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The psychic immune system

The psychic immune system

Copyright Rowman & Littlefield 2016

The psychic immune system

Dedicated to the late Norman O. Brown, author of Loves Body

The psychic immune system

Numerous scientific surveys have noted the imminent self-destruction of the human
species resulting from the ravaging of the environment. The Psychic Immune
System provides a glimmer of hope, making the audacious suggestion that there is a
self-corrective aspect of the collective psyche that can be compared to the immune
system. This "psychic immune system" has come to humanity's rescue in the past and
may well do so again before time runs out. Dr. Kroth has made a masterful synthesis
of quantum physics, evolutionary biology, and psychology. . . well written, well
documented, and well argued.
Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., author of Varieties of Anomalous Experience,
and editor of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.

In this masterful and original work, Dr. Kroth persuasively presents compelling
scientific findings from depth psychology, neuroscience, cultural, archetypal, and
collective psychology, quantum physics, history, and epigenetics that support a
hopeful and life giving message: there exists a psychic immune system that is alive
and well which functions to ensure our survival and well being.
Helen Marlo, Ph.D.,
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Chair, Clinical Psychology Department, Notre Dame de Namur University
Clinical Psychologist and Jungian Psychoanalyst

The Psychic Immune System offers us all a challenge: who we are and what we do
are merely superficial topics when why we do whatever we do may hinge on the
operant factors of the psychic immune system. It is well worth the readand a
second read.
Dr. Jerrold Atlas Senior Professor of History
Past Vice President International University at Altdorf

The Psychic Immune System permanently altered my perception of the world, how I
see history, the threat of war, and even how I evaluate the negativity in the news.
This book is a revolution in psychology pure and simple,
and incredibly reassuring.

The psychic immune system

Marvin Forrest, psychotherapist, author of Psychology Underground

Dr. Kroth's deep insights and perceptions of the most significant dynamics are
uncanny. Nowhere are his gifts more essential than in the growing field of compassion
studies. His works contain the seeds for sowing peace in our
troubled world
Bette Kiernan, psychotherapist, Palo Alto
author of The uses of fairy tales in psychotherapy

The Psychic Immune System in its broad and rich analysis of many past
and current events has challenged me. Prof. Kroth argues persuasively
that we are not awash in a sea of chance and evil.
David Frederick, Ph.D., psychotherapist,
Argus Psychotherapy Services

As a person trained in neuropsychology, I am deeply impressed with Professor

Kroth's Psychic Immune System and believe it is a formidable contribution to our
understanding of the human condition.
Octavio Pino, M.D., D.Sci, Professor
Florida International University

The genius of Dr. Kroth's inquiry opens the door to a

deeper understanding of human behavior.
Lou Pambianco, psychotherapist, Santa Cruz

Read this book and your perceptions of the unfolding events

around you will change.
Jeff Kisling, Ph.D., Neuropsychology & health
psychology; psychotherapist, Seattle

The psychic immune system

Table of contents
Preface: Invisibility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Part I: Dark Matters

Two strains of plague . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


2. On the shore with Thucydides. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


3. Nuclear winter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Part II: Epiphenomenon: a glimpse into the hidden world
of the psychic immune system

An overview of the physical immune system. . . . . . .


The innate psychic immune system . . . . . . . . . . . . . .145


The adaptive psychic immune system. . . . . . . . . . . .


The artificial psychic immune system . . . . . . . . . . . . 277


The invisible psychic immune system . . . . . . . . . . . . 313

. .133


Part III: An experimental test of the theory


Where the rubber meets the road . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351

Picture Credits
List of tables and figures
About the author

The psychic immune system

The psychic immune system

Preface: Invisibility

This text is about something right in front of us, except that it isnt
easily seen.

If one takes a step back to look at things from a more

distant perspective, using a fresh mindset that transcends more

traditional and comfortable inclinations, a glimpse of an unknown
and even magical reality slowly appears.
If you look carefully at this picture, at first glance it appears to be just
a series of vertical black and white lines. But when you step back
about four feet and look at it
from a distance, what is hidden
becomes visible. i
It is undetectable until we see it
with new eyes.
The adventure upon which we
embark is controversial,
unconventional, mercurial, and
always precariously balanced
on a gossamer tightrope of
intangibility. We will cover familiar stories, in many cases topics we
thought we understoodeven welllike the Cuban Missile Crisis,

The psychic immune system

but when looked at from a more distant perch, a wholly new reality
comes into focus.
Science may provide a better metaphor.
Physicists have been explaining the universe with concepts that are
often unmeasurable and invisible too, and, because of their
incorporeality, those ideas ran headlong into weighty criticism or
outright condemnation.
Concepts like dark matter, dark energy, WIMPS, neutrinos or that
quintessentially insubstantial Higgs boson were all brought into the
world amidst howls of ridicule.
Wolfgang Pauli proposed the existence of the neutrino, but his
quantum speculation was not only invisible, it was also unmeasurable.
The attacks were almost too much to bear. His theories, his critics
said, were so unclear, untestable, and unable to be evaluated, they
did not properly belong even within the realm of science. They were
worse than wrong, because they could not be proven wrong. . . it is
not even wrong! one critic bellowed. ii
Pauli suffered from the disparagement, went through a divorce,
entered therapy, but to everyones surprise, the invisible, indiscernible
neutrino, postulated in the 1930s, was observed in 1951.


