This is Kenneth Burke, one of my heroes. He wrote copiously about dramatism and motivation, said unity was the primary human goal, and advocated a revival and adaptation of classical rhetoric. His theories have since been applied extensively to the teaching of writing.
Rhetoric is "the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols."
So Burke's saying that by our nature, we respond to symbols (you're reading symbols right now). He's also saying that rhetoric's purpose is to induce cooperation among others.
He tells us symbols do not accompany reality, they create it.
From a lecture about Burke: "Every aspect of [a person's] 'reality' us likely to be seen through this fog of symbols. And not even the hard reality of basic economic facts is sufficient to pierce this symbolic veil (which is intrinsic to the human mind)" (Edward C. Brewer).
So we can't really make sense of something until we name it. Or our reaction to something depends upon how we have decided to name it, how we interpret it symbolically. Other people sometimes behave in inexplicable ways, but it helps to understand how they are symbolizing (interpreting) events.
With this in mind, what do we do about the ambiguity, the imprecision, of language? It's like a loaded gun, worse, a weapon without precision of aiming and no predictability about what happens when the bullets do reach the target. OK, weird metaphor, but it makes sense to a Texas girl.
What about this childhood propaganda: "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me." As opposed to this: "The pen is mightier than the sword." Which is it?