In almost every term and in almost every class, I get the question of why what I ask my students to do matters. Several answers are forthcoming, which I need not repeat; they may be read at the links below:
http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/07/i-wont-hire-people-who-use-poo/ (yes, the URL is funny)
To them I add the notion that the increasing media-saturation in which all of us are embedded serves to present increasing numbers of symbols at varying degrees of overtness and abstraction. Being able to recognize and interpret them, using that interpretation to drive understanding of the things containing the symbols, the things being represented in the symbols, those who propagate the symbols, and we who perceive the symbols is therefore increasingly important. Among many other things, my classes teach the recognition and interpretation of symbol.
I have said in class that the world tries to mess with our heads. The symbols are a major avenue for doing so. Drive well rather than being run over.