From commentator Pat at ESR's blog on another insightful post:
In “The Magician’s Nephew,” C.S. Lewis painted an excellent portrait of the modern intellectual — the character Andrew Ketterley, who is the magician of the title. In truth, he is really just a dabbler in magic, playing with dangerous forces he doesn’t begin to understand. But he makes sure that the danger is all borne by other people, including the children whom he uses as guinea pigs. One of those children is his nephew Digory Kirke, who begins to understand what sort of person his uncle is after Digory’s friend Polly is tricked into touching a magic ring that sends her to an unknown world. Digory then learns that Ketterley began his researches by breaking a promise he made to his godmother as she lay on her deathbed.
“Well, then, it was jolly rotten of you,” said Digory.
“Rotten?” said Uncle Andrew with a puzzled look. “Oh, I see. You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I’m sure, and I’m very glad that you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys — and servants — and women — and even people in general, can’t possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny.”
As he said this he sighed and looked so grave and noble and mysterious that for a second Digory really thought he was saying something rather fine. But then he remembered the ugly look he had seen on his Uncle’s face the moment before Polly had vanished, and all at once he saw through Uncle Andrew’s grand words. “All it means,” he said to himself, “is that he thinks he can do anything he likes to get anything he wants.”