Pete Pinto once remarked that, if the Commonalty came out of the Long Night, then the people of the Commonalty would not call that post-Imperial period "the Long Night." But we do look back at a period that we call "the Dark Ages."
The theme of this post is how bad periods are perceived in retrospect. We will quote James Blish, Poul Anderson and SM Stirling.
"'If an Englishman of around 1600 had found out about the American Revolution, he probably would have thought it a tragedy; an Englishman of 1950 would have had a very different view of it. We're in the same spot. The messages we get from the really far future have no contexts yet.'"
-James Blish, The Quincunx Of Time (New York, 1983), Epilogue, pp. 109-110.
"'The trend of events must ever seem toward the best, since it is toward the one observing the trend.'"
-Poul Anderson, Twilight World (London, 1983), Epilogue, p. 179.
"'I'd undo the Change if I could, of course, but otherwise...I like this better. It's more the way human beings were meant to live.'"
-SM Stirling, The Protector's War (New York, 2006), Chapter Thirteen, p. 348.
They are not all saying the same thing but they are all reflecting on time and change.
Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis. (Times change and we change with them.)