Marshall McLuhan, as described on Wikipedia, famously gave us the quip: The Medium is the Message (later altered by him to the Medium is the Massage… lovely little book). His 1964 stance is reported thus:
at the empirical level of consciousness, the medium is the message, whereas at the intelligent and rational levels of consciousness, the content is the message.
Now, as we talk more about subjective experience among ourselves, we will come to develop causal stories about the content of consciousness. But this will inevitably look as if we are being pushed around by our own ideas. This is what is meant by the Medium is the Message. It bears responsibility. It plays the role of agent. The memes, goddamn them, won’t go away. This is the empirical level mentioned above: the level we can reach consensus on, because it is based on things we can each of us measure in our P-worlds, and report, and agree. There is lawfulness there. Unfortunately it seems to be a lawfulness at odds with our images of us as the free agents in charge, who fuck up when we associate with bad ideas, but hey, basically we are all free individuals, right? But our P-worldy experience of things is captured by his other two elements: the intelligent and rational levels of consciousness. I don’t know what those two labels mean. For me, this would simply refer to the P-world from the inside, where things have personal meaning, like the ability to induce fear or lechery.
Could we please undo the split between what we call emotion and intellect; repair the rift, and recognize personal meaning for what it is. It infuses basic category structure, dammit. It is the way we perceive the world, not as some lifeless CAD model of the furniture around us, to which a verneer or gloss of emotion is added.