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Let's make it even simpler. If I turn on the light, is that a EM field? Does it propagate at 'c'? When I switch it of, is the EM field still propagating from its origin, towards infinity? And if I let it be on then? Is a EM field constantly leaving that lightbulb, or is it a 'static' field, staying put? If it is, what part of it is propagating?
…. observers will define it, distorting this common field somehow through their observations
This seems to leave open the question: does observation distort a field, or does the field have to be distorted in some way before it can be observed?
I don't know if I interpreted your answer correctly, but, for example, a vector in 3D space doesn't change if we choose another cartesian frame of reference, for example translated and rotated with respect to the first. Yet the components of the vector changes!With fields is something similar: they changes but there is something "bigger" made of them wich doesn't.