The eighth tenet of the Critical Engineering Manifesto describes how a Critical Engineer should draw from the past. They should look at themselves as continuing the same kind of work as artists, philosophers, activists, and inventors of yore, and they should learn from those people. They should learn from the strategies they used, as well as their goals. It's interesting that a seemingly radical movement should be also backwards facing. It sees value in what was done in the past even though the things it is responding to are so specific to our present circumstances.

For instance, a Critical Engineer could look at the ways modernists artists were responding to the introduction of machines into factories during the 19th century for how to respond today to automation in the workplaces of today.