Quotes from The Children of Men

P.D. James ·  241 pages

Rating: (33.7K votes)


“If our sex life were determined by our first youthful experiments, most of the world would be doomed to celibacy. In no area of human experience are human beings more convinced that something better can be had only if they persevere.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“Feel, he told himself, feel, feel, feel. Even if what you feel is pain, only let yourself feel.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“I don't want anyone to look to me, not for protection, not for happiness, not for love, not for anything.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“We can experience nothing but the present moment, live in no other second of time, and to understand this is as close as we can get to eternal life.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“Charm is often despised but I can never see why. No one has it who isn't capable of genuinely liking others, at least at the actual moment of meeting and speaking. Charm is always genuine; it may be superficial but it isn't false.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men



“Man is diminished if he lives without knowledge of his past; without hope of a future he becomes a beast.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“But what do you believe? I don't just mean religion. What are you sure of?"

"That once I was not and that now I am. That one day I shall no longer be.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“It is difficult to be generous-minded to those we have greatly harmed.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“The world is changed not by the self-regarding, but by men and women prepared to make fools of themselves.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“Of the four billion life forms which have existed on this planet, three billion, nine hundred and sixty million are now extinct. We don't know why. Some by wanton extinction, some through natural catastrophe, some destroyed by meteorites and asteroids. In the light of these mass extinctions it really does seem unreasonable to suppose that Homo sapiens should be exempt. Our species will have been one of the shortest-lived of all, a mere blink, you may say, in the eye of time.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men



“I am fifty years old and I have never known what it is to love. I can write those words, know them to be true, but feel only the regret that a tone-deaf man must feel because he can't appreicate music, a regret less keen because it is for something never known, not for something lost.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“Early this morning, 1 January 2021, three minutes after midnight, the last human being to be born on earth was killed in a pub brawl in a suburb of Buenos Aires, aged twenty-five years, two months and twelve days.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“History, which interprets the past to understand the present and confront the future is the least rewarding discipline for a dying species. ”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“Without the hope of posterity, for our race if not for ourselves, without the assurance that we being dead yet live, all pleasures of the mind and senses sometimes seem to me no more than pathetic and crumbling defences shored up against our ruin.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“It was reasonable to struggle, to suffer, perhaps even to die, for a more just, a more compassionate society, but not in a world with no future where, all to soon, the very words "justice," "compassion," "society," "struggle," "evil," would be unheard echoes on an empty air.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men



“I learned early and at that kitchen table that there are ways of avoiding, without guilt, the commitments of love.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“I still occasionally need to struggle but I now fear it less. The weapons I fight it with are also my consolations: books, music, food, wine, nature.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“It is surely unreasonable to credit that only one small star in the immensity of the universe is capable of developing and supporting intelligent life. But we shall not get to them and they will not come to us.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“On the whole I’m glad; you can’t mourn for unborn grandchildren when there never was a hope of them. This planet is doomed anyway. Eventually the sun will explode or cool and one small insignificant particle of the universe will disappear with only a tremble. If man is doomed to perish, then universal infertility is as painless a way as any. And there are, after all, personal compensations. For the last sixty years we have sycophantically pandered to the most ignorant, the most criminal and the most selfish section of society. Now, for the rest of our lives, we’re going to be spared the intrusive barbarism of the young, their noise, their pounding, repetitive, computer-produced so-called music, their violence, their egotism disguised as idealism. My God, we might even succeed in getting rid of Christmas, that annual celebration of parental guilt and juvenile greed. I intend that my life shall be comfortable, and, when it no longer is, then I shall wash down my final pill with a bottle of claret.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“A regime which combines perpetual surveillance with total indulgence is hardly conducive to healthy development.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men



“Generosity is a virtue for individuals, not governments. When governments are generous it is with other people’s money, other people’s safety, other people’s future.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“He had begun the diary less as a record of his life (for whom and why? What life?) than as a regular and self-indulgent exploration, a means of makings sense of the past years, part catharsis, part comforting affirmation.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“If from infancy you treat children as gods they are liable in adulthood to act as devils.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“Children are always ready to believe that adult catastrophes are their fault.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“OK, she’s dead and you feel guilty, and feeling guilt isn’t something you enjoy. Too bad. Get used to it. Why the hell should you escape guilt? It’s part of being human. Or hadn’t you noticed?”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men



“Like all religious evangelists, she realizes that there is little satisfaction in the contemplation of heaven for oneself if one cannot simultaneously contemplate the horrors of hell for others.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


“I thought I understood his kind: the petty bureaucrats of tyranny, men who relish the carefully measured meed of power permitted to them, who need to walk in the aura of manufactured fear, to know that the fear precedes them as they enter a room and will linger like a smell after they have left, but who have neither the sadism nor the courage for the ultimate cruelty. But they need their part of the action. It isn’t sufficient for them, as it is for most of us, to stand a little way off to watch the crosses on the hill.”
― P.D. James, quote from The Children of Men


About the author

P.D. James
Born place: in Oxford, The United Kingdom
Born date August 3, 1920
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