For until this moment he had lived in a state of pure possibility, not knowing what sort of man he was or what he must do, and supposing therefore that he must be all men and do everything. But after this morning’s incident his life took a turn in a particular direction. Thereafter he came to see that he was not destined to do everything but only one or two things. Lucky is the man who does not secretly believe that every possibility is open to him.
—On the main character, Williston Barrett, Walker Percy, The Last Gentleman
Father in heaven! What is a man without Thee! What is all that he knows, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if he does not know Thee! What is all his striving, could it even encompass a world, but a half-finished work if he does not know Thee: Thee the One, who art one thing and who art all! So may Thou give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart, sincerity to receive this understanding; to the will, purity that wills only one thing.
—Prayer, Chapter 1: “Man and the Eternal,”Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing,
Kierkegaard, Søren, and Douglas V. Steere. Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing: Spiritual Preparation for the Office of Confession. New York: Harper, 1956. Print.
Percy, Walker. The Last Gentleman. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966. Print.