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Throughout this autobiography run the recurrent strains of the writer's interests in ants, hypnotism and total abstinence. Born and living most of his life in French speaking Switzerland, Forel was among the first to introduce more humane treatment of mental patients. His life was a strange mixture of conflicting emotions, understandable perhaps from his frank description of his ancestors and his shy and lonely childhood. Early in his professional life a friend had demanded of another doctor the truth as to his condition. He was told that he had only a short time to live and Forel, in spite of what he calls his truthful upbringing, thus learned, he says, the value of the occasional "ethical lie." A strain of naïveté is illustrated in innumerable sections of the book and adds much to the charm. In one place he says, "Since then I have realized more and more clearly every
Out of My Life and Work. JAMA. 1937;109(23):1933. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780490071040