Night Vision: Seeing Ourselves Through Dark Moods (Hardcover)

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A philosophy book in self-help's skin, Night Vision rejects modern psychology's "toxic positivity" and dismantles the old-as-time metaphor of light and dark representing good and bad. Alessandri proposes that rather than telling a suffering person to look on the "bright side" we should instead learn to see them in their darkness (and see ourselves too), so both people benefit from a feeling of connection and understanding. Drawing from personal experience and writings including Audre Lord, María Lugones, Miguel de Unamuno, and Søren Kierkegaard–all philosophers who sat for long times in painful emotions–Alessandri teaches the reader to do the same.

— From Jess


A philosopher's personal meditation on how painful emotions can reveal truths about what it means to be truly human

Under the light of ancient Western philosophies, our darker moods like grief, anguish, and depression can seem irrational. When viewed through the lens of modern psychology, they can even look like mental disorders. The self-help industry, determined to sell us the promise of a brighter future, can sometimes leave us feeling ashamed that we are not more grateful, happy, or optimistic. Night Vision invites us to consider a different approach to life, one in which we stop feeling bad about feeling bad.

In this powerful and disarmingly intimate book, existentialist philosopher Mariana Alessandri draws on the stories of a diverse group of nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophers and writers to help us see that our suffering is a sign not that we are broken but that we are tender, perceptive, and intelligent. Thinkers such as Audre Lorde, Maria Lugones, Miguel de Unamuno, C. S. Lewis, Gloria Anzald a, and S ren Kierkegaard sat in their anger, sadness, and anxiety until their eyes adjusted to the dark. Alessandri explains how readers can cultivate "night vision" and discover new sides to their painful moods, such as wit and humor, closeness and warmth, and connection and clarity.

Night Vision shows how, when we learn to embrace the dark, we begin to see these moods--and ourselves--as honorable, dignified, and unmistakably human.

About the Author

Mariana Alessandri is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the nation's first bilingual university. In addition, she and her partner are the founders of RGV PUEDE, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote dual language education in South Texas public schools. They live on the border with their two tesoros.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780691215457
ISBN-10: 0691215456
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: May 9th, 2023
Pages: 216
Language: English