Going back to my earlier writing on the conflict between gut and mind, how can one examine oneself to, not only determine the cause and effect of his own behaviour, but to determine the very origins of the cause itself? One has almost to separate oneself from oneself, or, in observing others, forget that one is human altogether.
Speaking on a personal note, I began at a very young age to try to determine the reasoning behind what I was told to do (or the origins of people's definitions of wrong and right) instead of simply following the rule without question; this often led me into conflict with those giving orders and education, and set me apart from everyone else who was content to operate within a fixed set of rules.
I can't say that this made things easy for me. On one hand, I was generally seen as an outcast, as an unpredictable someone who's reactions to 'normal' social interaction was never that expected. Yet on the other hand, over time, I was seen as one who had answers to almost any problem - answers that often, although practicable, were again not those that any 'normal' person would think of. In short, although I was seen as weird by almost everyone I met, I was often useful for the same.
I wouldn't wish a lot of what I went through on anyone, but I have to say that, as far as thought goes, my curiosity, research and conclusions brought me a satisfaction - call it 'solidity' - in my thought processes that resulted in a feeling that was as close to freedom than any definition of the term I can think of. I suppose one could consider this sort of 'outside the box' research process as one particular to someone 'arty', but I more often tend to put my as-objective-as-possible conclusions to more practical purposes.
I'm not saying that anyone unquestionably following the status quo for behaviour is wrong per se; I even think of the behavioural status quo as sort of a machine in which one operating by the rules can even easily find happiness and satisfaction. Yet should the machine as a whole begin to ail or cause problems, it is difficult for one operating unquestionably within the rules to find any solution, especially when that person has never learned to examine the machine and problem analytically from a 'big picture' point of view and not from the perspective of one's role of a cog within. It's hard to fix a motor while you're in it.