Q methodology, with it foundation in quantum theory, it applied to reception analysis as it has taken form in Danish communication studies. The mathematical similarity between factor analysis and quantum mechanics is illustrated, following by introduction of postulates required for the quantification of all psychological experience - of self-reference, concourse, and communicability (not consciousness). Measurement (Q technique) provides for the quantization of psychological events (as defined by Kantor), and is illustrated in a study of a single person watching the TV show Dynasty. The resulting Q factors are subject to the principle of complementarity introduced by Niels Bohr, whose epistemology is integral to language and subjectivity as well as physics. The general system which is advanced is self-contained and provides the kind of theoretical unity for which Danish reception analysis is searching. The range of phenomena to which it applies is to be provided in Part II.