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—The Banality of Righteousness

“It is dangerous to read newspapers” wrote Margaret Atwood in the late 60s.  What she meant was clear: the establishment couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth or even to veer away from doing the wrong thing. During the Vietnam war the contradictions of the world were inescapable for a generation whose access to this… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—A Learned Licence to Judge?

Judge not lest ye be judged.  It’s an aphorism as old as time, humming a song as old as rhyme.  Yet negative judgements of others flow to the surface of our mind as natural as ducks taking to water.  Avoiding toxic thoughts of superiority isn’t merely a matter of consciously and calmly pressing some mental… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Nipped in the Buds;

Can you recall where you were five years ago on this day, at this minute, down to this second?  There’d have to have been some special circumstances on hand to remember more than foggy, grainy, flecks of reality five years hence or to recall details mired in the penumbral twilight of time gone down the… Read more »

The Fly on the Wall—The Cold Curtain of Winter

Bleak, stark, lifeless, pallid: winter landscapes aren’t the most inviting climes for a study break.  A few paces from our door reveal only colourless dead space populated by shadows and chills.  Oh sure, snowmen are always a possibility.  But a corncob pipe and a button nose are no replacement for the magical appearance of an… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Eyes Wide Shut?

Q: What do you call a fish without an eye? (Pause, wait for tension to build.) A: A fssshhh! That joke would have elicited more eye rolls had it been pronounced aloud, am I right? Words are the barter of banter, but they form different landscapes depending on their mode of expression.  Our learning at… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—The Myth of the Star Pupil: It’s You.

Like a kitty walking invisible circles before settling its paws down upon a pillow, we at AU have to situate ourselves not only in a comfortable study nook but in a good place psychologically.  Material conditions and emotional ambiance are key to our success, but so too are the more ephemeral facts of our mental… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Psych! A Confidence Trick

Where an empathic desire to help others is built into many students desire to study psychology, it’s easy to miss key epistemological blind spots in the discipline.  A scanty half century ago a feminist writer named Germaine Greer eviscerated the core of psychiatry/psychology.  In The Female Eunuch she wrote that “psychiatry is an extraordinary confidence… Read more »

Fly on the Wall—Don’t Be An Ignoramus! Is that Even Possible?

The ignoramus may be the only dinosaur that never went extinct.  Its DNA is in us all whenever we feel superior and better-informed than others.  Ironically, education itself can exacerbate this chronic condition where we become dinosaurs by resting on our intellectual laurels.  Many classes teach their disciplinary bias as though it were universally applicable… Read more »