Now if this is the case, then you see immediately that authority is now the most important thing. Faith is the subjection to authority, and this authority is even more an authority of the Bible, in Ockham, than it is an authority of the Church.
Ockham not only dissolved the realistic unity in thought, but also in practice. He fought with the German king, who was not emperor any more at that time, against the Pope. He fought for one Pope against the other. He produced autonomous economics as well as autonomous national politics. He was doubtful in all realms of life for the establishment of independent realms.
Now all this means that he was a most radical dissolver of the medieval unity. What we call “nominalism” and “realism” is a most realistic problem – in our sense of the word “realistic” – namely, a problem of the end of the Middle Ages, because of the loss of its unity; and nominalism has produced this unity. Our present ordinary attitude towards reality is thoroughly nominalistic, and especially in those countries where in the Middle Ages nominalism already was decisive.
Now I come to another movement which also was an end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of many new things, namely the movement which is called German Mysticism.
Its most important representative, Meister Eckhardt, also belongs to the 13th century. What did these mystics do? They tried to interpret the Thomistic system for practical purposes. It is not so that they were speculative monks, sitting beside the world, but they wanted to give the people, and themselves, the possibility of experiencing what was expressed in the Scholastic systems. This refers to all fundamental problems. And so it happened that this mysticism of Meister Eckhardt unites the most abstract Scholastic concepts – especially that of being – with a burning soul, with the warmth of religious feeling and the love-power of religious acting. He says: “Nothing is so near to the beings, so intimate to them, than being- itself. But God is being-itself.” And from this the identity of God and being is stated. “Esse est deus” — being-itself is God. But it is not a static being. I often have been attacked ,when I use the word “being,” of making God static. Not even of the medieval mysticism of that of Meister Eckhardt is this true. Being is a continuous f lux and return, as he calls it – Fluss und Wiederf luss – a stream and a counterstream. It always moves away from and back to itself. Being is life. It has dynamic character.
In order to make this clearer, he distinguishes between the Divinity and God. The Divinity is the Ground of Being, in which everything moves and counter-moves.