Short Story: “The Hate Circuit”

On October 28, 2008, two British scientists published an article concerning the sections of the brain where hate is located. They discovered what they called a “Hate circuit,” located in the cortex, sub-cortex, and the frontal cortex of the brain. During a study, the scientists learned that these parts of the brain light up on a MRI when the people undergoing the study looked at pictures of those they hated.

In other words, we finally knew the location of Hate within the brain. This non distinctive article only caught the eyes of other neurobiologists. America and the world dismissed it among the riff raff posted on Facebook and the drama between celebrities.

Eighteen years after the discovery of the hate circuit, archaeologists discovered Adolph Hitler’s body on September 3, 2026. He had not committed suicide in his bunker in 1945 as it had previously been believed, but had actually lived out his life in a mental hospital in Poland after a psychotic breakdown at the end of the war from which he never recovered. Following his death, a group of former Nazis had frozen his body cryogenically in a highly secretive lab in Poland to keep it from Jewish hands.

German authorities retrieved his body and did numerable dissections on Ol’ Hitler. They were especially interested in Hitler’s brain. Dr. Johannes Schnitzler, the top German neurologist overseeing the research, presented his findings three years after the discovery.

I happened to be in college when the findings were released. On my way to class, I downloaded the university newspaper on my Ebook. On the third page, a cartoon of Hitler with an enlarged brain that pulsed red, overpowered the top right side of the paper. Written in large black letters to the left of the picture, the headline read: Hitler’s Hate Disease Caused the Holocaust.

As I skimmed through the article, I had to laugh out loud. The article stated that Dr. Schnitzler had stumbled upon a great discovery. Hitler had high levels of hate located in his cortex, sub-cortex, and frontal cortex that had caused him to hate above and beyond what a normal person would. Perhaps this is why Hitler hated Jews and caused the Holocaust?

Schnitzler believed these large amounts of hate located in Hitler’s brain had the characteristics of a disease. Thus, he also concluded that hate is essentially a disease that affects the brain. The name of the disease that Schnitzler claimed had ruined Hitler’s brain is long and useless to know, because it would later be commonly called, “Hitler’s Hate Disease.” Not very creative, I know.

Dr. Schnitzler concluded at the end of his paper that he believed hate should be cured at all costs, lest things like the Holocaust should occur again.

I laughed at the time, for I found the article quite ridiculous and couldn’t imagine why a newspaper (even the university newspaper) would publish something so…stupid. I was in enrolled in a philosophy class, and as in all philosophy classes we debated everything—especially the contents in the newspaper.

My professor, Dr. Don, asked us if we had read the article. For those who hadn’t, they quickly pulled out their Netpads and Ebooks to skim it. He then presented this question: “Hate—Does it exist? And if so, should it be cured as this Dr. Schnitzler claims?”

After a small moment of silence, our brains quickly lit up and comments began to fly. The majority of the class claimed hate existed, but as an emotion, rather than a disease. I made the comment that hate wasn’t something to be cured, only something to endure. Most of the class agreed with me

The few who actually wondered if hate could be a disease stayed relatively quiet except for one girl. Julie Johns said one thing, one small sentence that I never actually thought about until a few months ago: “Depression is an emotion, but doctors claim it can be cured with a pill—why couldn’t the same thing be done with hate?”

The news had what they called a “hay day” on the “Hitler Hate Disease” story. Every news station covered the story, not to mention, every time I checked my email or Facebook the newsfeed had a picture of Hitler and the word, “Hate,” usually written on his head.

The world was obsessed with Hitler once again.

………………

Rather than wondering if Hitler’s Hate Disease might have been a publicity stunt for Germany, a way to erase their bloodstained past, the news casts hypothesized what the discovery could mean. If Hitler had this condition, what about all the other cruel people from history? Attila the Hun? Vlad the Impaler? Ivan the Terrible? Bloody Mary? The KKK? The slave owners in America? Stalin? Donald Trump? Margaret Thatcher? And what about that Korean guy—Kim Jong-il? Did they all have Hitler’s Hate Disease? And notice how most of the cruel people of history were men. Are men more susceptible to Hitler’s Hate Disease than women are?

