How long did the events in The Inner Light take, from Picard's point of view? It was only a few minutes for the crew members on the bridge, watching Picard, but how many years passed for Picard?

  • From the crew members' perspective it was exactly 25 minutes (so not "only a few"). This is explained later, in "Lessons", when Picard recalls that events.
    – trejder
    Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 11:19

2 Answers 2


Judging by the fact that he had at least one grandchild in the scenario, I'd say something on the order of about 30 years or so, maybe a little longer.

There doesn't seem to be a definite canonical answer, I'm afraid.

  • 5
    I don't know whether this qualifies as a canonical source for questions that aren't directly answered in the episodes, movies, or books, but starttrek.com also says more than 30 years (2nd to last sentence here: startrek.com/database_article/inner-light-the) Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 2:18
  • Your kid can have a child (and you can get a grandchild), when it is 15-18 years old. In some situations or cultures, even faster. Women are able to get pregnant around 10-12. So, having a one grandchild does not judge anything. My wife suggested that since he was 20-25 minutes unconcious on-board, he spent there 20-25 years. One year per one minute of his "real" life. Though she hasn't got any source to support this, I find this argument quite interesting.
    – trejder
    Commented Jan 4, 2015 at 10:17

Are we sure that the probe simulated 30 years of life as Kamin? Perhaps it only implanted several hundred/thousand "memories" of life as Kamin (maybe totaling several hundred hours), enough to create the illusion of a continued existence for 30 years.

This seems more technically plausible than compressing 30 years into several minutes. I'm not sure if the human brain could handle that much stimulation.

  • 2
    That's an interesting take. One of Ramachandran's proposed requirements for consciousness is continuity. If the Kataanian probe only has a few hundred hours of memories, it would have to trick Picard's brain in some way to emulate continuity between the individual memories. But the brain itself is also capable of processing "experience" at above-real-time speeds. This is why in 20-30 minutes of REM sleep, people can experience days worth of dream memories. A similar phenomenon also occurs with psychedelic drugs, where people can come out of intense 15-20 minute trips with days of memories. Commented Oct 22, 2013 at 4:48
  • 2
    I guess an in-universe response to that would be that the human brain can handle it; in "Hard Time" from Deep Space Nine, Mile O'Brien apparently really does experience 20 years in prison in a short punitive brain programming session.
    – Chelonian
    Commented Aug 5, 2014 at 3:39

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