Helion had leaned and said, "Son, once you go in there, the full powers and total command structures of the Rhadamanth Sophotech will be at your command. You will be invested with godlike powers; but you will still have the passions and distempers of a merely human spirit. There are two temptations which will threaten you. First, you will be tempted to remove your human weaknesses by abrupt mental surgery. The Invariants do this, and to a lesser degree, so do the White Manorials, abandoning humanity to escape from pain. Second, you will be tempted to indulge your human weakness. The Cacophiles do this, and to a lesser degree, so do the Black Manorials. Our society will gladly feed every sin and vice and impulse you might have; and then stand by helplessly and watch as you destroy yourself; because the first law of the Golden Oecumene is that no peaceful activity is forbidden. Free men may freely harm themselves, provided only that it is only themselves that they harm."
Phaethon knew what his sire was intimating, but he did not let himself feel irritated. Not today. Today was the day of his majority, his emancipation; today, he could forgive even Helion's incessant, nagging fears.
Phaethon also knew that most Rhadamanthines were not permitted to face the Noetic tests until they were octogenerians; most did not pass on their first attempt, or even their second. Many folk were not trusted with the full powers of an adult until they reached their Centennial. Helion, despite criticism from the other Silver-Gray branches, was permitting Phaethon to face the tests five years early...
Then Phaethon said, "It's a paradox, Father. I cannot be, at the same time and in the same sense, a child and an adult. And, if I am an adult, I cannot be, at the same time, free to make my own successes, but not free to make my own mistakes."
Helion looked sardonic. "'Mistake' is such a simple word. An adult who suffers a moment of foolishness or anger, one rash moment, has time enough to delete or destroy his own free will, memory, or judgment. No one is allowed to force a cure on him. No one can restore his sanity against his will. And so we all stand quietly by, with folded hands and cold eyes, and meekly watch good men annihilate themselves. It is somewhat... quaint... to call such a horrifying disaster a 'mistake.'"