If those questions weren’t enough, other subjects brought up in the newsrooms and newspapers included:

  1. How do we identify Hitler’s Hate Disease?
  2. How many people had Hitler’s Hate Disease?
  3. What can we do to prevent this disease?
  4. Can we find a cure?

That last word filled the news to the brim. Cure. The idea of curing hate flabbergasted me and I tried to resist watching the news. Curing hate — Ha!

And yet I will admit, I still watched, just like everyone else in the world. We sat like mice in front of our television waiting for a new piece of cheese to be thrown our way, only to discover that more traps were in our path. Dr. Schnitzler believed we could find a cure one day. Didn’t we find a cure for cancer only some years ago? Everything would be fine as soon as we found a cure.

Everyone asked the same thing: how would we be able to tell if someone had Hitler’s Hate Disease? You couldn’t tell by just looking at someone… could you?

Dr. Schnitzler announced there were only two ways to identify a “hater:” by either paying for an expensive MRI scan or by extensive psychological analysis to identify the symptoms of Hitler’s Hate Disease. These signs included: excessive hate for a single person or a group of people, prone to fist fights, prone to angry outbursts and threats, people who had been to jail, people who stole, committed adultery, or had eating disorders, people who were addicted to sex or watched excessive amounts of pornography, and lastly, people with enlarged foreheads. Of course, there were more symptoms, but those were the most identifiable.

And how does one contract Hitler’s Hate Disease? Dr. Schnitzler claimed that the knowledge of how one got Hitler’s Hate Disease deluded him at the moment, but he and his team of scientists believed the disease came about as an evolutionary glitch and was a hereditary trait between parents and children. Everyone has a small amount of hate, but if the levels increased, the individual became a danger to society. There had even been some promising research results that claimed drugs and alcohol might increase the attack of hate on the cortex.

The last question on everyone’s mind: what do we do now? What hope would we have until a cure had been found? Dr. Schnitzler and his team of scientists advised we start seeking professional help until the glorious day a cure was discovered. Perhaps eat some chocolate. Some research had shown chocolate helped reduce the attack of the disease.

After about two weeks, the drama concerning Hitler’s Hate Disease died down…but only in the newspapers and newsrooms and such. It still simmered slightly among the citizens of the globe. A Tweet here, a Facebook post there, the common usage of the phrase in everyday language; it had burrowed into our minds forever.

………………

For the next six years, life went on. I received my undergraduate degree in General Studies and even went on to complete my graduate degree in English. I moved between two states within the time, had three boyfriends (and one experimental fling with a girl), managed to not get pregnant, and even found myself a steady, low paying teaching job as an instructor at a small community college.

I wish I could say Hitler’s Hate Disease became a thing of the past; it did in my mind at one time, but didn’t in others.

During those six years, a forty percent increase in the number of patients attending therapy and receiving psychological and mental help occurred. In addition, there was a ten percent increase in the number of suicides within the United States.

At the time, statisticians, psychologists, and sociologists were baffled at these numbers. There hadn’t been a terrorist attack in over twenty years, the United States hadn’t been at war for ten years, and the economy seemed to be moving steadily, and for that matter, gas prices weren’t even at $12 yet! The numbers didn’t match the facts.

And then, the sixth year after the discovery of Hitler’s Hate Disease something peculiar happened. Iraq quieted. Iraq had never been quiet. Constant power struggles, religious wars, and dictators made it a ward of unrest. The last time the U.S. tried to control the wild flurry of terrorists, dictators, and civil unrest, we found ourselves in a fifteen year-long war that only created exhaustion in our hearts, our soldier’s minds, and in our wallets.

On May 1, 2035, every protest, every bombing, every yelling, every burning, ceased in Iraq. At first, the United Nations, and even the countries bordering it, didn’t seem to notice. But after about a week, we all realized that Iraq hadn’t been in the news, hadn’t had any bombings, or any other radical civil unrest to speak of.

Granted, we were happy Iraq had quieted. We didn’t care why or how, we were just tired of seeing them in the news. We barely noticed their absence, for another socially explosive country took their spot on the five o’clock news.

Regardless, six months after May 1, 2035, and the “calmness” that befell Iraq, a lone female reporter named Jen Weiss at the New York Times uncovered the best (and worst) story of all time.

