When we hear the word “alchemist” or “alchemy”, we also tend to think of strange and eccentric individuals who toil away in dark laboratories, trying to concoct fanciful potions. But alchemy is much more than just potions or trying to turn metals into gold.
Alchemy is a field where one tries to isolate the essence of something in order to make it better. Jean Dubuis, a modern French alchemist, has compared alchemy to evolution. He has said that “alchemy is the art of manipulating life and consciousness in matter, to help it evolve or to solve problems of inner disharmony”.
Nature is always evolving in such a way that organisms become more complex as the species grows and strengthens to survive in its environment. All living organisms have evolved to their current forms from much more primitive forms. This process takes a very long time – it takes centuries and millennia to see the minute changes that begin to emerge as the species adapts to its changing world. The goal of alchemy is to find ways to speed up this natural process of perfection. An alchemist believes that everything possesses the blueprint for its own perfection, and that it’s the alchemist’s job to find these essences of perfection trapped inside matter and to bring them to light, thus guiding various materials towards absolute perfection.
One of the most well known examples of alchemy is that of turning lead into gold. In the Middle Ages, many so-called alchemists tried to transform lead, a common and inexpensive base metal, into gold, which was considered to be a purer and more valuable metal because it doesn’t react with other compounds. Alchemists believed that they were simply speeding up nature’s job and some of them used this opportunity to get rich and gain favors from the Nobles and rulers of the day by promising everything from gold from lead and unlocking the secrets of the immortals and the essence of eternal life.
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