Article Text

PDF
35,000 Days on Earth
  1. Matthew C Kiernan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Matthew C Kiernan, Brain and Research Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2040, Australia; matthew.kiernan{at}sydney.edu.au

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Late last year, in the strange gloaming hours that wrest all rational thought from an otherwise rational mind on the tortuously long trans-Pacific flight between Hong Kong and New York, I found myself watching one of the most compelling films I have ever seen. It was called 20,000 Days on Earth — a pseudo-documentary of the life of singer Nick Cave. The story was mesmeric, but it was Cave's ruminations on human thought that so captured my attention.

“Memory is what we are,” he said. “Your very soul, your very reason to be alive is tied up in memory.”

This deceptively simple concept created a catalyst in my jet-lagged, travel-weary brain. First, I thought, can a memory ever be truly collective or is it simply an amalgam of everyone's own stories? And second, does it only become a story when you tell and retell it?

Over the course of that 17 hour flight, I had plenty of time to calculate that the JNNP was approaching its own milestone—35, 000 Days on Earth—and that it in fact could answer …

View Full Text

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.