When, as is the custom today, a child is obliged as early as the sixth or seventh year to learn to read and write, it is torture for the soul that wants to develop and unfold in accordance with its own nature. I can only repeat what I have already told you in my autobiography that I owe the removal of many hindrances to the circumstance that when I was twelve years old I was still unable to write properly. For the capacity of being able to write, in the way that is demanded today, kills certain qualities in the human being.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 235 – Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies – Volume I – Lecture XII – Dornach, 23rd March 1923
See also: Where are the earlier initiates?