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- "Freedom and order, destruction and sustenance. Man is a pitiful creature who cannot escape that cycle."
- —The White, Shin Megami Tensei IV
The White (ホワイトメン, Howaitomen, lit. "Whitemen; White Men") are a group of characters in Shin Megami Tensei IV.
Beings who reside in the Expanse. They first appear after the Yamato Perpetual Reactor is activated by Flynn or Walter. They appear within a white void and wish anyone they choose to make a decision and will show the chosen ones alternate worlds so they can make that choice. Jonathan had the same dream as the former two Samurai.
The second encounter is after leaving Blasted Tokyo using the Reactor, with Flynn returning to the white void. There they reveal a desire to show Flynn a world where they did not preserve. However, they tell him not to forget that what awaits mankind is a wasteland of despair for they are merely tools before sending him to that world.
The third encounter with them is after leaving Infernal Tokyo, where they tell of how preserving the world means nothing as God will destroy it if it does not mean his will, while choosing not to preserve will lead to self-destruction. They give Flynn the choice to turn everything to nothing or let it continue.
They are ecstatic when Flynn chooses to end it all and leave only nothingness. They reveal the true purpose of the Reactor and that they created it when choosing this path. The White are overjoyed as they finally have won with the damage done to the Reactor's control device as it becomes a black hole that swallows all. They view this choice as an end to meaningless suffering.
Should he allow it to continue, they will curse his messianic tendencies and leaving the world intact, asking if he will preserve the status quo or destroy it. They abandon him within the Monochrome Forest after he makes his choice, wishing for him to die there. They are revealed to be a collection of human thought that reside in the Expanse and are the sentient embodiment of despair that humans created by expressing their nihilism regarding life itself in some form. The despair they express is the collective will of humanity's despair at being trapped in God's Will. The four must be defeated to escape the forest. Although defeated they will eventually revive so long as humanity exists.
The White reveal that humans are trapped in God's Scheme with no way to escape, and that they create Gods for the sake of their own convenience to try to understand the universe made by God. The White explain that the reason that Law and Chaos constantly do battle is because the world eternally cycles through a loop of Law and Chaos as per God's will. Demons and gods will keep resurrecting because Humanity wants them too. The only solution, according to the White, is to end all of existence. The White view this solution as a mercy killing because the only alternative is to continue the cycle of Law and Chaos under God's rule. Gabriel will admit in the challenge quest details after defeating several of them that they had gained knowledge beyond their ken concerning God, which lead them to this belief.
The White also appear in "The Eternal Youth" and "Ancient One of the Sun" DLCs, intending to drive Flynn to despair and show him humanity's despair by sending him back to Infernal Tokyo and Blasted Tokyo to fight against Sanat and the Ancient of Days, respectively. They mention their existence is tied to Flynn's; as long as he exists, so will they.
It is revealed in Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse Hunter Memos DLC that their goal is not possible in the grand scheme of things, as every possibility observed becomes real and branches off into countless parallel universes, meaning that destroying all existence is impossible and futile from the beginning as their plan only destroys a single universe.
The first of the group to appear. He tells Flynn that his atom has brushed across two possible worlds when he returns from a world where they chose to preserve, and a world where the status quo was destroyed. In the White ending he says that they will be saved from suffering and sorrow before disappearing. The second White to be fought in the Monochrome Forest. White K desires to teach Flynn the splendor of nonexistence.
As he falls, he groans about a world betrayed by its faith in God and a world drowned in anarchy, asking Flynn what else is there beyond despair. His last words condemn Flynn's hope.
When battling White K in Monochrome Forest his attacks are mainly pierce (AKA gun) attacks.
- "Look at my form... it is your friend, Issachar, who was torn asunder in the rift between your people, by your own hand."