Since the announcement of Hitler’s Hate Disease, the CIA had become extremely interested in a cure. Obviously, they didn’t wish to find a cure for the common man; they had set their sights much higher. For years, the CIA had been trying to come up with a way to keep Middle Eastern and other “socially explosive” countries from going off on the deep end, such as shooting their nuclear missiles at another country thus creating a nuclear war, and bringing about the demise of the world.

Hitler’s Hate Disease created a new goal for the CIA. They created a formula for preventing a nuclear war or another world war. Below is a summary of the CIA’s line of thinking at that time:

  • Most likely, dictators and civilians in countries with civil unrest have Hitler’s Hate Disease. (They concluded this by studying their volatile nature throughout history)
  • People with high levels of hate are more explosive in nature, and therefore are more apt to trigger a nuclear war without second thoughts.
  • Therefore, those dictators and civilians needed a cure for hate.
  • If a cure is found and prescribed to those individuals, a nuclear war could be averted.

With this goal in mind, the CIA went to work. They hired every highly renowned scientist, chemist, doctor, and neurologist in the country, and even a few from the UK and China.

Finally after six years of never-ending hard work, the CIA had found a cure. A cure! Not a shot, not chemo therapy, not surgery, but an extremely easy to prescribe cure: a pill.

This tiny little red pill had a cylindrical shape and stretched the length of the tip of a woman’s pinky finger. The pill was a one-of-a-kind genetically engineered virus. Once the pill had been swallowed the virus traveled through the blood stream to the brain, targeted the hate circuit, and attacked the hate disease. The best feature of the pills, according to the CIA, was its ability to dissolve in water; tasteless, and left no residue.

Oh, the happy dagger! A pill to cure hate! The U.S. government named it “Ambitus.”

According to Jen Weiss, the first use of the “cure” by the CIA (besides on the hundreds of homeless people they took off the streets to test it in secret laboratories) targeted Iraq. A top-secret agent slipped into the country, somehow made it within the vicinity of the dictator of Iraq, slipped one Ambitus into his glass, and thus cured the first (non-test subject) person of Hitler’s Hate Disease. At the same time, a few other agents slipped Ambitus in the drinks of a few radical religious, terrorist, and political men across the country—why not cure a few others while we were at it?

Unfortunately, two of the other agents didn’t happen to be the CIA’s “best.” As they escaped the country, one swam in the Tigris River and the other swam through the Euphrates River to a safe spot, after almost being caught in the act. Apparently, the CIA had given each agent two pills, one for the leaders they were to cure, and another pill, in case they came across another major leader, or if they happened to lose the one meant for their primary target.  Both agents only used one pill, and had the backup pill in their pockets when they swam through the two most important river systems in Iraq. Of course, the pills dissolved in the rivers. This discovery went unnoticed until the CIA agents returned to the United States.

The CIA wasn’t aware of the implications of the two pills dissolving in the river systems until Iraq quieted. See when it comes to genetically engineered viruses, there can be unpredictable mutations and/or multiplying when the virus comes into contact with certain elements. Unbeknownst to the CIA, the virus in Ambitus genetically multiplies in water; quite a rare thing, but these things happen with genetically engineered viruses.

The CIA reports that Jen Weiss managed to get her hands on, said that the mission, later known as “Cure Iraq,” had zero collateral damage, and that they truly believed that the two pills would not affect any Iraqi citizens. Yet, lo and behold, a few weeks after the mission, on May 1, 2035, a figurative silence covered Iraq, and only one conclusion remained: Iraq had been cured.

Imagine this news, splashed across every form of media in the world. The United States had found a cure, and within a short time, had cured an entire country! The United States had become the Jesus of the modern world—laying hands on the countries filled with hate in their minds and curing them of the devilish disease! Americans and most civilians across the world were happy that a cure had been found. On the other hand, every dictator, caudillo, and military leader pointed angry fingers and even shifted their missiles toward the U.S. An understandable reaction, in my opinion. If the United States cured one country, what would keep them from curing others?

Some of us were left in shock at this event. We didn’t know how to think. Was this good or bad? More importantly—was this ethical? Who were we to cure someone of something without their knowledge?

