A Response to Adam Berg’s Computing the Engima of Love


I read this essay and I really like Adam Berg, I think he’s a smart and talented guy. So I read his piece on glass bead and crafted as sort of meditation interpretation.

What happens when we look at love from a computational perspective? We can look at love from a biological perspective, an evolutionary perspective, a cultural perspective, but now we have computation (a new law of nature), and what does computation tell us about love? What does it mean to look at love through the lens of computation? “When I experience sense perception as love, from a computational perspective, I am engaged in a symbolic encoding.”

This is love beyond language, but as a symbol perhaps used in another formula.  The computational aspect is to translate this symbolic coding.  Compiler theory is transcendental philosophy. Where certain perceptions are translated via foundational categories such as the identity statement, the conditional, into another symbolic language.

The paper is called “Computing the enigma of love”. Love here exists in the sentence formula “computing the enigma of love”, and Berg unpacks the computation of love by examining the three concepts of computation, enigma and love, as well as the entire equation ‘computing the enigma of love’, It reminds me of other great fours in philosophy like Heidegger’s  fourfold (the unity of earth, sky, divinities and mortals that makes a world).

Computation becomes automata theory of love, enigma becomes a meditation on free will, love becomes a meditation on the sublime, and the equation becomes a meditation on the black box / the unknowable.

What type of computer computes love? Automata theory defines different types of computational systems and the spacial, temporal, and veridical (probabilistic) time limits of what they can compute.  Berg describes two systems: the B-computer and the P-computer.

A B-computer is love as a product of the brain, a P-computer is love as a product of pleasure and pain. One is about inputs and outputs with the processor as a black box (a.body without organs), the other is about reducing sensation to different parts. -the organs. Which is which – I forget.

The Engima, this is the engima machine that the British used to decipher codes in WW2. Work on this machine was spear headed by Alan Turing.  So the enigma of love -love is some sort of code – maybe SHA256 – that we need to decrypt. This is different than love as a automata that processes signals in a particular way. What is the horizon of decryption?


It will take me a long time to decrypt a message encrypted in SHA256,

Love as a product of time helps it escape the linear predictability of P-Machines and B-Machines. By unfolding in time love becomes a product of free will. We could also call this unpredictability or non-linear results.  Freedom is that which is unable to be predicted. I suppose as our machines become more accurate at prediction perhaps we will lose freedom, but that is neither here nor there. It is this unpredictability via the unfolding of love over time, the decryption of the algorithm that takes time, that gives us this quality of love.

How does computation address love, which is sublime? Well this is just one point of view. From the Kantian perspective this means something that cannot be measured, from the Burkean perspective it is something that produces the strongest emotion possible (probably painful). So how does a computer compute these two things? The B-Computer computes Kant and the P-Computer computes Burke.

The inputs are the messages which must be decrypted over time,

We could have a different equation, with love not being equated with the sublime. This is just an assumption of this essay, so lets roll with it.Finally we have the boxism – that is the unknowable -the entire formula: computing the enigma of love. We can understand the components but not how they come together. But are there really things that we cannot know, maybe there are things we cannot know empirically but we can know them interpretively. We can have speculations on what is happening inside the box. Who cares what is outside the box! What a relief.

Computing the enigma of love does not answer anything for us, as good philosophy never does. Instead we start to think about how love exists from a computational aspect. This is not the only formula or program that can be computed regarding love and this is the special power of computation. That it can run many programs, and even yet run many simulations for the same program. That it exists in a realm of probability and world generation.

Another way talk we can talk about computing the enigma of love is the manifold of worlds that this sentence/formula creates.

New Newsletter AND Musing about JS Frameworks

code, consciousness

Hey Blogosphere,

I am not sure why I am writing this blog post as an epistle but perhaps it has something to do with me launching a new newsletter. Newsletters are often written as epistles. Not sure why, perhaps because they are letters. In any case, I was inspired by Nitzan – he has started many successful newsletters. This is his latest – the future of agency.

