Life is as simple as an alchemical array. At least, that's what he wishes were true. Mostly, that's what everyone wishes were true, and he's no exception, even though he's Fullmetal, friend of the common man, the famous Edward Elric. There are lots of wishes he has, and sometimes he says them out loud, or shows other people what he wants with his actions, and sometimes they even come true. But most of them are requests, or necessary demands; in his mind, Wishes is the name of a book he reads every day, but there are many different chapters in that book, and most of his wishes aren't really wishes at all, but things he is sure will come to pass sometime during his life. He knows that if he plugs the right numbers in place of the variable values, he will come up with the result he wants. And he knows that he has played his cards right so far, and that he has secured a lifestyle that suits his style and purpose.
He is unlike other people, though, in the fact that what he is searching for is a human dream, inaccessible insofar. Most people are afraid to do that, to put all of their faith into something that could fail and bring everything crashing down. But fortunately for Edward Elric and his brother, he likes that ambiguity. It would not have satisfied him if he had a regular dream in sight, something that could be attained by exchanging numbers for variable places in a formula. Fullmetal puts all feeling and emotion in what he is doing, and cannot be daunted – at least, not for long, with his brother at his side. And also fortunately for Edward Elric, he is also clever enough to make the unattainable come true. "There is no one else who can do this job", Hughes had stated, and he was true, and Edward Elric knew it. He is not proud of it – simply, he uses his practical mind to combine all facts together and hopefully, one day come up with a path that could lead to the recreation of his brother's body. It is not his fault that he has not found that path yet – the Fates had not deemed him ready to accept the truth or give him that path yet.
Life, perhaps, was an alchemical array. Perfectly circular, with many paths to the finish – one way or the other, there would be bad and there would be good, and no matter what pitiful states their bodies were in, the Elric brothers had real fun on the way to the same inevitable result, whatever that could be. If you asked Edward Elric the same thing, he would answer that that was true, that not every road he took led to the same place unless you were talking about death, and that was true for everyone including his brother. But when he answers, there will be a look in Edward's eye that tells you that he is thinking about it, and that he does not believe fully what he is saying. He does NOT want to feel as if Destiny is controlling him; he wants to control his own destiny, not depend on Fate to throw him meat-laden or bare bones whenever it felt like it. He does not want to feel as if all the scramble has been predetermined somewhere up in Heaven.
And of course, he does not believe in God anyway, and scorns the idea of predestination. However, he does acknowledge and respect that religion is a smart way to control people.
Sometimes, though, lying in bed, having dragged himself through another failed path to his brother and his shared dream, the spirit and excitement of life flowing out of his limbs and exhaustion sagging his eyes and his face, he wonders if there isn't a God, and if they aren't laughing at him. Selfishly, if he has had good moments and cheerful memories, he does not attribute God to them, but rather to himself and the path he has taken. He only blames the bad things on God, on Fate, or on himself, because the first two are conveniently abstract and cannot be approached, and he is no masochist to delight in the last one. In those moments, he is normal, thinking what a normal human would, even that what a normal Alchemist would think of, that such a dream was ludicrous, doubting his own abilities, sensing where his own limits lay and fearing there was no way to break them down. He is what everyone thought he was when he first became a State Alchemist – a boy trying to play adult and nothing more. In those moments, he can wonder how he ever savored the challenge of becoming adult before he was of age to do so. He thinks of giving up, even though he has promised his brother the entire world.
There is always something holding him back from that, though. The first person that ever spun him around and pushed him back towards his embrace of the dream of the Philosopher's Stone was, surprising, the Taisa, with eyes that mirrored his own exuberance before; daily, seeing Alphonse's armor-body clanking along with him; Maria Ross, of all people, telling him that he wouldn't be happy later if he left this unfinished. And then he would see what they saw, a child who was NOT an adult, but something of one, the only person able to finish this impossible dream. It felt as if they were expecting him to save the world. What are we fighting for, they seemed to ask, if a person like you gives up?
The old spirit would spark up, and he would meet the challenge again. He would pick himself up and walk forward again, and he would start collecting of memories again. After all, the path of life would not stop even if he gave up on the Stone. But he would have been lying if he said he would like it better without his unreachable dream. It was his dream to become better than his father, after all, though that was not all that was motivating him.
He could not forget there had been good. Even if he wasted his life searching away, there was no denying that there had been good moments, and that was encouraging. He and his brother were still alive after all, and there was nothing concrete telling him for sure that the Philosopher's Stone was impossible. Doubts were the only things hindering him. And this hope and this dream too, is a good thing for Edward Elric, because the frantic scrabble suits his wholehearted personality to its fullest. Perhaps he was not normal when he thought this way, but in the end, certainly the good balanced out the bad in his life. He would not sit down and whine for the rest of his life; that wouldn't suit him. Unsure of the results of his search as everyone else was, it was still a good thing in the hands of Edward Elric.