Electron is not an object; it is an idea in our mind.
There is no magnetic field that we could see, hear, touch, smell or taste. Magnetic field is a concept to explain some of the observations for which the direct causes remain away from the reach of our senses.
Energy doesn’t have a shape or form. We cannot reach it in anway. However, we can observe some attributes like temperature and color directly, while we can observe some more attributes indirectly by using some instruments.
There are two positions we can take with regards to the authority of senses as correct means to receive the world outside ourselves:
The senses are completely authoritative. Only that which is received by the senses exists and nothing else.
The senses are authoritative but limited. What we receive through the senses is real but at the same time, there are things which cannot be grasped by our senses.
[3. Vedantic thought takes yet another position but let’s not get into that. I do not even fully understand it.]
If we were to take position #1, we would be left with no choice but to deny all the concepts like electrons, magnetic fields, fourier transformations etc. Why? Because I do not and cannot see, hear, touch, smell or taste fourier transformation. That way position #1 is simplistic to the point of absurdity.
Position #2 is interesting. That’s more inline with our nature. The nature of peeking behind the curtains to see what’s there beyond what is apparent. As per position #2, magnetic field could be real even if it is beyond our senses. The fact that two metallic pieces repulse or attract each other when brought closer proves that there is some thing here. Something that is beyond our senses but whose effect is very much observable. We play around with these pieces for sometime and observe the effects of bringing them closer and taking them further apart. In order to find the rationale behind these observations, we come up with a concept. That concept is called magnetic field. We say there is something called magnetic field which is invisible in nature and such and such are its effects.
What really is there between those two metallic objects is unknown and unknowable. Magnetic field is an approximation of that unknowable. The approximation that fits our current observations. The approximation that our mind can grasp. For the same observation, I could also propose the explanation that there is an entity called magnetic God. This God is beyond our senses and hence we cannot directly perceive it. This God creates the attraction and repulsion between the two metallic objects. Even though the theory of a magnetic God sounds absurd at first, on close examination and on the test of reason, we’ll find that it is not as absurd as it sounds at first. It sounds absurd because we have concluded that the notion of Gods is absurd and not because Gods are absurd by themselves. Magnetic field is the concept of a cause that has been derived from the effect. We do not have any means (in the sensory sense of the word) to verify the existence of magnetic field. Similarly, magnetic God is the concept of a cause that has been derived from the effect. The same arguments can be presented to accept or reject the realities of both. If you reject God because you can’t see it, when did you see the magnetic field? If you accept the reality of magnetic field because it explains the observations, so does the concept of magnetic Gods. If you reject the magnetic God because its origin is not known, what is your explanation for the origin of magnetic field? Polarity of electrons? Is that your explanation for the origin of magnetic field? I can say that the magnetic God is created by the electron Gods. What then is the reason to believe that there is indeed a magnetic field and not a magnetic God? It may be your notion that a God looks like a human being having an ethereal body with two legs, two hands and a nose etc. If a cow was to think of a God, it would think of a cow God who would look like a cow and would walk on 4 legs. When did I say that a God has a human like body? In fact, I say that Gods do not have any body at all. If your magnetic field can exist without having a body, why is it neccessary for my God to have a body?
Please don’t mistake me. I do not intend to reject all the scientific work that has been carried out by so many people over so many centuries. I really salute them for all the work that they have done (with truly humble respect). But we can’t talk reason if we are not willing to be ruthless in dissecting ideas.
So, I’ll tell you why I vote for the theory of magnetic field over the theory of magnetic God. The reason is that the magnetic field allows me to peek further behind the curtain. It suits my mental makeup that is more inclined towards enquiry. It is easier to work with than a magnetic God. For instance, if I go by the theory that there is a magnetic field which follows such and such laws, I can build a turbine based on that because I know the turbine will surely work because I know that the laws of magnetic field will uphold. However, the theory of magnetic God is rather different. I can’t build a turbine if I believe in magnetic God. Well, I still can but I can’t remain so sure that the magnetic God wouldn’t one day change his/her mind and the laws it follows would be different.
I prefer to work with the theory of magnetic field because it suits me better. Otherwise, the theory of magnetic God is also flawless ;)
And by the way, magnetic God is nothing but the magnetic field only. And magnetic field is nothing but the magnetic God only. The language of approximation is different but the phenonmenon that they approximate is still the same. And even with both of them around, the real phenonmenon remains unknown and unknowable…