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Michael Schiavello

In the following feature blog, HDNET commentator Michael Schiavello explains why he wears two watches on every broadcast.

Iʼm a believer in symbolism, I always have been. A brief definition of symbolism is: When an object, item, word, symbol has a deeper meaning most often symbolizing something else.

Since becoming a Master Mason in 2010, my appreciation of symbolism has grown even further. After all, Masonry is described as a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. In Masonry we use various symbols, most comprised of the working tools of builders, to convey lessons in morality. For example, the square was and still is used by builders as a tool to create perfect right angles. The Masonic square represents a state of moral rectitude. As Masons, every time we see the square, we are reminded to be square (honest) in our dealings with others. If one “acts on the square” or is “fair and square” they are dealing with you honestly.

Symbolism is a very powerful tool. It is everywhere around you. Study symbolism and you will soon become aware of a world existing within a world and the much deeper meaning of common symbols you see every day.

For example, the square was and still is used by builders as a tool to create perfect right angles. The Masonic square represents a state of moral rectitude. As Masons, every time we see the square, we are reminded to be square (honest) in our dealings with others. If one “acts on the square” or is “fair and square” they are dealing with you honestly.

Take a look at the national flag of any country and you will see definite symbolism. Letʼs take the Canadian flag for example. It features a maple leaf on a white background with two red bars running vertically on either side. The maple leaf has long been a symbol of all things Canadian. The red bars represent the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Furthermore they symbolise France and England, Canadaʼs two founding cultures.

The Australian flag is blue in colour and features a particular constellation, a separate seven-pointed star and a flag within a flag. The constellation is that of the Southern Cross, always visible in the Southern sky and a symbol which has long represented Australia. The Southern Cross consists of five stars: Alpha Crucis, Beta Crucis, Gamma Crucis, Delta Crucis and the smaller Epsilon Crucis. The other larger star located under the Union Jack is known as the Commonwealth Star. it symbolises the Federation of Australia in 1901. The Union Jack is the symbol of the United Kingdom, which colonised Australia. The blue background represents the ocean. So the complete symbology of the Australian flag tells us that it is an federated island in the Southern Hemisphere surrounded by water and colonised by the English.

There are examples of symbolism in many movies and literature. Take, for example, the  Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane. The movie is rife with symbolism, none more so than the sled named ʻRosebudʼ which, in the movieʼs final scene, is revealed its symbolism of lost innocence of childhood. Harry Potter films use an incredible amount of ancient symbolism, perhaps none moreso than the snake as the symbol for Slytheran House, representing evil. Those of you familiar with the Russian Revolution will understand the true symbolism of George Orwellʼs Animal Farm. Without knowledge of the symbolism of the four-legged and two-legged animals and their representation of the Russian Revolution, the book and cartoon movie merely plays out as a story about farm animals taking over their farm.

Symbols are sometimes described as the universal language because they present the message in a way that is understood by all and do not depend on words that are different in various languages. Stop for a moment and think how much you depend on the recognition of symbols in your life.

This symbol tells you which toilet to use:
This symbol tells you to drive slowly as there is a
school in the area
This symbol tells you thereʼs somewhere to eat nearby

This symbol represents peace.
This symbolises a barberʼs shop.
This symbolises love.

So what is the symbolism of the two watches I wear?

The watch on my left wrist is set to and stuck on the time I was born at 1:58am.

The watch on my right wrist is set to the current time wherever I am in the world.

The symbolism here is simple: One watch reminds me where I have come from. The space between both hands reminds me of the path I traveled to get to where I am now, which is represented by the watch on my right hand. The watch on my right hand is constantly ticking, representing the moment Iʼm in and the moments ahead as time never stands still.

In brief, the two watches I wear on a broadcast represent my lifeʼs journey: past, present and to be continued.

By wearing two watches and setting them to the times just mentioned, I am constantly reminded of the hard work and perseverance I have undertaken to achieve my current position. I need only look at my left watch, see it stuck on the time I was born, and Iʼm instantly reminded of the path traveled to get to where I am now (the right watch). I am reminded of my childhood, my dreams and aspirations, my setbacks, my commitment to achieving my dreams and to be eternally grateful to those throughout my life who helped me achieve all that I have. In remembering these people I remind myself to always assist others in their efforts to live their own lives to the fullest.

Looking at the watch on my right wrist I am reminded how fleeting time is. No matter how great or terrible the moment, time never stands still. The second just occurred will never occur again. Life ticks by, second by second, hour by hour, and it is up to me and my choices to make the most of these cherished seconds.

The two watches also help to keep me grounded. The trappings of the television industry are such that it is easy to get carried away in ones own hype and sense of luster. I never want to become a person who thinks he is better than anyone else.

We are all born (left watch) with nothing. We all start with a clean slate (left watch). Every second of every day (right watch) we make choices in our lives which influence the direction our lives take (between the two watches).

No matter what your current predicament in life, you have the choice as to how to live your present and future (right watch) knowing that the past cannot be changed (left watch). Sometimes life throws curve balls and may appear to be taking you off the path to which you strive. I truly believe that life is like a river and that river will always flow in a direction towards the positive. The choices you make in life may drop an anchor in the river and prevent you from flowing forward. They may put a motor in your boat and push you forward faster than the current alone. They may place a fork in the river and force you to decide which way to travel on lifeʼs boat. Sometimes on the river of life you have to just go with the flow and let the current take you where it will. But most times in life you need to get out the paddles and work diligently and emphatically to row the boat in the direction thatʼs right for you.

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