Here’s what I think [or thought five years ago] about this, that and the other.
Hope it’s of interest.
Pretexts: literary and cultural studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, 1999
Points of Intervention: Interview with Christopher Norris
TY: Which philosopher do you like the best?
CN: Well, I have great admiration and affection for Spinoza. […] Spinoza, seems to me a model philosopher in many respects. He was a highly intelligent, single-minded and utterly committed thinker but at the same time live a life of exemplary virture. You know, he was never angry. Well, on just one occasion he did become angry, and I think justifiably so, when the mob attacked and murdered his enlightened patron and defender, Johann de Witt. But he himself was attacked, vilified, persecuted, excommunicated, subject to constant slander and abuse at the hands of his religious oppenents. He had to put up with some terrible treatment, and yet he remained calm, composed, good-willed and forgiving; and this had a lot to do with his basic philosophical convictions. Spinoza was a thoroughgoing determinist and he thought that, insofar as you came to understand other people and the cuases of their action, you could see our way beyond hating or despising them for what they did. At the same time you could reach a better understanding of your own beliefs, desires, thoughts, and actions, and thereby achieve the kind of freedom that results from enhanced self-knowledge.