The Crucifixion icon
The crucifixion is central to the Christian’s modus operandi of salvation (albeit derived and abstracted from everyday observation). Indeed, self-crucifixion (prior to self-sacrifice) is a fundamental response of all biological life.
The crucifixion (or cross icon) represents the (self-)affect (rather than effect) of the inability to pass from one biological development phase (or function) to the next. Unable to activate the next developmental program/function, a (i.e. any) bio-system becomes dysfunctional and its survival capacity decreases. It responds to a decrease in survival capacity with various intensities and forms of physical or emotional (meaning: Guide & Control affects) anguish (read: pain).**
Jesus Christ (to wit, the anointed), representing (as exemplar or prototype) all living creatures, is depicted suffering the anguish of failing to transit (or turn around) from the early life phase (or program/function) of ‘sucking’ (i.e. taking) to the middle (or mature) life phase (or program/function) of ‘spitting’ (i.e. giving), both programs/functions coming with the survival equipment at birth (recall St Paul’s “the son in me”, Galatians 1:16). More clearly stated, at about thirty (i.e. at the onset of maturity) a human must cease benefitting and self-gratifying from the sacrifice of others and begin to self-sacrifice (at best voluntarily, at worst as prey) for the benefit and gratification of others.* After thirty, life becomes a continuous act of self-sacrifice (… for the world)….. or else!
Or, as the Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad (600BC) put it, at maturity the feeder must become fodder, thereby manifesting both primary functions of the Brahman.
Whereas up to thirty (i.e. to maturity) the ‘kingdom of heaven’ (read: the varieties of happiness) was gained by ‘sucking’ (and growing to maturity), after thirty the kingdom of heaven (read: the varieties of happiness) is gained by ‘spitting’, to wit, by acts of self-sacrifice that help others grow and mature.
By contrast, inability to perfectly perform either function/program during its designated phase results in the varieties of anguish, physical or emotional.
The thirty-year-old who can’t decide what to do, meaning: how to perform his (or her) act of self-sacrifice (see: the Split Man or Jesus in Gethsemane), tumbles into pain, and feels, as Jesus did, forsaken (‘Eli, Eli lama sabbatani’).
Performing his (or her) self-sacrifice, meaning: deciding, dedicating himself (or herself) fully to and then acting out his (or her) life’s goal (thereby producing what both Hindus and Buddhists call ‘good karma’ by ‘hitting his (or her) mark’) he (or she) participates in the ‘joyful, ever life-sustaining kingdom.’ Failing the aforementioned, thus ‘missing his (or her) mark’, the failure tumbles into (meaning: creates for himself or herself a living) ‘hell’.
*… In Mahayana Buddhism referred to as ‘becoming a Bodhisattva.’
**… See my book: How to make and fake happiness