Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.
This entry in the series is a bit of a departure, since this is a silly claim as well as a buzz phrase designed to avoid debate. One of the most common sources of this claim is gross misunderstanding of quantum mechanics, where the woos claim that our observations allow us to choose how the outcome of some event is affected. Of course, this isn't true, since it's not consciousness or desire that affects stuff, it's the inherently active act of observing something that affects it. When you're dealing with very small things like photons and electrons, it doesn't take much to change the outcome.
It seems to me that knowledge would be impossible if reality was so easily molded by people's whims. Woos would never encounter me, just the straw men they invent. I'd never have an excuse to go on a foamy rant. If we created our own realities, I would think we'd all be in our own perfect solipsist worlds, and we'd never interact with each other, and we'd all see different results even if we could witness the same events. Which would kind of make communication pointless. But I don't see that sort of thing happening. The universe looks pretty consistent to me, and I'm not about to languish in solipsism.
The attitude conveyed by this doggerel, though often intended to empower people to feel in control of their lives, quite easily leads to blaming the victim. "You got mugged? Your fault for not keeping a positive attitude, or because you secretly wanted to be mugged." My attitude: The mugger's at fault, and just wishing for less crime in the world isn't going to help. Thinking that you can just wish your life better can quite easily serve to make your motivation ineffective. If you want the world to be a better place, you'll need to do something outside your head. Don't make your own reality, act to change the real world for the better. Just make sure you think things through.