Rutger H. Cornets de Groot on alchemy in the films of Stanley Kubrick.
'Gold and dung, then, are at either end of the alchemistic trajectory. Unlike the eschatological projection of the ancient Greeks, alchemy does not project an idealization of life in cool marble (apotheosis), turning matter into an unchanging and eternal modality. In alchemy, matter is never stable; form and quality change constantly, not due to natural progression governed by time as an autonomous, independent variable, but as a result of human activity. The outcome is not a dead, cold stone as a metaphor for fossilized life, but, rather, a philosopher’s stone that is the seed of life. Alchemy, then, is the brave attempt to force nature to abide by human rules and conduct, and to establish heaven on earth, rather than be held captive by nature’s indifferent course.'