Matter is a process. Even the most inert piece of iron 56 or hydrogen gas just lying around is active. The electron wavefunctions form complex clouds around the nuclei, vibrating in response to the thermal motion of the atoms. Even at absolute zero the uncertainty principle makes matter dance. The nuclei are themselves just as active; dense wave functions where triads of quarks exchange gluons and other force carriers all the time. Interfere with the process and the atom breaks up.

The matter process is propagating forward in time. It is like the periodic configurations in Conway’s Game of Life. We are privilegied to live in an universe where relatively stable matter can exist, able to store information for eons (or picoseconds), to channel energy and forces, to interact in complex ways that enables the formation of complex forms.

The stillness of matter is just like the stillness of vaccuum an illusion. Something perfectly static and unchanging would not be visible to our senses, would not impringe on our world. That is why the relative stability of matter is so amazing – it is almost unchanging, but not too much.