Puttering around with "genealogy" this morning, it occurred to me that genealogy tends to underscore the truth that the deeper you dig, the less you know.
Or, more precisely, the more you become aware of what you don't know.
Genealogy -- to pick on that topic for a moment -- pretends to tell the tale of one person or another. Born, died, kids, where they lived, what they did by way of profession, etc. But the fact is that no man or woman would agree to be summed up by any of those markers. There is always so much more.
Having a one-legged pederast as a forbear may be interesting, but it doesn't tell you whether this person was any good with a yo-yo.
Contrary to what is taught in classrooms, there is nothing wrong with not-knowing. But it is important to know and perhaps acknowledge that you don't. The alternative is a kind of smug arrogance that hardly matches with any sort of 'truth' that genealogy might pretend to deliver.
The smarter you get, in one sense, the dumber you become.