It has been said that those who don't know History are forced to repeat it. I believe that this generality is expressing a precept that History is predictive. I don't believe that History is predictive. It is not a science. Yes, History is based on evidence but history contains too many variables to make scientific futuristic predictions.
As a dabbler in history, I feel the real importance of history is its “context” not its predictive ability. History tries to give context to who we (the subjective) are. History provides the subjective with the path that humankind has taken so far so that we know where we have been, even though we don't know where we are going.
The reason I dabble in History is I am searching for "context". As I try to take in a larger context I am trying to figure out where I come from. That path back in time is not a straight line but a backwards exponential curve. I can only get parts of context and for example can't really relate to someone in the Colonial Times. My subjectivity is distorted when moving back in time. The population, the things and the numbers change that subjectivity. I know through family history that my ancestory passed through the 17th and 18th century. I am related to pieces of different individuals in different evirons and when I try to focus on them, the focal plane of understanding leaves them blurred.
The population factor and other factors change reality. Trying to embrace all those factors is what it is like to relate the past to our present yet we can not put ourselves in the past which gives a distorted view but we can bring facts from the past to give ourselves context.
We come from almost total exponential change, especially in the past 200 years. We need science, technology, evironment, sociology, genealogy and anthropology to form a complete History. In the present, we are lost in a forest of events and need to find ourselves. We find that Context in History and that is why I dabble in History.