57 Best Edward Abbey Quotes and Sayings for Inspiration

Edward Abbey, an American writer (1927-1989), ardently championed the southwestern U.S. environment through his writings.

Graduating from the University of New Mexico, he worked as a ranger in the southwest, which profoundly influenced his literature.

His magnum opus, “Desert Solitaire” (1968), reflects on the Utah wilderness and humanity’s impacts. “The Monkey Wrench Gang” (1975) tells of guerrilla environmentalists, solidifying his influence on the environmental movement.


A hallmark of his work includes a blend of cynicism, wit and compelling prose, all while advocating for nature and questioning authority.

Abbey’s notable works also encompass “The Brave Cowboy”, “Slickrock” and “The Fool’s Progress”. Upon his demise, he was secretly interred in the Arizona desert.

I have handpicked the best quotes by Edward Abbey for you.

Best Edward Abbey Quotes

1. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


2. “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


3. “Anarchism is democracy taken seriously.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

4. Life is too short for grief. Or regret. ~ Edward Abbey.


5. Freedom begins between the ears. ~ Edward Abbey.

6. “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


7. “Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


8. “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

9. “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).


10. “Life is unfair. And it’s not fair that life is unfair.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

11. “The earth, like the sun, like the air, belongs to everyone and to no one.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

12. “God bless America. Let’s try to save some of it.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


13. “Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

14. “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).

15. “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Of course, people with guns kill more people. But that’s only natural. It’s hard. But it’s fair.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

Popular Edward Abbey Quotes

16. “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).


17. “The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

18. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

19. “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).

20. I’ve never yet read a review of one of my own books that I couldn’t have written much better myself. ~ Edward Abbey.


21. A world without open country would be universal jail. ~ Edward Abbey.

22. I stand for what I stand on. ~ Edward Abbey.

Top Edward Abbey Quotes

23. “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).

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

25. “Balance, that’s the secret. Moderate extremism. The best of both worlds.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

26. “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).


27. “Paradise for a happy man lies in his own good nature.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

28. “The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

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


30. “The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

31. “Heaven is home. Utopia is here. Nirvana is now.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

Short Edward Abbey Quotes

32. “Humans were free before the word freedom became necessary.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


33. “There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

34. “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).

35. “Simplicity is always a virtue.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

Famous Edward Abbey Quotes

36. “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).


37. “Be loyal to what you love, be true to the earth, fight your enemies with passion and laughter.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

38. “Only the half-mad are wholly alive.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

39. “There is a deep, abiding, unshakable satisfaction in a life of complete failure.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


40. “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).

41. “I choose to listen to the river for a while, thinking river thoughts, before joining the night and the stars.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

42. “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).


43. “You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

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

45. I despise my own nation most. Because I know it best. Because I still love it, suffering from Hope. For me, that’s patriotism. ~ Edward Abbey.

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


47. “We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

48. “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).

49. “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).

50. “A crowded society is a restrictive society; an overcrowded society becomes an authoritarian, repressive and murderous society.” ~ (Edward Abbey).


51. “When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

52. “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).

53. “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).

54. “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).


55. “Where all think alike there is little danger of innovation.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

56. “Beware of the man who has no enemies.” ~ (Edward Abbey).

57. “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).

So these were the 57 quotes by Edward Abbey.

Also Read:

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar