Edward Abbey was an iconoclast, a contrarian, a gadfly, and a radical. He was a desert ranger, a poet, a novelist, a student of philosophy, and a keen observer of nature and human life. He was an aesthetic, a sensualist, an atheist, a materialist, and in general terms an antagonist. A provocateur.
In a list of his favorite poets, he names first Anacreon and then Lucretius . He is, after Thoreau, my second favorite essayist.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
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. from his journal; (cf. Diogenes of Oenoanda)
Has joy any survival value in the operations of evolution? I suspect that it does; I suspect that the morose and fearful are doomed to quick extinction. Where there is no joy there can be no courage; and without courage all other virtues are useless. Desert Solitaire (places joy prior to virtue)
As for the "solitary confinement of the mind," my theory is that solipsism, like other absurdities of the professional philosopher, is a product of too much time wasted in library stacks between the covers of a book, in smoke-filled coffeehouses (bad for brains) and conversation-clogged seminars. To refute the solipsist or the metaphysical idealist all that you have to do is take him out and throw a rock at his head: if he ducks he's a liar. His logic may be airtight but his argument, far from revealing the delusions of living experience, only exposes the limitations of logic. -Desert Solitaire (relevant to a lot of arguments, like free will and determinism)
From the point of view of a tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm.
QuoteIf 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.
Paradise is not a garden of bliss and changeless perfection where the lions lie down like lambs (what would they eat?) and the angels and cherubim and seraphim rotate in endless idiotic circles, like clockwork, about an equally inane and ludicrous -- however roseate -- unmoved mover. That particular painted fantasy of a realm beyond time and space which Aristotle and the church fathers tried to palm off on us has met, in modern times, only neglect and indifference passing on into oblivion it so richly deserved, while the paradise of which I write and wish to praise is with us yet, the here and now, the actual, tangible, dogmatically real earth on which we stand. -Desert Solitaire
Well, that's enough to be going on.