We Are All Alchemists of Life
Men of any worth or value soon come to see that they are in the hands of fate, and gratefully submit to be moulded by its teachings. They recognize that the fruit of life is experience, and not happiness; they become accustomed and content to exchange hope for insight; and, in the end, they can say, with Petrarch, that all they care for is to learn: Altro diletto che 'mparar, non provo.
It may even be that they to some extent still follow their old wishes and aims, trifling with them, as it were, for the sake of appearances; all the while really and seriously looking for nothing but instruction; a process which lends them an air of genius, a trait of something contemplative and sublime.
In their search for gold, the alchemists discovered other things - gunpowder, china, medicines, the laws of nature. There is a sense in which we are all alchemists.
Arthur Schopenhauer, in 'Aphorisms for the Wisdom of Life'