First try to locate this essay of Valery in the critical apparatus that is already available; for example, the poetry-foundation suggests that:
Valery occupies a position in French Letters that is at once strategic and highly problematic. Critics have affixed to him various labels that are all partially correct: he has been called the last French Symbolist, the first Post-Symbolist...and an advocate of Logical Postivism.
So the difficulties you have with Valery are not all your own; critics too have found him 'problematic'; and it's in part because he is problematic that they have used him 'strategically' to position him as noted between Symbolism and Post-Symbolism/Logical Positivism; it's probably useful to view Symbolism as a late expression of Romanticism.
Try reading the text along this axis of interpretation; which means understanding what is meant by Symbolism and Logical Positivism - and that is objectively; and then also how you understand it - on which side are you on; and why.
Its useful to see what other responses form other texts - philosophical, scientific, artistic, political or literary the text evokes; and quote if appropriate; for example
I was saying the other day the peace is the kind of war that allows
acts of love and creation in its course;
This to me - evokes Clausewitz description of peace as a kind of war ('politics is war by other means'); but Valery is going along a different axis - love not diplomacy.
Note inversions or affirmations of traditional themes; particularly when situated historically; for example:
it is, then, a more complex and obscure process than war properly so-called, as life is more obscure and more profound than death.
Valery inverts here the traditional opposition between life and death; life being the condition of daylight, and therefore clear; and death as night, and therefore obscure; consider Hamlets speech 'the undiscover'd country ... [which] puzzles the will'; Valery instead positions life as obscure, as mystery against the clear-cut finality of death.
Everyone today feels the presence of this mystery as an actual
sensation; a few men must doubtless feel that their own inner being is
positively a part of the mystery; and perhaps there is someone with a
sensibility so clear, subtle, and rich that he senses in himself
certain aspects of our destiny more advanced than our destiny itself.
Do you go along with this? If you do can it be justified - argument and illustration; for example:
One might consider Da Vinci here as an exemplar of 'our destiny'; his paintings prefigure the lasting and close symbiosis between Christian Theology and Greek Philosophy as a kind of exaltation; for example his Vittorrian Man is a pictorial representation of Nietzsches 'Gay [as in joyful] Science'; and later, the reversal of this sentiment and destiny in the 20C: Bacons Cruxifixions of the Spirit, and Ginsbergs Howl.
These are useful example as they juxtopose to responses to Valerys move towards the Intellect.
I have not that ambition. The things of the world interest me only as
they relate to the intellect; for me, everything relates to the
intellect. Bacon would say that this notion of the intellect is an
idol. I agree, but I have not found a better idol.
He's announcing his break with Symbolism; and of the cult of sensibility; and a move towards the intellect; whilst agreeing that it too can be 'an idol'; in Hegelian terms from sensuality, to sensibility and then to thought.
I am thinking then of the establishment of peace insofar as it
involves the intellect and things of the intellect.
The 'peace' of contemplation returns to the theme that begun essay.
This point of view
is false, since it separates the mind from all other activities; but
such abstract operations and falsifications are inevitable: every
point of view is false.
Again he's well aware of the falsity of this view; that is if it is taken as a clear-cut move; his views are, to use a Hegelian term, sublated: when his thinking moves into a new area, something of the old is kept.
Much more can be said; but you need to read and look widely; and assimilate it so that responses are fluid; this, unfortunately takes work.