Four initial postulates are presented (with two more added later), which state that construction of the physical universe proceeds from a sequence of discrete steps or "projections" --- a process that yields a sequence of discrete levels (labeled 0, 1, 2, 3, 4). At or above level 2 the model yields a (3+1)-dimensional structure, which is interpreted as ordinary space and time. As a result, time does not exist below level 2 of the system, and thus the quantum of action, (...) h, which depends on time (since its unit is timeâ€˘energy), also does not exist below level 2. This implies that the quantum of action is not fundamental, and thus e.g. that the physical universe cannot have originated from a quantum fluctuation. When the gravitational interaction for the model is developed, it is seen that the basic ingredient for gravity is already operating at level 1 of the system, which implies that gravity, too, is not fundamentally quantum mechanical (since, as stated, h only kicks in at level 2) --- perhaps obviating the need for a quantum theory of gravity. Further arguments along this line lead to the conclusion that quantum fluctuations cannot be a source of gravity, and thus cannot contribute to the cosmological constant --- thereby averting the cosmological constant problem. Along the way, the model also provides explanations for dark energy, the beginning and ending of inflation, quark confinement, and more. Although the model dethrones the quantum, it nevertheless elevates an idea in physics that was engendered by quantum mechanics: the necessary role of "observers" in constructing the world. (shrink)