The Emissary wrote:
You make a good point, but I think the idea of it being a "nightmare" or whatnot is the only real way to describe the obvious discrepancy that one cannot live a parallel life in the middle of their own, then wake up and act as if it didn't happen hours or days later. It's simply not possible. Unless Roddenberry's claim that Mankind is much more enlightened also came with heightened mental and emotional stability the likes of which our species does not even come close to having now.
At least wrt "Hard Time", that clearly didn't happen. That episode took place at least over several weeks and clearly O'brien DIDN'T act as if it didn't happen hours or days later.
I will concede that, at least the way "Inner Light" ended, it gave the impression that Picard treated it the same as we would treat waking up from a dream. But its not NECESSARILY the case here either. It is plausible that "off-screen" he needed a lot of time to adjust and they just didn't show it. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the writers would have done better to have had Picard say that he was stepping down to get re-oriented with his "former" life. I'm not saying they needed to have this play out over several episodes and the "next" episode could have Picard re-take command after several months but that would have been more what we would expect certainly if anyone one of US just "woke up" from living this other life, even if that other life was simulated.