Loki’s Wager

Network Capital

We, at times, defend a concept from criticism by reducing it to either a myth, or an undefinable phenomenon. This reduction involves use of vague justifications like ‘God works in mysterious ways’, ‘race is biologically meaningless’, ‘some things are just meant to be’, etc.

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Legend has it, Loki from the Marvel universe made a bet with some dwarves. Having lost the wager Loki had to pay inform of his head. To escape the payment, he fermented confusion, ambiguity and contradiction. He added a clause to the bet. The clause entailed that no part of his neck could be taken while cutting the head. As dwarves could not reach a consensus on where the neck ends and the head starts, Loki escaped his payment.

Therefore, learning from the fictional character of Loki, if we create enough ambiguity, contradiction and confusion we can prevent comprehensive conclusions and analysis. We can dismiss things as myths or indefinable. Discussing politics on Facebook and WhatsApp groups is a classic example of Loki’s wager. By reduc- ing the emotions to perspectives, and facts to biased opinions, online political discussions just end up becoming noise and clutter. They neither lead to constructive debate and dialogue, nor do they enable productive actions.

The best way to avoid or transform a Loki’s Wager like situation, is to
(a) Identify the aim and context of the concept and conversa- tion;
(b) Understand where the other side is coming from;
(c) Be careful with your words and language; and
(d) Learn to agree to disagree and step-back from conversations.
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