Thank you for the sentiments and the questions!
Admittedly I’m overfond in my usage of “ironic air quotes” ;) which, in this case, was meant to contrast the *current* status of deep thinking as less within reach for non-elites (because of dreary economic conditions — to your point about Maslow, it’s difficult to be concerned with self-actualization when lower levels of the pyramid feel quite uncertain) with what I personally believe, which is that deep thinking should *not* be a luxury reserved for the few who don’t have to struggle over making ends meet from day to day. And regardless of current cultural and economic mores, I believe this is a basic capacity of the human mind (as corroborated by some substantive neurobiological and psychological research — most notably (and recently) for me, Daniel Kahneman’s work on “fast vs. slow thinking”).
I do think it is, historically, a widely held belief that only elites *should* be afforded this kind of open-ended time to ruminate — that it *should* be a luxury. It has been an ideology used to justify inequality for centuries. I tend to lean closer to your idea that deep/slow thinking is more like an essential right than it is like a luxury. Securing things as rights and enshrining them in law is a long and difficult struggle, however. I would love to get to the day when we have pushed far enough to have a discourse about whether or not deep thinking should be a right. At present I tend to feel that my more immediate task is in talking many of my Silicon Valley colleagues off a ledge in which the overwhelming perception is that “fast decisions are always better” and that “efficiency is the highest goal of technology.” As a predominant worldview I find it quite shocking, that otherwise highly intelligent people do not seem to be very aware of these different modes of thinking and their attendant benefits.