Home Philosophy The fathers of the church
Whether sperm is derived more from one part than from another.
One inquires further whether sperm is derived more from one part than from another.
1. It seems not, because an animal having all its parts is produced from sperm. Therefore, every part exists in potency in the sperm, and if this is so, then it is not derived more from one part than from another.
2. In addition, sperm is a superfluity of the last food, as I suppose. But the last food can overflow from one part as well as from another. Therefore, sperm is not derived more from one part than from another.
3. To the contrary. Sperm has the role of a mover and of a distinct principle. Therefore, it is particularly derived from parts that are distinct and designated for motion. But parts like this are official parts more than they are uniform parts. Therefore, etc.
4. In addition, sperm is especially hot and moist. Therefore, it especially descends from that part in which the principle of heat and moisture exists. But the heart and the liver are this sort. Therefore, etc.
To this, one must reply that sperm is derived more from one part than from another, because nature inclines more to the preservation of principal parts than non-principal parts, and this is why it sends more of the clean food to the principal parts, and therefore there is more of the superfluity of the last food in these parts. And this is also why more sperm is derived from these parts and especially from the brain, because the brain is white and soft and moist, and in this respect it agrees with the substance of the sperm. Furthermore, the brain shares in the heat from the heart, and the sperm can receive heat in it. Therefore, the sperm comes forth particularly from the brain.
And an indication of this is that the brain is weakened from excessive intercourse and the eyes, which agree with the brain, become sunken and are greatly weakened. Moreover, this can be revealed by many experiments [experimentis], because if the testicles of an intoxicated man are placed in water, his drunkenness dissipates, because the testicles particularly agree with the brain; therefore, the fumes withdraw and the drunkenness is allayed, etc.
This is also evident in another way, because hairs begin to grow on the cheeks and groin and testicles from the first generation of sperm, because the sperm descends to these parts and warms them, and this is why hair begins to grow abundantly there. And a certain master, Clement of Bohemia, told me there was a certain hoary old monk who approached a certain beautiful mistress and just like a starving man he demanded her sixty-six times before the striking of matins; the next day he fell down and, on the very same day, was dead. And because he was a noble, his body was opened up and his brain was found to be entirely evacuated, so much so that nothing more of it remained than the size of a pomegranate, and similarly his eyes were destroyed. Nature marvels at this, although it seems to be consonant with reason. This, then, is an indication that intercourse particularly evacuates the brain; this is why, etc.
1, 2. Therefore, one must respond to the argument that although sperm can come forth from all the parts, since some parts are more principal than others and have a greater agreement with sperm, this is why it proceeds more from these parts than from others. And with this a solution is apparent for the first two arguments.
3. To the first argument one must reply to the contrary that the generative power belongs to the vegetative [vegetativa] soul and the vegetative [vegetabilis] soul operates more or earlier through uniform more than through non-uniform parts. For a hand or a foot does not grow unless flesh and bone grow first, and it is the same for the others. Therefore, although an animal operation is suited more to official parts than to uniform parts, nevertheless a natural operation occurs earlier through uniform parts than it does through non-uniform parts, and as a result it does occur through non-uniform parts.
Or, in another way, one can say that it arises from uniform parts as far as its first generation is concerned, but arises from official parts as far as its complete digestion.
4. To the second argument one must reply that the first principle of heat is in the heart. Nevertheless, the heat in which the brain participates is more suitable to the sperm, because it is joined to moisture, whereas the heat in the heart is joined to the dry. But sperm is hot and moist, and this is why, etc. Therefore, it flows principally and radically from the heart, but sperm flows more immediately from the brain, etc.
|< Prev||CONTENTS||Next >|