I was still teaching at the community college when Cure Iraq occurred. I had an Iraqi freshman in my English class-Amer Dahla. His parents were from Iraq, but he had been born in the United States. Many of his family members still lived in Iraq. I required a morning exercise of the freshman English class that I taught. Each day the students were supposed to write in a journal for the first ten minutes of class and then turn in their journals to me at the end of class.

My English class met the day after the Cure Iraq story aired on television. Many of the journal entries were about the story. Most consisted of idiotic and racist things like: “Finally the CIA got them Muslims!” or “So glad we cured those Arabs of hate. We can all sleep better now.” I threw many of the journals aside, but decided to read Amer’s journal before I left the campus for the night.

I still have the journal entry with me. I made the students turn in the journals at the end of the year, and I specifically tore out Amer’s entry that day. It’s here in front of me now. Here’s just a small piece: “My baby cousin was born two weeks ago in Iraq. She didn’t know the hate that surrounded her, that I always felt when I visited Iraq. I don’t know if what the CIA did was right. Not everyone in Iraq has hate. It’s mostly the leaders and fanatics. But it doesn’t matter. Now my baby cousin will be free of a life from hate. Now she will drown in love and happiness when she grows up.”

The journal entry gave me chills when I read it. This boy believed in this cure, believed that without hate, his baby cousin would be swimming in love. At the time, it surprised me. But now as I read it, I cry. Amer was so naïve—we all were.

The United Nations called an emergency meeting concerning Cure Iraq. The United States were berated like naughty children for their preemptive “pharmaceutical warfare.” But behind closed doors, the United Nations applauded the U.S. for coming up with a cure! What possibilities it could bring to world peace! The United Nations made a promise to the nations that feared this cure, that the United States would not commit pharmaceutical warfare but rather share their knowledge of Ambitus to every government of the world. With this knowledge, each country could stop the civil unrest, the band of guerillas, and the prison uprisings!

The discussion over the fact that the United States “cured” millions of people, who probably never had Hitler’s Hate Disease, never came up. Iraq, who did attend the meeting, did not show any kind of animosity toward the United States. They couldn’t have even if they wanted to.

Unfortunately, the ramifications of leaking the pill in the Tigris and Euphrates were so enormous that the United States didn’t need to commit pharmaceutical warfare again. The Tigris and Euphrates both empty large amounts of water into the Persian Gulf every day. The Persian Gulf flows into the Arabian Sea, which in turn, flows into the Indian Ocean. With water currents and storms systems, the water reaches from Africa to Asia and everything in between (and even at times, touches the west coast of Australia). Those pills had fallen into a natural hydraulic circuit.

In the end, the CIA’s hypothesis rang true. The nations in the East disarmed their nuclear missiles and their bombs as the effect of Ambitus conquered their minds.

………………

As soon as the American populace heard of the cure, they contacted every person with connections to the White House demanding that the cure be released to the public. Some stood in front of the Lincoln memorial with signs that read: “Liberate Us From Hate!” “I’d Feel Great Without Hate!” and “Chocolate Didn’t Work!” Some news stations even introduced the idea of making it mandatory that every person with Hitler’s Hate Disease be cured. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place? Bring about world peace? Stop all the hate speech, the discrimination, the prejudice, the racism, the communism, the homophobia, transphobia, sexism, murder, and abuse that plagued the world?

After months and months, the government finally made a decision about the cure. They would allow only psychologists and neurologists to prescribe it for those who had been found to be victims of Hitler’s Hate Disease through neurological testing or psychological analysis.

Americans flocked like birds on a bread crumb to their psychologists and neurologists. Psychologists and neurologists wrote prescriptions for Ambitus like they were vitamins and people swallowed them as such. If the structures that made a loop in the cortex, sub-cortex, or frontal cortex lit up like a Christmas tree on the MRI, you had Hitler’s Hate Disease, and if the psychologist checked more than five of the analogous symptoms, congrats, you were the victim of Hitler’s Hate Disease.

Eventually, nothing you did, and no one you hated could make you liable. Lawyers had a new argument for the courts. The disease made you act the way you did and say the things you said. Hitler might have been a nice guy too without the disease ravaging his brain, and now you would have a fair chance at justice!

