We see this often; the statement on social media and throughout the internet that "aliens are real." I agree with that, aliens are real, and I won't argue that with the debunker crowd. (Just like I don't argue my case with them on ghosts, UFOs, etc.)
But, the question is, not are aliens real, but what do we mean by "aliens?"
Exchange the word "alien" for "God" and it's the same idea. I believe in "God" but, as I've discovered through the years, my idea of "God" is very different from the majority's, at least in our culture. My Christian friends definitely disagree with me on this conception of "God." (Yes, I'm an old hippie flower child, believing that "god" is all, everywhere, within and without, consciousness and star stuff. A bearded man in the sky who sent his son, who was also him, what?! -- no.)
So we throw the words around -- alien, God, -- and assume we're on the same page. Oh dahlings, we are so not!
For that matter, I'll even throw in UFOs, for our definitions of that seeming obvious term has different meanings for different people. (Debunkers and skeptics often like to be cute and insist that when using the term "UFO" 'everyone knows we're really talking about aliens from space.' Bless their disingenuous hearts.)
"Aliens are real," sure. But that belief, that opinion, doesn't stop there with the acknowledgement that "they" exist. We really have two questions -- what are aliens -- and, which ones are talking about -- in what context?
Were the "aliens" listening in on our conversations -- invisible yet very distinct presence felt by many -- aliens from outer space? Another planet? Or an energy? Something co-existing with us here on earth? Something mystical/spiritual, like angels? Djinn? Even something co-created, even unconsciously, by us via our intense discussions of the subject? A sort of UFO tulpa?
What of the beings seen by landed ships and inside craft?
The list of weird unexplained beings that are non-human but described as "alien" is a long one, as well as a varied. We can't simply put the idea of "alien" into one category, acknowledge its existence, then feel as if we've solved something.
Just trying to define terms is exhausting in the land of the weird, and we realize how complex the "thing" (UFO, alien, er, "God") really is.