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—Yoga and the Rush to Enlightenment

The practice of yoga (literally yoga translates as ‘the practice’) would appear to go back millennia as an Indian tradition.  Yet, in historical terms, what we now know in the West as yoga actually parallels, only a couple decades later, the gold rush of the Yukon.  Just as modern education was wheedling its way across… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Walking Sticks and in Another’s Shoes

John Cowper Powys’ classic novel A Glastonbury Romance illustrates how, with a little effort and some natural inclination, we can come to understand the perspective of someone else and, for a time, walk the same path with them.  At AU, that means that we need to translate our course material into digestible morsels for the… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Ghosts in the Academic Machine

Like an enemy repeatedly coming back to life, the fact remains that even our best academic efforts are no guarantee of success.  Putting in the study time, like doing good works seeking heaven, may not guarantee us a happy ending.  And that’s scary! Scary too is the fact that learning itself is dependent upon approval… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Effort Without Reward?

It’s a dark and stormy night and you’re cowering under layers of distraction.  Your motivation quivers and clings to life as your coursework sits undone.  Fearful that the academic gods will punish you for lack of effort, you hide yourself away until the horror of procrastination passes.  But wait! A deeper fear grips you; what… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—If School Bites then You’re Doing it Wrong

One course that helped me overcome academic anxiety was PHIL 360: East Meets West.  In it I learned to keep calm and appreciate and cherish all of life’s moments, including angst-filled moments of deadlines.  Writing the final assignment, I’d pause and really taste the words of assigned authors such as Aldous Huxley.  His book Island… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Keep Calm and Study On

Tick tock.  Hear that?  It’s the mounting clamour of approaching deadlines.  Time slips inexorably past, and with dire consequences, when we are trying to study.  It’s unsettling, to say the least.  Sometimes the best thing to do in the face of worry is to relax and loosen our grip on time.  While I’ll be the… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Creative Opposition

Are you with your learning or against it, or both?  Each instance of thinking about a topic requires us to enter into a dancing rhythm.  We aren’t just being filled up as we’re becoming educated; at AU we are learning how to make our minds flexible.  Creativity depends upon the adoption of new approaches and… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—AU as the Stream to Success

A little perspective never hurts; autumn can be a great time to take stock of our lives.  As a kid, I’d look over my shoulder this time of year and long for summer’s return.  Now that new teachers and schoolwork had lost their vague thrilling pangs (like the sensation of walking barefoot on smooth gravel,… Read more »