Daniel Sloss: Jigsaw
Piecing life together one comedy special at a time.
Daniel Sloss is a Scottish comedian and his latest comedy special Jigsaw is best known as the one that broke up thousands of couples during his live tour. A friend recommended this particular episode to me and knowing me I was very doubtful I'd actually watch it, but literally 30 seconds into the trailer I was sold. His humor is pretty crass, but also really fresh that I was left wanting more. The content of the show is (ironically) very intelligently put together and I think appeals to anyone in their youth trying to discover themselves and focusing on their self-development.
How did he break up all of these couples?
He triggered it through his commentary on a jigsaw analogy that his dad explained to him when he was just 7 years old. The analogy preludes to answer the meaning of our lives, what we're doing here, and how to piece everything together so that life makes sense for us.
What is his Dad's analogy?
His dad told him to treat our lives as our own individual jigsaw puzzles. As we go through life, we try to put the pieces together based on our experiences with a goal to create the best picture for ourselves. The catch is that everyone has lost the box for the jigsaw so no one knows what their picture or what the end result is supposed to look like. Typically when we don't know how to solve a problem we have to start with what we know or whatever is familiar to us. In the same way, if we have lost the picture for our puzzle, the best way to do it is by starting with the side and corner pieces.
In our lives, the 4 corners are family, friends, hobbies or interests, and job. From a young age, we learn to first cultivate these aspects of our lives. Sometimes we spend more time in one corner than the other, and if things change in one of the corners we have to then fill it with something else. So then, what's the main bit of the image? What are we all working towards? His dad's answer was:
"That's the partner piece. You want this perfect person to come out of nowhere, fit your life perfectly, completely and make you whole."
Hold up. Not what was going through my head. (What was going through yours?) For Daniel, he was just a kid so he didn't really think much about it and merely accepted it at the time. As an adult, he realized the implications of this analogy and comments on it through the relationships he sees in the world today.
What was Daniel's response?
The message in the analogy that we just heard can literally be translated to: if you don't have a partner, you are incomplete, broken, and not whole. In many ways, this message is exactly what society has made everyone feel for generations past. Young adults subconsciously feel pressured to find this perfect partner and they end up cramming someone into the middle of their jigsaw before they're ready, because they would still rather have something than nothing. This notion has been heavily present in mainstream media and has influenced many into thinking that's what the end goal is. Finding a partner in a romantic relationship is seemingly the key to this happy fairytale ending in our personal lives.
Daniel is incredibly critical of this idea and thinks that 80% of relationships are BS. He scoffed and said:
"It's a bunch of people that never took the time to learn how to be alone or love themselves and therefore employed someone else to do it."
Young people become obsessed with the thought of receiving so much love so early that they would rather fast-forward their lives and give up the one they are currently living. We have to learn to love ourselves, before allowing someone else to do it as well. Because how can we offer ourselves if we don't know what that is or what we have to give. There is nothing wrong with taking time to figure out who we are before jumping into a relationship. It also helps us understand what we deserve so that we don't accept anything less than 100% of love for who we are because that's how much we already love ourselves.
Daniel's amended analogy:
He corrected his Dad's analogy and explained that in his revised version of the analogy the middle of your jigsaw should be what makes you happy. His dad was right in his own way because he got a lot of happiness from his relationship, but each of us can get happiness from so many different things and people. For example, Daniel gets it from doing stand-up, from the energy of his crowd, traveling, etc.
I think Daniel's version was a little better, but still not what I was thinking. When he first started talking about his Dad's jigsaw analogy I thought the answer was obvious. To me, the center of my jigsaw is myself, or rather the discovery of who I am. We are all at the center of our jigsaws. In spirituality, one of life's biggest quests is trying the find the answer to the question: Who am I?. The answer is not just our names, or where we were born, or what our favorite food is. It's a lot deeper and it's actually an understanding of us as a part of this larger universe.
The reason I don't fully agree with Daniel is that his explanation of happiness was still very dependent on external things or situations. I believe that happiness is already inside of us. Our happiness for anything external only stems and gets stronger when we have that for ourselves. It still coincides with Daniel's analogy, but it's not the same. If we didn't have anything, none of the four corners, would we still be happy? Is it possible? The goal is to act out of an eternal state of joy, not for the joy we might get from our outer pursuits.
Where does a relationship or love fit into this puzzle? It probably just takes up a whole other corner in the puzzle (so the puzzle has more than four corners). But, the center of the puzzle is still our own self. All of our experiences are dependent on who and how we are. Life starts and ends for us with us. Our family, friends, hobbies, jobs, relationships are surrounding us. As conceited as it sounds, we are at the center of our universe, and the better we become the better we can make the things around us.
What did you think of the analogies? Which one do you agree with, if any? What's at the center of your jigsaw?
Watch his full comedy special on Netflix for a good laugh.