I agree with much of Pinker’s contention. The “better” far outweighs the dark that we are seeing in the old center of Western Civilization. While there was much I couldn’t say in a seven minute read, I’m not suggesting that the darkness will win. It is very different now. But it is the same forces (historical, social, pathological, quantum entangled, planetary, racism, all of the above) that produced periodic dark ages are moving a, still, susceptible portion of our population to suicidal action.
At practical level I think it means the collapse of the West. 400 years is a good run as the lead and dominant planetary civilization. But that is only one aspect of the current problems. The rise of the very old forces of tribalism, racism, xenophobia, exclusion are always possible. The movement of those tendencies into a destructive force is less common. That is what brings the dark age of civilizational collapse.
But that has been historically a regional condition based on the fall of an empire. The problem now is a planetary civilization but, in the large perspective, this is the evolution of new societies and systems. While Rome fell the center of the Roman Empire had already moved to (modern) Turkey (Constantinople) as the Eastern Roman Empire that continued to 1453 as Orthodox Christian but then continued as the Ottoman (Islamic) empire to 1918.
Perhaps it would be clearer to say that Dark Ages are civilizational collapse. The Dark Age part happens for a range of reasons but is the worst case of an internal collapse. If an external power takes over a region it can be rough for a time but usually everyone begins to learn a new language and some new cultural and religious traditions.
In the internal collapse it takes a new coalition of internal populations to ‘restore’ or create a new civilization. While the Western Roman empire is what we know in the West, there is a longer tradition in China tied to both dynastic change and external conquest with ‘dark ages’ in between.
But we already know that the center of civilization has already moved East and South. It’s just a matter of how big a mess the collapse of the West is allowed to make. Unfortunately we have a species death climate crisis that throws all of the old time lines out the window.