The state is made for man, not man for the state. And in this respect, science resembles the state

Albert Einstein

Research is to see what everybody sees but to think what no one has thought.

Albert Szent-Gyorgye


Subjectivity refers to a person's sensation and perception. Because this can and often does vary among people, subjectivity can at times refer to a single person's perspective. Unfortunately, a single persons perspective can and often is contaminated by illusion and other neurotic elements. This can be overcome by several people consulting in good faith, but it is not a easy process. Anyone can claim to perceive something they do not, knowingly or unknowingly.

Objectivity, in modern science, is the practice of 1) only crediting information from non-human instruments, or 2) taking subjective responses from large numbers of random people, in order to statistically cancel out bias.

No mechanical instrument has been invented that is as perceptive in the area of human misery and happiness as is a reasonably sensitive human. Wilhelm Reich, however, in his later years, apparently did try to invent such instruments. He believed that he had succeeded. These later efforts were driven, in large part, by the inability or unwillingness of many powerful people to share his subjective understanding.

First, occasional results are unprovable by random controlled trials. Such studies are designed to document what usually happens, not what sometimes happens (that is, what can happen). If excellence means an unusual result, then random controlled trials can never prove something excellent has happened. Yet in their everyday lives, most people, even subjective-phobic skeptics want excellence: excellent careers, excellent sex, excellent books to read, etc...

Second, some results or phenomena only affect subjects that are ready or susceptible. An example could be seeing auras, or feeling streamings. In this tradition, that usually means that the most mechanical deadened among us are the least likely to be able to perceive 'the dependent variable'. And in the current scientific culture, scientists are the likeliest to self-select science because of a deadening of subjective perception. Randomized selection of subjects works to dilute average 'readiness to perceive' enormously. Of course, 'readiness to perceive' can be contaminated by suggestibility, or charlatanism.

Third, the effects of Reich and Lowen work are subtle and mostly contributors to health rather than whole causes. This means that these effects are transformative over a lifetime perhaps, but undramatic in a single situation. Behavioral study on humans has developed the de facto requirement that studied effects exceed the placebo effect. In psychotherapy settings, the placebo effect is considerable. In fact, most conversational therapy works no more than as a placebo. The placebo effect in psychotherapy can be perhaps restated that subjects are able to feel modestly better if they believe that something is being done about their problems, and that someone is sincerely trying to help them. Arthur Janov calls this 'symbolic present fulfillment.' The placebo effect can last many months or a year. However, its limitation is that it decays and that it cannot be synergistic with other more fundamental elements of feeling better. In fact therapy in the Reich and Lowen tradition, while it slowly puts into place a more sound foundation to feeling better, eschews the quick fix of re-assurance that 'placebo-based' therapy relies upon. For this reason, the effects of this work are often hidden 'in the troughs' of the placebo effect until many months or years later, when the effects have multiplied.

Fourth, any therapy that considers feelings the criterion of success, rather than social adjustment, is deeply planted in the subjective. For instance, a Reich and Lowen client may have more ego strength to uphold their part in a relationship, but have a different feeling about past maneuvers to keep stability. The relationship becomes less stable. The client may feel more depressed for a time but over-archingly the client feels more convicted and truer about what they are doing. This ia a result that is hard to measure.

All the above means that some results and experiences cannot be verified objectively, which is to say, they cannot be verified by just anyone, or in a robotic manner, or by non-human instruments. It does not mean that they cannot be verified!

Skeptical critics may contest the validity of funding, recommending, or even allowing such therapy. Such critics point out that a client's positive evaluation of therapy can be attributed to the placebo effect, the benefit of getting attention, etc. And this position is given weight by the inescapable observation that the results of most therapy are often mild and often decay over a year or so.

Still, occasionally dramatic, if not quick, results from therapy are undeniable. This type of result is noted by other people in the client's life, who are certain something is different, even if they are hard pressed to put their finger on it. Subjectively, they know something has happened.

In Reichian and Lowenian therapy, subjective understanding is most required during the work. It is the contact that guides how any technique is applied.