Transformation and hogwash.
While at dragonCON this weekend (more on that later) I met an interesting fellow, tallish, heavyset in the manner that brings gravitas, not slovenliness, clad in a navy pinstriped suit.
He inquired as to our shirt that proclaims "The Philosophers Stone is people". I explained the darker nuances of "Fullmetal Alchemist" the anime series, and how we waggishly allude to "Soylent Green" as well.
He seemed disappointed.
He hoped that it would convey a deeper message, because, said he, "Alchemy is about personal transformation, not transforming base elements into gold."
The primary historical understanding of alchemy has been that of proto-chemists who sought to transform lead and such into precious metals, as well as seeking the Elixir of Life. Philosophy and theology entered in as well, but come on, turning lead into gold was a bigtime goal. As with any occultish endeavors which seek tangible results and fail, the redactors are hard at work making it all spiritual. "Personal transformation" indeed.
I guess the TRUE Fullmetal Alchemist is Tony Robbins....