According to Bill Gaede’s hypothesis, light is “a torque signal propagating from one atom to another along a rope”. MSR defines the universe as being the totality of sensory presence, so that atoms are a localizing partial masking of that presence. Electromagnetism is a torque-like effect in which that masking is partially released or made permeable-permissive so that empathic-imitative sharing arises.
How the magnetic force is transferred through bodies or through space we know not: – whether the result is merely action at a distance, as in the case of gravity; or by some intermediate agency, as in the cases of light. heat, the electric current, and (as I believe) static electric action. –
Michael Faraday, 1851
The electromagnetic field is that part of space which contains and surrounds bodies in electric or magnetic conditions,
“lt appears therefore that in the space surrounding a wire transmitting an electric current a magnet is acted on by forces dependent on the position of the wire and on the strength of the current, The space in ‘which these forces act may therefore be considered as a magnetic field…”
James Clerk Maxwell, 1864
Having both died before the 20th century began, neither of these scientists had the benefit of Relativity or Quantum Theory to point toward a participatory universe. Had they known how profoundly permeable the boundaries of space, time, mass and energy were, and how quantum particles can become entangled at a distance, I imagine that the ether-like concept of the electromagnetic field would be very different.
Faraday and Maxwell were reluctant to hypothesize on what electromagnetic fields were, other than simply regions near magnets or electrified wires in which electromagnetic effects could be encountered. Such encounters, then as now, consist only of changes in the behavior of material objects which we use as instruments. We can imagine that there are particles radiating out in space, but we can’t ever know that is really true, since we have to capture the presumed particles with some kind of material which is more substantial than a vacuum.
We could say ‘if it looks like a particle, and quacks like a particle, then it is probably a particle’, however given Heisenberg’s uncertainty and Bell’s inequality, it is questionable whether it is the target of the experiment or the method of the experiment which is doing the quacking. In the 20th century, I think that we began to glimpse a new frontier of physics which brought us full circle from Newton and Descartes, to find that objectivity itself is no less of a model-making process than subjectivity. What we observe is that just as our own perception fills itself in with seamless continuity, so too does measurement on the microphysical and astrophysical scales defy our expectations of objective realism.
For me, the key could be in the re-thinking the 19th century idea of a field. Forces and fields are purely exterior mechanisms – apparitions which are nothing but ‘that which makes things happen to things’. Turning that inside out, and adding an ‘outside-in’ dynamic, I think we should think of all forces and fields as sensory-motive experiences. Because electromagnetism is a fundamental force of physics, we may not only dealing with physical interactions through space and time, but perhaps rhythms and amplitudes of felt experience through which the relational abstractions of space and time are localized. This is different from saying that the universe is made of energy, or that everything is relative. Instead what I propose is that relation is intrinsically sensible and that every location within the cosmos lies at the inflection point of certainty and uncertainty in which both appear to be winning. It’s not *only* certainty though, not a quantifiable skeleton of logical states, it is the appreciation of sensory experience that leads to certainty. Certainty itself is ultimately just another feeling; another way of measuring our sense of progress.
Animated diagram showing the operation of a tuned circuit (LC circuit). The capacitor stores energy in its electric field E and the inductor stores energy in its magnetic field B (green). This jerky animation shows “snapshots” of the circuit at progressive points in the oscillation. The oscillations are slowed down; in an actual tuned circuit the charge oscillates back and forth tens of thousands to billions of times per second.
In electronics an LC circuit, also called a resonant circuit, tank circuit, or tuned circuit, consists of two electronic components connected together; an inductor, represented by the letter L, and a capacitor, represented by the letter C. The circuit can act as an electrical resonator, an electrical analogue of a tuning fork, storing energy oscillating at the circuit’s resonant frequency.
This is one of the clearest ways that I have come across to visualize the relationship between electricity and magnetism. On the right, the capacitor plates emphasize the polar nature of EM, so that electric force is a metaphor for binary switching – a bridging across a gap which inverts and imitates.
On the left, the induction coil emphasizes the ‘tropic’ nature of EM. The magnetic field arises as a summary of the turns, like a squaring of all of the possible orientations and angles. The turningness is juxtaposed against the flowing-ness, which are both juxtaposed against the separation and ratio-ness of the Electric side.
Of course, through Relativity, we can understand (or try to) that both the Electric and Magnetic fields are identical except that they are observed through perpendicular frames of reference. If you are synchronized to the current flow, then it is an electric circuit of positive and negative charge interactions. If you are synchronized to the resistance of the flow, then it is a magnetic field of North/South attraction-repulsion.
The deeper issue for me is really what is happening underneath all of the arrows and theory. What was actually being observed to oscillate when we first measured the frequency of a beam of light? Is it a needle of a magnetic meter? Unlike sound waves which can be said to be collisions of molecules, the energy of electromagnetic waves seems to be more like a propensity for matter to glow, spark, and change direction. It is the Promethean vibration into sensory awareness and motive expression. Matter becomes more transparent to itself, more able to ignore gaps, resistance, and gravity. What electromagnetism seems to really be is something like ‘the phenomenalization of matter’, or the twisting/stretching of inertial frames.