What humans think of as solid matter is in fact as insubstantial as a dream. As far back as the time of the Greeks, the philosopher Democritus had introduced the idea of individual particles called atoms, and 2000+ years later, atoms were still thought of as hard little balls locked together to create the substance of a table, say, or of a person's finger. Later, physicists have acknowledged that atoms were mostly empty space, a kind of fuzzy cloud of electrons circling a tiny central nucleus made up of hard little balls called protons and neutrons.

But that picture wasn't complete, either. It turns out that electrons existed more as probabilities popping in and out of existence than they were actual, physical objects, and when the physicists began studying the atomic nucleus closely, it turns out that even protons and neutrons were less than completely substantial. Atoms, it seems, aren't objects so much as they are tightly woven knots of information.                                                                 

Quantum theory led eventually to the discovery that the so-called empty space wasn't empty at all. It was a seething, ocean of particles and antiparticles popping into existence out of nowhere and immediately canceling one another out—an effect called virtual energy or zero-point energy which ultimately lead to quantum power taps (QPT) and virtually unlimited free energy that will power human civilization in the future.

The appearance of those virtual particles within the zero-point field of existence steadily at the same infinitesimally minute point, creating a kind of standing wave of energy. These standing waves, it eventually turns out, are the blocks of quantum particles—of electrons, photons, and quarks that made up neutrons and protons and insubstantial bits of nothingness that comprise an increasingly bewildering zoo of subatomic particles.

The Quantum Sea is a real place, the base state for all energy and matter co-existent with normal space-time but rotated out of phase with the universe it shaped. Mathematicians refer to it as Dimension0. Human technology will eventually be able to tap these higher energy states within the Quantum Sea and forge a new era of unlimited power and prosperity, leaving behind the coal, oil, and solar power of low-tech civilizations (and the pollutants they create).

A physicist named Richard Feynman has estimated that within every single cubic centimeter of empty space lurks enough energy to boil all of the oceans of Earth. John Wheeler, one of Feynman's colleagues, disagrees, suggesting that the actual amount of energy was something like 10 to the 80th power, great enough to annihilate the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

By harvesting a tiny, tiny fraction of the vacuum energy theoretically available in an empty cubic centimeter of space, mankind could accelerate ships to close to light speed, phase-shift into quantum space or bypass normal space at FTL velocities, and generate antimatter by the metric ton. All of these are very useful and all deadly on a planetary scale.       

In the 21st Century, American armchair-physicist "Socrates III" has pointed out it it might be possible to tamper with the Quantum Sea in such a way as to literally change reality....or to erase it. Within the froth of virtual particles that make up the Quantum Sea, he'd argued, were standing waves—regions where particle/anti-particle pairs came and went with a persistence that preserved information, if not material reality itself. Those information waves represent mass and energy in the more familiar universe of human experience—electrons and protons and photons and everything else that is. What humans were pleased to call "solid reality" is, in fact, an illusion; electrons, neutrons, and protons were not foundational pieces of matter so much as they were persistent patterns of information.

In addition, an entire new religion has sprung up over the discovery of the true nature of the universe: the Quantum Humanist. These atheists believe there is no such thing as God, everything is wave-particle dualities, and the human intellect survives death in the Quantum Sea. More on this soon.