To Define ---- is to Distrust

The extent to which, insofar as we are interested in defining things or people, there’s a sense that we’re not really engaging with them ... it’s as though we have to shape them in the image that we’ve made of them rather than allow them to meet us, so I think 'to define is to distrust' means: be attentive to your formulations because sometimes they are very insulating, or very limiting, or very confining, and that if you’ve got confidence in the object you’re tempted to define, there will be a better exchange with them, you don’t need to define them, you can allow there to be an exchange rather than a definition … to define someone is to not have a relationship with them … and that will be true of yourself too ….

- Adam Phillips, in a conversation with Paul Holdengraber