Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so. Holmes

I was recently in India and left the television in my hotel room on through the night. There were successive commercials from Nivea promoting a cream that one makes one’s skin lighter. Apparently, the Indians are very sensitive to the fact that they have a dark complexion and they are trying to use various methods to address this issue. Oftentimes, one can observe people who cover themselves (despite the sweltering heat) to block the sun’s rays. (This is aside from those who cover themselves for religious reasons – the litmus test is how they dress when indoors or after dark)

As an American, I am used to the well-established tanning salon industry that is owes it success to the notion that fair skinned Americans seek a darker (tanned) complexion. For those Americans who are concerned about potentially harmful UV rays, spray on tans are a viable alternative.

The obvious question I had – who is right, is anyone right, what is real beauty etc. etc.

This cultural difference seems to underscore the idea that so many things in life are not absolute – despite the authoritative tone taken by many when stating issues of preference, opinion or taste.

The issues that are often hotly contested are social, financial, political or in the case of an attorney – legal.

As an attorney I often face adversaries in the litigation arena, and recognize that it is important to try to see and understand that there is another side to the story, that while I must zealously represent the interests of my client(s) and do whatever I can within ethical boundaries to win the case, many times there is another side to the story. In fact, failure to recognize the other side’s position precludes a litigator from properly preparing their own case and succeeding in litigation, arbitration or negotiating the best settlement. If an attorney’s attitude is that they can’t lose a case, they often find out that they not only can but do. On the other hand if an attorney tries to understand the other side, they are usually better prepared and that preparation usually yields positive results.

The moral of the story is that there are few absolutes.

What do you think.