Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When I Die...If I Live That Long

Time was, when quoting Ed Abbey would have automatically had you labeled as a "radical."  His particular style of environmentalism and his method of delivery was misinterpreted as a form of "ecoterrorism" and Abbey himself was derided as an eco-terrorist.  He does have a lot to say about the world, civilization, nature and culture and he uses his deadpan brusque style saying it.  There is no doubt that he was a character, the likes of which are becoming fewer and fewer as our civilization becomes more and more homogenized and technobrainwashed.

This is a great clip of Abbey back in the Arches National Park, the land that he loved and worked for so long.  This was 1985.  It would be fascinating, if he was still alive, to hear what he'd have to say about the state of our environment and our supposed leaders of today.  My guess is he would not be thrilled, but he'd be smug knowing that this is all temporary and in the end, nature is going to win.  Sadly he didn't live long enough.


Here are some more Ed Abbey quotes about things:

Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.

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

Counterpart to the knee-jerk liberal is the new knee-pad conservative, always groveling before the rich and powerful.

The earth is not a mechanism but an organism, a being with its own life and its own reasons, where the support and sustenance of the human animal is incidental. If man in his newfound power and vanity persists in the attempt to remake the planet in his own image, he will succeed only in destroying himself — not the planet. The earth will survive our most ingenious folly.

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 and anyone can transport himself anywhere, instantly. Big deal, Buckminster. To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.


  1. Wow. That guy is awesome. Amazing observations on life. I love when he asks why people come out here and gives the answer that maybe its for the modern facilities.


  2. That is pretty classic. I like when he apologizes for the sight of the lined up rocks on the path and when he says that he hopes that Congress will appropriate the funds to have them white washed soon.