Why a newsletter, I do blog (sporadically)? I have had newsletters in the past, and my companies have had newsletters? I think it is a good conversation starter, and a way to enter existing conversations.

Yesterday Nizan prompted us to think about our practices. And here is what I wrote. It is going to be the subject of the newsletter.

Globally, I am interested in understanding how the technology of computation affects our notions of the psyche, i.e., our inner life, and the mechanics of the psyche itself.

Locally, I am interested in how this manifests itself as both personal and collective actions in the world, and ways (ie projects/interventions) to highlight this manifestation.

Things I am not currently investigating, but appear relevant:  neuroscience, biology, behavioral psychology.

Things this may fall under: phenomenology, depth psychology, design, computer science, cognitive science, systems thinking.

The link is here: https://tinyletter.com/systempoetics

I am trying a new service that I have read newsletters on in the past – tinyletter.

Immediately when I saw the #! I thought – they are using angular. I have not used angular in years, so this intuition may be totally off. Anyway they are not – they seem to be using a new to me framework called velocity. Velocity does seem rad, it is suited towards motion graphics (and the ever present rethinking of the dom).  And DOM/DOMLESS could be one perhaps the first topic of my new newsletter.

Prediction Vs Analysis with models.


I was listening to a podcast today and the host was talking about prediction vs analysis. I think I mentioned this a few days ago when I was talking about the market as an engine and not a camera. The market is something that analyzes the world it does not recreate the world.

So prediction vs analysis… When we create a model what are we trying to do? Are we trying to understand a phenomena? And to what end? Are we trying to understand something in order to predict something?

If we look at analysis, what is that really? In part, that is measurement. We are trying to measure a phenomena. Why? To coordinate perhaps, to plan something.

Only in the last century have we looked at the predictive value of science. That science is confirming theories that we can use to build things like a space ship that did not exist before.

This concept of prediction has interested me for a while, since my time on wall street. What I did was calculate risk, and risk is the probability that something will or will not happen (and if it does/not happen – how big of an impact will it have on other things).

A good analogy is perhaps from medicine. Treating infectious diseases is analytic work, you are sick, lets you analysis to discover what you have, Preventive medicine is more predictive: e.g., lets take these medications/diet etc because our models say you are at risk for some disease.

Clair (from a slack group I participate in) turned me on to this article about various professionals (writers, scientists, economists) who try and predict the future. One futurist said:

From the article (via Anne Lise Kjaer)

Archaeologists find artifacts from the past and try to connect the dots and tell a story about how the past might have been. We do the same thing as futurists; we use artifacts from the present and try to connect the dots into interesting narratives in the future.

This is much different than finding laws in nature or patterns in history. To extrapolate an imaginary future based on facts of today is somewhat wild.

Last year I think I participated in a talk about predictive tech. And this was somewhat informed by my prayer blockchain work. And this is further informed by my thinking about conscious computation. For example, what is it about computation that makes us future thinking/oriented? Is consciousness always building mental models to predict the future, or are these models to understand processes (or what are all the types of models that a mind creates)

Anyway I’ll repeat it here, in large part so I remember and can go back to it in the future:

Augury in the 21 century 
Since the caves of Lascaux, humans have attempted to predict and influence the future. (edit: That is if we think the cave paintings are Magic and not commemorative.) Today we have scenario planning and future studies that are supported by the methodology of simulation and empowered by computation.  In the past, there was a symbolic relationships between the world and the instruments of prediction e.g, bones in a certain formation meant rain was coming. Today prediction is a two step process, data collection, world building, and interpretation/selection. The bones and their environment (ie milieu) report data points that are reduced to quantitative values. These values are used to along with the perturbations of variables to construct a variety of worlds. We then pick the most likely of worlds as our prediction. [THIS last sentence would want to rework – it is not phenomenological – but I cant think of the world I want to use, I also feel like I might want to talk about simondon and his notion of the relationship between magic, aesthetics, science and ethics]What is the relationship between the simulations of today and the folk practices of divination, and what can we learn from an archaeology of prediction?