What’s is real is the gravitational field. Einstein created a conceptual three-dimensional lattice of tiny clocks at every point in space. This is spacetime.
In the absence of mass/gravity (special relativity) the lattice structure of clocks is flat, meaning the clocks are in a cubical arrangement and tick at the same rate.
In the presence of mass/gravity (general relativity) the lattice structure of clocks is curved, meaning the clocks are in a warped arrangement arrangement and the clocks closer to the center of mass tick slower.
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