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Rick van Rein, PhD student:
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Motivation

In my experience, there are two important forces that motivate people to do their work with dedication:
Competition:
This force is quite strong in the western world, perhaps because the American attempts to a scholar system are centered around it.

Competition leads to borders between areas (of expertise, on the market, and so on). In search for an identity, the transition over such a border is made as abrupt as possible, the differences are empahsized.

Finding an identity can be a bit of a problem when multiple competitors pursue the same goal, and this usually leads to exaggerated, and at best unlogical, claims and arguments.
Karma:
This force is found in many eastern philosophies and religions, for example rooted in Buddhism.

Karma can be described as `the atmosphere that surrounds a human being', and in that sense the concept is quite tangible. Look around you, and you'll find people that have a positive attitude, and people that always try to burn down what others say; the first have what is known as `good karma', the second sort of person has `bad karma'.

People driven by karma tend to enjoy commonalities, and differences are seen as a possibility to teach and enhance each other. They try to adapt to the way others work, and think. This is quite a co-operating scheme.
Karma in a competitive world:
Karma has a place in a competitive environment, when people join to fight one or more common `enemies'. One common `enemy' is a preferred over multiple, since that situation is easier to recognise.

The difference between karma by itself and karma bred by competing an adversery becomes clear when the adversary falls away, is split up or otherwise rendered harmless. Those driven by karma continue in such a setup and the others gradually fall off.

I wish to thank Microsoft for bringing us Linux.