The rise of Asia and China in particular has been accompanied by the need to project a new, more just vision of the world that is not simply a new hegemony. Many Chinese intellectuals have sought to find inspiration in their historical and transcendent universalisms such as ‘all-under-heaven’ (tianxia). The paper is an effort to think through
the conceptual and political framework for understanding transcendence in post-Western modernity. Historically, universalisms have been the source of ideals, principles and ethics. Modern universalisms – developed from Kant to Marx – are apparently in retreat, yielding to nationalism and consumerism. Yet the physical salvation of the world is of greatest urgency and becoming, in some quarters, the transcendent goal of our times. It will, however, need to transcend exclusive national sovereignty for its realization. The role of transnational civil society and NGOs as much as quasi-governmental and transnational agencies, are crucial for this realization. Older approaches of dialogical transcendence may furnish us with useful methodologies of linking the personal, the community, the environment and the world.