What is physical reality and what is it made of? Is it not made of non-physical, theoretical particles? Energy/particles that have yet to be explained? But what exactly is a particle? Nobody knows, and the answer is a charming way of saying so (wink)
Where is the dividing line between theoretical “particles”, waves, and energy that make up physical reality? What level of magnification is acceptable as reality? What we see as the building blocks of life and matter are unreal, non-existent, indescribable ideas of how non-intelligent space manifests as forms. They are words about ideas about how form expands out of space.
According to quantum field theory, particles are excitations of quantum fields that fill all of space. (1) It’s the standard deep answer of people in the know: A clever way of saying I don’t. Particles are “representations” of “symmetry groups,” Hence, particles are theoretical junctions in an excited or energized field that manifests as form. Now form we can relate to, but it isn’t made of any-thing—It is an illustration of nothing (no-thing).
It is a very grey area between math and mysticism. “In positing the existence of these more fundamental fields, quantum field theory stripped particles of status, characterizing them as mere bits of energy that set fields sloshing. Yet despite the ontological baggage of omnipresent fields, quantum field theory became the lingua franca of particle physics because it allows researchers to calculate with extreme precision what happens when particles (phenomenon) interact—particle interactions being, at base level, the way the world is put together. But keep in mind, the particle isn’t real “stuff” as we perceive “real” to be when it shows up to the five senses as form.
So remember—when you see the word particle, that is just to assist the mental imagery. It’s not an actual thing.
Particles can mostly be described as what they are not. Not this, not that, but by a series of negations we form the gist, grasp the idea, comprehend what the physics is trying to tell us. “Chip away the stone to reveal the image”, but that’s not what it is either.
“The correspondence between elementary particles and representations is so neat that some physicists equate them. Others see this as a conflation. “The representation is not the particle; the representation is a way of describing certain properties of the [imaginary] particle,” said Sheldon Glashow, a Nobel Prize-winning particle theorist and professor emeritus at Harvard University and Boston University. “Let us not confuse the two.”
What Is a Particle? Quanta Magazine
So when we talk about the real world, what exactly does that mean?