Field lines are used for explaining a wide variety of phenomenon. But is it really an accurate depiction of reality?
Is it more accurate to imagine a field in a different manner. For instance, using grey-scale colour to imagine intensity. For instance, for a positive point charge, instead of imagining infinite lines emanating from the point, we image concentric shells around the charge, of infinitesimally thin thickness and all of a different grey-scale colour. So if we imagine black to be the maximum strength(intensity) and white to be 0 intensity, you would effectively imagine an infinitely large sphere whose colour change from white at infinity to black at the centre. Rough approximation:
The reason why I thought this might be more accurate was because we can do away with the whole problem (not sure if it is actually a problem!) of having gaps between lines that are filled with infinite other lines. It also seemed more natural to imagine this for inverse square law obeying phenomenon in 3d.
But I lost my confidence when I saw iron filings on a sheet above a bar magnet actually taking up shapes of lines. I think that this may be what inspired Faraday and other at the time. But I think that that could actually be because of some attraction that a magnetised filings have on each other. ie, if you were to move an entire field line of filings to a 'line' between itself and an adjacent filing, it wouldn't move back, would it?
So I'd like to know if this kind of thinking is a more accurate representation of reality?
EDIT: As Daniel Knapp points out: in case of a uniform field, one cannot determine the direction using this technique. It has to be explicitly mentioned. However, I think that for more complicated fields, would this be more accurate?
EDIT2: I think that using a similar diagram with 6 colours with suitable alpha values for up, down, 4 sides would be better. There will be atmost 3 colours blending together for any 2d slice, so it would represent it quite well, imho. I welcome comments regarding that, but the question has been answered and sadly, in the views of a few, this may not be the ideal place to have such discussion about improved field diagrams.