Alchemists where scientists, philosophers and artists in one person. Alchemy can also represent the assimilating principle: to make everything become one and be connected to one self. "The human as a funnel" is one perspective of the creative process.
They where also empiricists; it was not enough to obtain knowledge through reading. Everything had to be tested and experienced by the individual alchemist. The goal of the alchemist was double. To create the Philosophers Stone (which could be used to cure diseases and transform base metals into gold) through chemical experiments was just one side of it. According to a lot of alchemists "the vulgar gold was not their gold". Instead the experiments were means to reach spiritual transformation.
The world of the alchemist was full of signs and connections between matter, phenomena, elements and sometimes gender; each metal corresponded to a planet and to a colour of stone representing a phase in the alchemic process, such as Saturn-lead-black stone, or sulphur-male-fire, mercury-female-water.