sorry @bbearren (nice read, btw),
it seems I do not make myself very clear: of course we need to research as much about the brain as we - down to the quantum level if necessary.
Once we have enough knowledge (mainly gleamed from dead or diseased brains)f - we are faced with transferring that knowledge to our own brains. And for that, we need to simplify our knowledge by using metaphors.
The brain is not like a steam engine, of course - we tend to use the most advanced device we have to explain how something works. Freud considered humans to be like steam engines, needing pressure to work but breaking down if there is too little or too much (hence ‘letting of steam’).
Today, we think about the brain like a digital computer, but that is of course not a very good metaphor either, since processing and memory are not physically separated in us.
Maybe we will come up with an internet (or wiki)-like analogy (especially if we have gotten used to an internet of things); we really need some model of the brain we are comfortable with - it’s how we understand the world. Some few of us have some deeper understanding of physics or biology, but we can do plenty with superficial knowledge, too.
Comprehension itself is too complex for us to understand it, even as we’re doing it.
understanding how babies can come from an egg used to be considered beyond our ability without invoking the supernatural. Now we have a very clear understanding of the process, and can even influence it.
We can never know that we won’t one day know something.