Highly Defended

In his New Yorker piece on Mike Nichols, Louis Menaud writes:

Nichols later said that he never had a friend until he went to the University of Chicago. He entered in the fall of 1949, when he was seventeen. Nichols was well read, but academically indifferent, professionally undirected, and highly defended. He had nothing to back up his sense of superiority, which is not a good place to be.

This prompted me to think about the notion of being defended versus being undefended, about which I’d use to describe myself, and about whether one is a healthier state than the other.

What do you think?