey

“The world exists for its own sake, not for ours. Swallow that pill!” –Edward Abbey

“You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.” –Edward Abbey

“Pure science is a myth: Both mathematical theoreticians like Albert Einstein and practical crackpots like Henry Ford dealt with different aspects of the same world.” –Edward AbbeyEd_Abbey_and_R_Crumb

“Reason is the newest and rarest thing in human life, the most delicate child of human history.” –Edward Abbey

“What is reason? Knowledge informed by sympathy, intelligence in the arms of love.” –Edward Abbey

“High technology has done us one great service: It has retaught us the delight of performing simple and primordial tasks–chopping wood, building a fire, drawing water from a spring….” –Edward Abbey

“We spend more time working for our labor-saving machines than they do working for us.” –Edward Abbey

“The one great gift to humankind from our nuclear physicists has been the nuclear bomb. How can we ever thank them?” –Edward Abbey

“Scientific method: There’s a madness in the method.” –Edward Abbey

“Science is the whore of industry and the handmaiden of war.” –Edward Abbey

“Quantum mechanics provides us with an approximate, plausible, conjectural explanation of what actually is, or was, or may be taking place inside a cyclotron during a dark night in February.” –Edward Abbey

“The mad scientist was once only a creature of gothic romance; now he is everywhere, busy torturing atoms and animals in his laboratory.” -Edward Abbey

“Those who dream of the joys of living in a space colony should live in a space colony.” –Edward Abbey

“The basic science is not physics or mathematics but biology–the study of life. We must learn to think both logically and bio-logically.” –Edward Abbey

“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.” –Edward Abbey

“Generally speaking, it’s a matter of only mild intellectual interest to me whether the earth goes around the sun or the sun goes around the earth. In fact, I don’t care a rat’s ass either way.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Most academic economists know nothing of economy. In fact, they know little of anything.” –Edward Abbey

“Phoenix, Arizona: an oasis of ugliness in the midst of a beautiful wasteland.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Industrialism, whether of the capitalist or socialist coloration, is the basic tyrant of the modern age.” –Edward Abbey

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

“The very poor are strictly materialistic. It takes money to be a mystic.” –Edward Abbey

“The rich can buy everything but health, virtue, friendship, wit, good looks, love, pride, intelligence, grace, and, if you need it, happiness.” -Edward Abbey

“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

“You long for success? Start at the bottom; dig down.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“Daddy, the garbage man is here! Tell him we don’t need any.” –Edward Abbey

“Our modern industrial economy takes a mountain covered with trees, lakes, running streams and transforms it into a mountain of junk, garbage, slime pits, and debris.” –Edward Abbey

“Wealth should come like manna from heaven, unearned and uncalled for. Money should be like grace–a gift. It is not worth sweating and scheming for.” –Edward Abbey

“In the dog-eat-dog economy, the Doberman is boss.” –Edward Abbey

“What our economists call a depressed area almost always turns out to be a cleaner, freer, more livable place than most.” –Edward Abbey

“Capitalism: Nothing so mean could be right. Greed is the ugliest of the capital sins.” –Edward Abbey

“The industrial way of life leads to the industrial way of death. From Shiloh to Dachau, from Antietam to Stalingrad, from Hiroshima to Vietnam and Afghanistan, the great specialty of industry and technology has been the mass production of human corpses.” –Edward Abbey

“With the neutron bomb, which destroys life but not property, capitalism has found the weapon of its dreams.” –Edward Abbey

“The rich are not very nice. That’s why they’re rich.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Nothing could be older than the daily news, nothing deader than yesterday’s newspaper.” –Edward Abbey

“Among politicians and businessmen, ‘Pragmatism’ is the current term for `To hell with our children.'” –Edward Abbey

“Business: busyness.” –Edward Abbey

“The plow has probably done more harm–in the long run–than the sword.” –Edward Abbey

“Money confers the power to command the labor of others. Love of money is love of power. And love of power is the root of evil.” –Edward Abbey

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

“Why administrators are respected and schoolteachers are not: An administrator is paid a lot for doing very little, while a teacher is paid very little for doing a lot.” –Edward Abbey

“All gold is fool’s gold.” –Edward Abbey

“Everyone should learn a manual trade: It’s never too late to become an honest person.” –Edward Abbey

