Thought this description of a possibly real possibly mythical entity from Chinese lore called the Black Cloud Spirit Mushroom sounded pretty wild. Putting aside hot takes on its veracity or the nature of consciousness, it just sounds like a cool setting for a fantasy novel:

It grows among black boulders on the shaded side of famous mountains. Its caps are black, stacked in three layers, and covered by cloud-mist. Its taste is acrid and sweet. Consumed after they are dried in the shade, they will enable the body to live for a thousand years without aging, ride on clouds, communicate with heaven, and see ghosts and spirits.

I ended up having Dalle3 interpret it visually, and these are the best two finished results:

If you press ChatGPT for more information on this evocative black cloud spirit mushroom, its answer deflates pretty much all the fun that is potentially brewing in these images:

The “Black Cloud Spirit Mushroom” as described in your initial prompt does not correspond to any known species of mushroom in scientific literature up to my last update in January 2022. The description you provided seems to be of a fictional or mythical nature, reminiscent of tales or legends where certain plants or objects grant extraordinary powers or longevity.

However, there are numerous mushrooms in various cultures that are attributed with medicinal or mystical properties. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), for example, mushrooms like Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) or Cordyceps are believed to have health-promoting properties, though their effects as described in TCM can differ from findings in modern scientific studies.

If you have a specific mushroom or another topic in mind, please provide more details or clarify your request, and I’ll do my best to provide information on it.

It is also violating my custom instructions to not use personal pronouns or anthropomorphize itself, and to refer to itself as “the system” (which I have come to really like as preferred moniker. It feels more honest and to the point). Which leads me to wonder, did it hit a safety layer regarding a ‘dangerous’ concept such as drugs/wild edible mushroom dangers, which overrode my custom instructions?

We’ll never know. Because Dalle3 and ChatGPT are themselves ‘nebulous spirits,’ which is the classification that the system gave me on the Black Cloud Spirit Mushroom when I further tried to coax it into generating a fictional encyclopedia entry on this topic (a favorite method of mine in generating content for the AI Lore Books).

I won’t paste the whole generated entry in, because it’s flat and tedious in tone and just repeats the points made but less evocatively than in the original quote. But here’s the proposed taxonomy:

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Tricholomatales
Family: Nebulosaceae
Genus: Spiritus
Species: S. nebulosus

The Black Cloud Spirit Mushroom, scientifically known as Spiritus nebulosus, is a rare and mystical fungus found exclusively on the shaded side of renowned mountains, typically nestled among black boulders. Its unique appearance is characterized by three-layered black caps that are often enveloped by a natural mist, giving it the appearance of being surrounded by clouds.

Spiritus nebulosus.

It occurs to me that this is a clear cut simple representation of the future direction of technologies. Let’s call it “use your illusion.”

You take now any misconception or decontextualized cultural appropriation you want, make it your own by developing it further in partnership with AI, and then just completely run with it. This becomes your new reality, and possibly that of many others as they do the same thing and we each individually and collaboratively cobble together our own empires of bullshit on the infinite infernal oceans of hyperreality.

Is that good… or bad… or some horrifying combination of all/none the abobe? Seems like we’re about to find out as the AI Meme Culture Wars start to heat up across the globe.

Is this what communicating with heaven looks like: being able to see and summon up and show to others ghosts and nebulous spirits and things that maybe do or maybe didn’t maybe could or maybe kidn’t? And all most definitely probably maybe shouldn’t.