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Whether sperm is a superfluity of the last food.

One inquires further whether sperm is a superfluity of the last food.

1. And it seems not. For that which is necessarily required for a thing's constitution is not superfluous. But sperm is like this. Therefore, etc.

2. Moreover, every superfluity is either pure or impure. But sperm is not a pure superfluity, because when it is retained in the body it does not cause corruption. Nor is it an impure superfluity, because an animal is not constituted from it.

The Philosopher says the opposite.

One must reply that sperm can be compared in two ways: either for the preservation of an individual in itself, or for the preservation of an individual in another. If in the first way, then it is a superfluity of the last food. If in the second way, then it is not a superfluity but rather it is necessarily something requisite. The reason for the first is: sperm cannot come from the true nature of the members, since then it would not need the final digestion or completion in the generative members, but rather would immediately become an animal.

And in addition, this sort of separating-off does not occur without pain and sadness, even though this happens with the highest pleasure. Therefore, it necessarily follows that sperm be something beyond the nature of the whole and the part. This can only be something that is superfluous with respect to the individual itself.

But one must know that a superfluity is of two kinds: There is one that the individual does not need either for its own sake or for the sake of another. Urine and sweat are superfluities like this. The other is one that the individual does not need for its own sake at a given time, but which it does need for the sake of another in which its likeness is preserved. And such a superfluity must necessarily exist in potency just as the individual itself does, and the sperm is this superfluity, and this is why the Philosopher says, "Sperm is the superfluity of the last food."

1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that although sperm is not superfluous with respect to that which is generated from sperm, it is nevertheless superfluous with respect to that which has already been converted into nutriment for the individual.

2. To the second argument one must reply that although sperm remains in individual members, it is impure with respect to that which has been converted into the members of an individual. But when it is delegated to the generative members, it is completely digested there and made purer, and then it can be called a pure superfluity with respect to that which ought to be generated from it.

Whether sperm is generated immediately from blood.

One inquires further whether sperm is generated immediately from blood.

It seems so. For "sperm is a superfluity of the last food." But according to the Philosopher, blood is the last food. Therefore, etc.

Moreover, sperm in men, and the menstrual blood in women, are generated from the same thing. There is no difference except in the digesting power. But the menstrual blood arises immediately from the blood, and therefore so too does sperm.

In addition, after the emission of sperm, blood comes forth from those who engage excessively in sexual intercourse, according to the Philosopher. But this would not be the case were sperm not generated immediately from blood. Therefore, etc.

To the contrary. Good sperm, which is natural, is white and globular. Blood, however, is reddish and moist. Therefore, sperm is not immediately generated from blood.

In addition, blood's generation occurs in the heart and liver, and flows from these through the veins to the individual members. Therefore, in order to be suited for conversion in the members, it requires a further change, and as a result sperm is generated from something which is beyond the nature of blood.

To this, one must reply that sperm is not immediately generated from blood; rather, blood flowing in abundance through the veins is changed at their ends into a thinner moisture, and this moisture crosses through the sponginess of the members and is made even thinner, and the pure is separated from the impure, and what is impure is expelled through sweat or through abscesses or through the sediment [hypostasis] in urine. And what is pure is made proportional to the members themselves, and what remains after sufficient conversion of this moisture into the members becomes sperm. Thus blood is the universal principle of the generation of sperm, but its immediate principle of generation is the moisture that is generated from blood. This moisture has a different nature in various parts, because its nature differs in bone and flesh, and this with respect to potency.

By this a solution is evident to the arguments. The first two prove that blood is a universal principle and, as it were, the remote principle for the generation of sperm, and the Philosopher understands this. And this is why after sufficient emission of sperm a lot of blood is also emitted.

The arguments prove the opposite, that the special and immediate principle of the sperm's generation is something beyond blood, like moisture.

 
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