- —White Issachar, Shin Megami Tensei IV
The second of the group to appear. He asks the mitochondria within Flynn if he has ever thought about why humans are born or why the world exists. After returning from Blasted Tokyo, he states to Flynn that his desire to preserve was swallowed by a greater will's desire to preserve. He asks Flynn in their third encounter if he will use his power to turn the world to naught as the Messiah. White Issachar calls Flynn the true Messiah before vanishing in the White ending.
The fourth of the White faced in the Monochrome Forest. On the Neutral, Law, or Chaos path, White Issachar comments the fate of humans is to endlessly repeat the same mistakes, thus justifying the White's omnicidal viewpoints. He also says he took on the form of Flynn's dearest friend because Issachar was torn by the way the state of the world after reading the books given to him by Lilith, who was called the Black Samurai at the time, and the White tells Flynn he will show him how powerful one's suffering can be, using Issachar's form as an example. He will also try to guilt-trip Flynn by invoking Jonathan's viewpoints in the Chaos Path, Walter's in Law, and both in Neutral.
Upon his defeat, he asks why Flynn did not save him in the very end in an undistorted and emotional voice to further guilt-trip Flynn by reminding him of Issachar's brutal death. In the Neutral path, White Issachar is denounced by Burroughs, along with the rest of the White, as an entity of unjustified resentment, rash self-denial and self-justification. In the Law path, he is likewise denounced as a coward by Jonathan, and in the Chaos path, it is Walter who brushes aside his arguments. As he dies, he will also ask Flynn where is their salvation, and why he is leaving them in the rift of God, of demons, and of man.
It is likely White Issachar contained despair from Issachar, as he admits he was the only one amongst them with true power when taking a form of someone Flynn knew, and unlike the others spoke in Issachar's voice without distortion upon defeat.
The third of the group to appear. He proclaims that a single atom's revolt will only damage a single cell, while the cell will be healed by the other cells. In their second encounter he mentions that Flynn also has the choice to not preserve and that they shall show him that possibility. The third encounter has him inform Flynn that humans are prisoners of God's expectations and speaks of a way to escape his grasp by turning it all to nothing. In the White ending he says mankind has finally won and then disappears. The first of the White to be faced in the Monochrome Forest. He calls Flynn the fifth son and tells him that he will unmake him since he did not choose nothingness.
When defeated on Neutral, he will mutter humans cannot escape the karma of desires, which are no different from demons. Thus, neither are humans. His last words condemn desire itself.
- "We humans with our demonic tendencies, who create a "god" for the sake of our own convenience... Do you think that ones so weak can carry on living in this quagmire of order and chaos? Such neutrality is beyond redemption..."
- —White Isabeau, Shin Megami Tensei IV
The last of the group to appear. In the third encounter she is the one to bring up the decision they wish for him to make. She mentions that they lack forms, which is why they must entrust Flynn with turning all to nothing. She asks him to free humanity of God's control and to become the true Messiah, thanking him for ending their long and painful journey in the White ending, telling him goodbye before dissipating. The third of the White to be faced in the Monochrome Forest.
- The White are named after the Great White Brotherhood, a group of enlightened humans in Theosophy. Their views and beliefs are a distortion of the Brotherhoods, having become "enlightened" by learning the nature of God and view existence as something that must end. They also make references to the Root Race by calling Flynn the fifth son in reference to the fifth humanity. This is shared with their fellow Theosophy based being Sanat.
- The White are an inversion of the festival of Passover. Instead of celebrating the freedom through God's will, they espouse nihilism for humanity being prisoners of God's expectations.
- The White are a reference to the Sanskrit term of "Mahatma" meaning "Great Soul" and popularized by the Great White Brotherhood.
- The White's pro-nihilistic arguments seem to be a reference to Friedrich Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals; a philosophical book in which Nietzsche argues that asceticism and God were formed to give meaning to the suffering of ancient civilizations. However, instead of creating their own meaning, the White choose the "Will to Nothingness", a philosophical position that Nietzsche warns to be against life itself.