125+ Best Edward Abbey Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Edward Paul Abbey was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. Profoundly inspirational Edward Abbey quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.

If you’re searching for famous quotes from greatest authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Elie Wiesel, powerful Ernest Holmes quotes and famous Richard Bach quotes.

Famous Edward Abbey Quotes

A giant thirst is a great joy when quenched in time. – Edward Abbey

A house built on greed cannot long endure. – 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

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

Truth is always the enemy of power. And power the enemy of truth. – Edward Abbey

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

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

If there’s anyone still present whom I’ve failed to insult. I apologize. – 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

There is a deep, abiding, unshakable satisfaction in a life of complete failure. – 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

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

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

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

Doctrines like Christianity or Islam or Marxism require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions. – Edward Abbey

Most of my wandering in the desert i’ve done alone. not so much from choice as from necessity – i generally prefer to go into places where no one else wants to go. i find that in contemplating the natural world my pleasure is greater if there are not too many others contemplating it with me, at the same time. – 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

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

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

An empty man is full of himself. – Edward Abbey

I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous. – Edward Abbey

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

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

Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination. – Edward Abbey

I’m happy to respect authority when it’s genuine authority, based on moral or intellectual or even technical superiority. I’m eager to follow a hero if we can find one. But I tend to resist or evade any kind of authority based merely on the power to coerce. Government, for example. The Army tried to train us to salute the uniform, not the man. Failed. I will salute the man, maybe, if I think he’s worthy of it, but I don’t salute uniforms anymore. – 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

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

The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an equalizer. – Edward Abbey

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. – Edward Abbey

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

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

A society that feels itself too poor to afford the preservation of wilderness is not worthy of the name civilization. – Edward Abbey

The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government. – Edward Abbey

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

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. – Edward Abbey

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

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

Our job is to record, each in his own way, this world of light and shadow and time that will never come again exactly as it is today. – Edward Abbey

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

The love of a man for his wife, his child, of the land where he lives and works, is for me the real meaning of mystical experience. – Edward Abbey

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

Anarchism is democracy taken seriously. – Edward Abbey

God is love? Not bloody likely. – Edward Abbey

What good is a Bill of Rights that does not include the right to play, to wander, to explore, the right to stillness and solitude, to discovery and physical freedom? – Edward Abbey

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

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

Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now. – Edward Abbey

Taxation: how the sheep are shorn. – 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

I stand for what I stand on. – Edward Abbey

Why is it that the destruction of something created by humans is called vandalism, yet the destruction of something created by God is called development? – Edward Abbey

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

This is the most beautiful place on Earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. – Edward Abbey

I’m in favor of animal liberation. Why? Because I’m an animal. – Edward Abbey

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

May your rivers flow without end 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 something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you-beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. – Edward Abbey

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

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

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

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

We are kindred all of us, killer and victim, predator and prey, me and the sly coyote, the soaring buzzard, the elegant gopher snake, and trembling cottontail, the foul worms that feed on our entrails; all of them, all of us. Long live diversity, long live the earth! – Edward Abbey

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

Wilderness begins in the human mind. – Edward Abbey

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

The domination of nature leads to the domination of human nature. – Edward Abbey

If industrial man continues to multiply his numbers and expand his operations he will succeed in his apparent intention, to seal himself off from the natural and isolate himself within a synthetic prison of his own making. – Edward Abbey

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

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

The function of football, soccer, basketball and other passion-sports in modern industrial society is the transference of boredom, frustration, anger and rage into socially acceptable forms of combat. A temporary substitute for war; for nationalism; identification with something bigger than the self. – Edward Abbey

In this glare of brilliant emptiness, in this arid intensity of pure heat, in the heart of a weird solitude, great silence and grand desolution, all things recede to distrances out of reach, relecting light but impossible to touch, annihilating all thought and all that men have made to a spasm of whirling dust far out on the golden desert. – Edward Abbey

I love America because it is a confused, chaotic mess and I hope we can keep it this way for at least another thousand years. The permissive society is the free society. – Edward Abbey

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

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

I thought of the wilderness we had left behind us, open to sea and sky, joyous in its plenitude and simplicity, perfect yet vulnerable, unaware of what is coming, defended by nothing, guarded by no one. – Edward Abbey

The earth, like the sun, like the air, belongs to everyone and to no one. – Edward Abbey

Let us hope our weapons are never needed but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. – Edward Abbey

If, as some say, evil lies in the hearts and 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless America. Let’s try to save some of it. – 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

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

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

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. – 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

Wilderness. The word itself is music. – Edward Abbey

Grown men do not need leaders. – 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

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

But of the seven deadly sins, wrath is the healthiest next only to lust. – Edward Abbey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There never was a good war or a bad revolution. – 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

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

Not all questions can be answered. – Edward Abbey

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. – 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

I am an enemy of the State. But isn’t everyone? – 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

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

Our culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second. – Edward Abbey

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

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

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

The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. – Edward Abbey

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

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

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

The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders. Remaining silent about the destruction of nature is an endorsement of that destruction. – Edward Abbey

Be a half-assed crusader, a part-time fanatic. Don’t worry to much about the fate of the world. Saving the world is only a hobby. Get out there and enjoy the world, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, husbands wives; climb mountains, run rivers, get drunk, do whatever you want to do while you can, before it’s too late. – Edward Abbey

Mayonnaise, like hollandaise, was invented by the French to cover up the flavor of spoiled flesh, stale vegetables, rotten fish. Beware the sauce! Where food comes beslobbered with an elegant slime you may well suspect the integrity of the basic ingredients. – Edward Abbey

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