The psychic immune system

Ridicule turned to praise. Einstein nominated him for the Nobel

Prize. It was awarded. He accepted. The invisible became visible.
We are embarking on a similar journey, but in psychology, not
We are in search of another hidden variable. When we alter our
perspective and crane our necks to try to find a more panoptic frame
of reference, we will see something glimmering out of the shadows,
lying behind our reality, shaping and influencing it in a way beyond
anything we ever imagined.
Book Jacket & Overview
The Psychic Immune System takes the reader on a ride up, down and through
incredible landscapes to explore the most uncanny and intriguing idea
perhaps ever penned by a psychologist: whether we have a psychic
immune system that parallels our physical immune system.
Professor Jerry Kroth, author of 13 books, invites us on a journey into a
remarkable hidden world and in the process draws our attention to
questions we have never really asked.
Why, for example, was Stalins repressive authoritarianism replaced by a
gentler regime? After his death, why was there a thaw instead of a
continuation, or even a ramping up, of the darkest sides of totalitarianism?
Why werent more and larger gulags built instead of the de-Stalinization

The psychic immune system


steps introduced by Khrushchev?

Why was the most ruthless side of Maoism replaced by a benign set of
businessmen in suits and ties instead of an even more draconian gang of four
deploying hordes of Red Guards in frenzied campaigns against capitalist

Why did Pol Pots Kampuchea not evolve into a more completely villainous
Brave New World? Why did this monstrous inhumanity come to a quick end
in just under four years?

While we are at it, why didnt Hitler win? Why didnt Genghis Khan succeed
in expanding his empire to include the earths known civilization? Why didnt
the brutality of Timur-the-lame flourish instead of wash out after his death?
Why did the An Lushan rebellion, which psychologist Steven Pinker calls the
most barbarous savagery perpetrated in human history, mysteriously fall into
quiescence after his death?

Strange questions, surely, but a careful assessment points to the strong

possibility something good or protective exists inside the human condition


The psychic immune system

that brings these outbreaksor psychic epidemics, if you willto an end.

Each of these dark moments in human historyKroth lists 11

miraculously ended. They did not continue, metastasize or worsen, but
reversed themselves, just like a disease might, and the situation reverted to
baseline, homeostasis, peace, and nonviolence. As Gandhi observed:

When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth
and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and
for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think
of it . . . always!

What Gandhi attributes to truth and love, Kroth investigates along a more
scientific path, referring to this entity or force as the psychic immune system.
He proposes that this immune system often operates autonomically to
regulate human negativity, barbarity, and contagion similar to how the
physical immune system reacts outside our awareness to defend the body
from disease. The psychic immune system, in effect, mirrors the physical
immune system.

The psychic immune system


However, just as we get a feeling for what Professor Kroth is driving at, he
changes gears, revs up his engines, and we suddenly find ourselves in
frightening scenarios: nuclear close calls, mistakes, and accidents that could
have brought humanity to the brink of extinction. This is a venue where the
psychic immune system might have shown its hidden face, namely to protect
humankind from blowing itself up and precipitating a nuclear winter through
stupidity, miscalculation, misperception, hubris, or impulsivity,

As we begin this slog toward Armageddon, we are presented with a thorough

list of nuclear miscalculations most of us know nothing about.

Operation Able Archer is such an example. Ronald Reagan, who called the
USSR an evil empire, thought it would be a good idea to conduct a
simulation of a first strike. While just a war game, the exercise was designed
to be as realistic as possible. However, after that evil empire remark, the
Soviets felt Reagan was unstable and reckless, so when Able Archer was
announced, Russia believed this was not an exercise at all, but a ruse for a
genuine first strike.

During this tense ten day period in 1983with the Soviets on hair-trigger


The psychic immune system

high alert and unsuspecting Americans naively conducting a computer war

game there was a point when Moscow was less than eight minutes away
from launching 300 ICBMs against the United States of America.

Many years later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said we came very close to
causing World War III without even knowing it.

Again, Kroth asks why none of these deep dangers spilled out into reality,
and exactly what saved humanity from its own idiocy?

Even miscalculations on what we think we know quite a bit aboutlike the

events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisisare frighteningly different from
what really occurred.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Soviet submarine B-59 was approaching the
quarantine area. The U.S. started dropping depth charges to force it to
surface. What Defense Secretary Robert McNamara did not know, and did
not learn until 40 years later, was that the Soviet sub was equipped with
nuclear-tipped torpedoes. The U.S. Navy was actually dropping depth
charges on a nuclear-armed Russian submarine without any idea how close it

The psychic immune system


came to tempting fate!