One of my fellow English colleagues told me one day that he had the disease and planned to take Ambitus to cure himself. Lionel Ross, the sweetest, gentlest, and shyest man you had ever met. He loved his students and teaching more than anything. According to his psychologist, Lionel hated his mother so vehemently that all signs pointed to Hitler’s Hate Disease—there’d be no need to get an MRI scan. I told him to wait it out, that a pill didn’t cure everything, and there could be side effects, but of course, he didn’t listen to me.

At first glance, there didn’t seem to be a change in the individuals, nor Lionel for that matter, when given Ambitus. Most people who first took the pill were men and women who didn’t seem hateful on the outside to begin with, but they supposedly had underlying high levels of hate that could explode at any moment. The next few weeks after Lionel had taken the pill, I noticed no change in his behavior. Perhaps he seemed a bit happier and chirpier than usual, but it could have been coincidental.

At the same time, about a year after the CIA had provided the drug, the American Psychological Association presented a paper that said that one in thirty Americans had taken Ambitus. One in thirty people who I passed by on the street had been cured of hate. One in thirty of my two hundred students had taken Ambitus. The number did more than shock me, it sickened me. It made me realize how common Ambitus had become. What if the river disaster that occurred in Iraq occurred in my city and I would be inadvertently cured of something I couldn’t possibly have? Would it wipe all traces of Hate within me? Would that be a bad thing?
After six months, I noticed a change in Lionel, and unfortunately in a few of my students. Day by day they seemed to stop feeling. It’s hard to describe seeing someone losing their ability to feel, but it’s what I observed. Lionel seemed to stop caring about his job, until he quit. I noticed the loss of passion, the loss of life in the essays and stories, of the few students who had previously shown a love for writing. Nothing mattered anymore to them. They saw it as being free from hate; I saw it as being possessed by something worse.

………………

I often made trips to the public library to checkout popular fiction. I took a new route one day as I left the library with my book bag full of contemporary novels. The sidewalk ran past the alleyway that ran behind the library. A loud banging noise caught my attention as I passed the alley. I found a woman dumping boxes full of books in the garbage can.

Community college professors didn’t make that much money if you can imagine, and any free books would be welcomed on my bookshelf.

I walked toward the woman, and spoke up so I wouldn’t scare her, “Hi there.”

She looked up from the box of books she had been pouring in the garbage. Three boxes full of books lay behind her. Her forehead glistened with the effort of dumping them.

“Yes?” Something about her tone indicated boredom.

“Are you throwing out books?”

Her right eyebrow rose slightly. “Yes.”

“What kind of books? Would you mind if I looked through them, and perhaps take some off of your hands?” I tried to remain nice and smile, even with her nonchalant attitude.

She placed the empty box in a pile of other empty boxes beside the garbage can.
“I don’t think you’d want these.”
“Why not?” I asked.

“They are books about hate,” she said matter-of-factly. Her tone reminded me of an old voice recording — you know, the ones that put you to sleep because they’re monotone?

“And what’s wrong with that?” I took a few steps toward the boxes filled with books behind her. I wanted to get a look of what those boxes contained. I reached into the box without looking when she answered me.

“We are curing hate. There is no need to read such things anymore.” I would have laughed at the absurdity of her comment if what I held in my hand hadn’t shocked me more.

I held Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, one of the most well-known love stories of all time between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. I changed the book to my other hand and moved the other books around in the box so I could see the titles. Gone With the Wind, Twilight, Cold Mountain, The Flame and The Flower, Romeo and Juliet, Montana Sky, Brokeback Mountain, Erotique, The Irish Warrior… They were all love stories. Every single one. I saw classic romances, paranormal romances, erotica, literary romance, and even a few homosexual romances. I turned my face back to the woman, absolutely confused.

“But these are all books about love?”

Her head cocked to the side and she said one sentence which finally lifted the veil that had been covering my eyes and showed me the true ramifications of Hitler’s Hate Disease and Ambitus.

“What’s the difference?”
………………

A week after my encounter with the librarian, I quit my job, searched online, found a job as a high school teacher in a town in the middle of nowhere. They hired me over the phone.

Day after day, more people were cured and most of them didn’t even have Hitler’s Hate Disease. They relied on the opinion of psychologists, who in most cases, had taken Ambitus themselves, and believed it to be the miracle cure for everything. After only a few years, Ambitus made its way to the black market. Individuals and groups bought the drug illegally to use it for their own purpose. In most cases, this dealt with people buying the drug and curing others without their consent. Children used it on their parents, blacks used it on whites, women on men, Jews on Christians, Christians on Muslims, gay people on straight conservatives, and the list went on.

