discussed as 'providing alternatives'


I'm really confused with the meaning of this word in this phrase "providing alternatives". Here is the whole context:

"Heiner Roetz expands on this line of reasoning, boldly claiming that in early China, “a sympathetic feeling for nature, like that [expressed in] theZhuangzi, was a simple reaction against [what was actually happening]” (85).11

Roetz stretches the point. Not all expressions of sympathy, much less celebrations of nature, even celebrations emanating from societies that are significantly transforming their environments, can be read as reactions against actual conditions. But most can be discussed as providing alternatives."

Karen Thornber
In East Asian Ecocriticisms - Simon C. Estok and Won-Chung Kim, Palgrave MacMillan, 2013

Many thanks.
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The author doesn't agree with Roetz that all expressions of sympathy with nature can be understood as reactions against what was actually happening. But he does think that these expressions of sympathy provide alternatives to what is actually happening. That is, the expressions of sympathy imply that other things are possible, or that there are other ways of thinking things. Thus the author is saying that Roetz's idea isn't completely wrong, but that it goes too far, it exaggerates.


    Dear Mr Cagey
    Reading your explaination, I guess the meaning of this paragraph which includes the phrase " providing alternatives" is that: Not all expressions of sympathy can be read as reaction against the fact that the enviroment is being damaged, but most of them suggest that there's another truth behind these expressions. It might not be only the admiration of nature as people often consisder when thinking about the East Asian's attitide to nature.
    Do I articulate clearly and is this explaination o.k?
    Thank you very much again.
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