The officers aboard the sub had standing orders to reply to depth charges by
firing their torpedoes. Vasily Arkhipov, a junior officer, tried to persuade his
two senior commanders not to fire, but the captain insisted they follow
orders. They sub was out of communication with Moscow, and the skipper
urged them to behave as they were trained. The world was on the edge of
nuclear annihilation. Arkhipov persisted and urged them to go against what
they were taught. Finally, the sub surfaced. The world was not only spared
from a nuclear incident, but probably ducked a deadly nuclear winter.

McNamara only learned about this harrowing event at a conference in

Havana in 2003.

More than 18 white-knuckle events since 1945 are catalogued, while in the
shadows we hear Kroths familiar query: Why havent we detonated a single
nuclear weapon over a population center in over 70 years? What is it that
seems to have humanitys back?

Is it luck? Is it sane and rational heroes coming to the rescue and single-


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handedly saving the human race? Or is it something else?

Through this evolving litany of empirical data, Kroth gently proposes that
what may have humanitys back is an illusive, invisible psychic immune
system that operates in the shadows of our awareness.

The body of the book examines what exactly might make up this system. If
the physical immune system has an innate side to it, what does the innate
psychic immune system look like? If the physical immune system has an
adaptive dimension, what makes up the adaptive psychic immune system?

Readers are gingerly escorted on a fascinating and eminently readable trek

into sociogenomics, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and comparative
psychology, and even asked to dip their toes into epigenetics.

More questions are posed: Why are women more attracted to men who have
different immune systems than theirs? Why do pubescent girls find the odors
of their fathers or brothers more noxious than odors of strangers? Why does a
womans brain react to the cry of a child in less than 100 millisecondsthe
time it takes to blink while a mans brain shows no similar reactivity? Why

The psychic immune system


do children show a fear of strangers as early as three months? Why do male

football players from the home team generate more testosterone before a
game than their visiting opponents?

These are like empirical pebbles picked up on our journey, making us wonder
what all these ostensibly random items have in common. What links them?
The answer is they are all related to human evolutionary survival, selfpreservation, the viability of the gene pool, and are thus subtle manifestations
of the hard-wired, yet hidden, infrastructure of the psychic immune system.

Finally, Kroth admits his theory is just that, a theory, and it has little merit
unless it can be tested. Where could such a preposterous or exciting idea
depending on your point of viewever be experimentally verified?

In a masterful chapter on global warming, Kroth shows how the psychic

immune system intervenes in human affairs when survival and selfpreservation are threatened in a way similar to how the physical immune
system intervenes under duress. What greater dilemma could humankind
have put itself in today than the challenges posed by global warming?


The psychic immune system

In this chapter, Kroth shrewdly introduces two speakers. The first asserts no
chimerical psychic immune system exists and there is no rescue in sight to
prevent mass extinctions from global warminga projected 100 million
deaths by 2030, a 40 percent water shortfall by 2050, and a billion climate
refugees at the mid-century mark.

However, the second speaker steps up to this virtual dais, proffers that the
psychic immune system is quite real, and gives a sharply different prognosis.
If the psychic immune system was involved in subduing mankinds most
egregious outbreaks of barbarity and savagery, and it plied its behind-thescenes warp and woof to our nuclear stupidities, it will surely be activated in
this crisis too. In other words, if we have a psychic immune system, there is
substantial reason to believe it will be as ferocious in addressing this threat as
it has to all of the other psychic epidemics homo Sapiens has incubated in its

If not, global warmings effects could be worse than we ever imagined.

This book is a magnum opus, taking us from nuclear miscalculations to the

dark shadows of Pol Pots extermination camps, from the African slave trade

The psychic immune system


to the Iraq war. Its expanse is breathtaking. Covering 450 pages with a
thousand footnotes and more than 80 photos and graphics, the adventure is
relentless and the data assembled, as well as the unique and masterful new
psychological theory of the psychic immune system, is nothing short of


About the Author

Jerry Kroth, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor Emeritus in the graduate
counseling psychology program at Santa Clara University in California. His
academic assignments have included courses in psychotherapy and personality
theory, dreamwork and research methods. Dr. Kroth has an abiding
therapeutic interest in working with dreams, personal oracles and the
applications of dream theory to psychohistory and collective psychology. Jerry
is also a member of the International Psychohistorical Association and a
frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.
Dr. Kroths twelve prior books were in the areas of counseling, psychology,
child sexual abuse, learning disorders, metapsychology, transpersonal
psychology and research methodology. His most recent text is entitled Psyches
Exile: an empirical odyssey in search of the soul, 2013. In addition, he has written and


The psychic immune system

presented over 75 papers on anxiety, child development, mass psychology,

synchronicity, experimental studies of the dream process, the psychology of
propaganda and collective psychology. Professor Kroth lives in California with
his wife and two daughters. He maintains a website: and has numerous online lectures posted on
Youtube and the Itunes University.


Optical illusion courtesy of Niels Schumm, Blommers/Schumm blommers/schumm

R. Peirls, "Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, 19001958." Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 1960