"You can tell straight away. Tell it in their eyes. They got dead eyes like a shark. They don't care what happens to you, or them. The worst has happened already. And when you see one coming down the street towards you, you cross over." You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is a quote about Liberal Democrat election canvassers, but I jotted it down from a cable documentary about the worst-affected of the Vietman war veterans.

Thankfully they are rare, these ghost people, but I'm sure we've all come across a few. And who are they? Or who aren't they? They're not merely the alone. Or those too self-obsessed or plain crazy to have a proper empathy with others, blind to that which is not a flattering extension of their own bias. They aren't bollocksed on crack or swinging around up a pick'n'mix scaffold of anti-depressant quick fix. It's not dopamine, serotonin or testosterone to blame. Yet they're not sweet enough to deserve the word broken-hearted. They're not sweet.

They're a husk, a map of error. The fallen who have no desire for their own resurrection. Incapable fatalists, every breath an epitaph. Unable to feel, they became their own anethetists. Playing dead to negate themselves from blame. Others project blame onto the universe itself. Bulldozing forward straight through the problem - you and me and God above. They may be invisible or seen only by the colour of their violence. Lone wolves or in packs.

And they don't care what happens to you, or them. "Sin is whatever obscures the soul" and the ghost people are going straight to hell, boy. Their sights are fixed and you'd better cross the street unless you want to be the fast track they've been waiting for. Back to their long home. Back? For they must have tasted hell, somewhere out there. And it lingers on in everything, suffuses their world, eats their food before they can and draws the goodness from the air we all share.

When it happened, something snuffed. Some humane flame was taken, leaving room for the permanent sneer of low self-esteem to implode into a frigid hysteric: no self-esteem. The self-shaped space. The divorce of oneself from one's own behaviour. Actionless, suspended like a 'speculative fiction' android realising the distance between themselves and mankind. Or the shiner worn like a condemned sign. Blind rage can never be constructive but, ironically, it can serve as a last Loveless grasp at feeling. For the Loveless to hate is to be, at least, kicking against the abyss. All contempt may be self-contempt. But I hate, therefore I am.

Before it happened, something flipped. Flip with it. Ethos - which deals with nature, character and community and gives rise to ethics, turns into pathos - originally meaning 'suffering'. Ethics turned into pathics. At an ecological level, pathics describe good systems that fall to ruin, and take the following pattern: Order is disturbed by loss of place. Order is disrupted by loss of balance. Order is destroyed by loss of diversity.

If you want to watch a prime suspect going mad as a shithouse rat up a Loveless cul-de-sac, then, make sure that they are (i) somewhere they function badly (ii) with far too much of what they can't handle or too little of what they need (iii) finally make sure their associations are not rich enough. Their support impoverished. This probably applied to your neighbourhood bus-clearer. Maybe to the school bogs bitch or bully, and certainly to the shell-shocked fucknut gone on a Rambo.

"Die. DIE. Oh you wanker. Why won't you fucking DIE?" I hear the kid in the flat above, Louie, suddenly start screaming. I'm about to run up there when I realise he's playing Deathmageddon V: Zombie Hardball. Is it going to render him Loveless? I doubt that. And I doubt anyone genuinely Loveless is reading this. But in case you ever feel yourself emptied of care, laughing a little less easily or only at the infirm going tits-up into the frozen peas: measure your own ecology - by any means necessary.