A POTENTIAL IS A CHANGE IN THE STRESS OF VACUUM.
In physics, the idea of a "potential" is very poorly defined, if at all. The normal "definition" for the electrostatic scalar potential, for example, is not a definition at all. Instead, itís an abstract operation that tells how to mathematically calculate the magnitude of the potential, by pushing a unit charge in from infinity, against the potential field.
Now ultimately a definition must be an identity statement, not an operational statement about something.
Since I could find hardly anyone who actually understood what a potential was, and how or of what it was composed, I simply took quantum mechanics at face value and constructed this model.
First, the modern view of the vacuum is that it is not an emptiness, but a plenum. Itís teeming with an incredible amount of raw energy, existing totally as the temporary bits of energy of virtual particles. That is, the vacuum "energy" exists as the nonintegrated energies of little particles which appear from nothing fare spontaneously created) and disappear into nothing (are spontaneously annihilated) almost instantly. This happens so fast that the little particle and its energy cannot individually be detected; it doesnít hang around long enough.
Hence the fleeting little booger is called a "virtual" particle. Like, "We had íim there, man, for just a moment, but he was gone before we could grab íim!"
This kind of ghostly particle, however, is very real in modern physics. All observable forces are theorized to be due to the integration or collection of a large number of virtual forces created by exchange of these little particles.
However, this implies a peculiar thing about the vacuum energy." Actually itís vacuum energies, for each little bit of energy only exists momentarily, Then returns to the nothingness from which it came. That is, vacuum virtual energies are totally unintegrated. Each "bit" of virtual energy exists individually. These virtual energies cannot be "added up" to compute the "available energy" unless some collector or integrating mechanism puts them together.
That is, unless some kind of "zipper" is there to "zip them together" into macroscopic, observable energy. The usual "zipper" is a spinning, observable particle of mass. We say that the vacuum energy is unzipped and hence unobservable in that state. We say that "observable energy" is just zipped-together vacuum energies -- integrated by and on a spinning, observable particle of mass.
So the vacuum can be visualized as a special sort of violent, unzipped plasma, where the particles of the plasma are fleeting and do not last. We can speak of it also as a sort of special unzipped gas, in the same manner.
The "pressure" of the vacuum gas we refer to as "stress." Due to its violent boiling activity, the vacuum gas is always under very high stress.
This "stressed virtual plasma" identically IS the vacuum and identically IS spacetime. Length, time, frame, mass, etc. -- all arise by zipping operations (or understood zipping operations) in and of this raw vacuum/spacetime. When one uses the vacuum notion in this manner, one now uses the term "ether" again. However, this is not the old "thin material ether that hangs around"; this is an entirely new kind. Itís a virtual flux and a virtual plasma.
The ether is also what we call "spacetime" in relativity. As can be seen, spacetime is stressed. Further, spacetime has a substructure.
By an uncurved spacetime, we mean one in which the stress of these virtual particles (the "pressure in the ethereal gas," so to speak) is constant from one place to another and from one time to another. Indeed, we also should mean that the stresses of the individual components of the entire plasma are constant from one place to another and from one time to another.
By definition, when we determine the lengths between every two points, we determine a frame. (Actually, we have prescribed a universal "length zipping" operation/mechanism as well as its characteristics.). A "linear frame" or "Lorentz frame" is one in which the pressure or stress remains constant. It may be higher than ambient vacuum, however, due to a particleís or an objectís motion through the observerís ether. In the case of constant velocity, the particle/object encounters a higher level of virtual particle flux in the observerís ether, like a vehicle moving through raindrops. It encounters a constant rate of flux, however. In such constant velocity case, the moving objectís frame is said to be "rotated," but not curved, with respect to the laboratory frame of the observer.
In a "curved" spacetime, we mean one in which the stress of vacuum increases or decreases from one place to another, or from one time to another, or both. At one fixed location, if spacetime is curved, then the stress is increasing or decreasing as a function of time. That is, the flux density of that area is changing. We may visualize the local frame as undergoing angular acceleration, rotating more or rotating less. This is a non-Lorentz frame, or curved spacetime. It is also a nonlinear vacuum.
In such a vacuum, local gradients exist in the flux of virtual particles. If affected by (coupled to) one or more of these gradients by a nonzero coefficient, a local object experiences effects (forces and actions) "without observable cause." Observably, conservation laws may be locally violated by these "virtual rivers" of vacuum by coupling, just as a paddlewheel dipped in a river violates its own local "conservation of energy" due to the river providing an energy source to it.
One must be very careful with the "pressure" analogy, however, when one utilizes unified theory (Kaluza theory). We now have a virtual plasma vacuum in five dimensions, not four. But the basic notions to enable our visualization and understanding still apply.