Journal of Philosophy of Life

An international peer-reviewed open access journal dedicated to the philosophy of life, death, and nature, supported by the Research Institute for Contemporary Philosophy of Life, Osaka Prefecture University


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The Happiness of Burnout

Finn Janning

Journal of Philosophy of Life Vol.4, No.1 (January 2014):48-67



In the novel A Burnout-Out Case, Graham Greene argues for an intimate relationship between burnout and happiness. The novel claims that a life worth living is a continuous balancing between something painful, e.g. burnout and something desirable, e.g. happiness. In this essay, I try to make a case for the happiness of burnout. By examining the case story of a young artist, who suffered from burnout, I describe how such suffering might open up for a necessary reevaluation of the values that actually make sense. Such creation of new values is what eventually leads to more happy moments, not happiness per se. This essay provides a philosophical reflection regarding the relationship between happiness and burnout in order to say something regarding which life is worth living.

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