A standard definition of energy is the ability to do work. Work is defined as the movement of matter through the application of force (measured in newtons). Yet in the Standard Model of particle physics, various bosons represent "energy particles" that are the intermediaries for each of the four interactions (gravity, strong, weak, EM). More accurately, the Standard Model is a quantum field theory, so the "particles" are actually fields concentrated at a point-like locus. Here's where my difficulty arises: even though mathematically the Standard Model has been wildly successful, its interpretation has led to much confusion, even by its most august proponents. It seems to me that a simplified ontology (the branch of philosophy that asks what is real?) may view energy as merely an abstraction. In other words, energy may be defined as the set of rules by which the various types of matter move. Gravity is the set of rules for how all matter moves; EM is the set of rules for how all charged particles move; the strong force is the set of rules for how quarks and gluons move in relation to each other (inside baryons); and the weak force is the set of rules, generally speaking, for how baryons move in relation to each other. Philosophically, this leads to a cleaner system in which matter is ontologically real and energy is not. Energy is only known or made manifest through the motion of matter. This conception causes problems with string theory, of course, because string theory envisions the ultimate constituents of matter to be tiny vibrating strings of pure energy. In my re-conception of what energy is, this statement is nonsensical. But this re-conception begs the question of what is matter? I subscribe to the Whiteheadian notion of actual entities - essentially events - that consist of matter, duration and experience. I'm curious what people think of this re-conception and if it may lead to any mathematical simplifications, as it does from an ontological perspective.