“A rancher is a farmer who farms the public lands with a herd of four-legged lawn mowers.” –Edward Abbey

“The country dog’s report on returning from a first trip to town: `Stand still, they fuck you to death; run and they eat your ass out.'” –Edward Abbey

“When a man’s best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.” –Edward Abbey

“Though I’ve lived in the rural West most of my life, I never once fell in love with a horse. Not once. Neither end.” –Edward Abbey

“Cowboys make better lovers: Ask any cow.” –Edward Abbey

“When a dog howls at the moon, we call it religion. When he barks at strangers, we call it patriotism.” –Edward Abbey

“It is not an easy thing to inflate a dog.” –Edward Abbey

“A cowboy is a hired hand on the middle of a horse contemplating the hind end of a cow.” –Edward Abbey

“A man without a horse is like a man without a weapon: stunted and naked.” –Edward Abbey

“A cowboy is a farm boy in leather britches and a comical hat.” –Edward Abbey

“The rancher strings barbed wire across the range, drills wells and bulldozes stock ponds everywhere, drives off the elk and antelope and bighorn sheep, poisons coyotes and prairie dogs, shoots eagle and bear and cougar on sight, supplants the native bluestem and grama grass with tumbleweed, cow shit, cheat grass, snakeweed, anthills, poverty weed, mud and dust and flies–and then leans back and smiles broadly at the Tee Vee cameras and tells us how much he loves the West.” –Edward Abbey

“The dog’s life is a good life, for a dog.” –Edward Abbey

“Man was created to complete the horse.” –Edward Abbey

“I wouldn’t trade a good horse for the best Rolls-Royce ever made–unless I could trade the Rolls for two good horses.” –Edward Abbey

“If you’re never ridden a fast horse at a dead run across a desert valley at dawn, be of good cheer: You’ve only missed out on one half of life.” -Edward Abbey

“I always wanted to be a cowboy. But alas! I was burdened early with certain inescapable obligations to world literature.” –Edward Abbey

“The sexual revolution transformed the American West: Now even cowboys can get laid.” –Edward Abbey

“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

“Places: a cold, bleak, lonely day on the rim at Muley Point, Utah. And the heart-cracking loveliness of the blood-smeared, bitter, incomprehensible slaughterhouse of a world….” –Edward Abbey

“England has never enjoyed a genuine social revolution. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with that dear, tepid, vapid, insipid, stuffy, little country.” -Edward Abbey

“I have written much about many good places. But the best places of all, I have never mentioned.” –Edward Abbey

“America My country: last nation on earth to abolish human slavery; first of all nations to drop the nuclear bomb on our fellow human beings.” -Edward Abbey

“Be it ever so vile, there’s no place like home.” –Edward Abbey

“A city man is a home anywhere, for all big cities are much alike. But a
country man has a place where he belongs, where he always returns, and where, when the time comes, he is willing to die.” –Edward Abbey

“A man’s duty? To be ready–with rifle or rod–to defend his home when the showdown comes.” –Edward Abbey

“The highest treason, the meanest treason, is to deny the holiness of this little blue planet on which we journey through the cold void of space.” –Edward Abbey

“South of the border: The Hispanics despise the mestizos, the mestizos look with contempt on ‘Los Indios’, the Indians take it out on their women and dogs.” –Edward Abbey

“The Latino military fare badly when they stumble into war with the gringos. But in the torture, murder, and massacre of their own people, they have always performed with brilliance and elan.” –Edward Abbey

“Nearly all of Latin America, from Chile to Mexico, is one long rack of torture. Financed, equipped, and refined by the U.S. government.” -Edward Abbey

“Alaska is our biggest, buggiest, boggiest state. Texas remains our largest unfrozen state. But mountainous Utah, if ironed out flat, would take up more space on a map than either.” –Edward Abbey

“Alaska’s chief attractions are: (a) its small and insignificant human population, thanks to the miserable climate; and (b) its large and magnificent wildlife population, thanks to (a). Both of these attractions are being rapidly diminished, however, by (c) the Law of Growth and Space-Age Sleaze.” –Edward Abbey

“New Yorkers like to boast that if you can survive in New York, you can survive anywhere. But if you can survive anywhere, why live in New York?” –Edward Abbey

“Mexico: where life is cheap, death is rich, and the buzzards are never unhappy.” –Edward Abbey


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: