Hmmm. I tried to discuss this topic with you several times back around 2004–2008, seeing you as sufficiently outside the box, and mathematically aware, that we might make some progress…
This is a small space, but briefly: Joy is derivative. It's an indication of effective awareness, by an agent acting within a particular system, of alignment, harmony, flow—dare I say 'coherence'—involving the evolutionarily determined nature expressed by the agent, within its present environment of interaction.
I remember asking you face-to-face at Convergence 2008 whether you had any inkling of how we might mathematically evaluate and compare the effective coherence of various intentional systems. Since then my best statement of this is that it might be measured in terms of the average mutual information between inputs and outputs, with the understanding that 'information' entails an inherently subjective observer.
Even more fundamental—but replicating with fractal self-similarity throughout all levels of development—is the tendency of the universe to 'discover' and 'exploit' synergies that maximize the 'energy rate density' described by Chaisson.
As we did discuss back in those days, growth is fundamental to morality, but it must be meaningful, along the orthogonal, mutually supporting axes of 'values' and 'methods', both evolving in response to feedback of 'consequences'.
So in very simple terms, what 'works', persists, and tends to be seen as ''good' for any agent developmentally based in that environment of co-evolutionary adaptation. What 'works' over increasing context of values, or with greater scope of interaction (necessarily in regard to those values) is seen as not only 'good' but 'better', and from this we can infer an 'Arrow of Morality' that points not toward any particular 'Truth', but rather, outward, with increasing coherence over increasing context. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Ben, as always, I appreciate your creativity and originality, and I hope that this reminder of discussions past may contribute to novel developments in the future.