I've tried to recreate a circuit from what I think would be a NOT gate, based on some other schematics and breadboard examples that I've seen.
simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab
For this to be practical, I think SW1 would go away, and instead be substituted for some other voltage source as an input, but I've inserted SW1 and attached it to the same voltage source as everything else just to simplify the diagram...
Anyway, my assumption is that when there is charge going into the base of the transistor, the charge flows through the collector, out the emitter, and straight to ground (the negative end of the voltage source). So, in this case, does the charge not flow through R2 and through the LED, somehow? It seems to me that this conclusion must be correct, or else the LED would light up, right? But apparently, electricity does not take the "path of least resistance", so to speak.
Conversely, if the base of the transistor does not have any current, I assume the current stops at the collector of the transistor, but since the circuit must be complete, pressure moves the charge through R2 and the LED, then to ground.
I feel that I am missing some fundamental principle involved in this. Any thoughts?