hello all - i have spent 25 years or so as a layperson very interested in many aspects of physics, and have done considerable reading of both professional and lay-level materials about quantum reality (from QED to in search of schroedinger's cat, from the nature of space and time (hawking was completely unintelligible) to gravitation (MTW)). a few years ago, i got so confused and disheartened about my inability to understand ANYTHING at all about reailty, i just turned to other subjects for a while. but the nature of reality is a siren whose song is hard to resist. for example, considering that an electron is a point particle and occupies no volume, and the same for quarks, does this imply that everything we think of as "real" (matter) is not a real thing at all? ie, when you get right down to it, there is not any "thing" there. or, particle interaction vs fields - i have never read or heard any kind of an explanation of what a "field" actually is (other than equations, or some non-intuitive definition like "a domain wherein...") - what the hell is a field? how does a field communicate its existence? are particles manifestations of fields? virtual particles? who thought that little nightmare up? or gravity - geez! or time, or light, or magnetism - what are these things? i feel like i really dont understand anything at all... OTOH, one of my favorite quotes has always been, "if you are not confused, you are probably wrong." so, you ask, what was the question? can anyone suggest some good reading for me a this point? maybe penrose's new book? thanks.