Jowi Thinking About the Burnout Syndrome!

In the past “Jowi” already permitted us to publish some of his ideas in the IF blog. At one time, he wrote about the Red Thread (Roten Faden).

Once every few months, Jowi, Werner (IF Blog author on Desert tec) and yours truly meet in the morning at the “Weißes Bräuhaus” im Tal, where we eat Weißwürste and Brezn. Due to the early hour, we drink non-alcoholic beer and nurture our friendship.

When we last met, we talked about the burnout synrdome. Jowi came up with an interesting theory. I asked him to write his ideas down for publication in my IF Blog.

That is what Jowi did. Now I received mail from him on the topic:

So far, I wrote nothing on the “burnout syndrome”, because the topic will soon be obsolete, anyway. Companies will have less and less work to offer any prospective employees if the financial crisis really takes hold.

Basically, I was going to write the text while staying on Fuerteventurara, but that turned out to be just vacationing, swimming, not having any interesting ideas, nor reading or writing anything at all. We rode our bikes around the island like crazy, so you definitely cannot find any burn-out syndrome here. It looks more like a burn-in or after-burner syndrome to me. Let us wait and see if I can manage to write something over the next six months.

Here is the basic idea of my ruminations:

Today, there is no treatment of burn-out. The reason is that it lacks one component, which is true both for prevention and acute treatment.

According to our modern concept of humanity, we are made up of body, brains and soul.

For treating the body, you have the classical doctor, intern, general practitioner, etc. For the brains, you have the psycho, for instance the psychologist, the psycho-therapist, the psychiatrist, the psychiatric hospital, etc.

For the treatment of acute soul disturbances, there is nobody you can turn to. This is true both for prevention and acute treatment.

What we lack is the minister.

You can trace this back to the time around 1910-1920, when Herr Sigmund Freud – as opposed to the then still prevailing theory à la Rudolf Steiner and others – found out that brains and soul are one and the same. In his works, he took both components and added them up to become just the psyche.

With the advent of mechanisation, beaurocratization and life-long civil servants in all areas – including the natural sciences – during the last hunderd years, the part of the psyche that used to be the soul has been abandoned.

Well, that is obvious, because the brain can be councelled and processed with mechanistic approaches, whereas the soul with its inherent structures refuses to answer to the mechanical approach. Consequently, it had neither the desire nor the wish to be – and therefore was not – processed by the ”grey men“ (Momo). The church was not fit to do it, either. And those who tried to treat the soul were no longer main-stream.

In the end, that meant it was abandoned.

Incidentally, it is a fact that a person’s health is not just his or her physical and physiological health, along with the mental-psychological health. There are also components such as motivation, general well-being, mental state, drive, etc. All these factors traditionally have their roots in the soul (What makes me do something? See  Red Thread ).

Accordingly, you will not find a burn-out syndrome where someone works very hard at his job, even if it is frustrating work. As long as this person is physically healthy and finds himself in a position that suits him or her well – regardless of all the special effort -, in short: where what he or she does makes sense. Such a person will be motivated to make a special effort. There is a reason for him or her to work hard.

Burn-Out is something you will only find where there is no meaning.

This might well be because of a stupid boss. It might also be because the company no longer provides any meaning. However, it can also be because a person’s soul simply can no longer keep up the motivation on a high level and then the motivation collapses for intrinsical  reasons.

Typically, you will therefore find no classification of the burn-out syndrome as an illness. The burn-out syndrome is not medicinally defined. Only the end phase qualifies as depression and gets catalogued as such by the health insurance companies in order to get on the list of illnesses that can be treated.

In all cases where the burnout syndrome patient has not yet ended up suffering from acute depression, the therapy would be to stand by the person as someone who ministers to the soul. Such a minister would have to care for the soul, therefore re-opening a source of strength inside the patient, so that ”his life will again get/have meaning“.

Best wishes


Well, this was it from Jowi. Many thanks for your ideas, Jowi.

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