Alchemy is one of the most ancient and most misunderstood esoteric practices humanity has given birth to. Commonly understood as a primitive form of chemistry, the field of alchemy has a much broader focus.
Alchemy is the art of transformation; the act of facilitating desired change across time. The common metaphors of “lead to gold” or “water to wine” capture this essence well enough, but the true gold of alchemy is not the ability to transform one material into another. The greatest wealth alchemy bestows is the ability to lead the present into a more desirable future.
Alchemists throughout the ages have attempted to discern or distill the fundamental essences of reality in order to facilitate greater and more exact changes. One of the primary end goals of these lifetimes of experimentation was to produce the greatest resource imaginable: The Philosopher’s Stone. In theory, this is a resource which can allow the transformation of anything into any other thing.
What could such a resource be? Certainly, we can analyze different resources at our disposal, whether they be physical resources like gold or dirt, or immaterial resources like an idea or a feeling, and judge them by their potential uses. With that, one can see different things clearly have a greater intrinsic value; the number of potential uses varies between each definable resource.
Pick something. Anything. List the number of uses that thing has. The length of that list is more dependent on your ability to apply the utility of that thing than the thing itself. You can give the most advanced and multifaceted tool to a caveman, but unless you teach the caveman how to use that tool, the change he can manifest is limited by his own perceptual limits. Likewise, the utility of any one resource is dependent on your own ability to visualize its uses.
From here, it becomes obvious that a potential Philosopher’s Stone exists within each of us. Within each one of us squishy ape creatures lies a nearly infinite potential to influence the world. Yet, many of us feel stuck. Helpless. Unable to change our own lives, let alone the world. This is the result of growing up in a culture which actively strips us of our individuality and agency. With these critical parts of ourselves stunted, our ability to make choices is likewise restricted.
In fact, if we boil down the subjective nature of our existence, as countless alchemists have throughout history, we find that there is nothing we can do unless it is first manifested by a choice. Perhaps you may argue that there are many passive things we can do without directly making a choice, but not making a choice is itself a choice. When you look at our reality through this lens of being a choice-maker, our lives take a form of never-ceasing crossroads. Every moment becomes a choice, and every choice another path to a different future.
With this in mind, we can see that The Philosopher’s Stone must be that which opens as many doors as possible at each one of these crossroads. It is that which allows us to see the full range of opportunities available to us at every moment.
Our brains contain massive amounts of information. How it filters through all that information to present a coherent narrative of what is going on is dependent on two factors: one biological, the other conditioned by our environment. The latter is what is important here, as it is a never-ceasing process of adaption.
Imagine a room where sand falls through a hole in the ceiling. The individual grains of sand are separate pieces of information. As time passes, a pile of sand forms on the floor of the room. The configuration of the pile is dependent on a number of factors: the order the sand grains fell, the size and shape of the grains, the speed at which they fell, etc. This pile is your paradigm, and your experiences determine how that pile changes. The configuration of all the individual pieces of information in relation to each other determines how your brain will perceive the present reality.
Another way to say this is: all your past experiences determines how your present self interprets the current moment. As stated, this process is never ending, which means your perception of reality is constantly evolving over time. Expanding on this, the number of choices available to you at any moment is changing as well. More importantly, your ability to make choices, your agency, can be changed and improved through conscious effort.
So how does this change occur? Think back to that pile of sand. How would you change the most entrenched grains? These are your most deeply-rooted beliefs. You would need to change the sand falling into the room so that it brings about a change to the pile. As such, changing these beliefs requires expanding your horizons and introducing new experiences into your life. The first step of manifesting The Philosopher’s Stone inside of you is by having novel experiences: breaking out of your mould and freeing yourself from unconscious patterns of behavior.
This is why true spiritual experiences are revolutionary. They are experiences that literally alter your perception of reality by perturbing the most cemented elements of yourself. By wetting the clay enough, you develop the ability to change yourself in the moment to elicit the greatest possible change, bringing about the brightest future.
And just as important as achieving this state of fluidity, so, too, is preventing a regression to rigidity. Holding certain beliefs, mantras and rituals in high regard can maintain one’s flexibility of perspective. Alchemists, mystics and other seekers have spent lifetimes attempting to perfect a method, but since each of us has a unique history, the recipe for The Philosopher’s Stone is also different for all of us. Personally, I find comfort in the understanding of the phrase,
“All truths are lies.” It is the embodiment of acknowledging that I am human,
and my ability to know the world is limited, and thus I am fallible. This humbles my ego, allowing myself to adapt freely to the world. Similar power lies in having a relationship with a divine being, or many magical and esoteric understandings of the world.
Experimentation is the hallmark of an alchemist.
We each travel a path specific to us, defined by the nature of our soul. As such, each of us needs to take seriously the journey inwards. Introspection is the key to understanding the self, and it is only through self-knowledge can we understand our place on this Earth and whatever lies beyond this existence.
This is crucially important for both your personal happiness and satisfaction in life, as well as the survivability of our collective. Each of us brings about change to this world every moment, but is it the right change? How can we know if the choices we are making are good or bad, in our interests or against them, if we don’t have the ability to alter our lens of perception; to give us insight to what other possibilities might exist?
I urge you to be an alchemist: develop within you The Philosopher’s Stone and open all potential futures at every moment.
The more alchemists we have working on conjuring the greatest future for humanity, the more likely we will be able to circumvent any hurdles the unknown features on our horizon may throw at us. If we encounter a problem that no one can see a solution to, then we are done for. Therefore, we need as many people as possible trying to free themselves from the shackles of having a narrow perception.
This brings us to an important revelation. Our collective actions as a species are radically changing this planet. Humans have always altered the nature of the garden we’ve grown from, but there is no denying that this rate of change is increasing exponentially. What was once a lifetime’s worth of change is now happening in a matter of months, if not faster. The further along we travel towards the encroaching horizon, the more and more vital it is to adapt and grow freely.
Which is why it is so unfortunate that our society is built around shallow platitudes. People–entire communities–selling their lives away for labors that don’t really matter or serve to improve themselves or humanity. Locked into what amounts to functional slavery, of labor and ideology, the individual’s’ chance of awakening to this underlying truth is mostly up to fate. Depressing to think that whether a person lifts the veil from their eyes and sees the true wonder of their inner and outer reality is dependent on dice rolls.
Fortunately, the alchemists of today are already acting to change this.
With the advent of technological networking, people are coming together in
truly novel ways to tackle these hard problems we face as a species with the goal of freeing humanity from this dysfunctional paradigm. Together, our united efforts can revolutionize the way our world works. There is tremendous desire among free-thinkers today to give other people the opportunity to grow, so they, too, can find their own answers.
That’s really all any of us can do. First you grow yourself, then you grow the garden so that others may also develop their innerselves. The greatest alchemist creates light: that which nurtures what it shines on in defiance of the flames of entropy licking our boots every second of every day.
Growth should be our common goal. Together, with enough hands bringing this light into existence, we can walk as one into a brave new world that transcends humanity.