The main idea pursued in this paper concerns the possibility of mimicking the early evolution of the universe using scalar fields with an appropriate dynamically evolving potential. The regimes being covered are
This is achieved by identifying the Higgs potential with the inflational potential and rendering it time dependent. Hence one is left with a single dynamical process of scalar fields being controlled by a mass parameter able to initiate inflation and spontaneous symmetry breaking. Technically the phase transition of symmetry breaking, , is linked to non-zero vacuum expectation values of the scalar field responsible for non-invariant mass terms on the one hand and the appearance of an effective cosmological constant (vacuum energy density) initiating inflation on the other hand. In a subsequent step the nature and dynamics of various scalar fields appearing in different theories -- namely the Higgs field, the inflaton, the dilaton and the quintessence field -- are discussed. The proposed goal would be to unify these different fields and model the entire evolution of the universe to the present time. The issue of the cosmological constant problem also appears within a new context.