We mourn the passing of Tom Taussig with this beautiful eulogy written by Patricie Anzari and translated from Czech into English by Nathan Cutler:
Tom died on December 7, 2018 in the cozy, welcoming home he built with his own hands in Point Richmond, on the banks of San Francisco Bay. He was born on February 17, 1933 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Faced with Nazi persecution, his family fled to the United States when he was seven years old. Though he became an American, throughout his life he maintained fluency in his native Czech language, enriching it from time to time with endearing neologisms.
In his first profession as a computer science professor at Berkeley, Tom was an expert on the Internet. Later, he switched to experiential, transpersonal psychotherapy. He accompanied hundreds of people from many countries of the world as they explored the inner depths, both of their own souls and of the universe itself. Everywhere he went, he sowed hope and opened hearts. Never domineering or even dominant, he was always friendly and unassuming. He never drew attention to himself – he had his assistants lead his workshops, for example – yet somehow he was always the prime mover. His method was one of loving, selfless service. He enjoyed connecting his friends from various corners of the world, and by the end of his 85-year life he had created an informal, planet-spanning network of people not on the egocentric materialism bandwagon – a network of mutual assistance and support.
For me personally Tom was a teacher, a steadfast friend, and a liberator from the bonds of totalitarianism. We met in 1984, at an underground seminar in what was then Czechoslovakia. For me it was a turning point: my first realization that the psychology I had studied in college had another side – a different and wonderful version of itself that spontaneously grew in me, in spite of being roundly rejected by the uptight rules of “conventional science.” There, at that secret seminar, for the first time in my life I witnessed the miracle of emotional engagement, worked by a caring therapist not embarrassed to hug his clients and share his personal life story with them.
Tom drew aside the Iron Curtain for me, helping me to leave the country in 1986 to spend three transformative months in the USA. There, he introduced me to my principal teachers: John Weir Perry, Stanislav Grof, Ram Dass, and Chunliang Al Huang, among others. In 1990, two months after the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, I embarked on an independent path, opening a private transpersonal psychotherapy practice and, over time, developing my own method called Active Egolysis. Tom came to visit every year and collaborated with me at my workshops. Later, he helped me equip a center for multi-day programs. Re-reading this incomplete listing of his influences on me, I could easily succumb to a feeling that I was an important figure in his life. But I know better: I am but one of many, many friends from around the world whom he gifted in a similarly generous manner.
Tom was a man of modest means: making others happy was the only thing that made sense to him. An excellent and innovative cook, he loved to invite groups of friends over for dinner. Every Sunday evening when he was in California, his home was open to one and all. He loved socializing and getting to know new people and cultures. He was transpersonal in the true sense of the word: he transcended his own person, and his Ego demanded the wellbeing of others. Having left his worldly body behind, Tom continues to accompany and encourage us. The flame of his soul is inextinguishable.