In 2043, eight years after the release of the drug, the United States government enacted laws that mandated certain individuals to be cured of Hitler’s Hate Disease with Ambitus. All persons in jails and prisons were to be given the drug. After two years, the states would release these individuals back into the world, free from hate. They estimated that the penitentiary system would cease to exist in five years, thus releasing burden on tax payer’s pockets. Anyone found guilty of murder, rape, physical abuse, sexual abuse, battery, assault, and any other acts of violence by a court of law would also be prescribed Ambitus and six months of community service for their crime.

A quiet hysteria had set within the population of America. Everyone had Hitler’s Hate Disease, or rather everyone had hate, and hate, in their minds was the root cause to every problem in the world.

……………….

The brain is the powerhouse that connects every single part of your mind and body by using neuron signals. Everything is connected in an endless loop. For some reason, the scientists, doctors, and neurologists believed Ambitus wouldn’t affect any other part of the brain, but eventually it did. Only later did a few outlaw scientists discover that the Love circuit, as it would be called, connected to the Hate circuit.

A quote just came to my mind. I can’t remember who wrote it or why but it went something like this: “If you kill the devils, you kill the angels with them.” I guess in the end they were partially right — Hate could be cured.

People stopped hating, stopped loving, basically stopped feeling. They became shells of their former selves. Novels on love and hate were thrown away. Comedies and loves stories were not made into films. The news became news, without any passion or basic opinion on what occurred (which may be how it should have always been but you get the point). Book stores closed, gyms closed, malls closed, schools closed. Songs, art, and even religion ceased to exist almost overnight as the amounts of people being cured of hate increased.

People stopped having sex and the numbers of births dropped. Humans stopped caring about their jobs, their families, their significant others, until each person walked alone on the street, not caring, not hating, and worse, not loving.

And as swift as a shadow, the jaws of darkness devoured the world.

………………

No one protested Ambitus or Hitler’s Hate Disease. They took for granted the circle of doctors and scientists who preached the destructiveness of Hitler’s Hate Disease. They went along with the government mandates—and why wouldn’t they, if it meant less tax dollars going to providing accommodations to rapists and murderers? And the ones who wished to speak out, who knew it was wrong—were scared. Cowards die many times before their deaths.

They would be pointed out and labeled as “Haters” and victims of hate and wouldn’t one person, just one person find a way to liberate them from hate? And if not a random person, maybe a family member; wouldn’t it be the government sooner or later?

The people of the little town I lived in became an even closer knit community than before Ambitus. They had one local doctor and he didn’t believe in Hitler’s Hate Disease. The community pushed out anyone who had taken the drug until we were alone; watching the world on our televisions, watching the world, die day by day.

I went every day to my job at the little high school. I taught the children: I taught them love and hate through books, art, stories, songs, and poetry. I taught them to be thankful that they hadn’t been caught in the web of the hate hysteria. But they knew and I knew it would find us one day. We had herded ourselves like cattle into our small town. Easy prey. We would become like the others, lifeless zombies.

And now, I write this. I write this in the living room of my two-bedroom house by fire light. Every once and awhile, I look at the book shelves that line every wall in the living room and I see all the books about love that filled the last three boxes that the librarian didn’t get a chance to throw away. Filling the spaces between them are other books on love and hate, war and peace, and sadness and happiness that I picked up over the years.
I pray that one day, when I will be cured of Hate, for it will happen, either by accident or deliberately by a government mandate, that I see the books that surround me and I read each and every black letter printed on every page. I pray that I feel every word I read.

I hope I read this account, see the books that surround me, and make myself, or rather, make my brain remember to love, but more importantly, remember to hate.

In this Dystopian short story, a woman provides a first-hand account of when the world cured "hate," and the dire consequences that resulted from it.

 

 

 

Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador is the founder and editor-in-chief of Fempotential.com. She’s a full-time freelancer with dreams of being a full-time novelist and blogger.
Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is the founder and editor-in-chief of Fempotential.com. She's a full-time freelancer with dreams of being a full-time novelist and blogger.