Knowing Where we are Sitting in the Airplane

A friend who is a pilot told me about zero parallax in the context of flying.
A pilot has to be aware of their position relative to the instruments so that they can account for viewing error. They can then zero parallax.
Because they are sitting off of the plane’s center line they also have to be aware of their relationship relative to the aircraft.
Looking out the window they have to know where they are in the plane so that they can align it with the direction they are going in, so they can trim it. To do that they have reference points on the airplane that they can use to align the plane with the direction they are going in. These are the points they use to calibrate themselves with straight ahead. They know that when they use these points to line the plane up it will actually be flying straight ahead and lined up with straight ahead.
This is especially important when landing.
Now suppose a beginner pilot gets comfortable flying from one side of the aircraft but then they have to switch positions and learn to fly from the other seat.
They then have to learn new reference points.
However once these points are learned they can then fly the plane from either seat.
Knowing where they are in the plane they can account for their position and fly the plane straight. It’s like they are centered in the plane even though they are positioned to the side. They are centered in the airplane because they are aware of how they relate to it.

Driving a Land Rover in the army while on an exercise, my co-driver Taff taught me about rally driving.
In rally driving corners are graded according to how tight or open they are. If a corner has a higher number it meant that it is tighter, a lower number means that the corner is more open. The lower the number of a corner the faster we can go around it. Other information that the navigator gave the driver was the direction of the turn, left or right, and a countdown to the beginning of the turn.
Looking ahead Taff told me the direction and the grade of each turn and gave me a countdown to it. I focused on listening and adjusting my speed appropriately.
As we rounded each corner I found that his grading for each corner felt very natural so that it was easy to trust his assessment of each corner.
I think part of the comfort level was the way he described each turn. It was unambiguous and natural and direct. Because he was describing exactly what he was seeing, he was providing me a direct view of the way ahead. And I was allowing him to give me that view. Neither one of us second-guessed the other. He focused on navigating and I focused on driving and together with the vehicle we were in we made the idea of driving real. And even though we weren’t actually rallying, all we were doing was that he was seeing and I was doing, it felt good to work with him in this way and I got a sense of what actual rallying and teamwork could be like.

A long time ago for one of my Chinese Calligraphy projects I tried to come up with my own translation of the first verse of “The Dao De Ching.” One line in particular I found troublesome and interesting. “The name of a thing is not the thing.”
Thinking back to the time I was rallying with Taff I began to understand one possible translation of that verse.
When we know what it is we are talking about, if we say what we see, plainly and clearly, so that the person listening can see what we mean then the words (the name) becomes the thing.
If we express our truth so that the person is listening can see our true selves, the words become the thing we are talking about. When we understand something completely, so that it is a part of our experience, then the name becomes the thing.
So how is this relevant here?
When Taff told me exactly what he saw and I understood him it was so easy to connect to him and trust him, easy to let go. And I imagine that with a good lead that is how a partner feels when they are dancing, like she can let go. And perhaps it is a letting go on both parties parts, in the context of driving the navigator relaxing enough, trusting that their driver will understand and so saying what they see without modification, the driver relaxing enough to trust implicitly what his or her co-driver is saying.
Zero parallax, words reflecting their meaning for both the person saying the words and the person listening to them.
Zero parallax, allowing ideas to drive the words that we say.
If two people are flying together, one flies, working the controls of the plane; connected to the plane, the other does the navigating; connected to the earth. And they connect to each other by working out a means of communicating so that they can share information, when it is needed. If the connection, the language they use, is good, then they can communicate with zero parallax, zero error. The words match the same meaning for both the sender and the receiver. The words become their meaning so that when the navigator tells the pilot where they are or which direction they need to go, the pilot has an image of what is coming up as if they are seeing it with their own eyes. And when the pilot asks the navigator for a specific piece of information, the navigator knows, exactly what the pilot needs.
They become one with each other and the plane they are in.
Part of it is the words that we use, using words that match their meaning, part of it is both of parties knowing exactly where they are, in relationship to each other and in relationship to what they are doing. Part of it is sharing the same idea for what they are trying to do.
Being able to account for parallax, we see the limits within which we can move and we move within them.
Prior to rallying, Taff explained to me what we were going to do. For myself, I understood Taff well enough (despite the Welsh accent ha ha) when he described to me how rally drivers and their copilots work together that I could actually do it. So as well as understanding the pieces, the individual ideas, I understood the point of all those pieces joined together. We both did.