When searching online about what the white balance setting in cameras does, you'll probably find an answer that goes something like this:
When taking a photo, the color of the lightsource might be different. There are yellowish light sources, like a candle, in the <3000k range that will give a strong yellow tint to the image, and there are blueish light sources, like the sun, in the >6000k range, that will give a strong blue tint to the image. With the white balance setting, you tell the camera what color temperature is considered pure white, and it accounts for that.
Ok, fine, I get that, and I know that the images turn out bad if the white balance was set incorrectly, but ... why? Why is it even necessary to account for the color temperature in the first place?
If I take a photo of a candle, I don't want the candlelight to be shown as pure white. The candle gives of a very yellowish light, and if I'm capturing a photo of it, the whole point of the image is to show this warm light. Similarly, if I'm getting heavy blueish light from an artifical light source, why would I want that to be pure white? I don't understand why, on a fundamental level, I need to tell the camera to manipulate the white point.
Why is there any interpretation involved at all? I'd expect that, if I took an image with a camera that literally records the wavelengths of light and send that information to a monitor, that monitor should be able to just reproduce the same wavelengths, and I should see the same image. Just like how, when a microphone records sound, we can just transmit the actual wave, and a speaker will reproduce it. There is no need to tell the microphone at what frequency middle C was on that day for a speaker to reproduce the sound correctly. The information is all in the waves themselves, no interpretation needed.