Amphion by Paul Valéry

By Paul Valéry

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But within the o r d i n a r y n u t r i t i v e o r v e g e t a t i v e f u n c t i o n s of t h e b o d y , t h e r e is necessarily a cont i n u o u s antithesis b e t w e e n t w o sets of p r o c e s s e s , — c o n s t r u c t i v e a n d destructive m e t a bolism. T h e c o n t r a s t b e t w e e n these t w o processes is seen t h r o u g h o u t n a t u r e , w h e t h e r in t h e a l t e r n a t i n g phases of cell life, o r of activity a n d repose, o r i n t h e g r e a t antithesis b e t w e e n g r o w t h a n d r e p r o d u c t i o n ; a n d it is this s a m e c o n t r a s t w h i c h w e recognise as The Perpetuation 31 of the Stereotype the fundamental difference between male and female.

T h u s maleness is associated w i t h a life r a t i o in w h i c h k a t a b o l i s m has a r e l a t i v e l y g r e a t e r p r e d o m i n a n c e t h a n in t h e f e m a l e . In t e r m s of this thesis, t h e r e f o r e , b o t h p r i m a r y a n d s e c o n d a r y sexual c h a r a c t e r s express t h e f u n d a m e n t a l physiological b i a s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of e i t h e r sex. . SUM OF FUNCTIONS Nutrition Anabolism Reproduction Katabolism Female Male . . W e h a v e seen t h a t a d e e p d i f f e r e n c e i n c o n s t i t u t i o n expresses itself in t h e distinctions b e t w e e n m a l e a n d f e m a l e , w h e t h e r these b e physical o r m e n t a l .

W h e t h e r it b e in t h e p e r s o n of M a y a , of t h e p a g a n goddesses, of t h e V i r g i n M a r y , o r in t h e personifications of s u n d r y n a t u r a l objects a n d processes, w e u n i f o r m l y e n c o u n t e r the c o n c e p t i o n of a f e m i n i n e p r i n c i p l e coexisting w i t h a m a s c u l i n e in the g e n e r a l f r a m e of t h e cosmos. . I will n o w b r i e f l y e n u m e r a t e w h a t a p p e a r to m e the l e a d i n g f e a t u r e s of this distinction in t h e case of m a n k i n d , a d o p t i n g t h e o r d i n a r y classification of m e n t a l faculties as those of intellect, e m o t i o n , a n d will.

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