Well, lo and behold, it turns out that there is some scientific investigation into the benefits of knitting (crocheting and sewing, too) for the brain.
According to Dr. Yonas Geda of the Mayo Clinic, knitting may be "neuro-protective." It may reduce memory loss and symptoms of depression, which seems to be a factor in the likelihood that mild cognitive difficulties will lead to dementia.
An interesting article about therapeutic knitting can be found here.
Maybe it's taking the easy way out, which might not be in the proper spirit, But, hey, way easier than reading Kafka. That's what I think.