Posts By: Jason Sullivan

Jason Sullivan

Even erudite flies get smashed now and then for sounding too ‘school smart’. As one of many AU students not immersed in an academic social sphere, Jason’s ‘Fly on the Wall’ column seeks to aid and abet the success of others in his cohort. We won’t always be understood when we speak of what we are learning in school but we can rest assured that our education still has value.

His lighthearted approach to sociological philosophy stems from conducting field research at bush parties and working his day job reforesting the mountains of BC. Born in the city of Vancouver and raised on a farm in the Fraser Valley and an orchard in the Okanagan, he attained a diploma in Horticulture in the Creston Valley and then returned to school as a Sociology major. Today’s he’s an AU Master’s of Integrated Studies student who spends his spare time enjoying nature walks, snorkeling and reading whatever philosophical and sociological tracts capture his fancy.

Jason is fascinated with the micro-sociological thoughts and interactions that frame and demarcate our experience of daily life as well as the philosophical realm considering essential questions about what it is to be a human. It’s dense brush but Jason seeks answers where murkiness holds sway.

A Few Theoretical Influences: Louis Althusser, Isaac Asimov, Jean Baudrillard, Simone de Beauvoir, Aime Cesaire, Carol Clover, John Cummings, Kurt Cobain, Jacques Derrida, Emile Durkheim, Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, Antonio Gramsci, Martin Heidegger, Thomas Hobbes, Agnes Martin, Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, Max Weber

Fly on the Wall—Mollify Our Minds?

Class discussions express as much about participant egos as they do about the topic at hand.  Professors aren’t immune from becoming over-zealous about their pet topics and students, well, even the best of us can be carried away in flights of fancy as we expound our points of view.  But where loquacity lets off real… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—AU and the Loop of Living

We watched in awe as the orb spider leapt into action.  With a start, a wasp tried to escape the web but almost instantly it found itself accosted by the spider.  Deftly holding its prey in place, the orb—bulbous with a growing egg sac in its abdomen, injected venom.  Presently, the wasp’s edginess ebbed away,… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Rootin’ for Rorty

As a kid in the 1980s and as a teenager in the 1990s, the technological tide brought many changes.  Rural BC aided and abetted a Napoleon Dynamite sense of distance from the paved sandlots of urban Canada. Here in the Okanagan Valley, at Princeton—our favourite pariah of a Brokeback Mountain town if you’re from it’s… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Feelings and Actions

As you read these words in this moment how do you feel real? Words can bore us or they can carry us away; words can push and pull our minds and it’s up to us to decide how we feel about them.  Our university education teaches us to think beyond the boundaries of our predilections. … Read more »

9/11 Twenty Years Later

History, like life and learning, is about more than big moments.  Graduations, weddings, fireworks, and final marks only serve as pointers on the path toward understanding the world and our place in it.  So let’s pause and remember that, of 40,000 Canadians who served in Afghanistan, a full 10% are likely to be diagnosed with… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—If it Bleeds, It Leads

AU is about the small stuff, the learning that adds up to a worldview that matches our hearts to our brains.  We inhabit strange times that nevertheless have parallels in history: be it fake news or raging pandemics, or new Cold Wars, the idea that many truths abide on the same planet, and that everyone… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—The Human Cellular Connection

The oldest neighbour in our neighborhood, Jim, the only one who precedes my family arriving in this bucolic British Columbia valley in 1985, just passed away.  So will us all, like wisps of breeze and leaves on the trees.  Our studies and our lives equally mean nothing or everything depending on how they make us… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—What’s the Real Stuff of Us?

What does an existentialist seagull caw?  Pour q’uoi!?! (Why, they seem to ask.) Why are we here now, and how?  That’s the backdrop to our learning as we seek to understand the world and our place in it.  Our personal growth is part and parcel with this journey.  The search for our meaning of life… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Trundle, Trundle, Splash!

They say that if the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence that’s because it’s fertilized with bullshit.  In the cultural paddies of late 1960s college campuses, Herbert Marcuse took this metaphor to heart.  In his office were hippos.  Why?  Well, he loved how hippopotamuses could graze across the vast escarpments… Read more »