What is coercion?
The original: The psychological state of enacting one idea or impulse while a conflicting impulse is still active in one's mind.
An improvement: Coercion is the state of two or more personality strands being expressed in different options of a single choice such that one cannot see a way to choose without forsaking some part of his personality.
If you're wondering what the use of all this is, coercion captures ideas like mental pain and distress precisely. It explains just what they really are.
And now, a whole new way to look at it:
First off, we need to think of a worldview (personality) as having various parts (strands, groups of theories) that are approximately autonomous. The argument that they are goes as follows:
Is Buffy the series or Buffy the movie better? Most Buffy fans would say the series. In this way they are alike. There are various other questions about Buffy we could ask to also get the same answers.
Now, each Buffy fan has a different worldview, and some different ideas. But when asked about Buffy they can generally give the same answer. This shows that the alike, Buffy part of their personalities does not consult with the rest of their personality. If it did, they would answer differently.
Of course this isn't a perfection distinction. If you ask complex enough questions the answers Buffy fans give will vary more. And part of someone's personality can't be entirely autonomous. But it acts approximately autonomous.
Alright, so the point is we have various different separate parts of our personality. Now, suppose we have to make a choice. Most of our personality won't have anything to say about the choice. Say it's what to eat for dinner. The Buffy part will have no view. Nor the math part. Nor the hockey part. Only a few parts of our personality will be relevant for any given choice.
Alright, so there is some choice to be made, and some parts of our personality give input on what we choose. For each relevant part of our personality, there is a set of options for how to choose that are consistent with it (this set exists abstractly -- I'm not saying all these options are in our mind). When asked if Buffy is cool, we could choose to say "yeah", or "yes", or "yup", or "totally", or many other things, without contradicting our views on Buffy. On the other hand, there are some ways to respond that would not work, such as to say "no" when we actually do think Buffy is cool. So, the point is, there's a set of options (ways to choose) that work with any given personality strand, and all options not in that set would constitute acting contrary to our own personality.
Alright, so now we get to the key new idea: the set of non-coercive options is the intersection of the sets of choices for each part of our personality.
(Intersection of sets means only the things in all of them.)
And, also, the only possible way to change the set of possible non-coercive options (for example to make it bigger) is to change our personality. By altering a part so that it is consistent with a different set of options. (Or by removing a part, like a bad hangup.)