When I looked at the painting I felt the same convergence on a single point: a glancing sun-struck instance that existed now and forever. Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch's ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature--fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place.
Contingency is rich and fascinating; it embodies an exquisite tension between the power of individuals to modify history and the intelligible limits set by laws of nature. The details of individual and species's lives are not mere frills, without power to shape the large-scale course of events, but particulars that can alter entire futures, profoundly and forever.
Psychologically I should say that a person becomes an adult at the point when he produces more than he consumes or earns more than he spends. This may be at the age of eighteen, twenty-five, or thirty-five. Some people remain unproductive and dependent children forever and therefore intellectually and emotionally immature.