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—Why Stress, Why Suffer?

Why, as adults (or in our case adult students), do we at times find it difficult to focus on gleeful and joyous moments?  Why does doubt and anxiety creep into our being and how is that negativity exacerbated by our studies?  Distance education can inflate our stress to soul-gnawing proportions.  So, in true critical thinking… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—The Personal Measurement of our Studies

“Sure a cold one, eh?” “Warmer now that you’re here! Nothing’s more banal, or adroit, depending upon its users, than a conversation about temperature.  But did you know that the gendered pronoun controversy can blow like an Arctic front into the temperature mix?  Consider the French term, il fait froid, normally translated as a way… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Joyful Sloth and Indolence

The post-punk Marxist band Gang of Four once sang, with plaintive aplomb in the face of the mixed results of industrial job creation, “please send me evenings and weekends”.  We at AU might relate to this sentiment; the gift we purchase for our futures selves by furthering our education can arrive with attendant difficulties of… Read more »

The Fly on the Wall—No Easy A, No Easy Aim

Ever pissed and missed?  Well, who hasn’t?  On this score, at least, reality is gender neutral.  And as crude and off-colour as this theme is, bear with me and we’ll reveal something sublime about the human condition.  To have faith in our goals requires a knowledge of our skills based on past improvements.  For most… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

A spectre haunts Valentine’s Day or V-Day: the spectre of fate.  Cupid, with much cupidity, seems to decide whether our love is destined for joy or misery, ascendancy or decline.  No day of the year encompasses the potential for ecstatic heights or dour doldrums more than February 14th.  Relationships are made or broken by what… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Being Here Now To Cow Our Academic Anxiety

From the mouths of babes enlightened realizations arise.  This we know if we’re graced with the presence of youngsters in our life.  Consider this exchange between two of my nieces: Niece 1: “Is it tomorrow or today?” Niece 2: “It’s today.” Niece 1: “Oh yeah, it’s always today!” There we have it; today is always… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Don’t Zap That Splendid Isolation!

Gregarious people can become AU students, but the reality of individualized study tends to speak for itself.  Ours is not a social butterfly experience replete with hallways full of chatter and leisurely times lounging with peers in a dormitory.  Study for us typically consists of our meek humble selves studiously applying our skills within the… Read more »

Descartes and his Demon of the Mind

Ever study so hard your brain hurts?  It’s common, but not everyone talks about it.  Maybe that’s because the traditional solution, a brain break, seems obvious.  Yet, what if that dull pain behind our eyes is merely our ego deceiving us into thinking that we’re suffering from intolerable mind cramps?  As we try and cram… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Making A Mess

This year, why not try finger painting your New Year’s resolutions?  While written lists of goals can obscure raw intentions, the tactile nature of hand paint can get us in touch with our primal natures.  Multiple senses are stimulated when we paint by touch.  As the paint oozes and traces from fingers to paper, and… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Virtual Convocation 2020

To all the 2020 graduands, congrats!  And for the rest of us grads, future and past, let’s rest on our virtual laurels for a moment and consider the conquest that’s been.  Many of our peers would shudder to attempt distance education.  AU is not for the faint of heart or slack of skill.  We learn… Read more »