I consider all of us as students of science. Every student in our group has a great deal of freedom to pursue projects of interest to them and are not asked to do things they don't want to do . Unlike most other professions, the goal in our academic programme is to foster independent problem solving abilities. I'm also a strongly antiauthoritarian and the beauty of science is to never believe in yourself or your ideas too much and always be highly self critical and questioning. As such, our group is run as a structured anarchy . I however expect, as a condition of working together, that students recognise that with great freedom comes great responsibility . The fact that students in our group have done so is one of the reasons for their success.
As a mentor, I believe in fostering an environment where each student's dreams and potential can be fulfilled to the maximum extent possible. While I am passionate about doing great science I also put the interests of the people who work with me above my own. I value the intellectual and personal relationships I have with my students extremely highly and I consider myself highly fortunate to be part of a group that not only does great science, but makes it a pleasure to do so.
More generally, I see the reason to do great science as not only personal but also as an existential responsibility. I believe that "science is the greatest achievement so far of the human race and its long term best hope for it's survival and enlightenment." As organisms on this planet who consume more than they produce, I see this as a way to restore the equilibrium.
On a more personal level, a close knit group is almost like a family. Not everyone has to agree. Disagreements are encouraged, but we need to end up working together in the end to achieve our common goals.
Finally, even though I use the word "science", I don't see it as being distinct from philosophy or art or other categorisations of fields of learning. Constantly attempting to falsify one's discoveries is science.